On the Last Day of the World by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree.    ~W. S. Merwin

On the last day of the world, I would want
to feed you. Raspberries. Thin slices of apple.
Peaches so ripe they drip down our chins,
down our necks. I would want to sit with you
beneath a tree, no we’ll climb a tree, no
we’ll plant a tree, yes all of these. On the last
day of the world, I want to give myself permission
to feel exactly what I feel, to be exactly who I am,
to shed every layer of should and meet you
that way. Knowing we have only hours left,
could we put down our arguments with ourselves
and each other and find no energy to pick them up again?
On that day, I want us to write the last poem
together and let the writing undo us, let it teach us
how to get out of the way, how to obey what emerges.
Let’s run outside, no matter the weather, and praise
the light till the light is gone, and then praise the dark.

On the Last Day of the World

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer writes a poem every day (https://ahundredfallingveils.com/), so it’s hard to choose just one or two but this one invited itself here today. The quote from WS Merwin has stayed with me since I first read it – such a generative intention, full of hope for the future. On the last day of the world, how startling to contemplate – what would you do?

In this poem, she offers us raspberries, apple slices, peaches so ripe they drip down our chins. She wants to plant a tree, climb one, sit with you beneath a tree. She wants to meet you just as she is, to shed every layer of should (shedding shoulds – yes!). With only hours left, what if we put down our arguments with ourselves / and each other. What if we let go of all that and just sat quietly with ourselves, exactly as we are.

She invites us to write that last poem together, let it teach us how to get out of the way, how to follow the wisdom that emerges when we let go of the ‘shoulds’. Then we could run outside even in the rain, especially in the rain, and praise / the light til the light is gone. That’s the easy part. Then praise the dark, because both are necessary, both worthy of our appreciation.

Think about this: what might you do on the last day of the world if it could be anything?

The Most Important Thing by Julia Fehrenbacher

​I am making a home inside myself. A shelter

of kindness where everything
is forgiven, everything allowed—a quiet patch

of sunlight to stretch out without hurry,

where all that has been banished

and buried is welcomed, spoken, listened to—released.

A fiercely friendly place I can claim as my very own.

I am throwing arms open
to the whole of myself—especially the fearful,

fault-finding, falling apart, unfinished parts, knowing

every seed and weed, every drop
of rain, has made the soil richer.

I will light a candle, pour a hot cup of tea, gather

around the warmth of my own blazing fire. I will howl

if I want to, knowing this flame can burn through
any perceived problem, any prescribed perfectionism,

any lying limitation, every heavy thing.

I am making a home inside myself
where grace blooms in grand and glorious

abundance, a shelter of kindness that grows

all the truest things.

I whisper hallelujah to the friendly
sky. Watch now as I burst into blossom.

The Most Important Thing

Just reading the title of this poem, right away, I needed to hear what the poet names as the most important thing. Fehrenbacher writes of making a home inside herself – a shelter of kindness…a quiet patch / of sunlight to stretch out without hurry – can you already feel the invitation of such a home, a fiercely friendly place of your own.

She invites opening to it all, especially the fearful, / the fault-finding, falling apart, unfinished parts – anything you recognize here? I certainly do. She lights a candle for the flame to burn through any perceived problem, any prescribed perfectionism, / any lying limitation, every heavy thing. That seems to cover most, if not all, of what may hold us back from being fully present to life’s joys.

She ends with returning to the imagery of making a home inside herself, where grace blooms in grand and glorious / abundance. Is this not what we each long to create, that compassion for ourselves that allows mistakes, offers forgiveness, kindness? Could it be that such a home is available to each of us when we open the door?

Those last two lines catch my breath. To whisper hallelujah as I burst into blossom. Such an extraordinary image, but more than that, I can feel it in my body, a fiercely friendly place.