Reduced to Joy

Reduced to Joy October 7, 2013

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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.

I’m coming to understand joy as the all-encompassing moment of full being that can hold all the other more fleeting feelings, like happiness, fear, confusion, worry, and anger. Though that sea of full being is always there, always carrying us, we come in and out of our awareness of it. This is the title poem from my new book, which speaks to such a moment, which is always unexpected.

 

REDUCED TO JOY

I was sipping coffee on the way to work,

the back road under a canopy of maples

turning orange. In the dip of woods, a small

doe gently leaping. I pulled over, for there

was no where else to go. She paused as if

she knew I was watching. A few orange

leaves fell around her like blessings no

one can seem to find. I sipped some

coffee, completely at peace, knowing

it wouldn’t last. But that’s alright.

We never know when we will blossom

into what we’re supposed to be. It might

be early. It might be late. It might be after

thirty years of failing at a misguided way.

Or the very first time we dare to shed

our mental skin and touch the world.

They say, if real enough, some see God

at the moment of their death. But isn’t

every fall and letting go a death? Isn’t God

waiting right now in the chill between the

small doe’s hoof and those fallen leaves?

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