meditations on the qualities – poems

A series of poems inspired by J. Ruth Gendler’s The Book of Qualities:


Love drinks rose tea and likes to keep rose quartz crystals on her windowsill. She always has fresh cut flowers in vases and pays a lot of attention to the details. She makes her bed most days except when she’s been out late at night and gets caught up in other things. She smiles at everyone, even strangers on the street. People sometimes get scared of her and don’t want to approach her. They think she’s too good for them, but she’s really warm and kind and will always say hello – first with her smile and then with her eyes.



Serenity feels like warm sun on your back and soft sand squished beneath your feet. She’s quiet and loves to observe the world around her. She has everything she could ever want or need. Sometimes she’s is a still lake and sometimes she’s a rumbling ocean. It doesn’t matter much to her, she often surprises you by showing up in the most unexpected of places.



Anger drinks too much coffee and wears a red trench coat just to look powerful. He wants you to think he’s made of fire because he wants you to be intimidated by him, but the truth is, he’s just scared of water. He drives a red mercedes and revs up the engine too loud just for you to notice him. All he really wants to do is to be noticed. He just wants you to see him.



Creativity wears brightly colored scarves and big dangly earrings. She has mood rings on each of her fingers. She likes to dance at midnight and wake up at dawn to watch the sunrise. You may think you’ll meet her when the light strikes just right, the tea is brewed to the perfect temperature, and the kids are perfectly asleep, but she reveals herself through calm and chaos. Look for her underneath piles of old photos and the box you left in the attic years ago. She sings to herself, humming made up tunes and likes to go surfing even though she’s not very good at it. 



Insecurity looks in the mirror 100 times a day. She’s always tugging at her sweatshirt and crossing her arms. When she goes to hot yoga, she stands in the back. As a teenager, she read a lot of magazines. Nowadays, she follows a lot of social media accounts. She made a vision board because she saw someone else doing it, but she doesn’t really get the point. She talks a lot when she’s nervous and asks a lot of questions, but feels self conscious about it. She is begging for you to look at her and wears sparkly eyeshadow so maybe you’d notice, but if you point it out she’ll blush and cast her eyes down and want to disappear on the spot.



Pleasure dances naked in the mirror and eats a decadent bar of dark chocolate with raspberries and never feels guilty. She caresses her thighs with feather light touches and loves white sheets and books and hot cups of tea and diving into a crystal clear pool on a hot day. She doesn’t wear clothes when she doesn’t want to, but if she does, she adorns herself with crystals and jewels and seashells. She takes the scenic route and is never early or late, but always arrives right on time. She takes herself out to dinner with a glass of red wine and always dessert after. She breathes in love and exhales relaxation. She moans with delight on a wind breeze, a coconut, a lacy skirt, a set of pink lips. She can spend the whole day lying in the sun, luxuriating. She takes baths in moonlight and knows the meaning of full presence. 

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