Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvellous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

– Mary Oliver

For R

I want to see you
I cannot wait to hold you, and to feel
your body against mine, that tingling
feeling when we are near.
I want to be cold with you.
I want you to put your hands between mine to warm them,
and we can hold them,
as we always do.
I want to press my chest onto your shoulder blades,
and leave tiny kisses on your back.

I am full of tears.
All day they roll out of my eyes
and fizz to nothing by my feet.
They splash my chest and for a second it is dark there,
then no. I am dry. I am a pillar of salt.

My body is warmed from the inside out.
My stomach is molten inside my body,
my lungs bubble from the heat of it,
my heart in your hand would be like
taking a potato straight from the oven,
my bones are the wood of a campfire,
my skin is bed sheets slept in for a day and night.

Everything, everything I love is out to sea
Without you
I love you.

The Instant When Love Begins

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

– from Don’t Hesitate by Mary Oliver

I Don’t Want To Lose

I don’t want to lose a single thread
from the intricate brocade of who you are.
I want to remember and adore all that is you.
Which is why I am lying awake, sleepy
but not sleepy enough to give it up.
Just now, a moment years from now, I hope:
the early morning light, the deft, sweet
gesture of your hand
reaching for me.

– Based on a poem by Mary Oliver

A Voice From I Don’t Know Where

It seems you love this world very much.
“Yes, I said. “This beautiful world.”

And you don’t mind the mind, that keeps you
busy all the time with its dark and bright wonderings?
“No, I’m quite used to it. Busy, busy,
all the time.”

And you don’t mind living with those questions,
I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
“Actually, they’re the most interesting.”

And you have a person in your life whose hand
you like to hold?
“Yes, I do.”

It must surely, then, be very happy down there
in your heart.
“Yes,” I said. “It is.”

– Mary Oliver

(I ache to hold your hand again…)

Do We All Have Someone

the hours with you cradling your belly
in my hands

your face level                     with my neck
my neck level       with your mouth

almost like     being a teenager again
almost like            a giving in

when you put your hand on my face
I do not move                your eyes are closed

the only thing speaking is your hand
the slow circle of your fingers

do we all have an ex we can’t forget
not the one               that got away
but the one who left
not the one               that left for good
but the one who stays just out of reach
your thumb circling my jaw
can you feel my body humming
underneath your fingers
I know I know             that’s just me
romanticising you again

I know your patterns
I know how this goes

maybe we have nothing
to talk about anymore

do we all have someone        we can’t forgive
your hands
your hands in the night.

Franz Marc’s Blue Horses

I step into the painting of the four blue horses.
I am not even surprised that I can do this.

One of the horses walks toward me.
His blue nose noses me lightly. I put my arm
over his blue mane, not holding on, just
commingling.
He allows me my pleasure.
Franz Marc died a young man, shrapnel in his brain.
I would rather die than explain to the blue horses
what war is.
They would either faint in horror, or simply
find it impossible to believe.
I do not know how to thank you, Franz Marc.
Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually.
Maybe the desire to make something beautiful
is the piece of God that is inside each of us.
Now all four horses have come closer,
are bending their faces toward me
as if they have secrets to tell.
I don’t expect them to speak, and they don’t.
If being so beautiful isn’t enough, what
could they possibly say?

– Mary Oliver

Love Poem

I want to write you
a love poem as headlong
as our creek
after thaw
when we stand
on its dangerous
banks and watch it carry
with it every twig
every dry leaf and branch
in its path
every scruple
when we see it
so swollen
with runoff
that even as we watch
we must grab
each other
and step back
we must grab each
other or
get our shoes
soaked we must
grab each other

– Linda Pastan