YOUR TIME- Poem from the Book “A Summer of Quinceañeras” by John Cowley

“This glorious book of poems celebrates moments when we come of age.  Moments when our hopes, dreams and intentions converge with our ordinary life. These magical meetings open doors to a greater discovery of the beauty and joy of who we are.

Family, friends a community of loving spirits bring a girl turning 15 to her Quinceañera, and she emerges to be counted among women.

The sky shimmers with excitement, even as her vulnerability is both cloaked and revealed in her stunning gown. A once in a life time event.

If we are faithful  to the arc of our awakenings, surrendering to all the seasons of our growth, in time, we find a celebration. In these moments, earth breathes a sigh. Nightingales sing out. Loved ones who know give a cheer!”

Time again

Loved ones tug on carillon ropes,

celebrate the day earth

has whirled another sun’s worth.

They think the party-hour is set

in stone, in calendars,

in their helpful reminders.

But only you know the downstroke,

the first beat of butterfly wings.

Only you notice when silver crescent in late spring

tips, releasing moon nectar,

to gather on forest canopy,

to coax the patient mist of waiting,

to draw together, to merge a drop –

a drop that rolls off leaf,

to kiss the forest floor,

to birth a tiny rivulet,

now filling a brook.

Only you know when this

life gift moves along

to nourish necessities downstream,

to inhabit worlds apace,

to buoy a ship, to fill an ocean.


there’s more to this anniversary than a simple solar return.

That careful coif is your mainsail,

trimmed on a course set long ago.

It barely hides your playful abandon…

and now a change of wind is blowing it loose.

Don’t worry,

your cool grey-blue eyes

are ready for human plans and contingencies.

Yet a blazing fire behind them

is ready more to gaze upon what

wind, tides and waves will bring.

You’ve mastered imperatives

of charts, orders, emergencies

and endless trade routes.

Now you sense a new current.

Won’t matter if it’s cloudy or clear.

Your constellations are as true,

glimpsed among folds of your oilcloth slicker,

as it strands of dewdrops on your private garden,

as in magic lanterns, hung against a clear Southern sky.

Let your crew celebrate you on the hour they mark.

But by all means, choose your time.

Look within.

A hidden sextant reveals your sacred geometry.

Set your own course.

This one is yours.


Your Hada Madrina

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