Three Faces

Three Faces August 5, 2013


My new book of poems, Reduced to Joy, has just been published. The book contains seventy-three poems, retrieved and shaped over the last thirteen years, about the nature of working with what we’re given till it wears us through to joy. For the next few months, I’d like to share poems from the new book with you.


Each of us is made up of eternal forces—part masculine, part feminine, part animal. Often, our creativity and our proximity to our aliveness depends on how well we know these forces as they visit us and live in us. This poem tries to explore my own relationships with these inner forces of life.


Three Faces

I have carried three faces

across my life, though from within,

it’s clear, they have carried me:


a woman who can stare through

the leaves of any tree, who names the

tree by the birds who sing in it


a man who works hard at

clearing paths in order to stop

where the path ends, and listen


and a small child with the heart

of a horse, eager to sniff out any

thing alive and run to it.


Together, they have led who I

thought I was through openings

wide enough for only

what is essential.


A Question to Walk With: Describe the way your masculine energy, feminine energy, and animal energy show up in you. What is each trying to teach you?



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