The Apple Tree Who Brought Enough

The Apple Tree Who Brought Enough

Dancing in the breeze the tree
is quiet and self-contained.

Well, self-contained
except for the sun
the soil, the birds
butterflies and bees
rain and wind
Daniel and me
pruning away dead and crossing branches
inviting more sun in to her center
lending her our shoulders and driftwood
to prop her up
after November’s storm pulled up some of her roots.

Ok, so not exactly self-contained.
What I mean is self-assured
happy with where and who she is
not fliting about like we humans do.
You know, worried, questioning everything,
wandering some days, angry, distrusting
lost…

Although, some years she is lost too:
like the two years that she was covered with
tent caterpillars
she had to have been a little worried
made almost no apples, and dropped those she did, quickly.
Her world was dark then. She hunkered down, moved within
sent no new branches toward the sun.

Anyway
my point about this apple tree is that
she’s perfect.
Beautiful, strong leaves.
Graceful, arching branches
and more than a few that prove trees get bed head too
with limbs nestled all askew against the sky at night.
Amazing, delicious apples
beyond generous in her season
(to the point that we have run out of ideas again
for things to do with all these apples
and so have our neighbors
even the deer here are drunk).

The apple tree is pure delight.
To play a small part in her full and shining life is enough.

In Saying Goodbye

In Saying Goodbye

I found a perfect dead bird
on the deck, outside the window
victim of violence
a deceptive white light through too-big windows

his perfectly groomed feathers
grew darker as they moved
from his pale yellow-gray head to his almost black tail

I spent yesterday willing him, rise
please open your beak again, open your eyes
shake precious soft belly, hop to perfect black feet
dance again, go!

but he was gone

This morning I carried him deep into beauty
laid him to rest
in the tall grass of a clearing
beside the cabin
in woods and in sunshine

his family around me
we told him he’d be missed
that he was, is, loved, by everything around him

In saying goodbye
I fell to my knees
wept like a baby
for beautiful Orlando
I vowed to slow down and notice
to listen more closely
to love louder and better and more.

Then we all did.

 

Arlo

Arlo

Happy final day of national poetry month! A flash poem a day, every day, in April! Looking forward to next year. Here’s today’s silly poem…

Arlo

Waggingly
he came
from the
streets of LA

Bundled up, shipped off
to Seattle
where average time to adoption
was just 4 days

Part Chihuahua
part sun-soaked mystery
the day after he arrived
he found his new best buddy, a mom
from Whidbey Island

She took him
on a tour
of all the dog parks
Just to get his feet wet
and hers
As a new mom
she worried
about him

But he was brave
and kind
and strong.
Quietly outgoing
except in the presence
of bullies.
Wise
before his time.

His very first time
at Marguerite Brons Park
he hired himself
as Front-Gate Greeter
welcoming other new dogs
and old
waggingly.

The night after we met him
Daniel and I spoke of his magic
The next day
we bumped into him
at a café.
Still smiling
he conjured us to him
or we him, maybe.

And we’re smiling today.
Oh dear sweet Arlo from LA
what a gift you are
inside I’m still wagging.

Holy Ground

Holy Ground

the old man up the hill
tends the garden
of the woman next door

the woman behind us
up the hill
donates supplies to schools

the woman who lives beside her
takes her sick dog for very slow, sunny walks
to sniff the life from dewy blades of grass
while ailing pup still can

our neighbor below
home-cans food gifts for friends and family;
took in a toothless, clawless cat
so she’d have a safe and sunny retirement

another neighbor tends to her partner
through poor choices within dementia:
she’s stronger than the strongest battleship in existence
and kinder

another neighbor devotes her life
to teaching
and hosting the wandering and lost;
drops food by when she has extra
which is often

other neighbors
walk the perimeter
intending to keep us all safe

all give us tips
for who to call
to get our roof repaired
and where to go
when our eyes need a tune up
and what to do
when the power goes out

our neighbor eagles
cry to each other
when they’re bringing dinner home to baby;
and cry to us
“Welcome home!”

neighbor whales
pull forth the child from within us
every time they pass the shore
once I threw on two different shoes
running giddy-awkward
in a rush to greet them

our neighbor deer
teach us to sense presence before we see it
remind us of the unfathomable power
within vulnerability

our neighbor rabbits, birds, and insects
leave wonder-inducing patterns
in sand and snow
teach us new-old games as adults
we’d all but forgotten…

our saviors are our neighbors
our conversations, prayers
every moment
every footstep
lands on holy ground

