sipping gentle medicine…

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Sometimes I wrestle  should I tone down the joy,
put a lid  on it because it might seem to disrespect
the pain that blanches another soul scraped on the thorns of living,
or heap on heavier the despair
or maybe just annoy like a fly
or a trite quip when someone is grieving.

I feel it too,  the ache,
my own life rocky with disappointment so sharp
that I hold it white-knuckled,  the word I chose
(my word for this year ~ anyway)
and it’s because of that heart-limp that I dig my heels in stubborn
and choose to joy all the more.

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I want to notice the flecks of softness shining in hard places
and drop quickly down,  cupping the dirt
and let it hold my gaze
until it strengthens what goes wobbly in me,
because joy is strong medicine
and when you hold her up to the light
she has the look of her mother,
courage,

and that’s why I search through the crowd for it,
make space for it,
circle it defiant,   protective,
as if it were a baby seal
stalked by men with clubs
intent on claiming it’s hide,

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because  I don’t want to let the harsh glare of living
force my eyes shut to the beauty
or steal away my joy;
it’s the gentle tug of healing balm that keeps this love alive.

I want to help grow your joy,  too,
so I’m having a giveaway this week,
some handmade joy-tending art
and handwritten love from me to you
Just leave a comment and you’re in to win.
i’ll draw a name next Easter Monday.  with joy:)

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“First,  I would like to write for you a poem
to be shouted into the teeth of a strong wind…”
-Carl Sandburg

bird in a skyfull of love….

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My heart is full of river and sky
and apple blossom and newborn green,
of leaves uncurling buttery soft
and smelling still not of this world
and it’s a fresh breeze I’m breathing
as the sun shines soft on the field of dreams I carry inside.

My business is busy and my foot is mending
but i’m protecting a chunk of time each day
to throw my love into a project that has my heart
sliding off my sleeve into handmade books I’m making for each of my kids
to give when birthdays blossom in June
and I’m feeling the passion of packing a care package
I want their hearts to carry for the rest of their days

with so much love I’m a bird in flight with a mighty soar
and coming awake and alive all the more
and it’s tilling up some fields of change
making art and cobbling together words for these.

It’s funny how high you can fly when you’re full up wildly in love.
It’s in the love,  isn’t it
…..love is the flying.

I’m scooping up the edges of my ragamuffin prayers
and wrapping them around you,  too,
that you’ll hear your name in the whispering light
and feel it inside that you matter so big,
you,  all beautiful with belonging,
a twinkle in the eyes of God,
a sight worth seeing,
a song worth singing,
a bird in a skyfull of love.

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“The only true currency in this bankrupt world
is what we share with someone else
when we’re uncool.”
-from Almost Famous

a gimpy sort of brilliance….

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I’ve been limping along slow,
gimpy with an ankle that veered hard right
while the rest of me crashed in a heap on top,
a blowout of sorts
and it’s been a swollen black and blue hobble for a few weeks since.

Seems my normal setting is a pretty fast gait,
because this slow going has felt crazy awkward;
“Embrace stillness,”  they said.
“Just stop and prop.”
It sounded so good,  so right.
So why I have not.

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I’ve cultivated a certain quiet in my heart,
often while moving quite fast,
but this business of not moving around at all
seems a different sort of challenge altogether
and if I’m being graded, I’m hoping to slide in under the tag
with a shameless D,  at best
(at the very least I’ve been growing my joy over some new moves,
a hurl and catch way of propelling myself around,
and I should likely be worried that this amuses me).

Does it ever astonish you,  too,  how much growth still to do?

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It’s been life,  real and messy,
bodacious with beauty and worth
and glorious  imperfection,
even with howling pain and broken wings.

And no matter the wobble,  we’re plunked right down in fields of hope
and given voice and an enormous capacity for grace
and it’s ours for wallowing in,
choice by choice,
this,  I think,  is brilliance enough.

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“Life has to be lived,
that’s all there is to it.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Teardrops in the wind…

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It was the March of 1979.
Breezes turned balmy
and I pulled off my shoes,
letting swollen feet tramp across warming earth.
I was pregnant with my first baby,
due on St. Patrick’s Day.
For weeks I had ached for time to stop,
squeezing myself shut
to the coming separation,
the word “relinquish” hanging heavy on my heart.

 But today the weather had turned
and hadn’t everything somehow changed?
Spring had come with her own dreamy wildness
and waves to ride far beyond the looming loss.

I spent the day sunsoaking,
watching the wind gently stir the tireswing
I’d played on not so long ago.

I was newly seventeen,
an “unwed mother”
with an unwanted chore:
to give my baby to someone she deserved.
Soon she would come apart from me,
gone before the leaves flushed out.
Their buds were fat and ready to pop….like me.
I went quiet with the knowing.

But this day was vivid lovely and it got inside me.

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 As the sun began to dip low,
a storm of pain rumbled
and hammered down urgency inside my belly
and grownup voices began
herding me into the night
and toward the hospital.
I wanted to crawl into bed and hide beneath the covers,
cradling the life inside me one last time.

 My body was betraying me,
forcing me into a cold,  sterile world
of tight lips and disapproving eyes.
As my frightened parents gathered my things,
I lunged back inside
for just one last moment alone
with the tiny life that had shaken my own with her gentle worth.

 I lowered my heavy frame onto the bed
and tried to sing a last lullaby
but could do only tears,
a fragile goodbye.

I followed strong contractions into the night,
returning home with only fierce memory
of her tiny fingers and face.
But I’m forever marked by her essence,
often swept away by her melody
as it drifts across my heartstrings.

I recognize her song.

Thirty five  Springs.
I honor each of her days.
Today I tenderly comfort the girl-in-me who carried her
before she was transplanted into the garden
that nurtured her to thriving
and remember those shimmery days when we were just us,
when she was still mine.

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I know.  I post this each year.
I will until my heart feels it to stop.
Somehow I need to honor those days out loud
where anyone can read them,
to raise my voice for others who maybe never found their own.
Thank you for letting  me share.
Hold it gently,  please.

suddenly soaring instead….

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I’m grateful for the chance
to create and carve and choose
and hurl my voice into the loving and living I still get to do,
and even when I blunder and bumble and bruise
there is beauty in the falling forward
and so I help myself to seconds of grace
and get back up and go again

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This life is short and seems to be gaining speed
with each trek around the sun
so I’ll cry my tears and grin sillier still and throw my arms wider
and grateful more for
~my plenty enough of a little camera still
swinging from my arm in the apple green case
(nope,  didn’t get a big girl camera yet),
~pretty scarves to wear in my hair while the sun beats down
and the wild winds blow
(another busy season is underway and I smell again of ben gay),

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~trees in bloom and small sour pickles and everywhere robins
and finding fresh ways and red beans and rice and most excellent tea,
~ a new pair of reading glasses waiting unscratched on the table
and a whole journal full of blank pages just waiting for me there,
~and daffodils and snowbells and primrose and fuzzy pussy willow joy
and baby steps forward,  even when they’re slow,

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and how it’s relief when you’re driving and you see a lump
flapping helpless in the road up ahead
and it turns out to be only a plastic bag
and I wonder sometimes if it’s mostly plastic bags I’m running from,
just spastic fear mind-painting old despair.
I want to press the pedal brave and go face down the things I dread
….I may find myself suddenly soaring instead.

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I’ve been noticing the early daffodils braving the cold
blooming bright,  outspoken,  and bold
in spite of the pounding they take in the harsh cold winds
-they spitshine my courage just watching them.
Just look at those faces.

“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter,
it is very unlikely we will ever cherish the warmth
of a bright summer’s  day.”
-Anthon St. Marteen