my heart is filled with tenderness
great sadness and still waters


these are the lions that inspire fearlessness
wealth of spirit
open hands

at first glance we see the sharp teeth
potential scars from retracted claws
remember old cuts now healed or still scabby

upon gazing
we may see the softness of fur
fierceness of clear eyes
wisdom and great strength

if we allow ourselves to sit near
we can sense the tremble of sinew beneath skin
heat of breath
lightness under each paw

when we reach out and feel
there is always the possibility of a sharp swipe returned
but also still possible the genuine softness that yields and purrs


the greatest tenderness of touching that which might slice open or surround me
or that which may simply lie in repose
leaves me open-handed and paused
waiting, feeling with each nerve ending the possibilities

and i am moved to be fearless
not shying from abundance
not running from emptiness
abiding in the great sadness
and the still waters of this very heart
seeping from eyes that can unclose