See today’s gifts
Tumbled out of time’s
Woven basket, spilled
On the blanket spread
At your feet
All their meanings
Are wrapped in
Traffic, incessant phones,
Sour blueberries in
Five dollar pints,
Gray ice, dirty windows,
Sun shining through the
Everyday winter grime
Tag Archives: Advice poem
See today’s gifts
For the new year, this new wardrobe.
Remove all the old travel costumes:
Who I was
Who I thought I should be
Who you thought I should be
Who I feared becoming
Who I dreamed of being.
Done now with all the taking off, all the folding up
and giving away what no longer fits,
walk into the new year awake.
Carry only this woven basket of intentions—
To be gentle to others and myself,
lift my head from my tasks
and look around me as I travel,
rest when it is time to rest,
start a fire, small and steady,
and watch it glow.
So often have I traveled
to this room in my heart
where the candles are lit
the cat is sleeping
and from my window
I can watch the snow falling,
so soft and quiet
that I must listen hard
to hear its message.
It began as such an ordinary day—-
She woke herself reaching, as usual,
for the armor, but pulled her hand back
her head and heart suddenly filled
with this Advice, this Certainty:
Pain will always find you,
despite the shield. The armor is heavy,
so cumbersome to carry that you
wake already weary at the prospect
of strapping on all that cold silver
Today, instead, make oatmeal
and fill yourself with warmth
no protection at all, only comfort.
At the darkest turn of the year,
choose lightness. Choose to believe in
their capable hands, each steering
the ship of their own life—
sometimes, far off across the sea
sometimes, near enough to signal
sometimes, pausing at your side
where you can watch together
the moon, the whales
and schools of tiny, iridescent fish
darting beneath your hulls,
close enough for you and the one on the other ship
to marvel together —
How the neon fish catch the moonlight
and pull it deep into the sea
far below the waves, into the quiet
where we have never been before.
Calmness has been trailing you
for years now. Can’t you feel
its breath at the nape of your neck?
It follows, resting at the place
where a mother cat gently
tugs her kitten’s soft scruff.
Be warned. If you stop, it may
catch you. And then where
will you be?
Not on track,
not on task, but
off the road somewhere,
in a meadow
just you and
Calmness, tending you with
its sandpaper tongue
and low purr.
of tiny lines.
a place to
a soft red pillow
shaped like the suggestion
of a stop sign.
The poem puts out its hand,
whispers, Wait, and
look both ways:
the dark morning.
Houses glow and simmer,
dawn and lamplight
meet and kindle
at every window.
into the new day.
That’s the kind of poem
I need now.
huge branch cracks
mighty snap and rustle as
smaller branches, leaves, apples
collapse in concert, broken
beneath the weight of too much.
this view from the forest floor–
How tall the trees look now.
How apples soften into the earth
How dried leaves crumble,
Melt into the dirt.
Lichens gray as cat fur,
Mosses soft and bristled along the flank,
Mushrooms gilled as sea creatures
Bunched together, clustered and
Humming to themselves.
Everything you’ve carried
breathes out, expands
murmurs to the ground
as you soften and disappear
curious about this new glimpse of the sky.
Seize the Day is a sentiment thought up by a man.
Mostly, the day seizes me, and gives me a hard shake.
So I’ve decided on a new way to get through a day.
Picture prairie dogs.
Imagine the day as a field filled with prairie dogs,
always another head popping up.
Don’t seize a thing because that’s when they bite.
Instead, take off you shoes. Stretch your pinched toes,
whisper to your fingers that they can choose not to clench.
Remind your jaw, too.
Walk through the grass. Peek into the holes
where the prairie dogs, suddenly shy, have hidden.
Give them what they demand. It’s only time, after all,
the time a man with a pen would tell you to wrestle to your will.
Relax into the opposite of seize, and the pester of prairie dogs calms.
Later, together, you can watch the sun set over your shared field
while somewhere, some man writes advice in Latin.
There’s a wool-suited spinster
Who lives in my head–
Thin hair in a bun
Pursed lips on her face
Saying, Stop that nonsense at once.
Sternly, of course.
Oh, don’t listen to her
Says the other voice, who looks like me–
The voice I name my true self.
She says the spinster isn’t cranky,
cranky takes too much spirit.
She isn’t even mean,
And come to think of it,
I don’t know her well enough to
Even be certain she is a spinster.
What she is, is disapproving
But colorless—-No heat behind her words
Just a certainty that she must warn me to Stop,
Before I make a Fool of Her.
So, I say thank you to that spinster—
Thank you for letting me be like an old, creased photo
carried in your sensible handbag:
A picture of dreams you abandoned
cut from a magazine, tucked away as a warning,
a reminder of the crazy way you once thought
Of running off to Paris.
Old paper now, limp with age and dank
But carried always, this reminder.
And thank you also, spinster,
for being the faded photo I carry.
Thank you for being my warning
of all I could become,
If I’m careful.