The Gift of Letting Go

to live in this world

you must be able

to do three things

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go…

©Mary Oliver

*****

The inimitable Ms. Oliver’s punctuation choices make us slow down… read that again… count the ways… just as she intended. She subtly reminds us that poetry and prose are different animals, meanwhile enchanting us with her grasp of the world.

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The Hunt…

Sometimes you can want something too much,

and in overreaching you out yourself as the one

clinging to what no longer exists.

The human drive to possess what we can’t have,

to understand the incomprehensible,

to make sense of cataclysmic change,

takes us, ironically, to where we didn’t want to be… a place by ourselves.

Is life simpler in the animal kingdom…

where the citizens are guided by instinct alone,

no motives, no emotions cluttering the landscape?

They live, they die, the world rolls on.

Life as it spools out doesn’t shock or dismay them,

their days are an endless struggle for simple survival,

existence distilled to its essence.

Is it better to live a life of awareness,

with all the heartache attached,

or to cruise like a lioness on the hunt,

defending your territory,

staying alive through experience and cunning?

On the windy days when the sky is more tan than blue,

my heart is on the grassy savannah.

©JSmith 09/13/2021

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Everyday garden-variety bleeding hearts …

A heart full of hurt

bleeds tears ’til

the leading edge of

that first shocking searing

wave of pain subsides.

Exquisite the martyr’s misery

and indulgent —

this sort of wound must be

carefully cosseted ’til full

effect be borne.

Savored.

Brazenly wallowed in.

Attention must be paid!

And then

the heart requires those true

words that start to

put things right.

Patience, please —

give chase and

warrens open in the underground

where it hides ’til it’s ready to

come out.

That heart.

Yours.

StichedupBrokenHeart

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An Anthem to Old Affinities

I was never what you wanted me to be ...
 your requirements were too cramped, my heart too wide,
 and my eyes would not un-see
 what you didn't know you'd showed me,
 so I sweetly held my tongue and played the game.

I could now explain and justify ... but why?
 Degradation is an IOU due no one, self-abasement ... 
     a crushing mortal sin.
 The choices have been made
 and life moves on.
 There's surely nothing helpful left to say.

I never hated you for what you didn't want to know,
 just wished your certainty extended outward.
 And yet ... what does it matter in the end ...
 for you are only you and I am I,
 as regrets and might-have-beens all fade to black.

Judy L. Smith
Copyright April 2013

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