Odes to Life

Amid the banal routines of life, may we always remember that life is a miracle, every breath of it, despite the imperfections. Here are three poems to remind us of the miracle that we are, and the shining lights we can be.

Ode to the Present (Excerpt of a poem by Pablo Neruda, 1904 – 1973)

your present,
your apple:
take it
from your tree,
pick it up
with your hand,
it shines
like a star,
touch it,
bite it and move on
whistling on the road.

Ode to Yourself

Of all the creatures
who might have been born,
you were born,
one among
the vivacious many,
moving like a river

singing and roiling,
rushing swiftly
until all at once
everything stops.
That you were here,
deeply here –
that was the most astonishing thing.

© Wallace Fong, August 2021

Woven by Air, Texture of Air (Naomi Shihab Nye, b. 1952)

Stay humble, blend, belong to all directions.
Fly low, love a shadow. And sing, sing freely;
never let anything get in the way of your singing,
not darkness, not winter,
not the cries of flashier birds, not the silence
that finds you steadfast,
pen ready, at the edge of four a.m.
Your day is so wide it will outlive everyone.
It has no roof, no sides.

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