We were listening to music we’d “liked” long ago on SoundCloud and forgotten, when suddenly we heard the great Ada Limón‘ reading her poem, Instructions for Not Giving Up. Navigating difficult things as spring unfolds outside our window in astonishing intensities of green, we thought, “Wow. How perfect”.
We are grateful that perfection comes unbidden, just like that…
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
Poet Laureate Ada Limón writes frequently for the New Yorker (more poems here) and has published several books of poetry. Her collection Bright Dead Things, was a Finalist for the National Book Award. Her latest book is The Hurting Kind. She is the Poet Laureate of the United States.