Dear Miracle

Setting free the beautiful truth inside.


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The Kindness of Strangers

Small and large mercies everywhere when you look.
Light in the shape of a butterfly on a dark and stormy night.

Don’t shutter the windows ,

don’t turn the deadbolt just yet while hope survives—

just not inside of you.

One minute past giving up, calling it quits

while you believe as you do because of those that hurt you—

you, the stranger, who has extended so much mercy in your life.

Kindness is not dead even if you believe it true.

You are due, owed your time, ripe for the plucking.

And your story may be much different than you picture it now

as you stand upon the narrow ledge of your own aching heart

thinking no one sees

or worse, cares.

Mercy and kindness travel in pairs on the bus of surprise—that

is how they operate.

You never see them coming until they arrive.

And what if you have locked all the doors to your heart,

how shall they enter?

All the while they’ve been looking for you while you slump pale and cold,

buttressed behind the deadbolt and shuttered window.

This troupe, this Calvary of strangers who arrive most unexpectedly

to see you through the next minute or the rest of your life

here to restore your faith in you, how okay you really are.

You never quite know where and when they will appear,

who or what will waltz or breeze through your door with arms

full of what you need

or run into your burning house

with buckets of water to save you.

So go on, turn out the lights and go to bed.

but this I beg of you,

just be sure to leave the door open a crack

for possibility, please.

Photo and poem by S. (Sawyer) Wolfington


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Having You Here

Sigh…don’t go.

It’s been so nice having you here,

my little pink birthday girls.

Lots of photo shoots, just you and my camera

and the light

while you posed so sweetly for me

again and again every day you’ve been here.

You’re a little tired now—

I can see that.

And life is so brief for all of us and so awash with grace and grief both,

that I dont blame you for exhausting yourself

giving away all that grace.

Flowers in the window should have more function than a window seal,

but I lack a garden here up high…

except for the one you’ve planted in my heart.

Thank you.

🥀

S. Wolfington

Whomever You Are, Thank You

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Whomever you are,

wherever I might have lost you along the way,

thank you.

 

Whether you know this or not, whether I’m lost

To your thoughts, or you think of me often

Or now and again,

Thank you.

 

Whatever we had in laughter, in bittersweet or hoped for dreams,

Our present lives written as they are because of that—

Thank you.

 

We are pages scribed in a book

Because I loved you or you loved me.

 

We are not lost because of our loss—and though

we may never speak—or maybe we do,

In my heart where love is found,

I will always love you.

 

You are a part of the larger story of who I am,

And I will always be grateful to you.

One day in the greater light, when the book is closed,

I know we will meet again,

thank you.

 

S. Wolfington



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Dying Seasons

Something I wrote a few years back. This life all around me faithful to provide carefully positioned sentinels that stand at the gate against any misery that would seek to make a permanent address inside me–a reminder of where my true north lies, a pointer home saying “This way to your heart”. 

 

Driving down the street the other day,

I detected that fall had had her way—

and under freshly shorn trees were luminous

yellow-gold pools where sunshine had accumulated

—a riotous cornucopia of puddled sunshine in

brief reprieve between darkening days,

like some kind of joy

suddenly rising up to greet me in the dying leaves.

It left me happy for days.

 

My life has it dying seasons, as well.

Yet the art of dying often leaves me wanting,

absent without poise or polish.

futile attempts made at scooping up decay

of that which needs to die, staring, bare

limbed, at loss, shivering in the wind.

If there is joy-filled reprieve, I often fail to notice it.

 

This letting go business—I’m not as graceful

as the golden dying leaves.

But what I’m counting on is that spring

always comes and old attitudes, beliefs and judgments

about how life is supposed to be

serve as perfect compost for my re-creation.

 

S. Wolfington


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Water and Salvation

How completely unlike herself, you think, smiling,

and by now you know better than that— Grace

juxtaposing beneath the black swirl

of clouds while she in haste unfurls herself,

presses hard against the glass,

tap, tap, tap, demanding,

Quick, come look, good morning! Hurry please!

 Looks at her watch,

 We haven’t got all day!

 Covers thrown, running out the door to see

her sun struck glow in the trees, alighting the hills in flame,

mere minutes before the drenching rain.

 

You’re left aghast, and she trails off as though nothing had happened, and

you suspect she’s been lying in wait all night.

