Let weeds grow between the ruts in the drive,
around the stones on the terraces. Allow grass
to grow tall and dandelions to be overshadowed.
Trees can take root. Moss and violets will flourish.
Pollen scum will form on the pond to feed fish, frogs,
and turtles, to nourish muskrat and mink. Fox will
hunt rabbits and groundhogs and give birth to kits.
Bats will harvest mosquitoes.
Once I wanted it neat and trim, though I loved
the wild violets and moss that marred the lawn.
Each spring, I recorded what sprouted and when,
the arrival of birds and where they were nesting,
the health of trees, the flowers blooming. As the years
passed, my notebook filled with lists: fence repairs,
invasive species, what the mower missed— of what
was to be done, no longer full of what brought me joy.
My happiness was losing ground.
The house continues its slow descent into the earth,
its wood rots, its stone walls separate and crack,
providing homes for generations of chipmunks.
Gates fall from their hinges. There are birds to watch,
wild flowers to appreciate. The house is no draftier,
no less pleasant than before. By the time the house
disintegrates, I’ll be no more.
How do we measure kindness, or happiness, or fear?
Fear is measured in tons and happiness,
in ounces. And kindness?
Do we enumerate each act? Easy if the acts are few,
but what if the acts are too many and reach too far
for numbers to be useful?
In volume, it could be cups of joyful tears or gallons
of grief. Consider distance—as the crow flies,
or by miles travelled from one act to another?
What of the perilous ups and downs and curves
of the terrain between indifference and kindness?
Who does this measuring?
What’s it worth to them and then, what currency is used?
This is all up in the air. Air’s weight depends
on several factors. Earth is kind,
her atmosphere gives air freely.
Air’s weight fluctuates
but our breath depends on it.
We are metaphor,
in the physical,
what we feel and fear.
Anger eats at us,
corroding our guts.
Hearts attack us.
Or fail, wither,
down to inaction.
We are stopped
by a clot, or a stroke.
even how to swallow.
Death too is metaphor--
for getting us out of here.
WHAT SILENCE HOLDS
your monkey mind--
its hell— high
on your list of things to do
the life you’ve had
Here is peace
room to think
grow fantasize pray
From the spot between your eyes
and an inch behind
open the door
pass into stillness
hold it steady as long as you can
Here is your higher self
All rights to the poems on this website reside with Linda Baldwin Avila. No poems, or part of a poem may be used by any person or organization without my permission.