Friday, March 28, 2014

(this is your adversity)

this is your adversity:

running downhill.
memories of fingers on your bare back.

your comeuppance:

toddler pajamas.
dark closets. a favorite pocketknife.
fear and want.

your salvation:

cliches and violins.

Monday, March 10, 2014

(But praise)

What lifts the heron leaning on the air
I praise without a name. A crouch, a flare,
a long stroke through the cumulus of trees,
a shaped thought at the sky — then gone. O rare!
Saint Francis, being happiest on his knees,
would have cried Father! Cry anything you please

But praise. By any name or none. But praise
the white original burst that lights
the heron on his two soft kissing kites.
When saints praise heaven lit by doves and rays,
I sit by pond scums till the air recites
Its heron back. And doubt all else. But praise.

--John Ciardi, from the poem The White Heron (as quoted in The Heron Dance Book of Love and Gratitude)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

(Ukraine. March 1, 2014)

If the young piano tutor can protest
in the fire-flashed streets with two broken ribs
and his friend killed behind him ("Something changed in me. I am no longer afraid.")
then surely
I can clean the apartment with a fever.

I scrub the sink then kneel down
on my hands and knees sweeping
from under the bed
dust, plastic wrappers, shreds of linen,
a crumpled sock.

I scrape up the dirt with my hands, sift it
into plastic bags and carry it to the porch
where it is cold, and dark,
and stand inhaling.

And stand aching.

and return to the apartment
where I can do nothing,
where it is warm, and full of comforts,
not the least of them the sound
of a piano playing.