 

This, a singular act of benevolence you’re chosen for, again and again.

Your fate, you say.

Striking when you’re not looking, she knows where you are.

And suddenly she’s there begging for witness, posing this way and that,

when you were just minding your business,

demanding you grab your camera or pen.

 

She devastates your heart with her wildness.

Bearer of all that’s untamed, you’ve become uncultivated, mad—too much

for any one person you say.

You must give it away, standing on corners, reciting her scriptures

in lines and pictures—offering her sweet-scented petals, like small prayers,

like small acts of kindness to anyone

in desperate need of water or salvation.

 

Shoshana  Wolfington


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“Rooted in stars and deep earth, trees remain. Oh, to live more like that!”


tree-remain4

After raven’s wings,

I saw her from my window atop the world.

Flapping through the spacious stemmed Spruce,

the wide skirt of midnight wings catches me.

I see that you see me, the Spruce said.

Trees talk like that when they are seen.

I was taken aback.

The life of this tree further pressed into me.

It had secrets to tell and was eager to talk to anyone listening.

We see it all.

We know many things—even where the bodies are buried,

but we don’t tell.

You rushing by—we hear your thoughts.

We could say a lot about that.

 

Keepers of light, protectors of life, home to many things.

we bear witness to time,

Indigenous, code talkers, we live from our roots.

Until the axe comes or the beetle,

we really don’t mind standing here at all,

while you fly by barely giving us a glance.

 

We hold a space for your grief and your pain,

which we gladly exchange for love—you only need ask.

We, an underground network, talk a lot.

But not in the language you speak.

You have to press your ear to our trunks, bury your toes in the mud

and just stop.

You have to want what we’ve got.

You have to listen closely.

Indeed.

I could say more. There’s a lot to tell, but I’ll leave it at that.

Shh…it’s a secret, and you can listen for yourself.

S. Wolfington


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However Imperfectly

Glorious Sunset

Would you please just sing your song?

It’s just old friends here.

Make every mistake you can.

Please do it wrong.

Your singing will never be good enough for you—

it never has been.

 

Yet you have a word, a voice, an intonation,

a clear ringing bell

with light inside that is begging for release,

and still you hold it all in, fight the brilliance

that is uniquely you.

People are begging for your song,

waiting to be saved by a song that only you can sing,

however imperfectly.


 Shoshana Wolfington


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If You Can Wait

dug a hole

 

It’s enough, a place to begin

to wait for a single drop or bead of rain

to fall on the hole you’ve climbed in.

A single drop that waters the single word

that strikes the chord that plays just right,

that grows into a bud, a tiny shoot, a spark of hope.

If you can wait long enough.

 

A day will do, then becomes two and three,

a week, a month, a year of unexpected alteration,

offerings falling from ominous clouds

straight into your heart.

And what went down, now goes up—

it’s the natural law of things.

 

The blackness of pain, as you will learn,

drop by drop from day to day,

will serve to increase your capacity for joy,

stretch your boundaries,

which can often hurt as you know,

then break the cords that hold too tight

your beautiful and sacred life,

if you can wait

just a day or more.

 

If you give yourself permission to fall,

say it’s okay to be held while you go down,

go easy on yourself,

there will be stronger arms than yours right now

to catch you while you fall.

 

And then

there will be that day,

though I can’t say exactly  when,

you will rise and rise from your black loamy bed

born in sorrow and blood

and know you were glad you stayed

and waited for rain.

 

© 2016 Shoshana Wolfington


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A Broken Hallelujah

Broken Hallelujah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all the things that make up a life,

that run a universe or that collide in hearts or stars,

in the unbearable witness of great human suffering,

or in the joy of unexpected offering,

the mercy that comes from a stranger or friend,

 

on this the whole world spins.

 

In birth and death, when something dies to allow something in,

in all the living stretched between,

in gratitude or grief

that in a moment can metamorphose from one to the other

and back again,

in a heap of tears falling to the ground,

in the bitter-sweetness of most everything,

in the simple pleasure of being here

 

a broken hallelujah all.

 

In clarity or confusion, this one thing I know,

that without brokenness,

there could never be a true hallelujah at all.

 

© 2016 Shoshana Wolfington


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Eating Dandelions

My friend’s dog loves dandelions.Dandelion Fields

She loves to eat these bright yellow stars.

