Sunday, May 15, 2011

I am not gone, not mist either

The enormity of being present through these strange and miraculous weeks, in which both my parents died, has left me unsure of my physical shell. I feel the breath, counting on it as a reminder of what it takes to describe the line between living and not living. Its qualities have changed, and I wait for the waves of gratitude to return.

I cut the first asparagus. I weed the blueberries and untangle the mesh netting from the delicate branches budded for bloom and berry. There is celebration and grief in my every action.

It is too easy to say that I am quietly turning my attention towards the earth. More complex to draw my heart away from tending and caring for the people I love who have drifted out of this realm. My eyes soften just below the horizon, widening the view without focusing.

Memory and experience are collections of my mind, rotated at will to allow for varied levels of engagement and reaction. My heart beating has its own imperative, driving my body and leading to possibilities that calibrate a normal life.

The apple branches dip just in front of the window, buds amid leaves, blooms amid twigs. This was true last year too, and without any storytelling, the birds peck at the damp bark.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some Words of Rabindranath Tagore

Sent (on April 29) by Ruth Waddell (my aunt) to Josh Holland (my father) in condolence for the death (on April 27)of Anabel Holland (my mother), read when received by Josh (in hospital) on May 5th by Sarah Meredith (me).

Read at his graveside by me on May 8, 2011

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet,
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into a memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.

I know that this life, missing its ripeness in love, is not altogether lost.
I know that the flowers that fade in the dawn,
the streams that strayed in the desert, are not altogether lost.
I know that whatever lags behind in this life laden with slowness is not altogether lost.
I know that my dreams that are still unfulfilled, and my melodies still unstruck,
are clinging to some lute strings of thine, and they are not altogether lost.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Jane Hirshfield poem

from The Lives of the Heart, 1997, Harper Perennial

Late Prayer

Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
It goes out to everything equally,
circling rabbit and hawk.
Look: in the iron bucket,
a single nail, a single ruby --
all the heavens and hells.
They rattle in the heart and make one sound.