High in the mountains,
In a hidden place where most travelers
Never enter, content as they are to stay
Within the temperate valleys, passing
The long day’s loves in admired,
Mirrored sweetness of the self…
But high in the extremes of cold,
Sits an old hermit,
Tucked away like fragile china, distant
From any zoning laws that govern
Building of houses, septic systems,
Signage that announces watches,
Highways, churches, schools of any kind.
He observes the antique ways of greed,
Intolerance, hatred, and the abundance of
Nightcrawlers that enter every yearning
Pore, illusions of power, the crowds that honor
Marble statues slowly crumbling to dust.
Far below, thunder rolls along the valleys, birds
Converse on branches, as tedium creeps
Like kudzu into the veins of the heart.
Only rarely does some son or daughter
Wander through the timothy,
Beyond the hillside meadows where
Cows graze in afternoon or wolves howl at full moon.
Most turn back when strength gives out,
Imagine landscaped streets in dreams at night.
They almost never make it all the way to where I live.
I breathe the silence of the moon, the low
Pale light, the secrecy of shadow when rain
Falls across the face of land, beneath
An empty sea of stars, miles past the last bridge,
Past the last road where wheels rut in mud,
Compelling Earth to fold upon its knees in lust.
I bathe in naked twilight of the stars, open to the elements
Curving westward, dancing sonnets
In a place without slightest path or street.
No longer do I expect pardon; no longer
Do I weed a garden; no longer do I hear the cry of
War nor bless society in white dress.
Returning from a walk, I drink new wine, the bleeding
Heart, meditate upon the core in scrupulous detail,
Hear the singularity of music drifting, sifting, swelling.
I am lost, and at peace, my hair grown long.
My beard falls upon the plate of bread, communing,
Watching, waiting, devoted to the coming,
Ending of the beginning of a broken Eden.
Any prayer that rises, any chant or litany lies
Confounded, swallowed in the silent mystery
Of the one true word, never spoken.
In sleep, my pillow is a stone of impenetrable
Sorrow that swims beneath the surface of
Stormy sea, a porpoise breaking water, dreams
Gliding into waves, caves, far past distant drumming of
Driven creatures owned, used, pierced for gain.
No one dares go near me, even I quiver
When brightness falls from air, metabolizes on
Mornings blind with joy, the loud flight of birds
Flying overhead against white clouds. Each day
I push death away, the glittering scales of gold,
The bitterness of an executioner’s sight, aware…
Simply aware, and tremble at the glory.