To her they must taste good.

Hard to imagine, although it’s said they’re edible.

Apart from the occasional dandelion salad or tea,

humans usually regard them with disdain—a stain

upon our impeccable yards

as we rush around with our clippers and mowers

or attempt to pull them up by their roots from which

they usually pull back.

It’s at the roots you’ve got to get them.

A good dose of Weed-B-Gone usually does it

as they shrivel up, turn brown and breathe their

last little breath.  Sigh . . .

Yet, dandelions are durable little fellows for all our extermination

attempts against their short-lived lives—

bright, small stars, faces to the sky, just happy to be alive.

© 1997 Shoshana Wolfington


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Wild Roses

Wild Roses2We are all wild roses

growing in reckless disarray far

from the trellis with its measured lines and squares.

Out of control and knee deep in weeds and fallen leaves—

the rich compost of soil below.

Insects that come to feast on our decay,

is perfection, indeed.

Indeed, everything is trying to help us live

even in our dying.

 

Give up trying to sanitize your life away.

Life never works like this.

You are not as together as you would like to believe.

Give up your dreams of enlightenment—

let it find you while you go out and live.

Fall down and get up again—let it be worse or better than

you ever imagined.

 

Dear, you must surrender to the beauty in everything

before you can really know anything.

 

© 2015 Shoshana Wolfington


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MERCY

Mercy

Photo by S. Wolfington

 It takes courage to tell you this

at the risk you’ll think less, nevertheless, I will.

I’ll tell you what depression is—like this—

a barren land leaning into forever,

a dark annhilation; it’s a

void of hope or imagination

when hell comes to pay a call.

And here’s the secret: I was just there.

But most of you would never know.

(You might even be there now, too.)

Truth as I saw it then, this life had been enough,

I was done.

But you think like that when you’re in hell.

And so began to envision, with each glass of water

that passed my lips, what I could do

with that and a few or more pills.

I didn’t exactly plan that I would, only imagined it so,

how it could be.

There was no more room for anything–

not in the cruelness of men or the ghosts denied, or

the self-deprivations while acting strong for everyone

visiting all at once in my life.

Orphans each of emotions

looking for the smallest drink of love.

Not that I wasn’t loved.

Not that I didn’t love in return, not that I didn’t care.

No, it wasn’t that at all.

It was the driest white bone of exhaustion,

all the lifetimes lived in the space of one.

It was like a gift

as I see it now.

I’ll tell you what strength is—like this—

strength is taking one small move in mercy’s direction,

even a flinch or a step,

towards whom and wherever it might be found.

When all you can say to anyone with kindness in their eyes,

to whatever’s holy or sacred paying attention,

help me, please.

And I did, because my life was leaving me,

just like the sea rushing back from the shore.

A gift, indeed.

A profound breaking, a leaving, then

a sad resurrection towards the miraculous while those that could,

in compassion, seen and unseen, walk me back to myself,

back to a kind of confounding beauty,

an uncertainty of what was to come.

And it was enough.

(We’re never really alone.)

Were I to be honest, the pull towards leaving

still haunts me once in awhile

when I imagine drinking that cup while tired, I forget

that mercy waits just past the next corner, the next fork in the road.

And I remember nothing is for certain for any of us,

and life and death have a way of reminding us

there’s nothing to control.

It’s a coming home again to myself,

wherein between staying or leaving,

I need only extend myself a whit to say help

to ask for mercy, please,

when hope is lost.

© 2015 Shoshana Wolfington


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When I Loved You

When I Loved YouWhen I loved you, when we were strong as trees,

rooted in green, when I said yes to everything—

it was easy to love.

Your legs

sturdy as trunks, foliage thick as spring,

where has it gone, my dear?

We had our years in laughter, in plenty or little

back when we bent so easily in the wind.

We were foolish with love,

spent it down to our skin, ’till

there was nothing left to say, and

you sent me away.

 

Near a lifetime’s passed,

I don’t always think of it so much,

so much water and so many years come and gone,

 

but truth is,

I love you—yet winter’s here,

branches stripped, their leaves spent,

too much weather in limbs sweeping the ground.

 

Still it’s been a lifetime of loving you,

though not like when we were young.

