Simple Gifts

Overview

This collection of poetry is a sharing of simple gifts. Almost twenty years ago, when the first of my poems popped up on a journal page-that odd shift from prose to poetry-I thought it an aberration. But in the years since, poems jotted on journal pages, grocery slips, post-its, and Amtrak napkins, have come to serve as a presence, a guide, a way for me to pay attention to life. And the poems have become increasingly a part of my work in the world.

So I share these personal ...

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Overview

This collection of poetry is a sharing of simple gifts. Almost twenty years ago, when the first of my poems popped up on a journal page-that odd shift from prose to poetry-I thought it an aberration. But in the years since, poems jotted on journal pages, grocery slips, post-its, and Amtrak napkins, have come to serve as a presence, a guide, a way for me to pay attention to life. And the poems have become increasingly a part of my work in the world.

So I share these personal poems, these reflections, with you in hopes that you might find support, comfort, insight and connection in their words, recognizing the way our human joys and struggles link us across time and distance. (And perhaps you might find the poet's voice within yourself, as well)

Some readers may recognize a poem here and there from collections published informally over the years and circulated among friends and colleagues. And you may see a familiar poem from an anthology or an earlier books of mine.

This collection of "simple gifts" is meant to reflects the natural ups and downs of life, the joys and sorrows, the power of people, place and nature. It is also a testimony to the dedicated efforts of my husband David, without whose appreciation, stewardship, project management and determination, this collection would have remained simply a pile of loose poems on the office shelf.

Judy Brown West River, Maryland
2011

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466903920
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/5/2011
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

SIMPLE GIFTS


By Judy Brown

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2011 Judy Brown
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4669-0392-0


Chapter One

Little Bits from Jottings

    Perfection

    Perfection
    Fails us,
    Breaks down,
    Eventually,
    Disintegrates.
    It's being human
    That can save us.


    No seed grows

    No seed grows
    Except by
    Breaking through
    Its own
    Protective coat.

It is the small space

It is the small space
In our lives,
The daily corner
To which we need repair,
That can create a
Whole new world.
For us,
Vast,
Unconstrained,
And opening.


Because you have no money

Because you have no money
Don't believe
That you must squander
What you have
In such abundance:
Time together,
Joy,
Attention,
Challenge,
Your good work.

    Everybody Counts

    Everybody counts.
    When the spider
    Weaves the web
    No connecting point
    Is missed.
    If you are missing
    From our midst
    We are the lesser
    For that loss,
    And incomplete.

To sit simply

To sit
Simply
For one sweet hour
And notice
All that is
Unfolding
In the
Light of day—
That is
A fine, fine
Thing.


Each day dawns

Each day dawns
With its own
Discoveries and surprises,
With its gifts.
If we are home
To all of that
We can't be lost.


A reservoir within

Each of us needs
A reservoir within,
Because life doesn't happen
On an average.
It has its hurricanes
And droughts,
And lovely days.
So also joy.
So also deep despair.


I wonder

I wonder
What this day
Will bring
In its unfolding.
Now it begins,
For me,
Like the
Unwrapping
Of an
Unexpected
Gift.

    The Beauty of the Broken

    The beauty
    Of the broken
    And irregular
    Is clear
    With seashells—
    Why not so
    With one another?


    Difficult

    If it is difficult
    Try something
    Different.
    A tiny shift
    Might find
    The easy
    Natural path,
    The one
    That's meant
    To be.
    Persistence
    And insistence
    May be
    Good things —
    But not always.


    Spring

    Spring
    Creeps northward
    On her
    Annual pilgrimage
    Home,
    Slowly
    Opening blooms
    And teaching
    Birds to sing.


    Promise

    I heard
    A bird
    Sing
    Before dawn—
    The gentle
    Promise
    Of a spring
    That's soon
    To come.


    Miracle

    That the white flower
    Has managed
    To find light and life,
    Making its way
    Between the heavy
    Patio stones,
    Seems such
    A miracle
    To me,
    And even more,
    It blooms there,
    Planted in such
    Seeming solid stone.
    It blooms.


    Courage

    Certain of the vines
    Reach out,
    Sending their tendrils
    Out and out,
    Toward the air,
    The sky,
    Away from
    Anything to
    Cling to.
    Such vegetative
    Courage.


    Mystery

    A poem
    Should
    End
    Early,
    With the
    Mystery
    Still intact,
    A question
    Yet
    Unanswered.


    Downpour

    The rain
    Abates a bit,
    Like a mourner
    Taking a
    Momentary breath,
    And then
    The downpour
    Begins again,
    Like a
    Great wail
    Of water.


