April 29, 2011

National Poetry Month: The Ponds

I've been thinking a lot about imperfection, how striving for it rarely brings anything other than distress and frustration. We should know better (well, let's just say that I should know better). Perfection, after all, is a Platonic ideal, and like that green light at the end of Daisy's dock in The Great Gatsby, it's unreachable, unattainable. And more important, it's not real. The time we spend seeking illusion is time lost.
The words Mary Oliver uses to describe the lillies in this poem (yep, another one) --"lopsided," "slumped," "unstoppable decay"-- stand in for our "difficult world." But along with these imperfections there's light, lots of it. Brings to mind the words of Leonard Cohen's gorgeous song, Anthem: "there is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in." Amen to that.

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them –

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided –
and that one wears an orange blight –
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away –
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled –
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing –
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

--Mary Oliver

April 27, 2011

National Poetry Month: Peonies

I've been reading Mary Oliver's latest book of poems, Swan.  With her images and rhythms in my mind, it's hard to resist her words when it's time to offer a new poem for National Poetry Month. So I won't.

Peonies, to me, are the most ephemeral of flowers, and Oliver captures "their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment" exactly. Whatever today brings, "cherish your humble and silky life."


Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

--Mary Oliver

Image by Muffet, at Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

April 26, 2011

National Poetry Month: Daffodils

Last fall we planted daffodil bulbs in the front and back yards of our new home. It's an annual tradition since we moved to this part of the country, and I think of it as one of our most hopeful acts of the year. We know we won't see the results for many months, but the daffodils haven't let us down yet.

When we wake each morning, we see the backyard daffodils from our bedroom window: the different varieties living companionably with each other and with the neighboring blooms.

Daffodils also line the walk when we step out the front door. I think of them as the spring's welcoming committee. We've been in this house a full year now, and I've never felt as truly at home as i do here. Gratitude comes naturally when the daffodils are in bloom.

Thanks to Dominique Browning of Slow Love Life for reminding me of Wordsworth's lovely poem.


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

--William Wordsworth

Image: Mine, Spring 2011

April 25, 2011

National Poetry Month: Tomato

Nope, I don't eat tomatoes, but I was captivated by this poem.

In honor of National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry in the world.


     Tomato in my salad bowl
     Is all there is.
     Big as a watermelon,
big as the art,
big as my mind.
     Glistening, shining, with
time's still rush,
     We're locked together
for this part of eternity,
     Tomato and me.

     I feel taken into
the cherry roundness,
     orange redness,
it's fact of existing.
     I've never known
a tomato
quite like this.

     This could go on a long time,
     It's so compelling.
     I'm becoming a tomato,
     Tomato me.
     Who'll blink first, me or tomato?

     It is said that
"Freedom is not needing to know what comes next."

     I eat it.

I notice a leaf of lettuce.

--Donald Rothberg

Image by Muffet, at Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

April 23, 2011

National Poetry Month: The Journey

The extraordinary and the ordinary both yield great beauty. Look. Always. Remember, though, that our truth is never anywhere else but inside us.

In honor of National Poetry Month, because there can never be enough good poetry in the world.

The Journey

Above the mountains
the Geese turn into
the light again
Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.
Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens
so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
something new
in the ashes
of your life.
You are not leaving
You are arriving.

-David Whyte

Image via environmental graffiti, from an exhibit mounted by The Library of Congress of selected photographs from NASA's image collection, taken by the Landsat 7 satellite. This image is of the Kalahari Desert, Namibia

April 21, 2011

National Poetry Month: Grasshopper

 "For the poem he is writing is the act of always being awake, better than anything."  Or, as people much smarter than I have said: be here now.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry in the world.


It's funny when the mind thinks about the psyche,
as if a grasshopper could ponder a helicopter.

It's a bad idea to fall asleep
while flying a helicopter:

when you wake up, the helicopter is gone
and you are too, left behind in a dream,

and there is no way to catch up,
for catching up doesn't figure

in the scheme of things. You are
who you are, right now,

and the mind is so scared it closes its eyes
and then forgets it has eyes

and the grasshopper, the one that thinks
you're a helicopter, leaps onto your back!

