“Even the bird with a broken wing is a prayer.” – Ashley Gates Jansen
Every oak tree holds within it the acorn,
the bud of longing and becoming.
And every acorn holds the whisper
of the promised oak, grand perennial.
But sometimes the acorn does not blossom
but remains tight, a closed bud.
And sometimes mighty oak trees fall
felled by disease, or wind, or storm.
I yearn for my aliveness to unfurl –
to feel strong and sure and sturdy like the oak.
And I long to feel the pull of opening,
the chrysalis cracking open of seed.
Bless the acorn and oak tree within.
Help me, Mercy,
to hold the acorn with as much kindness
as much reverence
as much esteem
as the mighty oak.
Stopping for Peaches on a Sunday Afternoon
The day I held my friend as she wept on my shoulder –
the pure white stone of grief –
I played with a baby, snuggled on my hip.
He laughed as he dug his fingers in the dirt and
tugged at the charms of my necklace, each one a new discovery.
On the drive home, I stopped the truck
when I saw the sign for fresh peaches.
I bought a bag, took one,
and held it to my nose,
inhaling the scent of sun and summer.
Is there anything more helpless than burying a child?
Any pain more exquisite than the sharp knife of loss?
And yet I still smell the ripe seduction of peach,
bloomed and fed by days of sun,
the soft fuzz that tickled my fingers.
My shirt carries the milky haze of the baby I held,
soft and warm in my arms.
To live this life: our hearts break, and yet we keep going.
Our hearts break, and again, and again, we love.
Karly Randolph Pitman is the founder and steward of Growing Humankindness, where women come together to bring understanding, compassion, and tenderness to the ‘not beautiful’ ways they care for trauma. She’s a mother and mental health advocate, wonderer and writer, teacher and craftswoman who does as much as possible with her hands. She lives in Austin, Texas where she walks among gnarled oak trees and tends her ancestors, those kin of family and community. Through each trip to the underworld, she remains in awe of the human heart.
2 thoughts on “Two Poems by Karly Randolph Pitman”
“Our hearts break, and again, and again, we love.” Oh this. Thank you for sharing with us that moment of peach scent and deep pain, so all at once. I love both poems–such an intimate exploration of what it is to love, to support each other, to honor how we show up, let go
Thank you, Rosemerry, dear. Oh yes – we are traveling through the cracked open journey together – loving, stumbling, crawling inside, opening again, over and over.