 

Yet here it is—

alone or together, husband, brother, companion

and friend, in sweet and bitter,

in axe to the trunk—oh, I remember

all those springs and summers when once I loved you, when

we were young.


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Happiness—Stand Here

IMG_8627Stand here, where you are right now.

Stop what you’re doing and just notice.

Put your phone down, your gizmos and gadgets

and pay attention.

What is around you?

What do your eyes see?

A bare leafed tree?

Unfolded laundry?

A single apple on the counter?

What is here now?

What do you hear?

A barking dog?

The voice of a child?

The wind in the leaves?

This is where your happiness lies.

Not there or over there or something just beyond your reach

or something left behind.

You are here now.

You have already arrived

if you will stop and notice where you stand

and let be what surrounds you with your full attention.

 

©2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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Enough

Hubble01

There is space for everything.

Indeed.

For this unmade bed, for dishes in the sink,

for the need to sit here and gather dust

against unfinished chores.

Space enough for not knowing or why

after you’ve counted it out, things transform.

There is space enough, in abundance, in spades,

in dark and light and intense pain, in doubling-over laughter,

or the beggar on the corner, in the taking of a life

or the birthing of a child, in unending grief.

 

In the giving of compassion, in the restoration of

what wounds or is wounded, between any equation,

there is space enough.

 

Inside the life of everything,

on this lesser planet spinning on a wheel of stars,

in the unfathomable blackness of matter or hearts,

in galaxies that collide to craft a larger whole or

exploding supernovas in the shape of a womb,

there’s space for dying so that something might be born.

 

Messy, glorious life—it’s enough.

 

The whole of everything—a luscious trailing vine, keeps on

into blackened holes, over walls, snaking along

impenitent ground, finding its way in the order of things,

becoming and dying all at once.

No matter what in any mind, it’s enough.

 

 

© 2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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The Ocean in a Drop of Water

Ocean in a Drop3I am but a string, upon which all my memories

are strung,

upon which all my existences run.

Jeweled beads one by one rest on me,

though I am not the beads.

Memory to memory, life to life and all that lies between,

I am the string, the ocean in a drop of water—

not separate from.

The same string that runs through you and me,

the thread of being that knits the seams of everything.

Woven of light, the exhalation of God weaving through

me and you, the stars, a child’s laughter, a grieving mother,

the deepest sea.

There is no other but the breath of God.

 

I’ve been here forever, so have you.

 

© 2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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Looking Nothing Like That

Letting go & Falling off cliffLove has a way of entering the back door

of your life

when you least expect it.

When you had your life precisely charted out,

your keys in hand, your perfect plans,

while walking out the front door,

when suddenly, BAM!

 

the back door slams against the wall,

like a hurricane coming in.

I was just leaving, you said.

You had to lay down your keys

and your map—because what just came in looked nothing

like that,

but what came in had its own plans for you.

 

While standing there, you’d never guess, looking at the mess,

it was only love come

to save you.

Resistance is futile, it said, surrender best.

 

But of course, it might take a while to learn that.

And when you finally get it

while it’s got you, this thing of your undoing,

this decimator of plans,

it becomes sweetness in your hands,

and the whole splendored universe moves

inside of you.

You wonder how it is you never saw such an endless

midnight sky blinking back at you.

 

Love is a shape-shifting trickster in ways you’d never conceive,

can take you to dizzying vistas you’ve never seen

on some crazy and crooked paths.

 

Love says,

It’s not about what you think it is. It’s more than that.

Love comes to bust down your doors and walls,

shake possibility loose in your mind,

get you to move beyond your self-imposed boundaries

as a citizen of the stars

into your own feral nature.

 

Out beyond the dictates of decorum or certain civilities

waits your aching passion,

but first you must learn to surrender

whatever safety

you think you have, then leap

from the precipice of that life.

 

© 2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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Kindness

This poem, Kindness, by Naomi Shihab Nye, arrived in my inbox this morning. I have read it before, but now it seems especially appropriate after several years of deep loss. Anymore, nothing makes sense to me apart from kindness in the dealings of human relations, including the relationship I have with myself. I am learning more everyday what it means to be infinitely kind in this kind of exhaustion from loss, beginning here with my own body, emotions and self-care.  

