Friday, May 15, 2015

The Apple Orchard

Come let us watch the sun go down
and walk in twilight through the orchard's green.
Does it not seem as if we had for long 
collected, saved and harbored within us
old memories? To find releases and seek new hopes, 
remembering half-forgotten joys,
mingled with darkness coming from within,
as we randomly voice our thoughts aloud
wandering beneath these harvest-laden trees
reminiscent of Durer woodcuts, 
branches which, bent under the fully ripened fruit,
wait patiently, trying to outlast, 
to serve another season's hundred days of toil,
straining, uncomplaining, by not breaking
but succeeding, even though the burden
should at times seem almost past endurance.
Not to falter! Not to be found wanting!
Thus must it be, when willingly you strive
throughout a long and uncomplaining life,
committed to one goal: to give yourself!
And silently to grow and to bear fruit.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~


Friday, May 8, 2015

Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only

but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, (who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while, as the Chippewa poem says, 
I am being carried by great winds across the sky,)
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.
There are mothers for everything, 
and the sea is a mother too,

whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean a moment 
against the blue shoulder of the air. 
The work of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art.

~ Alison Luterman ~