Thursday, April 30, 2009

And let us not forget the magic in giving....
another beautiful piece by Mark Nepo.

THE GIVERS

Once the doctors broke their huddle, 
her uncle leaned in, “What would you like?” 
The little girl beamed, “A white piano!” 
It took him three weeks but he had 
one waiting in her room. She played 
it every day like the medicine it was.

And the guitar player stopping for water 
on his way through Virginia, hearing the 
gas station owner on the phone, “I got no 
choice. I gotta put ’em down.” The young 
man keeps telling everyone, “I don’t know 
why, but I had to take them.” Now the 
old dog and three pups live in his car.

And the old nurse who dreams of her 
grandma sitting in the backseat on long 
trips warming her hands. And this one,
in awe of her sister who after ten years of 
meditating gave it up to care for orphans. 
Not ’cause she was done with it, but ’cause 
what she found there was now everywhere.

And the speech therapist who when sad
opens the memory of her grandfather like 
a thin napkin holding a pressed flower. A 
country doctor, he took chickens instead of 
money. She was thirteen when he died. A 
week after the funeral, her father and uncle 
were going through his things. In a burst of
anger, her uncle dumped his books in the 
field by the burning barrel and dragged the 
bookcase home. It began to rain and the 
books, like broken doves, softened and 
enlarged. She took the older ones and 
keeps them close. She opens them
when it rains and he talks to her.

And how about the son of a heroin addict 
who serves soup in a shelter? Since the givers 
seldom know what they give, it’s the pour of 
the ladle that ties us all together. Now you tell 
me of your old aunt who lives on an island 
off the coast. Going blind, she’s tying ropes 
from house to tree to water bucket; 
feeling her way through all that 
is familiar and strangely liking it.
--Mark Nepo

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