McDoc

Just another Medical Humanities Blog

Poems for May 2012

Posted by mcdoc on May 2, 2012

Sheri Hostetler
(1962 – )

Instructions

Give up the world; give up self; finally, give up God.
Find god in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers-by, your cat.
Pare your beliefs, your absolutes.
Make it simple; make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throw away some more.
Repeat. Repeat.
Keep this and only this:
what your heart beats loudly for
what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.

“Instructions” by Sheri Hostetler, from the anthology A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry. University of Iowa Press, © Sheri Hostetler 2003. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Thomas Centolella

Splendor

One day it’s the clouds,
one day the mountains.
One day the latest bloom
of roses – the pure monochromes,
the dazzling hybrids – inspiration
for the cathedral’s round windows.
Every now and then
there’s the splendor
of thought: the singular
idea and its brilliant retinue –
words, cadence, point of view,
little gold arrows flitting
between the lines.
And too the splendor
of no thought at all:
hands lying calmly
in the lap, or swinging
a six iron with effortless
tempo. More often than not
splendor is the star we orbit
without a second thought,
especially as it arrives
and departs. One day
it’s the blue glassy bay,
one day the night
and its array of jewels,
visible and invisible.
Sometimes it’s the warm clarity
of a face that finds your face
and doesn’t turn away.
Sometimes a kindness, unexpected,
that will radiate farther
than you might imagine.
One day it’s the entire day
itself, each hour foregoing
its number and name,
its cumbersome clothes, a day
that says come as you are,
large enough for fear and doubt,
with room to spare: the most secret
wish, the deepest, the darkest,
turned inside out.

“Splendor” by Thomas Centolella, from Views from along the Middle Way. © Copper Canyon Press 2002.

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