These tulips make me want to paint
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,
Something about their burnt-out hearts,
Something about their pallid stems
Wearing decay like diadems,
Parading finishes like starts,
Something about the way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.
The way they’re somehow getting clearer,
The tulips make me want to see —
The tulips make the other me
(The backwards one who’s in the mirror,
The one who can’t tell left from right),
Glance now over the wrong shoulder
To watch them get a little older
And give themselves up to the light.
The beauty of summer nights
is how they go on—
light lingering so long we can
imagine ourselves immortal.
For moments at a time.
And winter days—
their own kind of beauty.
Any swatch of color:
hint of leaf bud, sway
of dried brown grass, even litter—
a bright yellow bag
light enough for the breeze
to lift and carry,
can render itself as pleasure
to an eye immersed in gray.
May we learn to love
what is both
ordinary and extra.
May our attention be
a kind of praise.
A worship of the all
there really is.
ROSEMERRY WAHTOLA TROMMER
Consider the tulip,
how it rises every spring
out of the same soil,
which is, of course,
not at all the same soil,
How long ago
someone’s hands planted a bulb
and gave to this place
a living scrap of beauty.
Consider the six red petals,
the yellow at the center,
the soft green rubber of the stem,
how it bows to the world. How,
the longer we sit beside it,
the more we bow to it, too.
It is something like kindness:
in someone else a bit of beauty—
a kind word,
perhaps, or a touch, the gift
of their time or their smile.
And years later, in that inner soil
that beauty emerges again,
pushing aside the dead leaves,
insisting on beauty,
a celebration of the one who planted it,
the one who perceives it, and
the fertile place where it has grown.
ROSEMERRY WAHTOLA TROMMER
Inspired by - “My work is loving the world.” - Mary Oliver
My work is to be the student of the buds
that have been on the birch all winter—
tight and red, they know when to clench,
when to wait,
when to swell, when to burst, when to green.
My work is to open like the scent of juniper
when stroked by afternoon sun,
like the gong when rapidly rapped
into a shining explosion of resonance.
And when I am wall,
my work is to add hinges and become door.
And when I am lock, my work
is to find the lost key.
My work is to be baby bird,
to open my beak and take in
whatever the world has to feed me
and then learn to fly.
ROSEMERRY WAHTOLA TROMMER
And here they are, the wild violets.
How they leap into gardens uninvited,
their tiny purple faces unapologetic, open.
How they thrive amidst the other plants
chosen by the gardener.
They do not mind
not being the chosen ones. They thrive.
Tenacity can be so small, so beautiful.
I may not be a powerful woman,
but I have some wild violet in me,
some willingness to insist on renegade beauty,
some desire to be soft and yet persist,
some certainty that the garden
is big enough for us all.
The soul walks not on a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals." Kahlil Gibran
My Work is Loving the World
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird -
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Into Wildflower Into Field
it’s dusk and I watch you
water our newly planted garden,
the radish and arugula
are first to push up through the soil,
green hands in prayer
unfolding toward sun and sky
and I sit on the side and write
as you coax them
it’s like you’re singing
invisibly to the sleeping bed of seeds
like I can see the vibration of
your gentle harvest hope
my own fingers
begin searching the earth
my body bends toward the light
I green into a personal spring
break open again
searching for sun and sky (your eyes)
constant gardener -
you water the drought of me
into royal meadow
into fields and fields and fields
did you ever think our lives
would bloom into this?
on the ridge-line
the setting day paints
us in an impermanent gold
but even now in the darkest dark of nights
everything around us is aglow
What must is feel like
after months of existing
as bare brown sticks,
all reasonable hope
of blossoming lost,
to suddenly, one warm
April morning, burst
into wild yellow song,
hundreds of tiny prayer
flags rippling in the still-
cold wind, the only flash
of color in the dull yard,
these small scraps of light,
something we might
hold on to.
"The bud stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing..."
From: Gallway Kinnell Saint Francis and the Sow
"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin
“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
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.
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.
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.
Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi
“What in your life is calling you,
When all the noise is silenced,
The meetings adjourned...
The lists laid aside,
And the Wild Iris blooms
In the dark forest...
What still pulls on your soul?”
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.