traveling light :: linda pastan

I’m only leaving you
for a handful of days,
but it feels as though
I’ll be gone forever—
the way the door closes

behind me with such solidity,
the way my suitcase
carries everything
I’d need for an eternity
of traveling light.

I’ve left my hotel number
on your desk, instructions
about the dog
and heating dinner. But
like the weather front

they warn is on its way
with its switchblades
of wind and ice,
our lives have minds
of their own.

the guest house :: rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(translation by Coleman Barks)

(via, via)

losing track :: denise levertov

Long after you have swung back
away from me
I think you are still with me:

you come in close to the shore
on the tide
and nudge me awake the way

a boat adrift nudges the pier:
am I a pier
half-in half-out of the water?

and in the pleasure of that communion
I lose track,
the moon I watch goes down, the

tide swings you away before
I know I’m
alone again long since,

mud sucking at gray and black
timbers of me,
a light growth of green dreams drying.

before the wind :: kathleen jamie

If I’m to happen upon the hill
where cherries grow wild
it better be soon, or the yellow-
eyed birds will come squabbling

claiming the fruit for their own.
Wild means stones barely
clothed in flesh, but that’s rich
coming from me. A mouth

contains a cherry, a cherry
a stone, a stone
the flower branch
I must find before the wind

scatters all trace of its blossom,
and the fruit comes, and yellow-eyed birds.

a crosstown breeze :: henry taylor

A drift of wind
when August wheeled
brought back to mind
an alfalfa field

where green windrows
bleached down to hay
while storm clouds rose
and rolled our way.

With lighthearted strain
in our pastoral agon
we raced the rain
with baler and wagon,

driving each other
to hold the turn
out of the weather
and into the barn.

A nostalgic pause
claims we saved it all,
but I’ve known the loss
of the lifelong haul;

now gray concrete
and electric light
wear on my feet
and dull my sight.

So I keep asking,
as I stand here,
my cheek still basking
in that trick of air,

would I live that life
if I had the chance,
or is it enough
to have been there once?

call us :: sally van doren

Let’s use our nicknames
When we apply for this next job
Even though it’s past our bedtime
And our current paycheck

Can’t shut up the muse
Who mewls at the dinner table
Begging for a crust of bread
To sate the nightly terrors.

For they come, don’t they,
Leaving empty spaces numbers
Are supposed to fill. Buddy
And Chip loaded their coffers

Before the hard freeze.
The ice burns our tongues
As we swallow prosperity
One parched drop at a time.