i thank You God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

—e e cummings

My wife is singing this poem this weekend.

An offering

To you I give the ocean
To you I give the waves
And how their churning stills my mind
And my boy.

To you I give my daughter's fear of it
And its overcoming.
To you I give her leaping, yelling
"I am God, parting the sea."

You can also have my son's retort
that was Moses."

My offering, pleasing to you:
The beer drinkers at Bruno's,
The sand on the floor,
The panicked slantwise retreat of the crabs.

Also that second line in the Quarter
(I know it was a rich white people second line, but still),
The sweat wrung down my back,
My three showers in a day.

My friends afar are yours, as is their meeting
The footsqueak of the beach
The worrying of jellyfish
And Jupiter, insisting over the sea.

I offer to you
My absurd toenail polish
The despair of seven months of tinnitus
That tick bite from camping.

I make a burnt offering of my fear
And my frailty
My impatience, my need
And evenings in a hammock.

To you I give my names
To you I give my faces and my hands
To you I give the story I call me
That I still pretend is real.

Please take it all.
Leave me empty
Leave me open
And leave the light on when you go.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese"

Let Everything Happen to You

God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing. Embody me.

Flare up like a flame and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 59

How do we write now?

You are completely at its mercy and it is your kingdom. The apples are all the things you have ever compared to apples. The stars are all the ways you have tried to describe the stars. Paradise is not just the day when the poem pours down like Niagara with the hottest couple in the world kissing steamily behind it, it is also the day that you spend changing the word A to THE and back again. That concentration is reverence. You are passing the beads of things through your fingertips and your head is bowed and your mouth is moving and the preexisting rhythm has found its place in you.

I’m not saying you’re lucky to be there. I’m saying as long as you live there you are in opposition to the powers that rule the world. You are the opposite of money. You are against presidents, oil spills, slaughterhouses, Young Sheldon. You’re the opposite of the red button under Matt Lauer’s desk. You’re the opposite of the red button that ends it all. You have never been so hard in your own name. Nobody has you.

Patricia Lockwood reminds me that the world still is, that llamas matter, that the place where I burn is always open.

I wanted to quote pretty much all of this, but I thought I’d focus on the promise, the target we forget to aim at. You are the opposite of money. You have never been so hard in your own name.

God damn.