by Carolyn Atkinson 

This is what there is:
Waking in the dark and cold. No more sleep.
This is what there is:
Rain on the roof. Newspaper soaked and muddy.
His mouth trembles as he thinks of children suffering.
Spring flowers: crocus, hyacinth–suddenly blooming.

This is all there is:
Sitting down again and again, in the dark, in the cold,
In the sun, in the rain—this is all there is.
Hair turning silver, teachers dying, lovers leaving, old friends returning.
Grown children calling to say, “I love you.”

This is what we have:
Cold ocean breeze, salt in the air.
A mother cries out, calling her son a fool.
This is what we have:
A friend eating soup across the table.
A struggle to praise this mutilated world.
A wish for transcendent meaning. A desire to change our lives.
And this desire—is what we have too:
A wish for the heart to heal, the mind to relax—

This, too, is our life.

It can’t be right, can it?
But, this is all there is:
Unopened mail, unfinished lives.
Grief, pain, unexpected joy.
Green tea. Shivering. Fog rising from the land.
Wishing to be elsewhere.
The moon at the window.

This is all there is: birth, death and everything that lies between.
Nothing special. Everything special. Nothing other than just . . . what . . . it is.
This is all there is.

This is what we have: life, as it is.
Roses, rhododendrons.
Learning to love these ordinary lives.
Shoes. We have shoes.

This is what we have. This is what there is. This is it. This is it.

© 2019 by Carolyn Atkinson. All rights reserved.