Are You Close or Far, Far Away?

Are You Close or Far Away?
I’ve never mentioned your name to friends—
I’ve never said I love you but it’s not because I hate you.
It’s just that it takes time to get used to you,
To be honest, already you’re there inside my dreams.

Surely you know if you were here
There’d be no empty space between…..
I suppose I started to think about you
When I was maybe about fourteen.

But then for years you faded from sight.
Perhaps I tried to cross you out,
Like a line of writing I wanted to erase
Completely, lost as I was in the dark.

Though for years I’d forgotten you,
Somehow you finally found me again.
Do you think I owe you an apology?
I can’t decide when I’m all mixed up.

How can you be so close
Yet still be so far, far away from me?
Will we ever be able to watch
Sunrise and sunset at the same time?

It’s hard to go to sleep without you…..
Please explain how someone so far away
Can both touch my heart yet cause me pain?
Please God, just tell me what you’re trying to do.

With You, I’m Trying to Find My Way

Trying to Find My Way

Sometimes when it’s raining hard at night,
Cold wind swirling leaves upon the yard,
I think I hear you out there
Walking on the path.

I run outside and shine a light,
But dark has swallowed you.
Though I search until I’m soaked,
I only find where you are not.

Should I place a candle in the window,
Just in case you come again—
Leave the door unlocked,
Towel for you to dry yourself?

With you, I’m trying to find my way.
You are the one who lights my days.
In empty rooms, I find you everywhere.
With each prayer, you are closer than my words.

The only thing I ask of you—-
Lighten my darkness where I dwell.
Tend my pain and soothe me.
Hold me at morning with your love.

Before Morning Comes

Before Morning Comes

Living alone, there’s not much to keep me awake,

Sleeping with only moonlight

Shining on my grandmother’s antique quilt.

I hear Spirit dog’s quiet breathing,

Unless she has disturbing dreams.

True, there are occasions when sounds of distant train

Whistles through windows facing east,

Or house creaks against the wind,

Branches fall upon the roof in storms….

Disrupt my peaceful sleep.

There are times I leave my bed

Cold moonlight still dominant

As it rests quivering over hills beyond the lake.

Do you love your life, even when

Restless spirits visit in the night?

Can you sense a space withdrawing….

Opening, watching through the night

Perhaps four feet above your sleep?

Voices whisper, singing of the evening—

Hymns of love transforming fear to deeper peace.

Sometimes I wake crying as a child,

Uneasy with desire, reaching out to touch,

Wanting every question answered

As though the sky at night could hold

Such bright affirmations before the morning comes.

Do I Love or Let Go?

Do I Love or Let GoThe heat of summer’s gone now—
Whatever voice of thunder comes
Trembles in a stirring heart,
Dwells deeper as light grows weaker.

Water of the lake turns colder by the day,
Waits like liquid mercury in early morning mist,
Stone grey ripples on its surface,
Whatever life it harbors hidden until spring.

Flocks of birds are flying south.
Before dawn, I hear them crying as they take flight
Toward some silent quiet space beyond my sight.
I feel cold tears run down my face.

Do I hold on to love of flowers even as the summer dies?
Or do I learn to let go, surrender as falling leaves
To inevitable white death of winter,
Or do as friends now do— flee south along with birds?

Watching Drops of Rain Fall Upon the Lake

Watching Rain on LakeAs raindrops strike the water’s surface
I sit and watch the lake,
Thousands of circles appear,
Expand, dissolve and disappear—
Almost as thoughts appear within my head,
Hold my attention and then let go.

Now strange clouds mix—
Light of thought, heavy body’s memory
Descend upon the roof of house, trickle down,
Form streams that flow into gutters,
Fall as drops from leaves on trees,
Pool as puddles on the sidewalk.
This is the world. This is Life.
This is glory that I watch.

At my age, more of life is memory
As hands of time advance upon the stage,
Voices of the dead who once breathed,
Rested beside me on the bed or sat at table,
Walked in sunny afternoons upon the trails.
Impossible to hold these memories
Without pleasant happiness passing through,
Dropping into consciousness
Just as do the drops of rain upon the lake.

Call It a Miracle or Call It the World

Call It a MiracleYou do not have to leave your room.
It makes no difference if you get up from bed
Or write at your desk or eat at your table.

It matters not if you wait or silently listen.
If you wish, do not listen—I don’t care if you go for a walk,
Whether bare feet on the beach or city or park.

Lavishly, the world offers itself to you,
Touches your heart in ways both gentle and deep,
Impales itself hidden in thoughts and low vision.

It may roil in waves in your dreams at late night—
Lick your feet in cool rapture or heat;
Cradle your head in daylight or far out of sight….

Sooner or later in body and soul
Divinity at One with the world
Reveals pure Light, unmasked and whole.

Your glimmering of light, no matter how blurred
Will blaze into fire— it has no other choice,
Sooner or later sweeps everything up.

Call it a miracle or call it the world,
Steep slide begins in clean empty air,
Vanquishes darkness with whisper of Light.

Brushing Out Tangles of Shadows

Brushing out Shadows

In Memory of Helen Gibler Howitt

Wherever I walk
Intricate pattern of shadows
Under my feet or cast upon stone wall
From morning to night
Light seems white as cream,
Heavy and warm from the cow.

As I quiet inner voices
Whispers cross in my head,
Like braids of grandmother’s hair,
Entwined in memories by love.
Quietly I sat at her feet
She read stories out loud
From books with blank pages.

Long, thick auburn hair
Falling lower than waist as she
Loosened her tresses,
Spent what seemed like an hour
Brushing out tangles.

She accomplished her wish
To save my mother from learning
How to wring a chicken’s neck,
Boiling, plucking, dressing the bird—
But God… I miss her fried chicken.

Even after birds have fled into night
Smells nest in my house— chicken gravy,
Mashed potatoes, cornbread and molasses,
Grace always said at the table.
Now she sleeps under stone.

For years I swallowed my tears,
Forgot how to mourn or sing,
Wishbone stuck in my throat.
Finally at sunset, I watch last rays of light
Seeking radiant air in wake of the storm
Whispers of angels hovering,
Hiding in wrinkles of time.