Evening on Puget Sound

Evening on Puget Sound / Photo by S. Wolfington

 

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

 
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

 
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing

inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and

purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend

 

Naomi Shihab Nye


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For Luck, Like Salt

imgShe is planting the earth in her body,

to rise again, turning

its soil, fertile and rich, the compost and pith of

ripened,  swallowed skins, fruity flesh,

sweet indulgences  gorged upon.

 

Year after year, tooth marked stones and pits

thrown over her shoulder just to see what comes up,

for luck, like salt.

 

Lucky for her,

 

feeling expectant inside her many wombs, Earth

is in a giving mood.

Expectant where thick blood tracks have lain down,

heart pulsating, inner knowing, new life waiting in its

crimson rivers and streams.

 

All the shining truths, the shriveled essences—

what had been unloved or shunned,

each and every one welcomed now,

the poor, the beleaguered, the scared, coming home,

coalescing all, finding common ground.

 

© 2013  S. Wolfington


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Bel Canto


bird10bI don’t know why, but the singing of birds

in winter always takes me

quite by surprise.

Not so much the noisy prattle, although wonderful,

of migratory northern geese pushing southward,

but the small throated songbirds that stay

for abbreviated cold winter days.

Trillers in lyrical bel canto

compelling me, quite in the middle of anything,

out my front door to listen.

Shivering from bare limbs,

swaying and fluttering in bleak wind when gray

can be wrung from everything—

even me.

 

Long after earth has gone underground for

her Sabbath rest,

a polyphonic coloratura sings,

ecstatic light emitting from delicate vocal chords.

 

These little warblers in joy-filled descant,

sing in psalms and praises to no one

in particular listening—

but me.


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Burning Down the House

 

2111103-abstract-fire-spiral-rays-wheel-on-dark-background

It’s been a long fire.

This burning down the house,

this finding the Holy Grail,

this drinking from the cup—

an act of grace I am worthy of.

Fibonacci’s spiral,

perfect equilibrium beginning to end

in each cord of kindling wood

until nothing remains but equanimity,

the face of God

in me the golden ratio—

the opening so vast

only bearable through love.

 

© 2013 ~ S. Wolfington


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Salvation Keeps Calling My Name

Lone TreeSalvation keeps calling my name.

Never lets me stray too far

–not running a lonely track,

turning this way or that,

there is always the breath of her

panting at my back.

This dark womb in which I sometimes hide,

lose myself, sleep for a while,

the eyes of her always watching me,

watching me,

“Sleep my girl, but not for long—

I know where you are.”

There is a fundamental understanding that has come to me

under every far-flung tree or rock I’ve fallen upon,

I am not lost,

only found and

found

and found.

© 2013 ~ S. Wolfington


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Woman Who Waits

IcelandLast night, I was held captive,

a kitchen slave tied to the galley amidst

formal rooms upon rooms between floors

upon floors,

half dead among pots and pans

cooking for some nameless man who

ignored me in his big house.

For years I disappeared—search party had given up

until a young girl found me, took me by the hand

and led me out.

Last night I was a rich lady putting on airs

at Neiman Marcus, hair

covered in swathes of

white fabric that showed my pedigree,

customary for well-to-do ladies like myself—

that is, in dreams.

That is, until I looked in the mirror and saw

the disheveled smeared made up face, the aging lines,

panicked I would be seen and

scouring floor to floor for makeup counters that would save me.

This was my dream.

Messages from the underworld of my soul—

pay attention, please!

Not washer woman, not rich woman,

but woman in first light’s chill scrambling

up slick footed moss covered knolls

to revel in maiden recital of dew coated starlings and sparrows.

Woman rapt with awe in amazement’s cloak—

slack jawed, eye struck watching

as sun climbs by slivers

just past mountain’s top.

A woman witness to riotous revelry heralding

birth of first light—all of nature lifting its head to sing in

intemperate praise!

Not this—slave, drudge or drone of days, I am free!

Not this—above or below, but equal to the breadth and width of my days.

I am this—woman who waits,

if there is a way,

to translate on to page such thinly skinned sacred splendor,

my soul eager, breath-held in rapture as I wait.

Toes dug in mud, stars and soul tangled together, I wait.

Exultant life in sun and starlings and first morning’s light

coursing through my veins,

its blood

bleeding on to page.

© 2012  –  S. Wolfington