My tiny daughter by the Elm tree.

“My tiny daughter stands by an Elm

tree;

The one that gave me vision.

A real Saul to Paul conversion.

.

Not upon a Damascus road,

Though

Still a holy site.

My parents backyard, and a tree

I’ve known for all my life.

.

Warm for January,

But cold enough for urgency.

The pain of staying the same makes for urgent awakening.

.

Another story about a tree,

Eve.

A confirmation of inner ugliness.

Every mirror, save one, confirmed this.

.

But this tree, she didn’t believe in anything.

Only now that I was willing

She herself whispering, “Take a look”.

.

Turn inward, turn around.

Like walking off a cliff, into unknown

waters.

Anxious

And uncertain how.

.

Then, suddenly courageous, and I swear –

It was something the tree

alone

could offer me.

Indeed now, turning around,

no longer blind

leaping –

.

From the furthest branch

of my self

back, back into the deep.

.

And what did I see?

God.

Goddess, if that makes more sense.

Not alone, but underneath

Everything.

.

A barren Elm, in the dead of winter

She taught me.”

— WRL, 1.1.18

 

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Forgiveness.

I once heard Marie Howe say

that being present

hurts

a little bit.

 

Some people call her

a religious poet.

She says she isn’t sure

that fits.

 

I do think,

however,

Only a religious person could admit

any of this.

 

Religion,

That word.

It means to re-ligament.

Or, to reconnect

 

what was once adjoined.

Now separate.

 

It’s in the body,

That gap,

And also the way back

Together.

 

She’s right,

you know.

Being present hurts a little bit.

 

You have to say you’re sorry

every time.

For having ever left

 

And forgive,

and forgive,

and forgive

 

And come back.

 

Right here,

Right now,

Re-ligament.

 

I’m sorry,

you say.

And then you let go

 

Of

Getting caught up

in all your separateness.

 

Shame,

or blame

My excuses are limitless.

 

These human traps,

sticky,

and seductive, and so real

when we feel it.

 

But not true.

 

Have you ever seen a pebble shame itself?

Or a raindrop cast around blame?

 

The lilies of the field don’t worry about their clothes.

 

What did Rumi say?

“I’ve gotten free of that ignorant fist

that was pinching and twisting”

me into an illusion

of separateness.

 

So we forgive,

but we don’t forget

It’s very hard to stay.

 

Right here,

Right now.

I’m sorry, you say.

 

Followed by, “it’s okay”.

 

And then, come back, come back,

come back.

Re-ligament.

 

Of course, that hurts a little bit.

 

Nevertheless,

it’s all still here for each

and every one

of us

 

Right after forgiveness.