Saturday, January 29, 2011

At the Pond

One summer
     I went every morning
        to the edge of a pond where
           a huddle of just-hatched geese
would paddle to me
     and clamber
        up the marshy slope
           and over my body,
peeping and staring—
     such sweetness every day
        which the grown ones watched,
           for whatever reason,
     Not there, however, but here
        is where the story begins.
           Nature has many mysteries,
some of them severe.
     Five of the young geese grew
        heavy of chest and
           bold of wing
while the sixth waited and waited
     in its gauze-feathers, its body
        that would not grow.
           And then it was fall.
And this is what I think
     everything is all about:
        the way
           I was glad
for those five and two
     that flew away,
        and the way I hold in my heart the wingless one
           that had to stay.

I weep.  I know not what more there is to life than the gladness and sadness possible before us, and in our hearts if we could just open to the mysterious reality of our days.

Yesterday a woman asked me how I could bare the tragic circumstances of the people and parrots of Central America.  Her question recalls how I can leave the poverty and the violence with my US passport, and others have to stay, not growing, and then dying.  Turning outward, I told her there were years when I could not hold it all, and days still where the ache is great.  Reading this poem reminds me of my true work here at this conference, and in my 53 years of life. I am here not to get more learning, offer more teaching, or to save the world. My calling instead has been to find a way to hold more gladness and more sadness.  Then to be held more myself by the love of this world.

How will you hold or be held today? 


  1. Thank you LoraKim. I often find it difficult to process all the suffering I see in the world. I struggle with the guilt/relief I feel when I am reminded of the fortunate circumstances into which I was born compared to the horrors other innocents have to face. Your words, and this poem, helps.

  2. And your words, here, help me too.