If A Poem Is To Have Life…

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If a poem is to have a life of its own
It must first be read, words traveling
From page to the eye or ear,
Flowing into the synapses
As water becomes white in a stream…

Picking up speed as it swims over rocks,
Slows when it enters wider river,
Meanders through thousands of meanings,
Memories stirred into life until finally
It settles into the silt and fabric of life.

A successful poem unlocks a door,
Many doors of adjoining rooms,
Descends the staircase until
Reaching the ground and walks
Outdoors into full light of day….

Or darkness of night
Where there is nothing to fear,
As words burn into consciousness,
Illuminate a space you never knew before.
Listen, as poem speaks its mind….

If a poem is successful, its words
Always carry a truth.
Truth, in turn, gives birth to life,
As rapids brings light to
What had previously been hidden.

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Accept It as the Spirit Wind

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I love late afternoon,
Light slowly fading,
Especially in winter cold,
Clouds above still holding snow.

Can you feel dark peace…
Slowly making its presence known,
As wind is no longer warmed by Sun,
Released as a gift from waiting.

My face burns, my fingers and toes
Are turning numb.
There’s no need to worry.
I’ll soon be heading Home.

It brings my heart to elation,
To grasp fuller awareness—
Coldly realizing this time/place
Of lovely meaningless grace.

As flakes of snow begin to fall,
Inevitably they do, the silence
Brings me into nameless space—
White, wild, indivisible.

When it comes to you, do not run away.
Accept it as the Spirit Wind,
Blowing where it wills—where out of emptiness,
You hear the whispered Voice of God.

Awakened to My Natural State

Thin Blue Air
This morning I watched birds
Soar high above blue sky,
Loud calls raining down to Earth.
I heard, but felt no need to answer.

Watching them ascend above white clouds
Took me to thin place, awakened to my natural state,
Flying without words to guide uprising flight.
Gliding among currents, circling high and deep…

All memories left behind, all titles lost,
Forgot I had a name, abstained from worries,
Cares, needed no consolation, just simply present.
The veil briefly parted.

For a moment, I lived within the Light.
No waiting room– no windows, walls or doors.
Meandering into empty space, a wide expanse,
It seemed my time and knowledge was complete.

There was no need to get through to God—
For God was within, above, behind.
Cloudless blue permeates the thinnest air. I flew,
Fingers tracing crack found in all material things.

It did not matter. For once, I stood outside
Thin places, my need to breathe my only bond
Holding me to Earth, living without doubt,
Rising, absorbed in fullness of loving Light.

Triptych of Saints

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There are three saints: Jerome, always in red
Occupies the middle, with humble Francis
Positioned on the left and Anthony on the right.

Triptych of saints together,
Yet each has his own story—
They did not know each other.

Paint, once wet, transformed as it dried,
Became a different color, now chipped
Over seven hundred years.

It’s a miracle it survived at all,
Gold intact, halos remaining straight,
Each panel tells a story of a life.

But there were once mothers standing next to them,
Fed them, rubbed their shoulders when they couldn’t sleep.
How many friends wished them safety on their journeys?

Now they stand alone, framed against blank walls.
They stare into empty space, ignorant of gold frame
Now holding them almost as One.

But the Holy mystery is what we cannot see—
Unrecorded dead now a revelation,
Most profound because there are no names.

With mystery, you cross a line so finely drawn

On the other side of death, nothing can be said.

A Carousel of Color

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Slowly the peacock strutted,

Brilliant colors shining in afternoon Sun.

All eyes of both adults and children

Rested upon this Beauty.

 

He knew, had to know.

Eyes steadily moved left and right,

Never pausing as he walked—

Until someone threw a crumb.

 

Laying upon my lounge by the pool,

His majesty came within two feet,

Paused and looked at me

As though to say:  “You poor fool!”

 

I have no words to name

All the iridescent colors.

When he sang, he made ten trumpets

Sound so very bland.

 

Wherever he paraded at the pool,

He seemed to bestow a sense of purpose—

Healed and soothed all ruffled human spirits…

Carousel of color in the brilliant light.

The Space That Keeps Me Here

 

thFortunately, our words

Have no fixed meaning—

At best they allude, point to

Uncertain directions where sky

Covered in clouds of precise color

No one has ever seen before.

 

Where I was born, all of the streets

Evolved, ended up as fields of corn,

Wheat, alfalfa intensely green,

So smooth you could ride a mare

At a cantor, a gallop that ran down

To a creek, always flowing….

 

Have you ever lived a day so full

That you forgot you had ever lived—

Other days so distant past,

You had to pause, look through

Windows of rooms of memories lost,

Like sitting in a graveyard late at night.

 

Years ago, I helped recover

Man who had drowned— so dead

He’d already forgotten he had ever lived.

And now I foolishly look for answers,

Like a wet leaf looking for a spark of hope.

There’s always a space that keeps me here.

 

This very moment is unprecedented.

When the child points to the bird flying high,

And the father says “that is a bird”….

The child will never see birds the same way again.

I yearn to sit in emptiness, where words do not intrude,

Until my soul is finally filled.

My Empty House is Discreetly Blessed

Sang to me in Rome

It makes little sense to me

To think of working toward happiness.

It comes and goes of its own accord,

Not to be forced, yet it grows—

Slowly, more often out of silence.

 

Roots of the old shag bark hickory

Just outside my windows

Send out tentacles.  No one has seen this.

But I know roots grow deeper in darkness.

Tall tree is fed, lifted higher as roots go deeper.

 

All creation is like this growing tree.

Beginning in silence; beginning inside the bark,

The work is slowly prepared, always out of sight.

Joy, for me, is different— a sudden surprise, freely given

As grace blows to waken, glittering in the sunlight.

 

But happiness is born of contentment and peace.

Perhaps like an old piece of furniture in the corner,

Polished and clean, it waits to be noticed.

Like old familiar gods, it cannot be banished.

It holds its place beside shelf of photographs and books.

 

My life, the very air within my lungs—

My empty house is discretely blessed.

No less are blessed the oak, elm and hickory,

Whether stripped of leaves in winter or

Green leaves that catch light in summer warmth.

 

Happiness is rooted here, gently folded among forgotten dreams.

As friends depart, close the door, joy leaves the house.

There remains an inward living presence….

I am reconciled in love to the silence of the house.

I’ve swept the lingering fear away from every room.

 

No sadness is permitted sway, but now the work begins

As happiness is born, rises out of silent mystery,

Warms itself before the fire of memory. 

No longer need I yearn for something unpossessed.

I am content, at peace, in living prayer and very happy.