Poem: Gemseed by Mark Nepo

Poem: Gemseed by Mark Nepo

From our poet of the month: Mark Nepo


“Loving yourself is like / feeding a clear bird / no one else can see.”


Loving yourself is like
feeding a clear bird
no one else can see.

You must be still and offer
your palmful of secrets
like delicate seed.

As she eats your secrets
no longer secret
she glows
and you lighten
and her voice
which only you can hear
is your voice
bereft of plans.

And the light
through her body
will bathe you
till you wonder
why the gems in your palm
were ever fisted.

Others will think you crazed
to wait on something
no one sees.

But the clear bird
only wants to feed
and fly and sing.

She only wants
light in her belly.

And once in a great while
if someone loves you enough
they might see her rise
from the nest
beneath your fear.

Excerpted from The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting by Mark Nepo, published by Sounds True, November 2016.

Listen to Nepo read "Gemseed":

Mark Nepo shared his insight with S&H:

Under all our plans and goals and secret desires, the heart only wants to inhabit its aliveness. This is the seed of our deeper self. And whether we get what we want or not, the life-force within us only wants to stream from Source to mouth, the way a river doesn’t really care where it goes or how long it takes for its water to get where it’s going. 

Likewise, the deeper self only wants light in its belly and it will wait for us to exhaust ourselves of all our blueprints and designs. It will wait for us to simply feed it our love. 

One of the things that poetry—the unexpected utterance of the soul—has taught me is that the aliveness that lives below all names waits for us to say yes to life. This feeding of love to what lives within us is how we love ourselves. It’s what leads to us to our worth.

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