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.

Related Posts

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *