The good and the bad

         Shall we receive the good at the hand of God,
         and not receive the bad?

                        —Job 2.10

Blackberries ripen on their stalks,
gathering the summer into their goblets,
swelling their many-globed breasts
with purple sweetness, each little black bead
a dark universe of goodness,
and their thorns, their claws are sharp
and will seize your arm and not let go.
It will hurt to glean these luscious gifts.

A friend told me yesterday how I had hurt him.
It pained me to hear, and I rejoiced to hear,
to be able to mend things.
Every part of the story belonged.

We spend so much of our lives
not in our lives but in our wishing,
choosing between form and color
but not choosing the life before us,
parsing out the parts we like
and the parts we don’t,
bending over our workbenches
with our tweezers,
pulling out the little satisfactions
from among our judgments and desires,
our monocles blinding us to real life
and its marbled pain and wonder.

The adjectives are in our heads
but life, unlabeled, passes before us.
There are no parts.
Our judgments are another life, not this one.
Real joy stops dissecting and reaches in.

   —October 5, 2018

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