It is a good word, rolling off the tongue;
no matter what language you were born with
use it. Learn where it begins,
the small alphabet of departure,
how long it takes to think of it,
then say it, then be heard.
Marry it. More than any golden ring,
it shines, it shines.
Wear it on every finger
till your hands dance,
touching everything easily,
letting everything, easily, go.
Strap it to your back like wings.
Or a kite-tail. The stream of air behind a jet.
If you are known for anything,
let it be the way you rise out of sight
when your work is finished.
Think of things that linger: leaves,
cartons and napkins, the damp smell of mold.
Think of things that disappear.
Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.
Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.
Explain little, the word explains itself.
Later perhaps. Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.
"Trying to Name What Doesn't Change" by Naomi Shihab Nye. Text as published in Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995).
Art credit: "Sir bird flies into the sunset" in Darwin, Australia, photograph by kevin kelly.
Curator's note: After a three-year run, this project will conclude tomorrow with a special post. If you haven't already, I'd really appreciate your taking my brief survey regarding a possible anthology of mindfulness poetry.