Night 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.
More 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.
Bush 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.
What Have We Learned in a Hundred Years?
From the distance of a hundred years
You see how time slowly erodes stone—
No matter how elegant the rows
That hold their dead in grave silence.
Eight million lost their lives in the Great War
That started on this day a hundred years ago….
Archduke murdered in Sarajevo was the match
But muddied killing grounds were waiting.
For the first time in history, ordinary soldiers
Identified by name were buried alongside officers—
Equality of death finally found in death.
But what else did we learn?
We learned how to manufacture chemical weapons,
Tanks and airborne bombing— found more
Efficient ways of killing an entire generation.
Now the last soldier is dead—let us still pray.
Kings, kaisers, czars and sultans lost their power.
Empires crumbled along with decency and common sense.
Incompetent generals were cold to human sacrifice,
Losing lives of thousands for a few feet of no-man’s land.
Do you see long shadow cast across the world
As inheritance that led to other wars and wars and wars?
“In Flanders fields, the poppies blow,
between the crosses row on row…..
Those unnamed that once lived and then were lost—
Their places on this Earth are ours today.
For a time they were as real as we
And tomorrow we shall be but shadows as they are today.
I cannot say with certainty
How often it’s happened before.
I suspect more often than we suspect
Though we may never know.
But surely it had to happen before—
And without doubt will happen again.
I believe it started so long ago
That years of forgotten history passed—
Far in the past and later it happened again,
Closer but still ages ago
That we’ll never remember their names.
It happened early one morning
While most were still asleep.
It happened midday when the Sun
Cast no shadow under feet.
One year it happen when there was snow
Falling fast from dark sky one night,
Wind swirling around the tents.
Whether it ever happened to you I cannot say.
I know from the hole in my heart that
It’s happened to me more often
Than I care to remember or admit to myself.
Maybe it missed you by half an inch
Or were not standing where you were seen that day
Or slept too late in bed. Perhaps it was luck—
If you believe in such thing as luck.
Perhaps it was fate; perhaps it was prayer.
If you consider each time you had close shave
Or escaped through a hole in the net
Or maybe you had hid in dark cave….
But you were saved— not alone
Because others were there on the right,
On the left, before and behind.
I sit here wondering about you,
About me…. About how many times
We might have been together
Before we got lost. Sometimes at night
I seem to hear your heartbeat
And I lie speechless in the dark
Wondering and wondering.
On my body; inside my heart—
There are secret places
Where no one has ever touched,
Never seen the wounds and scars….
Places where words only interfere,
Sad corners where only sighs and whispers make sense.
Touch me in the early morning light
When night still clings to flesh…
Touch me at midday when confusion
Crowds upon my mind….
Slowly seeps into hollow of the bones.
Touch me again at twilight
As I commence to know again
Who I truly am— in evening
When I finally begin to see and hear you.
Touch me always as a child will touch,
Who never has enough of love.
Pick me up and then lose me
Right there within your arms
Where finally I know where I belong.
I have known sufficient pain and loss
To know how precious love can be.
If ever I am lost again, let it be within your arms.
Touch me in crowds, when a single look
Says everything I need to know…..
Touch me in solitude or when I rest in sleep,
In absence of clear thought when I need to reach for you
Is strong through time and miles and dreamy space.
Touch me when I ask; touch me when I don’t ask.
Touch me when I’m afraid to ask or hesitant to speak a word.
Touch me with your lips, your hands, your heart,
Your very presence and breath that fills the room.
Touch me in the stillness of the quiet hour
Where always I am searching for your eyes.
Touch me on jagged edge and in my tranquil center.
Touch me where I am strong enough to give,
Return your tender love and know our hearts as One.
For years I mistook my little raft
As being best and most important boat
In entire ocean….
I worshipped this raft above all others.
It took me years to turn attention to wide ocean,
Shore, and the wind and the ride
And the air I breathe each day.
Now I enjoy beauty of Sun and Moon
Rather than wish to argue about
Whose finger points most accurately
Toward whatever Light shines down.
I live my days with larger
Awareness of infinity and spaciousness—
No longer simply “out there” but
Also found “in here”.
There is no solid boundary
Between outer and inner— all is One.
I trust more fully my own inner experience
Because the Universe and God
Have allowed me sight,
Sought and found me,
Continually refine me within daily fire
Toward a greater and larger Good.