“A Settlement” by Mary Oliver
Look, it’s spring. And last year’s loose dust has turned into this soft willingness. The wind-flowers have come up trembling, slowly the brackens are up-lifting their curvaceous and pale bodies. The thrushes have come home, none less than filled with mystery, sorrow, happiness, music, ambition.
And I am walking out into all of this with nowhere to go and no task undertaken but to turn the pages of this beautiful world over and over, in the world of my mind.
* * *
Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
When We Get Through This - Maya Stein
When we get through this, I want us to set a table with all of the loaves of bread we’d practiced in our quiet houses. I want us clutching fistfuls of the cilantro we coaxed from our city windowsills, and I want the nascent musicians, the ones who learned old songs on their new ukuleles, or warbled choruses on isolated balconies, to take the stage together. I want all the knitted, crocheted, stitched, and mended things pooled at our feet, warming our ankles. I want us to greet each other in unfamiliar languages, to tell the stories of those who have been lost. I want us to look, in unison, toward the world millions of miles and light-years away, to take in what is before us, and beyond us. I want us to wake to the magnitude of our fortune against the smallness of our time. And then I want us to remember this, and to keep remembering.
In Case I Forget to Say It Enough
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Thank you for this day made
of wind and rain and sun and the scent
of old-fashioned lilacs. Thank you
for the pond and the slippery tadpole
and the wild iris that opened beside the pond
last week, so pale, so nearly purple,
their stems already flagged and bent.
Thank you for the yellow morels hiding in the field grass,
the ones we can only see when we are already
on our knees. And thank you for the humming
that rises out of the morning as if mornings
are simply reasons to hum. What a gift,
this being alive, this chance to encounter the world.
What a gift, this being a witness to spring—
spring in everything. Spring in the way
that we greet each other. Spring in the way the golden eagle
takes to the thermals and spirals up to where
we can barely see the great span of its wings.
Spring in the words we have known
since our births. Like glory. Like celebrate.
Aimless Love ~ by Billy Collins
This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor's window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door—
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor—
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
It happens, you know—the day opens itself
like a tulip in a warm room, and you meet someone
who amazes you with their willingness
to be a thousand percent alive, someone
who makes you feel grateful to be you.
And it’s as if life has been keeping a beautiful
secret from you—like the fact that they make
elderberry flowers into wine. Like muscadine.
Like the yellow-green floral scent of quince.
Like the perfect knot for tying your shoes.
And it turns out life does have wonderful
secrets waiting for you. Even when the news
makes you cry. Even when some old pain returns,
that’s when you will meet this new friend.
Someone wholly themselves. Someone
who makes you smile in the kitchen, a smile so real
that when you go out, the whole world notices.
It’s enough to make you want to wake up in the morning.
To go into the day. To be unguarded as a tulip, petals
falling open. You never know who you might meet.
Instructions for Not Giving Up
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.