(This prompt is a line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “Toad.”)

This cup we call life

Runneth over



Is madeth of paper, becomes soggy, disintegrates.

Is echoey tin: a jailhouse vessel, our distorted reflection in its hammered side.

This cup we call life, full of stagnant or trembling or ever-replenished us-ness.

My cup is still. It’s almost empty, which is not to say I am near to death (not as far as I know anyway; not as far as anyone has told me).

It is that right now I need no more than this portion, this sip, the abundance of nourishment contained within.

I feel done with topping off for the sake of not running out. A frantic, futile pour-through of life force – the cup emptying from the bottom while being endlessly, needlessly filled from above.

This cup we call life

Is a crystal goblet




And it is in and with this I rest. Cupping the cup in my sated palms.

Glancing up and over its rim, I see

The full court of my beloveds.The abundance of the feast before us.

There is still plenty in this dwindling world.In fact—The harder you try, the faster it dwindles.If you sit back, take it in through the awe-struck jewels of your eyes

It will multiply.


No matter how close you are to death or any other big change,No matter how full it seems your cup needs to be to face whatever lies around the bend in the road,Sip lightly and knowYou will be sustained.

For you are made of space and probability

And the probability is

You will


Again and again

Emerging into a new life, a new cup

That will runneth over

Or spilleth,

Or leaketh,

And you will learn the lessons both anew

And all over again


And with a minute left

I spill back to earth—My half-full teacup. The feast of lovingly procured noshes before me.

And the friends of my soul

In their own beautiful cups—

And I know without a doubt that, to deserve this,

I have done