Monthly Archives: January 2012


“Be ignited or be gone.”
-Mary Oliver, “Things I Have Learned so Far”


Step out of your narrow doorway,
tiptoe toward the fire.


Disregard the voices—
your own and others’—
trying to keep you safe.


Approach the flame,
feel the heat start to tickle
your cheeks, your earlobes,
that cold corner of your soul.


Close your eyes and feel,
then step,
then step closer and feel deeper,
taking the risk
they all tell you not to take.


Open your eyes,
see the blue and orange ribbons
dancing, swirling, leaping.


Raise your lips in a smile,
flirting with fulfillment,
joining with joy.


Hear your voice
tell you that this is exactly
what you are meant to do.


Take your candle
out from behind your back,
be ignited.

Turned Around

Turned Around
Thank you, Rosemerry, for a day with Rumi!


Dear Rumi,
Lately I have been spinning—
not in the ecstatic way you spin,
whirling with the fullness of life—
I’ve been swirling through obligation
unable to twirl outside the circle of duty,
unable to stop.


I’m dizzy, Rumi.
Not dizzy in the drunk-with-joy sense
but dizzy in a sickening way,
chasing my own thoughts,
trying to remember why I spin,
desperate to find my way out.


I’m going to fall, Rumi,
maybe even collapse.
I hope the ground will be gentle,
will hold me until I can stand again
and start spinning in a different direction,
raising my arms this time,
to embrace everything.

Handle with Care

Handle with Care
How could I ever entrust
these words,
finally excavated
after years of burying
and unearthing,
to the flimsy white vehicle
and one pitiful stamp
that will carry them
from my heart
to your eyes.


I would rather they travel
on a purple cushion
in a golden carriage
surrounded by guards
ready to catch fragile sentences
dislodged by bumps in the road.


Perhaps they should be sealed
in shatter-proof capsules
catapulted across time and space,
programmed to land precisely
where and when you are ready
to receive them.


Yet, no matter how I send them,
I will still have to risk
using the wrong words,
choosing the wrong time.
I will still have to risk
your eyes seeing my handwriting,
your hands discarding the letter,
before your heart can read it.


My 10-year-old cat limps now,
his mortality bludgeoning me
each time I see him hobble.


I can detach
from weather and clothes,
plans and people,
but with a love this big
so entwined in my being,
how could I ever
unhook, unsnap, unbutton
 and surrender to a bigger purpose?


Yet, the attachment,
although palpable and visceral
in strength and depth,
is only a desperate delusion:
that I can protect him
from pain, sickness, death…
that because I love him
he will always be around…
that this will be an exception
to nature’s stern rules…
that he is not needed elsewhere…


Be willing and able
to let go at any moment.


The twelve-year-old girl,
leggy and in-between,
stares at the businesswoman
seated at the next table.
The girl’s face swirls,
fascinated by the silk blouse and impossibly high heels,
curious about what she may become,
thrilled at having discovered a new possibility.


The woman’s persona will linger,
infusing the girl’s play
as she tries on the power behind the suit
in her mother’s high heels,
staring through the mirror
to see who she will become.

A Blissful Blessing…

A Blissful Blessing…

No poem today. I wanted to share something else that moved me, however, so follow this link to the story of a cat, healed and homed.

When my mom and I visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in October 2010, we spent one of our afternoons volunteering with the Special Needs kitties.  My job was to put Smokey (the cat in the story) on a leash and take her for a walk. It was a gorgeous fall day, and she seemed to find so much joy out in the sunshine and fresh air.  She was so kind and loving, an object lesson in forgiveness.  I have thought of her often since then, and when I saw this article today, I wept, overwhelmed with gratitude that she has found a “forever home” in which she can give and receive love.  Bless the woman who opened her home to this very special cat.

Songs of Breath

Songs of Breath
coiling inside us all
then flying out to coil elsewhere,
constant giving and receiving,
echoing through everything.


Listen to this rhythm while you create it,
watch energy spiral through walls and windows,
weave through trees and leap over rocks
until everything dances together,
different voices
singing the same words.


We are all so fragile, so strong.
We must huddle our humanity
and then disperse
to gather more songs for sharing.
We must continue this coming, going,
gathering, releasing,
breathing, living.