Well Rested

Well Rested

I am tired
of this world

I’m tired of violence
rabid intolerance
greed rewarded
trodden humans
hidden, outright thwarted
young lives mangled, ended
weapons preferred to soft human flesh

I’m tired of being told what to think
how to think
why I’m wrong
every time I speak
I’m tired of politics. period.
I’m tired of extremes in memes
pointless contextless debate
distant argument and hate
short attention spans…

I’m going to clean this house
release the mouse
let go some old friends too
and start again with you…

I’m choosing artists and their art
kids helping parents re-find heart
I’m choosing nature walks
poets gathering in old schoolhouses
caregivers helping one another out 

I’m choosing animals
trees and perennials
bird migration routes
helping sisters out
solidarity
with butterflies and bees
quirky humans laughing
stretch selves, without crushing us
I’ve been thrown beneath my final bus
by these hands that forgot how to trust

I’m choosing garden plots
homemade neighbor gifts
shared with refugees
who feel like home to me
I’m choosing
books
that bend my mind
and those who let me play with it

I’m cleaning out my house
giving most away
loving those I’m with
helping exactly how I am

I’m filling all my time
showing up as gift
for those who need me as me
more deeply curious

And when I find myself
among the curious
among kind silly weird
among the generous
the unpredictable
the humbled, awed, and wow’d
the come and play with mes
the sit and stay a spells
Why don’t you rest with me?

then I will recognize
the home I’m longing for
is the space we’re sitting in
right now

we will find ourselves
at play on solid ground
soaring with dragon friends
among the clouds we make

at home
right here on earth

well rested

 

The I Love You Frequency

The I Love You Frequency

I.

Pakistani girl walking to school

Syrian family fleeing the unimaginable

Lebanese nurse going to work
Lebanese father waiting for coffee

Student, everywhere at once, leading
demanding, becoming, better leaders

Each new voice saying #BlackLivesMatter

Muslim security guard saving a stadium of people

French death metal concert goer and the wife praying for you

Blood-spattered child covering your head, crouching low
fleeing a school shooter. Parent whole-body pressed against a chain link fence
willing life to your heart, your world, on the other side

Slave

Bullied gay man

Harassed transgender woman

Korean government protester

Wounded and weeping Palestinian family

Haitian woman reimagining rubble into art and faith into school supplies

Drone victim

Arab Spring protestor

Occupy Wall Street tent dweller

Sobbing Kenyan university student

Man crossing a dangerous border
crossing an imaginary line
risking death for your family

Homeless vet

Old woman and man standing together in the rain
protesting corruption and greed behind the war

Neighbor who just lost your daughter
Neighbor who just lost your wife
Mother losing her mind

Citizen, voter saying enough, digging deeper, learning more
changing yourself in the face of overwhelming pressure and fear and outrage

Austerity sufferer

Factory-farmed animal and fish

Pipeline, wage, climate, environment, and freedom protestor

Earthquake, tsunami, wildfire, illness, rape survivor

And the one who didn’t survive

Police officer, soldier, government employee,
journalist, religious leader, politician, guard,
academic, teacher, and healer
trying to protect, to do the right thing
trying to live a just and kindness-filled life
trying to fight despair and growing anger within
inside a massive old system that gives you precious little time for it…

II.

I am breathing more deeply with you

your whole earth, your whole sky, your whole soil, your whole water
loves you

I love you

don’t think that the mass media
–controlled by a handful of humans, no matter where we are–
or social media
represents a whole truth here on Mother Earth
or means anything more
than a handful of sand tossed into the ocean
if it forgets you

You are not forgotten.

You are not forgotten.

Every breath. Every experience. Every tear. Matter.
Matter far more than we can know.

Our ears tune to a wider frequency
beyond technology, beyond religion, beyond ideas
of right and wrong and good and bad

I look to my own heart
the physical one
feel it beat
the emotional one
notice that heart connect to the pain of so many others

I feel the frequency of heartbreaks these days
I feel the earth cracking us wide open

I look at the list for whom my heart breaks today
just today. just right now.
and marvel at its infinite capacity 

hearts around the world
are breaking for each other now
hearts around the world
hold yours within theirs now

touch your heart
feel it beating
that is my heart

sit on the soil
look at the sky,
feel the breeze
hear and smell the neighborhood
that is my body

III.

your heart
oh your heart, dearest one
is the heart of a whole planet

your tears fall upon our crops
investing in shared futures
your laughter lifts our spirits
a salve upon our now

blessed are the forgotten
only we know for certain
I Love You is a wider frequency