Lance's sunrise photo from Kitty Hawk

I’m Not Asking for Hope, but for Wonder

Most of the time I do my best to ignore the disease in my brain.

I try not to read about it, think about it, or attend support groups about it. Especially that latter one. It’s devastating for me to see people wrecked by Parkinson’s; it takes a while to put it out of my mind again. It’s like watching a horror movie, then having nightmares about it.

It’s better not to watch horror movies.

And recently I’ve had several incidents that have forced me to focus directly and intensely on issues of busted-up mental health (including Parkinson’s), so you know… It’s resulted in some bad days.

I mention this because I know I’m not the only one. You got stuff too. Regardless of what we all post on socials, everything isn’t perfect or even pretty. Sometimes it’s grim.

Best practice for me is to tell a friend who gets it and let her do her uplifting, I’m-with-you magic.

And I take some time to look for signs. You know the ones I mean. A funny horoscope, a new novel from a favorite author, a salamander hiding under wet maple leaves. The things that bring me back around to a sense of simple wonder about this damaged and beautiful world.

Anyway, this poem showed up today, another of those signs.

I wrote it in the winter of 2020, which was hard for all of us, even without brain wreckage. It was originally published a month or two later by Red Fez—in fact, it won a prize over there. Thanks again to Doc Sigerson, Danny Shot, Kerry Jensen Trautman, Jordan Trethewey, and all the Red Fez crew from those days.

When I read it again today I got that jolt of rightness, of wonder again. Maybe you will too. And even if you don’t, just know that I see you, all the cloud, fox, and quartz of you. All the language of trees in you, and the new and coming worlds.

Thanks for listening and reading.

I’m Not Asking for Hope, but for Wonder

This is about more than just our bodies –
though these soft parcels are a measure. This is a love letter.

Having every day with no pain, no dying is not our birthright.
You have not failed, when you die. You may have lived.

I’m busy unrocking, acorning, scribbling
notes. Wandering along creeks to learn where they lead,

what they desire. This week I rained
for days then glittered with rime ice above the ridge.

Eventually the landscape of us will crumble
into the sea. There will be less of us, more

of something else. What trees are you made of?
How cloud are we, how quartz or fox?

At the headwaters of death
when I’ve been launched and run

and mired in source, there is story –
less a map and more the rustle of owls settling,

remembered pleasures of summer wine or snow
piling silently on winter-warm hives.

Many times I heard stories in which
death was a great evil. Often hard, always wrong.

But the world isn’t what we think. All things
are made of endings and amplitude and a simpler love

than any have yet guessed. And I am
alight with wonder. What happens, for instance,

when we know trees can speak? Tell me how many words
for root and star they know that we’ve never listened for.

Let us translate our thoughts into river
and be washed in what new worlds open.

My body knows how to stop, just as it knew how to
take the first and thousandth breaths.

 


 

The photo above was taken last week by Lance. It was the last day of our beach vacation, and I wanted him to capture the sunrise over the sound at our campground in Kitty Hawk, NC. He’d been talking about how awesome it was, how he’d seen otters, fish jumping, boats going by. But I never made it out of bed to see it myself, so I asked him to take a bunch of photos, and boy did he ever. I think there were close to fifty pictures, and I enjoyed every one! (Plus I still got to sleep in.)

More about that trip coming soon.

8 comments on “I’m Not Asking for Hope, but for Wonder

  1. Lisa, even without any kind of context, this is a stunning poem—I love the slippage between body and landscape and weather, body-becoming-being. And your account of that Appalachian ground. Your way with language is simply gorgeous, surprising, moving. It always is.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Thank you, Maura. I love that you are noting the connection of body and this Appalachian ground; that’s so clear and clean and necessary in my own thinking, and I’m grateful it’s also coming through to others in these words.

  2. This is the second time I’ve read this poem and I still love it. It’s ironic that the title says, “I’m Not Asking for Hope,” but it gives me hope. It makes me think that everything is as it should be and although there seems at times that there is no order to things at all, there is an order, it’s just so much grander than we can imagine.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Shirley, I’m startled and so pleased that you made a connection with hope! That makes me feel wonderful. And even in my low times, when I want to think that things are just too broken, I seem (so far) to still believe and be intensely grateful for the fact that I don’t get the last word on that! There is a healing that is greater than death. Whew!

  3. Mary Hunter Purdy

    This poem – as you – always there for you, knowing you will find her when you need to.

    These poems, born from the Love that loves everything, always Loving you.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Ahh, thank you, cousin of my heart. Thank you for being who you are, and reminding me (and others) of who we are in Love.

  4. There is peace and acceptance here in every line, Lisa. Powerful words wrapped in softness. Thank you for posting this poem. No surprise that it won awards.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      I’m pleased it resonated for you, Susanna. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment to let me know.

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