A Poem: What takes our Breath

What-ever takes our breath
tends to give it back three fold.

What stops the heart,
the things that take us unaware,

which cause our breath to pause
and lungs to hurt;

these sudden things
which wake us from our slumber,

whether of the sublime
or painful kind;

they are the things we remember
for how they shock us in our trajectory,

to turn us by degrees
and orient us someplace else.

Yes, whatever takes us breath
tends to return it again;

like the heart that stops
to restart at medical intervention,

or the lump swallowed
when words are said and bombshells dropped;

or the grief that arrives
in the same instant beauty drops our defences,

knowing a life-time is lived,
between such moments.

Yes, whatever it is
that restarts the heart in its beating,

that causes our lungs to expand
and hold still for an infinite second;

they are the turns we make,
the petite morts,

or loss of consciousness
between one life and the next;

the little resurrections
to raise us up from our beds.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
April 2019


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