What Seeds Do I Hold?

I am not a vessel.

I do not hold the seeds of change.

I cannot fix this broken world.

What seeds do I hold?

Only these:


The sun casts warmth

and the bud unfurls.

The rain fills the curled leaves and

earthworms scribe the dirt.

I do not make it so.

I only delight in its happening.

And spread the word.

Just Hold On

Hold on to what you cherished as a child

for that love came from an unfettered heart.

Hold on to the wildness you find out of doors,

even the slight scent of balsam or the quiet of snow.

Hold on to the physical sense of your life

even the itch of a bug bite on your sweaty arm.

Hold on to the noise of the world around you

though the honk of a car hurts your ears.

Hold on to the brothers and sisters you argue with today

for tomorrow they will say something you don’t know.

Just hold on to that noise of music and stories,

for silence is the worst kind of loneliness.

Praise Song (after Lucille Clifton)

to shy Miss Parker

who stood up to the school board

and demanded in her wavering voice

her students be allowed to read

that book.

Praise her bravery.

She believed in me even if I didn’t—

oh I thought I was smart but I wasn’t


She was, though. She ignored the slights

of foolish teenagers and ignorant parents.

She plowed right past the sly laughter and grumbling.

Praise the books that gave her strength.

One afternoon in summer we brought an unwashed ungrateful

through-hiker to her mountainside home.

She took him in for the night.

Praise her open heart.

Can you see her, her ancient mother, and the hiker

sitting round the kitchen table,

eating homemade bread and soup?

Praise the lamp that encircled them in light.