Saturday, April 4, 2015

On All Our Gifts

 
I have featured this poem on my blog before, but I've not read it out loud yet, I think its time...
 
 

You Can’t Have It All

 
 
  
  Barbara Ras
 

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.

The perfection is here




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Photo Credit: We Heart It.
 

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Reading On All Our Safties

Sanctuary
 
 
 
By Jean Valentine
 
People pray to each other. The way I say "you" to someone else,
respectfully, intimately, desperately. The way someone says
"you" to me, hopefully, expectantly, intensely ...
—Huub Oosterhuis


You       who I don’t know       I don’t know how to talk to you   

 
—What is it like for you there?

 
Here ... well, wanting solitude; and talk; friendship—
The uses of solitude. To imagine; to hear.
Learning braille. To imagine other solitudes.
But they will not be mine;
to wait, in the quiet; not to scatter the voices—

 
What are you afraid of?

 
What will happen. All this leaving. And meetings, yes. But death.   
What happens when you die?

 
“... not scatter the voices,”

 
Drown out. Not make a house, out of my own words. To be quiet in   
another throat; other eyes; listen for what it is like there. What   
word. What silence. Allowing. Uncertain: to drift, in the
restlessness ... Repose. To run like water—

 
What is it like there, right now?

 
Listen: the crowding of the street; the room. Everyone hunches in   
against the crowding; holding their breath: against dread.

 
What do you dread?

 
What happens when you die?

 
What do you dread, in this room, now?

 
Not listening. Now. Not watching. Safe inside my own skin.
To die, not having listened. Not having asked ... To have scattered   
life.

 
Yes I know: the thread you have to keep finding, over again, to   
follow it back to life; I know. Impossible, sometimes.
 
 
Photo Credit: We Heart It.