You can't do anything
about the length of your life,
but you can do something about its width and depth.
They are top drawer!
After awhile you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn't mean possession
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises and you begin to accept
your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build your roads today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
burns if you get too much so you plant your
own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn...
Veronica A. Shoffstall
THE PROPHET ON PLEASURE:
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn
that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower,
the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
... be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
MORNING GLORY VINE
as late as October
it crawled its tangled
up the cyclone fence
the trellis archway
the apple tree
in our second-story bedroom.
We talked about it often,
our own flag of red apple and blue glory.
For how could we have
ignored the beauty
which followed us
we married in July?
by Ann Iverson
Let your dinner be the highlight of the day.
If the day has been pleasurable,
it's time to celebrate.
If the day has been difficult and discouraging,
it's time for comfort and consolation
blessings by themselves and reason to celebrate.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
oh god its wonderful
to get out of bed
and, drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much
Love can be the center of all things, if only we will keep it there.
To mate on the wing,
now that's a trick I want to learn
hopped up on pheromones,
wings flapping impossibly fast ....
For that I'd take a spin
as an insignificant lepidoterid.
For that I'd give up
all my nature programs,
rock music, erotic poetry.
I'd even do
penance in the egg.
I'd crawl through adolescence on my belly
eating none of the food I love, eating nothing
but cabbage, cabbage, cabbage.
For that instant
of sudden weightlessness,
fluttering with my beloved on the verge
of a holy convulsion
I await my turn.
by Charles Goodrich
from Insects of South Corvallis.
© Cloudbank Books.
There's only now
There's only here...
Give in to love...
Or live in fear...
No other path...
No other way...
No day but today...
No day but today.
IN THE MIDDLE
of a life that's as complicated as everyone else's,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather's
has stopped at 9:20; we haven't had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don't ring. One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning's quick coffee
and evening's slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail is a metronome, 3/4 time. We'll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time.
by Barbara Crooker
from Yarrow © 1998