There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream, and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in—
the wild with the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
– Danna Faulds, “Allow”
What can I hold in my hands this morning
that will not flow through my fingers?
What words can I say that will catch
in your mind like burrs, chiggers that burrow?
If my touch could heal, I would lay my hands
on your bent head and bellow prayers.
If my words could change the weather
or the government or the way the world
twists and guts us, fast or slow,
what could I do but what I do now?
I fit words together and say them;
it is a given like the color of my eyes.
I hope it makes a small difference, as
I hope the drought will break and the morning
come rising out of the ocean wearing
a cloak of clean sweet mist and swirling terns.
– Marge Piercy, “Rising in Perilous Hope”
Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind’s
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer.
– Wendell Berry, “VI: Sabbaths 2001”
All day I have scowled and looked askance,
thrashing in a tide of hormones. I want
to make the world act the right way
and it has resisted. It will not see the obvious.
I want to tear out its eyes and place them
where they cannot help but see.
Until I go outside.
The warm, late-summer afternoon has spun down
to a balmy evening. A brassy sunset casts light
from somewhere in the sea. This light flows
around the trunks of sycamores arrayed in a row
and through their fluttering branches;
the air is tender on my bare arms and legs
and the world feels for this moment bathed in grace.
At last, I realize, the world is behaving.
At last, says the world, she is behaving.
– Tamara Madison, “Behaving”