It isn’t long after we arrive
that everyone starts pointing
and telling us where we need
to be and what we need to do
to get there. There’s no time
to really ask why. Soon, things
happen and we’re thrown off
course and now there’s all this
effort to win their approval. If
lucky, love will distract us more
than suffering. If blessed, we’re
broken of everyone’s plans and
regrets and thrown like a hooded
bird into a sea of light. If trust-
ing the fall, we find our wings.
settle into the ground with your feet, with your attention, with your calm……
inquiry for today~ what if for today, everything was just fine? really fine?
There was the moment
you could bear it no more.
Your eyes brimming with
great glistening drops
summoned by the hunger of
the world, the callous and
terrible things men and
women do to one another.
Your tears splashed onto
cold stony earth, ringing out
like bells calling monks to prayer,
like the river breaking open to
the wide expanse of sea.
From that salt-soaked ground
a fruit tree sprouts and rises.
I imagine pendulous pears,
tears transmuted to sweetness.
There will always be more grief
than we can bear.
There will always be ripe fruitflesh
making your fingers sticky from the juice.
Life is tidal, rising and receding,
its long loneliness, its lush loveliness,
no need to wish for low tide when
the banks are breaking.
The woman in labor straddles the doorway
screaming out your name.
You stand there on the threshold, weeping,
and pear trees still burst into blossom,
their branches hang so heavy, low,
you don’t even have to reach.
~Christine Valters Paintner