Crossing the Boundary

river inside river

Have you found the river inside the river,
Crossed the boundary back and forth,
Waded in cold current flowing, pulling,
Sensing deeper experience of life?

Do you claim the freedom that slowly comes
When you defy what you’ve been told—
Defied what others say is God’s “no”,
Learned how to say “Yes” to the entire whole?

Have you suffered enough loneliness
To marry—found new place to live—
Weaved together new cloth from many threads,
Discovered new world inside old world?

If so, I hope you’ve learned to soar, to swim,
Learned where shimmering riptides lurk,
Absorbed new challenge so immense you wonder;
Unearthed new depth; reclaimed new birth from grief.

I Want To Be a Saint

Saint

Today I sat with a man who wept
Speaking of his wife’s abuse by her father.
My own memories flooded back— blood running down legs
When at age six my father beat me.

I want to be a saint—
Perform at least two miracles,
Kneeling, candles in hands,
Heavy cross around my neck…..

First, praying at my mother’s grave
Hoping to teach her how to love….
Then crawl three feet to my dead father’s place —
Exorcize what anger still lingers.

Perhaps my prayers will scorch
Their bones—but already
Fire of cremation has accomplished
More than a son’s burning dreams.

Are their ghosts now hearing my words?
Do they pass their hours in darkness
Deep underground each night
Finally listening to each other?

Do they mourn what was lost
That sleeps even now in my heart?
If so, let them come back to beg
Forgiveness for my sister’s festering sorrow.

What is not wholly owned
Inevitably is suffered by others.
What words do I say to dispel restless screams,
Heal wounds so to not pass on the pain?

Stone Speaks But Only to You

Cave

You may need

To sit here alone,

Surrounded by stone—

In the cave you’ve finally discovered,

Entrance narrow and hidden.

Listening in silence for hours—

 

Only then, perhaps you’ll hear

Stone call out your secret name.

Quiet the mind

Until you know you’re fully alive,

Calm instant being that breathes deep inside

Touches cold stone and senses the heat.

Go deep into the dark interior,

Feeling your way with your hands.

 

Do you know who you are?

Do you sense where you’re evolving—

Unthinkable thoughts reflected here

On rough walls of cave you have created.

Whatever images are here

Burn into flesh—

Carry you deep into Earth.

Listen to all that burns.

Hear the cry— necessary pain you’ve denied,

Yet preserved living alone all these years.

 

The pain is you and ancient stone is you—

Never letting go, conserving, protective,

Waiting for you to finally awaken.

Though the flames burn

They do not consume

But illuminate within the dark precisely

Why you are here, what you must absorb, learn

Here in obscure places, inside what you pretend

Is not here. No wonder

You are slow to surrender

To what is Unknown.

Take your time if you must.

It is eternally patient,

Waiting a long, long time

Here in the dark where even the silence

Is alive and on fire.

I Cannot Find the Words to Pray

994824_546596072067131_583068817_n

O God, at times I do not know how to pray—

Only thankful that as I sleep I dream…

Not one dream but many, beyond reach of memory,

Always flowing uncontrolled as a stream

Winding down to the lake, meandering,

Splashing unbridled over stones,

Sparkling in sunlight of a brilliant afternoon.

 

Have mercy upon me as I stand here

Naked before your divine Presence.

I sense no judgment in your clear eyes.

You are as a lover who sees my wholeness—

Blemishes, warts and wrinkled flesh,

Tears of sorrow from years of pain….

Heart with wounds of disappointment

In myself and all the world

For immense and tragic waste of Love.

 

Forgive what I cannot forgive.

Love completely where my love fails.

Receive with tender mercy

All who, like me, cannot find words

Even to pray in trust or speak your Name.

Bless this world with soft touch of grace,

That we might know you are with us

Though journey be long and dark.

 

Do not demand great changes of us

But perfectly accept our imperfections,

Knowing as you do our every thought.

Teach us how to fall in Love—

Use us to allow that Love to flow to the world

Just as you shower us with your Blessing

Every morning, and at noon and each night.

On Hearing Sound of Starlight

StarlightNight after night when sky is clear
I sit within the dark and contemplate the stars—
Wonder at the speed their light
Reaches out a thousand years to find me
Receptive and alone.

Once, but only once so many years ago,
I heard starlight’s extraordinary sound—
Both singular and in glorious chords.
Galaxies whispered as they touched my face…
Delicate vibration, tender and yet strong.

Was I wrong to sense compassion
Woven tightly into song?
Music seemed to travel without loss—
Economy of grief as stars give themselves away before they die.
There were no words, no conversation.

Wide hemisphere of stars often shines above my head,
Sometimes I pause to listen—
Hopeful silence in my head.
Yet only once did I hear soft sound that starlight makes.
Content, I live my days— for once was perhaps enough.

Was I mad that night so many years ago?
Was there ethereal song close within the air?
Some nights I sit in quiet contemplation,
Grateful for the Mystery that I heard—-
Remembered and left within my care.

Dear reader—have you heard this starlight sound?
If so, reach out for now I seem alone.
And if not, think not it comes by act of will or concentration.
Desire will not allow nor great intellect permit
Awareness of such delicate sound, this Voice of Starlight.

Yet I sense it is there within the air– surrounds us—
Constant pulse in day and night, feeble yet alert.,
Strangely eerie and yet mellow in its reach.
On clear warm night, stand alone and listen—
Subtract all noise and let starlight just once be heard.

My Heart is Warmer Now

Warm HeartMore than 25 clots have left my legs
Travelled through chambers of my heart
Now find a home in lungs.
I should be dead—
Or so the doctor said.
But doctors have not last word….

I merely live each day breathing
In arteries of the air I cannot see,
Still very much alive in cold world
With heart more warm
For brush with darkness that I’ve seen.
Each day more lessons learned on curving road….

Simone Weil thought affliction a gift—
World becomes more abundant
In severest light. And I agree….
I’ve learned you cannot walk toward heaven—
Not a single step though desire be strong.
You have to wait to be gathered.

Best to live with hope while wanting nothing—
Forgiving all to walk more lightly….
Pause from time to time each day, breathe deeply
And through each breath to pray
From deepest soul in highest form:
Thank you; Thank you; Thank you.

Draw Closer to the Fire

Moroccan desertBush burns but is not consumed—
Captivates both ego and the eye,
Draws the watcher nigh….

Become the fire.
Breathe deep the acrid smoke
Until it burns the lungs,
The very flesh seared by passion.

Do not walk away
In search for water’s cool
Ability to quench the thirst.
Stand close to intensify desire
Longing to be exquisitely alive….

Soon the day will come—
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
But as for now remove your shoes
Dance closer to the Light….
Burn away whatever holds you back—
Never merely watch in safety as you pray.