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Empty Spaces

coffee_cup_empty_by_frogg_s.jpgInstead of crosses on gold chains
we should wear tiny caves,
small hollows against our chests.
The empty space for the womb after
Mary delivered the child.
The hollow chamber for the stable after
it hosted the birth.
The spacious sepulchral of the tomb after
the women arrived at dawn.

Michelle M. Hargrave, 2005

This poem comes from my friend and colleague, Michelle Hargrave, who exercises the spiritual discipline of writing a new Christmas poem every year.

I love this poem because while culture seems to celebrate this time of year with abundance and fullness it speaks to the empty spaces and the place for mystery and absence. These are places of use, as Lao Tzu said in the Tao Te Ching:

The thirty spokes unite in the one center; but it is on the empty space for the axle that the use of the wheel depends. Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness that their use depends. The door and windows are cut out from the walls to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space that its use depends. Therefore, whatever has being is profitable, but what does not have being can be put to use.


"I've brought you a present, Eeyore. It's a useful pot, for putting things in."

Well Lawrence, lovely job with my poem. Thank you!

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