He is a brave little grasshopper
and he never sleeps

for the poem he writes is the act
of always being awake, better than anything

you could ever write or do.
Then he springs away.

--Ron Padgett

Image by jster91, from Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.   

April 20, 2011

National Poetry Month: When Death Comes

How much richer could our lives be if we were willing to be "brides married to amazement"? Mary Oliver strikes again.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry in the world.

When Death Comes

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

--Mary Oliver

Image by KRob2005, from Flickr, under a Creative Commons License.

April 18, 2011

On Contradictions

I've been working on a project for a class I'm taking. It's an art class at my local university, and this is the last project of the semester. I've enjoyed the class tremendously, yet I can't wait to be done. All semester we've moved from project to project with little time to rest or reflect between assignments. It's exactly the kind of intense experience I wanted, and I'm so very glad that it'll be over in a week.

Sometimes I surprise myself with thoughts or feelings that seem to contradict themselves.  I can understand my feelings about my class: you can have a good experience and still long for a break, or look forward to an ending so that you can move on to the next good thing.

It's more puzzling when the contradictions show themselves in my behavior. How can I bemoan our society's obsession with celebrity culture, then gobble up an entire issue of People magazine during my visit to my dentist's office (and later regale my husband with the details of Reese Witherspoon's wedding)? Or consider myself a "woman of substance" AND blather on (and on) about snagging a Marc Jacobs jacket for $25 (!) at a consignment sale?

My magazine subscriptions tell some of the story: Yoga Journal and Whole Living, but also Vogue and Bazaar. Then there's my reading list: I'm reading both Everyday Zen and Pop! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything. It's a small source of comfort that the former is much more interesting than the latter.

Never mind that I'm working my way through the Buddhism section of my public library even as I accumulate art supplies as if the local art store was going out of business tomorrow. Surely these inconsistencies in my behavior mask some deep-seated personality conflict, one that I need to find and fix right now, no?

Well, uh, no. Not necessarily.

Years ago, a dear friend and I, over many glasses of wine, admitted to another dear friend our fear that the two of us were downright superficial people. Without missing a beat, and with great energy and affection, our friend said: "Well, sure, you may be superficial, but you're not shallow!"  At the time, we all broke into laughter and couldn't stop for ten minutes, yet we knew what she was trying to say. I've come to see the value of that seemingly illogical (and still very funny) statement. "Superficial" doesn't have to mean "shallow," no matter what the dictionary says. And by extension, "contradiction" isn't automatically bad.

I think of consistency these days less as a virtue than as a practical consideration. There's no doubt that it's important to be consistent about such things as doing what we promise to do or showing up when we say we will. People need to know that they can trust us, and consistency of action and thought is part of how we build that trust and our sense of integrity. This is consistency based on values. Contradictions that attack our core values are worth paying serious attention to.

Often, though, our contradictions simply make life more interesting and colorful, and remind us that we're human. So why not enjoy them?  After all, as Oscar Wilde once said --very wisely, I think-- "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

Image by chexee, on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

April 17, 2011

National Poetry Month: Eating Poetry

Poetry and dogs, and knowing that there is a Scottish Poetry Library (above), a combination you can't NOT love.  In celebration of National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry. 

Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

--Mark Strand

Image by chrisdonia, from Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

April 15, 2011

National Poetry Month: Flying at Night

Ted Kooser's poems speak often of people living quiet lives in quiet places. These seemingly uncomplicated characters and settings seem to glow amidst the beauty of his metaphors and the images his words evoke.

In Flying at Night, I love how he  juxtaposes the enormity of a galaxy with the farmer "drawing his sheds and barn back into the little system of his care" and the "shimmering novas" with "lonely lights like his."

Kooser (I can't help but think of him as "Ted" after looking at his photo), was poet laureate of the U.S. from 2004 to 2006. He's founded a project called American Life in Poetry, for which he writes a weekly column that features contemporary American poems. He offers the column free to newspapers and online publications, and there's no cost to reprint previous columns. "The sole mission of this project, says the ALP website, "is to promote poetry...[and] create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture." You go, Ted!

