Wild & Precious Life

a collection of beautiful words…..

Category: Poems

Beneath The Sweater And The Skin by Jeannette Encinias

How many years of beauty do I have left?
she asks me.
How many more do you want?
Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.

When you are 80 years old
and your beauty rises in ways
your cells cannot even imagine now
and your wild bones grow luminous and
ripe, having carried the weight
of a passionate life.

When your hair is aflame
with winter
and you have decades of
learning and leaving and loving
sewn into
the corners of your eyes
and your children come home
to find their own history
in your face.

When you know what it feels like to fail
ferociously
and have gained the
capacity
to rise and rise and rise again.

When you can make your tea
on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
and still have a song in your heart
Queen owl wings beating
beneath the cotton of your sweater.

Because your beauty began there
beneath the sweater and the skin,
remember?

This is when I will take you
into my arms and coo
YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING
you’ve come so far.

I see you.
Your beauty is breathtaking.

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Rupi Kaur

i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that

Gathering Light For Winter by Jeannette Encinias

When you have no words for the wounds
when your body is as hallowed out and dark
as a jack-o-lantern
in November
when you have lost your north, your south,
your east and your west
stay still.

Words for the pain are forming
beneath the skin of your patience.
Your body is gathering light for winter.
Your compass is emerging through water.

Sometimes dying is the only way to live again.
It may take all your stories away.
It may hunt and kill your pride
so you are left with nothing
but questions and space
howling into the night
what next? what now? what for?

This is when grace
pours her warm milk
into your wounds
and advises you to rest.
To steal the secrets of sorrow
and learn her heavy song
so that you can become an instrument
of resilience, turning ever forward
with more than you were born with.

For isn’t holding hands with
sorrow a bridge?
Dying while you are alive
birthing your next self
and then
beginning anew.

The Sweetness of Dogs by Mary Oliver

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It’s full tonight.
So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself

thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! How rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into
my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.

Rupi Kaur

i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own

i want to fill so complete
i could light a whole city
and then
i want to have you
cause the two of
us combined
could set
it on fire

Talking to my Daughter Late at Night by Eavan Boland

We have a tray, a pot of tea, a scone.
This is the hour
When one thing pours itself into another :
The gable of our house stored in shadow.
A spring planet bending ice
Into an absolute of light.
Your childhood ended years ago. There is
No path back to it. There is
No certainty I can find
The if or maybe that might remedy
An afternoon you walked up the hill
After school. In winter, in tears.
The fire smoulders down into cinders.
Lilac shivers in the March dark.
If love is a civilization,
As I once hoped it was,
And you and I are its living citizens
And if our words
Are less than rules and more than remedies
As we speak, maybe
Someone escapes from a wounded morning
In a small classroom and finds
The world is not stern, after all. Paper birds
Are folded and fly off in the playground.
And when lessons resume in the afternoon
The essay is easy. It is
A Day in the Life of a Penny.
Afterwards, at teatime, the sweets have old names –
Cinder Toffee Bullseye Marry Me Quick –
The children shout out and I listen
To hear your voice with theirs, but no
It’s here now telling me
How late the hour is, the birds almost up
And we smile at this
As we put the tray away,
Douse the fire and wash out the cups.

Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Tomorrowland by Megan Snyder-Camp

Family dinner night, and we are deciding what to save:
polar bears or slipper limpets. Girls in Afghanistan

or the wolf. We can’t save everything
but the kids are ready

with their banks, the season’s extra, the not-
ice cream. How does the Afghan girl feel

to make our list? We bring more and more
money to the table but the list outruns it.

My mother comes in from visiting a friend in hospice,
sick from all the chemo. When I get whatever it is, she says,

I want you to do nothing. It’s only May
and already they’ve declared a statewide drought.

Yesterday I hiked over a river that was not there.
Coral reefs, my son says, that’s what I want

to save. And so we do. Whatever is happening to us
is deductible. Silence of the was-river,

was-bear. In the movies everyone is building
some kind of ark.

The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac by Mary Oliver

1.
Why should I have been surprised?
Hunters walk the forest
without a sound.
The hunter, strapped to his rifle,
the fox on his feet of silk,
the serpent on his empire of muscles—
all move in a stillness,
hungry, careful, intent.
Just as the cancer
entered the forest of my body,
without a sound.

2.
The question is,
what will it be like
after the last day?
Will I float
into the sky
or will I fray
within the earth or a river—
remembering nothing?
How desperate I would be
if I couldn’t remember
the sun rising, if I couldn’t
remember trees, rivers; if I couldn’t
even remember, beloved,
your beloved name.

3.
I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

so why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

4.
Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat,
all the fragile blue flowers in bloom
in the shrubs in the yard next door had
tumbled from the shrubs and lay
wrinkled and fading in the grass. But
this morning the shrubs were full of
the blue flowers again. There wasn’t
a single one on the grass. How, I
wondered, did they roll back up to
the branches, that fiercely wanting,
as we all do, just a little more of
life?

Rage by Mary Oliver

You are the dark song
of the morning;
serious and slow,
you shave, you dress,
you descend the stairs
in your public clothes
and drive away, you become
the wise and powerful one
who makes all the days
possible in the world.
But you were also the red song
in the night,
stumbling through the house
to the child’s bed,
to the damp rose of her body,
leaving your bitter taste.
And forever those nights snarl
the delicate machinery of the days.
When the child’s mother smiles
you see on her cheekbones
a truth you will never confess;
and you see how the child grows–
timidly, crouching in corners.
Sometimes in the wide night
you hear the most mournful cry,
a ravished and terrible moment.
In your dreams she’s a tree
that will never come to leaf–
in your dreams she’s a watch
you dropped on the dark stones
till no one could gather the fragments–
in your dreams you have sullied and murdered,
and dreams do not lie.