Promises, Wishes, and Koans (for Nathan and Sarah on their wedding day)
Long ago on a stormy day
a ribbon arced high
across the clouds—
light and water banded together
in a splurge of color and
the promise of renewal.
And we danced, didn’t we?
Some of us naked, and some of us clothed,
we shimmied and wiggled and leapt with glee.
Our feet pounded the earth
to celebrate that long-ago promise.
Unlike wishes, who travel in packs,
promises float along by themselves,
their fragile feathers ill-suited
to the mad dash of busy days.
Determination may be their middle
name, but they certainly can take their time
and sometimes we can’t help giving them
A promise kept is a lasting bond.
A promise broken is a chance to forgive.
A promise sat down beside a koan and smiled.
The koan’s mother warned,
“That promise might bring disappointment.”
and the koan replied,
“That puppy might pee on the rug.”
Is it really so sad that there’s no guarantee?
No one could breathe in an iron-clad world.
So we trust when we’re thirsty that water will flow
And we search when we wonder and
share when we know and bask when we can
in the promise of now—
Do you know the collective noun
A wonder of wishes.
May love enfold and protect you
ever and already;
May your memory of this moment
always bring a smile;
May the promise of today
Rest within you
bone-deep and feather light.
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