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To own nothing, not even our skin
by
Pamela Porter


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To live here
beneath cedars and firs.

To live among osprey, raven, peregrine, owl.
To feel the sun grow colder,
night more eager to arrive.
To close the barn's red mouth, the cats inside.
To come in from the horses.
To warm the hands. And with
warm hands, to sit at the piano,
teach the hands a new pattern.
Something labyrinthine for the left.
Something with trills for the right.
To watch the mind and hands work together. 
To do this with sunlight between the tips
of two trees, and light falling into the room, light
that started on the sun now grazing the page,
black notes on white paper.
To recognize beauty if not to understand it.
To go out to the horses again,
bring them in from the field, lay
my hands on their foreheads, necks, withers.
To learn the music of them.
To know, then, that this life is all one day.
A day in which quail break out of their eggs
and scurry in single file across the yard.
A day in which dandelions bloom and hurl
their seeds to the wind
and the great heart of the world
grants the air its breath.
To live here and to eat and drink some piece of the day.
To say, where are we
but on the floor of a vast ocean,
blinking and blinking our eyes
as light breaks through the blue above us.

 

From Defending Darkness (Ronsdale Press, 2016).
Used here with the author's permission.

 


Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

Pamela Porter is the author of nine books of poetry and four books for children and young adults.  Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in Texas, she now lives near Victoria, Canada with her family and a menagerie of rescued animals.

 

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
transitions:
Beautiful life, poem.
Posted 01/11/2017 09:21 PM
Njane:
Pure bliss, thank you!
Posted 01/11/2017 06:07 PM
Ladyleo191:
Wow! What a visual poem! Thank you so much for making today better for me.
Posted 01/11/2017 04:51 PM
wendy morton:
Full of wonder, grace. A great poem.
Posted 01/11/2017 11:55 AM
Ginny C.:
Beautiful poem--it gave some moments of peace amidst the tumultuous world of politics and disorder that seems to surround us lately.
Posted 01/11/2017 11:10 AM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful poem!
Posted 01/11/2017 09:59 AM
Jancan:
This is absolutely lovely, painting picture so clear I can see them. Janice
Posted 01/11/2017 09:18 AM
JanetruthMartin:
Beautiful!
Posted 01/11/2017 08:47 AM
rhonasheridan:
A wonderful poem Pamela -
Posted 01/11/2017 07:49 AM
Larry Schug:
"To recognize the beauty". perfect. Thank you. This poem goes in my personal YDP Hall of Fame. Worth reading many more times.
Posted 01/11/2017 07:32 AM
Jean Colonomos:
Jean: Thanks for this beautiful reminder.
Posted 01/11/2017 07:10 AM
Michael:
Dear Pamela, Thank you for all the poignant images! Love them.
Posted 01/11/2017 07:09 AM
David:
Nice poem. Nice life.
Posted 01/11/2017 06:16 AM
blueskies:
You 'had me at the title', Pamela. Many thanks.
Posted 01/11/2017 06:03 AM
Belinda Veldman:
Love the last sentence. Actually, I love all of it :-)
Posted 01/11/2017 02:14 AM


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