After Ada Limon’s “Instructions for Not Giving Up” by Kate Marshall Flaherty

Poem title: After Ada Limon’s “Instructions for Not Giving Up”
Poet name: Kate Marshall Flaherty
Poem: Take just one small maple nose—off your car even,
where the wipers smear it into yellow streaks.
Don’t curse its sisters for their mess, don’t sweep 
them violently from the cement path, or rake them 
with rage from the front grass. No, pick just one

green piece from the path, tenderly, as if picking up
a baby bird, a piece of beach glass, a gemstone
clapped free from its engagement ring. Pick it up with
both fingers and place it gingerly 
in the palm. Look at it as if

it wasn’t the mess it makes, or the work it wields,
and rather reflect on how alike 
it is—witness and witness-er, 
green thing and greenhorn—see 
if you can leave behind the chores in your head
that mark your messy relationship; see
if you can consider its seed like 
a new thought that will turn work to wonder, 
tomorrow’s task to today’s green buds of now.
End of poem. 
Credits and bio: Copyright © Kate Marshall Flaherty
Previously published in Digging (Aeolus House, 2022).
Kate just celebrated the launch of her latest poetry book, Titch, Piquante Press, in May, and Digging, Aeolus House last year. She’s recently been published in the Literary Review of Canada, Trinity Review, Vallum, Untethered and others. She guides StillPoint Poetry Writing and Editing Circles live and online, and writes spontaneous p.o.e.m.s (poems of the extraordinary moment) for charity and fun.