life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

let the light  

You work with what you are given, 

the red clay of grief, 

the black clay of stubbornness going on after. 

Clay that tastes of care or carelessness, 

clay that smells of the bottoms of rivers or dust.
Each thought is a life you have lived or failed to live, 

each word is a dish you have eaten or left on the table. 

There are honeys so bitter 

no one would willingly choose to take them. 

The clay takes them: honey of weariness, honey of vanity, 

honey of cruelty, fear. 
This rebus —slip and stubbornness, 

bottom of river, my own consumed life— 

when will I learn to read it 

plainly, slowly, uncolored by hope or desire? 

Not to understand it, only to see. 
As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty, 

we become our choices. 

Each yes, each no continues, 

this one a ladder, that one an anvil or cup. 
The ladder leans into its darkness. 

The anvil leans into its silence. 

The cup sits empty. 
How can I enter this question the clay has asked? 


Rebus by Jane Hirshfield


 The lion still roars 
I walk in grief 

On the purple beach 

the grey-green water 

meeting the sky 

Into infinity 

the world unending 

I sit on driftwood 

Fascinatingly carved by water 

Into pieces of art 

and shapes that look like 

cattle skulls in the desert 

I cry as I pick up rocks 

Why do i grieve such simple things?

Those precious shells 

I spent hours snorkeling for 

In 1985 

You polished them 

til they were smooth as silk 

So beautiful 

I loved everything about them 

and that memory they held 

Back When the world was still 

A mystery 

And I knew nothing about hardship 

Loss or pain 

I thought love and life were simple 

That you wanted me to be happy

That you loved me 

That we would build a family together 

I kept those shells in a special jar 

Would let the kids play with them

For a special treat 

I loved their delight in them 

As they played for hours 

sorting the colors and shapes 

Loving the story of us at the start

I Kept them close to me 

Through all the losses 

Then they were gone 

lost to me forever 

way after my innocence 

but somehow they took 

some shred I was holding on to 

Some secret part of me and you 

that was still beautiful 
As I picked up small beautiful rocks 

today at the beach 

They reminded me 

and it all returned 

all the losses 

all the pain 

What you chose 

The choices I was forced to make 

The price of gaining my soul 

The cost of winning my freedom 

I cry so deeply 

Right to the core 

such intense love 

for the wounded heart 

carried in small pieces 

of the world 

connecting all the pain 

and love together 

Bittersweet grief 

Bittersweet love 

Exquisite pain 

Exquisite joy 

Will I ever find love that understands this? 

Will I ever share this same heart as one? 

Will I ever make it home? 

Will I ever make it? 

Will I ever? 

Will I? 






photos found at 

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