Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

Via wikipedia

Via wikipedia

Just a poem today, as I wrestle with a body intent on discomfort. Which leads to thoughts of mortality, of course. And the grateful realisation that I’m basically pretty healthy.

Not so my aging mother-in-law, who drifts through twilight days unmoored, like feathers in the air.

Here’s a poem that captures far better than I can how Hope, that thing with feathers, isn’t always pretty:

Hospital Writing Workshop
Rafael Campo, 1964

Arriving late, my clinic having run
past 6 again, I realize I don’t
have cancer, don’t have HIV, like them,
these students who are patients, who I lead
in writing exercises, reading poems.
For them, this isn’t academic, it’s
reality: I ask that they describe
an object right in front of them, to make
it come alive, and one writes about death,
her death, as if by just imagining
the softness of its skin, its panting rush
into her lap, that she might tame it; one
observes instead the love he lost, he’s there,
beside him in his gown and wheelchair,
together finally again. I take
a good, long breath; we’re quiet as newborns.
The little conference room grows warm, and right
before my eyes, I see that what I thought
unspeakable was more than this, was hope.

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