 Flying at Night

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.

-Ted Kooser

Image of Ted Kooser by Sarah Greene, from American Life in Poetry.

April 14, 2011

National Poetry Month: Anthem

My Photo - November 2009
After last week's post, I couldn't resist bringing Leonard Cohen back for National Poetry Month. These are the lyrics to Anthem, one of my favorite of his songs. I particularly like the chorus, which celebrates the imperfect, the "crack" that serves to let the light in. 

As in many of his poems and lyrics, Cohen reminds us that the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful live side by side. The lyrics seem to be influenced by Buddhist concepts of mindfulness and of the acceptance that imperfection is part of the human condition. (It's worth noting that Cohen lived for five years at a Zen Buddhist monastery and was ordained a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk in 1996.)

The lyrics alternate between raging at the world and accepting what is. Cohen suggests that logic isn't the answer ("you can add up the parts but you won't have the sum") and that only after we've exhausted the things outside us that we think can save us ("like a refugee") will we experience true love.


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

April 12, 2011

National Poetry Month: Weighing In

Weighing In
What the scale tells you is how much the earth
has missed you, body, how it wants you back
again after you leave it to go forth

into the light. Do you remember how
earth hardly noticed you then? Others would rock
you in their arms, warm in the flow

that fed you, coaxed you upright. Then earth began
to claim you with spots and fevers, began to lick
at you with a bruised knee, a bloody shin,

and finally to stoke you, body, drumming
intimate coded messages through music
you danced to unawares, there in your dreaming

and your poems and your obedient blood.
Body, how useful you became, how lucky,
heavy with news and breakage, rich, and sad,

sometimes, imagining that greedy zero
you must have been, that promising empty sack
of possibilities, never-to-come tomorrow.

But look at you now, body, soft old shoe
that love wears when it’s stirring, look down, look
how earth wants what you weigh, needs what you know.
- Rhina P. Espaillat

April 11, 2011

On Passion and Imperfection

I had the wonderful opportunity this week to meet in person someone I'd known only by phone. For six months, we were part of a teleclass that met every other week, and I was glad to find that she was even even more engaging and likable in person than she'd seemed over the phone. She and a friend were attending a retreat not far from here, so we'd taken advantage of their visit to get together.

When we parted, I noticed that we'd spent more than three hours together, and that it hadn't seemed nearly that long. Over cups of tea (in their case green -- VERY GREEN -- iced tea, but that's a story for another day), we talked easily about many things: what drew each of us to the retreat that they were on their way to and that I'd been part of last year, the difficulties we have in calling ourselves 'writers,' the paths that have led us to where we are today.

At one point, I fell into a spirited conversation with my friend's friend about a thorny political issue. When we parted, I wondered if I'd been overzealous -- which isn't unusual behavior for me when something is dear to my heart. I said as much to her and apologized for my "passion." Kindly, she responded that I didn't need to apologize for being passionate.

In spite of her warm response, I found myself obsessing on the way home about my part in our conversation (have I mentioned I have an advanced degree in Obsessing?). Had I been too intense? too strident in my comments? .  After some minutes of this, fortified by some equally fruitless conjecture about what these lovely women I'd just met might be thinking, I concluded that the least I could do was to be as generous to myself as my friend's companion had been to me.

So I shifted my attention --granted, not without difficulty-- to my good fortune in having spent a  joyous afternoon with two interesting, smart, thoughtful, and articulate women. I found myself being grateful for a discussion that revealed a friend who was as concerned and impassioned as I am about important issues. How rare these experiences are, and how much to be treasured.

I'm learning, oh so slowly, how easily it is for me to build a dramatic "story" around an event, when I could instead accept the simple humanity of the moment.

By embracing our humanity, of course, we have to admit that we're not perfect, and that our friends, too, will see that we're not perfect (was there ever a doubt that they wouldn't?). Dare we consider that celebrating, rather than fearing, this vulnerability is a more liberating way to live? What do you think?

