Photos taken at our visit to Dixon Gallery & Gardens in Memphis, TN, March 18, 2023
Essay on Spring
The softness of the day
settles over us, sun shaping spring
in sibilant sounds
in the wind.
I listen to Ada Limón recite her poetry
and talk about our humanness, of how the trees
and the wind and the suburban thunder arise
to make us part of something bigger, something shocking
and normal and wise and crazy and beautiful.
I walk the circular sidewalk and begin to write in my head
as she speaks, begin to take all the hope and wonder and curiosity
of the city around me and winnow it into something
else, something that might make sense
to the wider world.
I watch the way a white plastic bag hangs
in the branches, carried by the same wind
that caresses my cheeks, carried by the same warmth
that brings buds to ripen and birds
How is it we can live in a place
so sanctified yet so discarded, a space
that spills life
while we continue to leave refuse
Ada speaks of recycling, yet her words eclipse this
into an expanse of humanity and our place within a world larger
than we could ever comprehend, a space filled
with so much grief and joy, so much roughness and softness —
a place where ‘the thesis is still
a river’ — and I am again lost in the trees, in the way they shiver
and sway, in the way my soul swallows the sun
whole in hope, in the way my fingers form language
in something that feels like peace, something that sounds like
Copyright @ Stacie Eirich March 21, 2023
Credit: ’the thesis is still a river,’ line from Ada Limón’s poem Where the Circles Overlap, Milkweed Editions.
*This poem is now included on my podcast, Poetry for Peace, Season 2, April 2023. Happy National Poetry Month! Link to the episode:
The poem above was inspired by listening to our 24th Poet Laureate of the United States, Ada Limón, speak with OnBeing’s Krista Tippett & recite the poem Where the Circles Overlap. It was a sunny day here in Memphis, a rarity in a season of gray rain — and I was walking the sidewalk inside the gate of The Ronald McDonald House, near the center of downtown.
It is a space where I see smoke and blue lights, litter blowing in the wind, buildings dark with age, windows cracked, paint peeling. But it is also a space of humanity, a space of beauty, and a space that makes you feel. Or maybe it just makes you think — and listen, and appreciate — the small things. Of course, those are really the big things, the things that makes us human and that we remember.
I’m grateful to you for being here, for reading and connecting with my creative work. Five month’s after my child Sadie’s cancer diagnosis, I consider it a miracle to be writing again. Of course, the larger miracle is Sadie’s amazing perseverance and creative, positive spirit through surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It is because of Sadie that I picked up my pen and began creating again; it is for my child that most of my verses are now written.
May you find and follow the light this spring. We are holding hope close, finding joy in the place we are now.
In Verses, Art & Song,
Stacie & Sadie