And This is Pure Truth, Pure Beauty

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The Art of Blessing The Day

by Marge Piercy

This is the blessing for rain after drought:
Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,
a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.
Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.
Enter my skin, wash me for the little
chrysalis of sleep rocked in your splashing.
In the morning the world is peeled to shining.

This is the blessing for sun after long rain:
Now everything shakes itself free and rises.
The trees are bright as pushcart ices.
Every last lily opens its satin thighs.
The bees dance and roll in pollen
and the cardinal at the top of the pine
sings at full throttle, fountaining.

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.

This is the blessing for the first garden tomato:
Those green boxes of tasteless acid the store
sells in January, those red things with the savor
of wet chalk, they mock your fragrant name.
How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,
warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.
You are the savor of summer in a thin red skin.

This is the blessing for a political victory:
Although I shall not forget that things
work in increments and epicycles and sometime
leaps that half the time fall back down,
let’s not relinquish dancing while the music
fits into our hips and bounces our heels.
We must never forget, pleasure is real as pain.

The blessing for the return of a favorite cat,
the blessing for love returned, for friends’
return, for money received unexpected,
the blessing for the rising of the bread,
the sun, the oppressed. I am not sentimental
about old men mumbling the Hebrew by rote
with no more feeling than one says gesundheit.

But the discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not
hurt. The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom of the tree
of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.

Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.

The Golden Apple Dance

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of stumbling into a trio of sound- a fiddle player with fire in her fingers, a cellist with a voice dripping with tones of sweet deep molasses, and their sister, a fiddle player as well, who relished the moments of bow and string, blending in perfectly with her siblings.

The magic, though, occurred when the cellist strapped his instrument onto his front side and began playing “The Golden Apple Dance”. It was a simple song, but it drew the attention of a small boy, flaxen-haired, about 3 years old, with Down’s syndrome. As the sounds pulled him from the audience, he clapped and moved, fully engaged with the spirit of the dance. He did it  with such a joy and enthusiasm that the rest of us there couldn’t help but be completely taken in. His entire being was a gleam, shimmering with the immersion of the moment- himself joining the stage of our shared experience, unafraid.

This makes me think: what is my “golden apple dance” today? What causes my soul to shimmer? How can I dance it so exuberantly and unabashedly in the presence of my own being that others bask with me in all that joy?

As for me, today, I will be open to where the sun hits my spirit, and in that small spotlight, dance like the moment is golden.