Mercy. Daring. Courage — By Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

I have three treasures which I hold and keep.

~ Tao Te Ching

I carry my treasures close to my skin.

I walk carefully and fast, pause to catch

the lightning. So much fire compressed

makes the visible even more visible.

To see this is to know mercy, and how

it tumbles shards of glass and stone

to reconfigure this day. To know mercy

is to know daring: every molecule of love

so delicate and damaged, willing as grass

to fly backwards at high speed while lightning

flashes the veins of the heavens. To know

daring is to know courage, how it’s equal parts

fear and will, rooted in the dense stillness

of the cottonwood banking the creek,

and the creek itself rounding the horizon

toward whatever comes, trials or treasures,

raining down to wake us up.

~ Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely.

Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.



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