Though the gods would surely not despise
The offering, the prayer of one so simple,
Still I polish the marble, invoke the words
With proper gravity, like the athlete who trains
Each day, shapes his muscles as a work of art.
I am only an apprentice, the marble
Needs a finer hand than mine, the mallet, chisel
Held within the Sculptor’s hand
Slowly reveals the weighty secret, serpentine,
Taking form and shape, disclosed within
The veins, the inner core. Still
Unfinished, incomplete, not yet
Washed clean of dust and clay. I look for
Outline first in stars, then on Earth, within the
Human heart, the symphony found in
Body, the chaos of the beasts.
Bright eyes, not blind, not seeing…
Unblinking in the stone.
Though I cannot believe,
I cannot forget– the details spiral
Deep inside. Once you give them names,
They are not simply tenants of the mind.
They own you— own the places, problems,
Pages on the bookshelf of your life.
The power has shifted.
Though you no longer incant the prayers,
Still the categories of good and bad are
Etched upon the heart. Even worse,
Unnamed gods cannot be banished.
They seize heartache, shape transcendence
Till you raise your head to howl,
And even then the cry, the memory,
The haunting calls them back at once.
Sleeping in crevices, fissures, still they
Scold so freely that it is clear
They once were bedmates.
There is no easy way to get there.
Sing to Aphrodite, attend the sacred
Festivals, worship at whatever altar you construct,
Lodged within the throat, the melody
Becomes your patrimony, your inheritance,
Your dance within this house, this hour,
This courtyard of your life, for better or
For worse, whether it matters or not.
The Heron Learns Patience
The fish in the lake no longer leap;
They sleep through November cold,
Awaken hungry with the warmth of Spring.
The gray heron learns patience.
Flying Away From Winter
White clouds bring the caress of sunlight
Reflected in the sparkling tears on his face.
Shadows cluster at his naked feet as
Wild geese call, flying away from winter.
Clouds Swallow the Moon
Clouds swallow the moonlight,
Leaving Earth filled with shadows,
Fills me with foreboding
Of what will come tomorrow.
Someone wise can make a mystery of anything.
Learn the virtues of silence, the prudence of
Balance, the good sense hidden in simplicity.
Dreams are important. Grace is never earned.
Always be aware of the shadow that resides
Between your ears. Bear in mind what’s
Remembered in marble is myth. Love
Is never free of pain, without it, it is not love.
Live your life so that the best company
You keep can be with yourself.
No one can make you happy. Nothing lasts.
Ugliness and beauty exist only within the mind.
Everyone is a fool on occasion, saints
More than most. Even the best of lovers and
Friends are only human. We all make mistakes
Which is why forgiveness is essential.
Broken hearts always break open.
Healing begins from the inside.
Ignorance is not the same as stupidity.
Questions are important, but don’t give meaning.
Nothing of lasting importance can be accomplished
In one lifetime, which is why we hope.
Do not look to death for gain.
Fear not, all will be well. Rest in peace.
A Grey Heron Flies at Night
Tonight a half-moon shimmers
On the dark lake. A gray heron flies
Though the soft light while in the distance
A coyote yowls his presence.
Across the lake, a neighbor turns out his light
And goes to sleep early, making the view
Mournful as the mountain uses
The Earth for a pillow of shadows.
Only the Full Moon Goes Round
The waters of the river roll toward the sea
Never to return, just as the aged man
Looks in the mirror, sees gray hair.
Only the full moon goes round and round,
Season after season, singing a song
That drives away the sorrows
Of too many winters of wine.
Shadows Dance a Lonely Dance
The mountain moon glimmers
With an eerie light at midnight.
The breeze moves through pines,
Sighs, then echoes from the stars
As shadows dance a lonely dance.
I rose at dawn to see the sun
Reflected on the lake below my feet,
I nearly came undone,
Forgot the day and date,
The light a hue of purpled blue so sweet.
I walked down to the lake,
The breath of morning on my lips.
Unbound, I felt its presence,
Stood there till past eight.
Aware, then unaware,
The silence moving late…
Deeper, then more deeply still,
This clarity, this momentary,
Tonight, a Hunter Moon hangs bright in the sky,
No longer hidden by a blanket of clouds
Left by afternoon storms that transformed
Streets into mirrors, reflecting barren trees.
I walk in silence, gazing at the lake
As if it were a mirage, the road deserted,
Lonely, forgotten and November cold.
Such incredible beauty…
The faint light illuminates a rising mist.
Why does nature’s beauty
Carry sadness in its midst?