Every day is a winding path….

Every day is a winding path,
Walking down the labyrinth,
Heavier, deeper, longer
Than expected, countless shadows,
Dappled shades of sunny thoughts
Dawning like the stars, pale
In morning sunrise, twinkling,
Impossible to keep aligned or straight…

Winding out of sight to distant
Memory, tireless force
Exhausted as the night draws close…
Greater darkness growing closer,
Glowing glimpses as one rounds
An endless circle, precise but not
Symmetrical, like a drunken spider
Spinning web outside my window,
Casting shadows in the winding wind,
Questions rippling back and forth,
Within, outside the wounded heart.


The Healthcare Plan

Maybe if we go back to the beginning we
Could improve the language, make it simpler,
Arrive at the same critical conclusion
Found on the last pages
More directly, just by taking a few
Shortcuts along the way,
Seizing what may be this last historic opportunity to
Make the point, to address with qualified support
The vast majority of concerns, announce to those
Who watch from just a little distance and a
Damning sense of disapproval, a formula,
A plan that has it all worked out:  a bill that
Will ensure their vote for hours or days to
Come, include a guarantee that cannot be denied,
Ensure a public victory at last, without condition.

We’ve discussed it, worked it out a
Thousand times, that’s not the problem.
It’s putting it on the page so that all can read
Precisely what it means and all the implications,
Emphasize the benefits of the whole
Package, demonstrate the cost-savings,
From start to finish, the projections over
Future years an economic find… without
Allowing a rift to emerge within the party,
Losing needed votes— trying to prevent
A dispute that percolates, permeates the
Debate, aborts the process.  So we
Pour over it line by line, all two thousand pages,
Follow the fast-moving developments,
Complications that arise only to be
Resolved by new additions, concerns that
Are addressed by higher levels of compromise,
Weaving into legislative language, state by state,
As though this all were logical….
Play with the numbers
Going first in one direction, then another to
Reverse revisions, bring into conference a
Final resolution, without anyone being wiser.

We pour over the details, think we’ve got it all locked up,
Find a few subtractions to pass the time….
Then next day we lose it, can’t recall, can’t read
The handwriting, can’t remember what was said,
Contend with doubts, reformulate the pre-existing
Conditions of the problem, emphasize again
The final solution for each member of the House—
We did not make this up, this work, this problem,
This destiny of fate that has us in its grasp.
Do you see?  Do you get it?  Have we made it clear?
Do we have your vote at last???

The Opening Doors of Spring

Three more days till spring will fly or
Creep upon this northern part of Earth,
Open doors astonishing with days of
Decent weather, warming winds,
Greening shoots in preparation for the
Wealth of summer fruits.  Today is calm,
Temperate enough to take a walk in
Light jacket, dog pulling at the leash.

Though I may have scattered doctrine
Upon the heap where winter’s cease
Lies dark and placid in the past,
Still the touch of spring brings wild touch,
Opens doors in center of my being—
Simple vision, nothing more desired
Than what imperfect universe perfectly
Provides:  an empty heart, longing,
Knowing that none of it is truly mine,
Yet all belongs to me…  this day of warmth,
This air of understanding, this touch of
Emptiness that empties me with grace—
Accessible, essential, exquisite chaos
Rising from the ground of spring.

The Quilting Bee

Nothing is quite so precious,
So delicate as this sister time,
The stitching of the quilting stars
Flowing across the vision of the eyes
Of needles held by tender hands.
Awareness blossoms as a flower
Breaks open in the springtime morning sun,
Heats the naked fingers as healing touch
Slowly warms the cold and bitter heart.

Nothing is so temporary as this freshness
Of the present hour— not hour but minute,
Not minute but instant moment as it
Passes praises through the heart, pulses
In feathery detail against the
Fabric of the afternoon—  yet
Smaller, as a glinting ray of light
Hanging in the air before the night,
Passing, always passing, one stitch
At a time held within the hand,
Hope of future implications lost
Within the complications of the mind.

Nothing is more beautiful than to live
Within this power, the realization
Brand new, this quilting bee humming
Above all memory of the maternal past,
Sewing briskly into the necessary,
Ordinary pleasure of the cloth of love—
This very moment, this eternal Now.

Still, He Sought Her Love

He did not seek her approval.
He was too old and too wise,
Had grown beyond the need.
Still, he sought her love.

But she was too young
To know the difference, and so
Withheld both.  As a result,
She refused his overtures.
The distance grew.

Years passed, and then more.
Until at last, the only thing
He had to give her
Was forgiveness.

Two new poems of March

The Pale Morning Light of March

In the pale morning light of March,
As the absence of light flees into the west,
I walk the country roads, muddy—
The earth imprinted with those who walked
While I was still in bed, asleep to dreams,
Deaf to voices, cold on the dark horizon.

In the distance, I hear a train rolling away,
Hauling people into the city yet again,
City gates opening to swallow them,
Leaving behind the village, the muddy roads,
Whatever wine, laughter or tears of the night before.

Even from here, slowly walking, I can see the vision
Unfolding, burning the long, dark night away.
Breeze blows from nearby ocean shores, unseen,
Busy swallowing all the river brings
In the pale morning light of March.

The March of Spring

The snow is slowly melting, inch by inch.
Soon the ground will be exposed, the bright
Absence of winter will be overcome by green,
And so I wait.  I wait for birds to find their way
As trees find their sap climb thick trunks, slowly
Lifted by a song I cannot hear, but know
It’s there, somewhere in the fresh air of spring.

Birds will come to build their houses,
Hardly visible, the way they wing through air,
Gradually warms the blossom in the heart,
A sweetness I know is there but cannot smell.
The flow of blood will carry love I cannot touch,
The senses of the body useless in the midst of
Such abundance as will soon be here, the praise
From birds and trees, from heart of hive of bees,
Lifted by the dancing of the tilting Earth
As life appears again— flying, crawling, shining
Translucent as the presence of the warming sun.