I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Gregg-LindaLinda Alouise Gregg (born September 9, 1942) is an American poet.

Gregg’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Whiting Writer’s Award, as well as multiple Pushcart Prizes. She was the 2003 winner of the Sara Teasdale Award and the 2006 PEN/Voelcker Award winner for Poetry.

 

A DARK THING INSIDE THE DAY
Linda Gregg

So many want to be lifted by song and dancing,
and this morning it is easy to understand.
I write in the sound of chirping birds hidden
in the almond trees, the almonds still green
and thriving in the foliage. Up the street
a man is hammering to make a new house as doves
continue their cooing forever. Bees humming
and high above that a brilliant sky.
The roses are blooming and I smell the sweetness.
Everything desirable is here already in abundance.
And the sea. The dark thing is hardly visible
in the leaves, under the sheen. We sleep easily.
So I bring no sad stories to warn the heart.
All the flowers are adult this year. The good
world gives and the white doves praise all of it.

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CHRIST LOVED BEING HOUSED
Linda Gregg

The time of passion is younger than us.
It does not live in memories
or metaphors, but in living things:
quail, bay trees, the sun leaving
and returning. Going and being there.
Dark, rain, and colors spreading
through the late sky afterward.
So much like the Apache and Tarahumara
who lived differently now, as I do.
But I want to ask you about the nature
of love. Do you think it is on earthly?
I want to tell you it is, and more.
Christ did not want to leave the body.
Love resides entirely in the part of us
that is the least defended or safe.
The part that has no alternative
to loss, defeat, and dying.
All else is tested by its flint
and what it strikes upon the darkness.

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DIFFERENT NOT LESS
Linda Gregg

All of it changes at evening
equal to the darkening
so that night-things may have their time.
Each gives over where its nature is essential.
The river loses all but a sound.
The bull keeps only its bulk.
Some things lose everything.
Colors are lost. And trees mostly
At a time like this we do not doubt our dreams.
We believe the dead are standing along the other edge
of the river, but do not go to meet them.
Being no more powerful than they were before.
We see this change is for the good,
that there is completion, a coming around.
And we are glad for the amnesty.
Modestly we pass our dead in the dark,
and history–the c to the right
and above our heads. The sun, bull-black
and ready to return, holds back so the moon,
delicate and sweet, may finish her progress.
We look into the night, or death, our loss,
what is not given. We see another world alive
and our wholeness finishing.

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LET BIRDS
Linda Gregg

Eight deer on the slope
in the summer morning mist.
The night sky blue.
Me like a mare let out to pasture.
The Tao does not console me.
I was given the Way
in the milk of childhood.
Breathing it waking and sleeping.
But now there is no amazing smell
of sperm on my thighs,
no spreading it on my stomach
to show pleasure.
I will never give up longing.
I will let my hair stay long.
The rain proclaims these trees,
the trees tell of the sun.
Let birds, let birds.
Let leaf be passion.
Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be
between us. Let joy.
Let entering. Let rage and calm join.
Let quail come.