Home » The Days of Awe; A Poem for You


The Days of Awe; A Poem for You

Today, I headed to the nearest ditch with water in it and a bag of stale bread. I asked, What do I want to let go of from last year? What do I need to do differently, if anything, to be my true self? Then I tossed the bread into the flow, naming each crumb after behaviors I’d rather not repeat this year: worrying, doubting, hustling, yelling, judging, hesitating, playing small...This is a tradition I do each fall, based on the Jewish ritual of Tashlikh. I am not Jewish. But it feels right to celebrate the New Year in September (that’s what two decades of teaching does to you!) I wrote this poem about what I’ve learned from the river and the breadcrumbs, so I never forget.

The Days of Awe
These are the days of awe.
Lie back in summer’s last green grasses.
Each cricket’s song is slower now,
the wind smells of ripe apples,
the soil devours rain
and coughs up stones.
Blackbirds rise up from the fields
Like mist off a pond.
Trees gain color and restraint overnight,
act like old ladies who
snap their purses shut
in anticipation of a need.
The sun isn’t journeying
east to west.
We are
spinning — west to east,
setting to rising,
beginnings growing out of endings,
not the other way around.
Lie back in the wet grass.
Wait for the sky to grow dark.
Breathe in the moon
like a question
you’re not quite ready to ask.
Be like the river
Who moves toward the unknown,
who doesn’t turn around
and ask the mountain for directions.
Listen to the grace of insects,
then drop, swell, and release
like bread in cool, swirling waters.