Sunrise on a Flat Arafura Sea

Keep on beginning.
Nibble on everything. Take a hike.
Teach yourself to whistle. Lie.
The older you get the more they’ll want your stories.
Make them up.
Talk to stones.
Short-out electric fences.
Swim with the sea turtle into the moon.

Learn how to die.
Eat moonshine pie.
Drink wild geranium tea.
Run naked in the rain.
Everything that happens will happen
and none of us will be safe from it.

Pull up anchors.
Sit close to the god of night.
Lie still in a stream and breathe water.
Climb to the top of the highest tree
until you come to the branch
where the blue heron sleeps.

Eat poems for breakfast.
Wear them on your forehead.
Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder.
Measure the color of days around your mother’s death.
Put your hands over your face
and listen to what they tell you.”

—Ellen Kort

Note: I know this poem by heart. I read it at my best friend’s funeral, 17 years ago, and it continues to inspire me nearly every day. Eyes on the present moment, friends…it’s the only thing you really have.


12 thoughts on “Begin.

  1. I absolutely love this poem. I try to begin each day with a new beginning…I talk to stones and listen to the trees, I have walked naked through a forest (once when I was eight months pregnant–my son is an avid hiker-I wonder if that had anything to do with it.) I’ve danced in the rain more times than I can count. I watch seeds sprout and really listen to the ocean waves crashing against the cliffs at night when I’m just between memories and dreams. I love this time of year. Christmas always seems like a time of new beginnings.

    Me ‘oe ka maluhia ame ka hau’oli i keia wa kamaha’o– May you have peace and joy during this wondrous time.


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