    Seasons

    There are seasons
    Where you
    Take in
    What you must—
    And only later
    When the season
    Comes
    For clearing,
    And every Friday
    Seven bins of trash
    Are sitting at the curb,
    (Hauled out as with a
    gardener's joy
    that finally the thatch
    is cleared away),
    Only on such a morning
    Can we admit
    The weight
    Of always having taken in
    All that we must.


    Surprise

    Inevitable,
    Yet unpredictable—
    So much of life
    Is thus:
    A hurricane,
    The summer's
    Heat lightening,
    Mortality
    And joy.
    All take us
    By surprise—
    Itself surprising.


    Logs

    At the heart
    Of the fire
    Is one
    Of the last logs
    From the old apple tree
    I climbed
    Fifty years ago.
    Last year it
    Simply fell down.
    Old, dry
    Irregular,
    Half-hollowed out,
    It burns
    Hot
    And with ease.


    Tapestry

    The memories
    Of joys
    Sustain us
    Through the
    Precipice of sorrow
    And despair.
    It is knowing
    The tapestry of life
    Is whole
    That is life's
    Secret.


    Winter

    Cold grey
    December day
    Stares back
    At me,
    Unblinking.
    Sometimes
    Winter never
    Seems to
    Close its eyes.


    Lean Years

    Those years—
    Those lean years—
    Brought the lessons
    And awarenesses
    I had to have
    To find my way
    Back home.


    Autumn

    Another
    Glowing day
    Appears.
    Another
    Autumn glory
    Dawns
    And spreads its joy
    Across the heart.
    Those men
    Who sing
    The praise
    Of spring
    Have not lived long enough
    To know this fall.


    Transition

    This is a day
    Of transition
    To be savoured,
    A bridge
    Between what is
    Now past,
    And that to come,
    Unknown.
    Luminous,
    The day rises
    To meet us.


    Leaf

    Floating
    As it was,
    Zig-zag and yellow,
    I couldn't tell
    If it was
    A butterfly
    Newly born
    Or a leaf
    Newly dying.


    Grieving

    We are softened
    By our grievings—
    Avoidable and unavoidable
    Losses that appear to us
    Like apparitions—
    Speaking to us
    In a language
    That we recognize
    As if it were
    Our native tongue.
    However many years
    We have,
    We have.
    Then life
    Begins
    Another
    Round,
    A round,
    The voices
    Ours,
    Or others,
    Never mind,
    The song
    Goes on.


    Turning Point

    She had spent
    Most of life
    Anxious and agonizing—
    Unnecessarily,
    As it turned out.
    She even sensed
    It at the time—
    The senseless
    Waste of all
    That energy.
    So she decided
    She would stop.
    And did.
    That was
    The turning point.


    Maturity

    With maturity
    Comes the understanding
    That what
    Cannot be changed
    Must be endured,
    Or transformed
    Into a mysterious
    Adventure.


    Waves

    The purple froth
    Of the wave edge
    Is traced
    Upon the salmon sand
    At sunset,
    And then recedes
    To slide gently
    Beneath
    The next wave
    That arrives
    To leave
    Its whispered mark
    Upon the
    Ever darkening sand.


    Pelican

    The great grey
    Pelican
    Heads home
    At dusk,
    Floating
    Without an effort
    On the currents
    Overhead,
    Turning a bit
    To catch
    One wave of air,
    Adjusting,
    Sailing,
    Flying fast
    Without a single
    Move of wings,
    Just floating
    Home.


    Magic

    The sun
    Which frosted
    Everything—
    The air,
    The sky,
    The clouds—
    A soft sweet pink,
    Has disappeared
    Behind the clouds.
    But for a moment
    Magic had descended
    With the dawn.
    I stood out
    On the lawn
    And breathed
    The pink air in
    As if I were
    A child,
    Enchanted.


    Heart

    If I listened
    To my heart
    I'd know
    That it's
    Been beating
    Just like this
    And all along.


    Human

    This is
    A human
    Business,
    Being human.
    What's
    To be
    Done?


    Spirit

    The native woman
    Spoke with tears of anguish
    How the Westerners
    Think you can own a place:
    "How can you own
    Something with spirit?"
    She had asked us,
    Brokenly. Then later
    She had said "The spirit
    Of a place hold us,
    We don't own it."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from SIMPLE GIFTS by Judy Brown Copyright © 2011 by Judy Brown. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Welcome and appreciation....................3
Table of contents....................4
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