Image by smitha srinivas on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

April 9, 2011

National Poetry Month: Wild Geese

A perennial favorite, this Mary Oliver poem.  In celebration of National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry in the world.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

April 8, 2011

National Poetry Month: These Heroics

My photo - November 2009

In November of 2009 I saw Leonard Cohen in concert.  It was, without exaggeration, a transcendent experience. In his 70s, Cohen was touring for the first time in 15 years, having been swindled out of millions of dollars by his former manager and financial advisers and left with only $150,000 in the bank. 

 I could fill each day of National Poetry Month with Leonard Cohen's poems and song lyrics.  This, from the web site on which this poem appears, sums it up well: "some of his songs are like poems, and some of his poems are like songs; his rebellious, tender, sardonic voice inheres throughout."

My thanks to my friend, Tom, for sending me the link.

These Heroics

If I had a shining head
and people turned to stare at me
in the streetcars;
and I could stretch my body
through the bright water
and keep abreast of fish and water snakes;
if I could ruin my feathers
in flight before the sun;
do you think that I would remain in this room,
reciting poems to you,
and making outrageous dreams
with the smallest movements of your mouth?

- Leonard Cohen

April 7, 2011

National Poetry Month: Love After Love

Today's poem, to celebrate National Poetry Month. Because there can never be enough good poetry in the world.


The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here.  Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit.  Feast on your life.

-Derek Walcott

Image by symmetry_mind, on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

April 6, 2011

National Poetry Month: Starfish

Celebrate National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry in the world.

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

-Eleanor Lerman
Image by hyruwen, on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License. 

April 5, 2011

National Poetry Month: Admonitions to a Special Person

Oh my, what a poem. It's in honor of National Poetry month, because you can never have too much good poetry in the world. This one I came across on 37 Days, where Patti Digh writes stories that make my heart sing. 

Admonitions to a Special Person
Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.

Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you'll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.

Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.

Watch out for games, the actor's part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.

Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes),
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won't be heard
and none of your running will end.

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

Special person,
if I were you I'd pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
A collaboration.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you'll root
and the real green thing will come.

Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
possible leaves,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
in celebration,
for you,
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.

-Anne Sexton

April 4, 2011

National Poetry Month: How to Dance When You Do Not Know How to Dance

Today's poem, in honor of National Poetry Month, because we can never have enough good poetry in the world.  

How to Dance When You Do Not Know How to Dance

You and I fit together
like two millstones, and oh the music

we make of grist, going round
and round the same

arguments (taxes, laundry,
the leaky

faucet, the unremarkable
disasters of marriage).

My feet are two ugly badgers
that hide their faces

in the dirt when they see
clouds tip-toeing

above the lake.
The homely trees in winter
crack and fall

into one another: that is how I must
look to you as I gather

dirty plates to the sink.
You say, Talk to me about

the weather. I say that once
a tornado carried

a birdcage with a live canary inside
a quarter mile, the cage
flying, the bird flying

inside of it. I don’t know how
to make the faucet

hold back its drip. I try
to open a bottle of wine

and half the cork breaks off
inside the neck. But you, Love,
you ignore

the flecks of cork floating
in your glass, the way

I teeter and reach out a hand
for something that isn’t there.

Love, I will mate the limp socks. I will fold

the shirts so their sleeves
wrap around their flat,

empty chests. I will drip words
into your ear as you fall asleep.

I will carry boxes up and down
the basement steps all day.

I will pour another glass of wine,
and we will dance the slick sidewalk two-step,

the lassoed-calf flop,
the chain gang shuffle, the all-thumbs

the fish-out-of-water jive.

~ Nick Lantz

Nick Lantz is an award-winning poet, playwright, and teacher living in Gettysburg, PA.

Thanks to The Rumpus for introducing me to Nick Lantz and this poem.
Image by The University of Iowa Libraries from Flickr, under a Creative Commons license.

April 2, 2011

National Poetry Month: The Art of Disappearing

It delights me that the celebration of National Poetry Month seems to broaden each year. I'm joining the tribute by sharing some of my favorite poems throughout April. After all, there can never be enough good poetry in the world.

The Art of Disappearing

~ Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
Image by rachel_thecat at Flickr, via a Creative Commons License.