On my birthday last year, a dear friend presented me with a framed copy of the poem that follows. It hangs now in my bedroom and I often use bits and pieces of it as inspiration for my meditation. Its simplicity and brevity are hardly indications of the weighty message it delivers. There’s so much to consider in these words…
by Linda Buckmaster
Pick a crevice,
a homey gap
and make it
Grow a life here
and the memories of ancients
embedded in limestone.
The bees will use you
for their sweet honey.
The rock will soften under
You will draw moisture from fog
and hold it.
will build soil.
This is all we have
in this life
all we own:
a gap between stones
On most occasions when I read this poem, my mind travels back in time. Long forgotten figures, once significant, walk out of my past and into my present. We visit, reviving memories – some joyous, others maybe not so. Those moments of my life of which they are a part are, as the poem says, all that I have. I am there again with them as if time has reversed itself. I feel their presence with all my senses. They are the “bees” that have come…shaped me…some staying in my life for a short while, others for much longer. We have freely given to each other… and we have taken without shame.
Other times when I read, I let my mind walk me down paths not yet traveled, I wonder what lies ahead for me and for those who share my place between these stones. It is then that I remind myself that all I truly know is what is in this time, in this present moment. I am content to be in this moment and I am ever grateful for those who have come and who have remained. Now our roots have become so entwined they cannot be separated.
Such is my place between the stones – I’ve grown a life here. A simple, uncomplicated life – yet filled with so many meaningful connections.
Poet Muriel Rukeyser says “this moment is what we have…and if a poem is any damn good at all, it invites you to bring your whole life to that moment…”
Though this crevice may be all that I have, it is more than enough for me.
Note: This poem and more beautiful offerings may be found in The Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson.
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