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Day 3: Daffodils by Lorna Dee Cervantes

Yesterday evening I read a poem to my dear friend Simran Dua, a truly lovely human being. She’s mid-way through a move from NYC to New Haven, where she’ll be attending Yale School of Management in the fall, and all I can say is that they are lucky to have her, and I’m lucky that New Haven is a short train ride from the city.

Simran is one of those friends who always makes you smile, whose positive energy radiates far beyond her physical presence, whose warmth is so palpable that I associate the color yellow with her. So I chose this poem, Daffodils, by the excellent poet Lorna Dee Cervantes.

Verde, que te quiero verde. – Federico Garcia Lorca
It is true–I love
the daffodil, her succulent
radiation. All things yellow
are good, the Pueblo people say.
You are blue corn, the color
of the north vein that travels your thigh.
You are blue, the color of new dawn
when the pendulums of the earth desist,
when your love rises from her bed of stones,
and desire, desire’s the sleepwalk of the beast.

I want it–it is true–a stalk
of the wheat that grows on your breath-tomb,
which covers your bones, fine as the long
nails that girdle this flower. Green
que te quiero verde and the magic
of fingers digging their way into life,
leaves gone yellow from winter on the willow
tree. My branches are the arms that hold,
my hands complete the river’s chore.

And it’s true, I gather love
as others gather breath for tears
and I love the golden light
that weighs upon the petals of narcissus. I love
your cobalt skies, the lightness of air
you carry in your fists. You hold your head
as a daffodil regales in the sun. Let me be
summer for you, past the profusion of
weeds I once was when my brown soul
huddled in her winter grave of girlish earth.

– Lorna Dee Cervantes

When I finished the poem, Sim described some of the imagery it conjured in her mind – yellow, green, fields of daffodils, of roots taking hold and growing in their depth. She urged me to keep calling as she makes this life transition, and we joked that poetry can be as nourishing on our mutual life journeys as water might be to one traveling through a desert.

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