Go Down to Ancient Egypt

Go down to Egypt, Moses…
Tell Old Pharaoh to let the people go.

Take your brother, Jesus, with you
Down into the ancient land of oppression.
Together, find some rocky platform,
Speak for freedom of the human spirit.
Raise your hands in this sea of chaos.
Let them know their voices matter.
Be bright beacons of hope
In a dry and barren land, in the midst of
Weary and difficult times.

Let us all embark for Egypt,
But only after we first confess
Our long, deep, dark, delusional
Relationship with Power that binds
Hearts yearning to breathe free.

Let us journey all the way to Egypt
On a pilgrimage to awaken
Our unconscious conscience,
Asking our oppressed brothers and sisters
To help to set us free from
Our oppression of our own true selves.

Barefoot, As I Walked the Beach

I did not ask to be there, walking alone upon the shore,
An hour before sunrise, seeking not so much an answer
But a presence that might come, rising,
Washing from the depths to clean and purify my dirty feet,
Barefoot as I walked the beach.

High above the eastern horizon, something seemed to change,
Began to slowly open as the stars grew fainter in the night sky.
At first almost imperceptible, I sensed the fading boundaries
That hold night and day apart begin to crumble.

Listening acutely to whatever voice the ocean gave,
I felt the swells of pain and wonder….
Of being alive, here, upon this threshold
Between continent and sea, dark and night,
As a gust of loneliness expanded as a forlorn fog
Into a space so vast I could not see an end—
No visible horizon within the blue-gray morning….

I heard myself cry into the wind:
“Where is God in all of this?”
The answer floated back upon the tidal waves,
“God is in the sea…  God is in the sand… in fading stars.
God surrounds you in the very air…
Here.  Right here.  All around.  Within.”

There were no words, only an unbreakable silence,
Whispering, enveloping, flowing from the
Farthest reaches of the universe, sinking into my heart,
Finding the very spot where I refused to fully love,
Spreading, opening the narrow places deep inside
With such tenderness, I can only say a darkness lifted….
An abyss within opened and then filled, then overflowed
Just as the flame of Sun broke through the morning clouds,
Glowing before me, shimmering with such intensity
I felt I could touch it, yet not be burned.

Augustine Was Wrong

However innocent your life may have been, no Christian ought to venture to die in any other state than that of the penitent. — Saint Augustine

I wish to state emphatically
That Augustine was wrong.
May Christ forgive him for his sin.
May Christ forgive me for mine as well.
But on my deathbed, if in my bed I pass,
I pray that my last moments will be spent
In praise for all the time I’ve had.

Thank you, God, for every breath within my lungs.
Thanks for being by my side with every step,
Along every road I ambled…  the times I fell
You picked me up again and sent me on to fall again.

Thank you for the lips I’ve kissed, the wine I drank
With all my blemished friends.
I thank you for the bed in which I lie, the sheets,
The pillow at my head, my hands and feet.

I thank you for the entire ride….
For the ocean breezes, the mountain views,
Whatever inner vision I was blessed to see and use,
My daughters that I love so dearly.

I give thanks for Brother Sun and Sister Moon,
For every love that’s opened up my broken heart,
For mistakes that I’ve made that have humbled me,
For colds and flues and hospital staff.

I thank you for the towns in which I’ve lived,
Communities of friends, teachers, neighbors,
Aunts, uncles, cousins, sister, mother, father,
All those who loved me and taught me how to walk.
Thank you for a lifetime of education.
Thank you for my shallow thoughts and for my voice.

I would not take back one second, not even
Lies I’ve told or hearts I’ve broken, for I have learned
Regret is wasted, as is the thought I stand alone.
I love the path that has brought me to this place and time.

Thank you for my home, a world of nations and a universe of stars.
Thank you for the times I’ve had, my chance to freely take a stand,
To be a part of helping others with their lives.
Along with Augustine, I do confess no innocence.
I offer no apology but raise my arms in joy and praise….
Thank you, Lord, thank you for everything, for every single day.

The Eye Within the Storm

Last night, in the middle of the storm,
The snow stopped and the sky cleared,
A brilliant silver moon shone down
Upon the covered lake— an eye of calm,
A pale world outside my door—
No footprints in the snow to mar the path.

I quickly dressed and walked outside
To bare my face against the bitter cold.
Alone I walked upon the frozen lake,
No lover but the moon above—
The stirring wind a quickened breath,
The world a room surrounds.

If I should live to see a hundred years
Or eyes praise another thousand
Passing phases of full moon—
Still this sacred night will rest
Within my heart beside infinity—
The quiet space, the grace, the restless solitude.

Everything Seems Settled

This morning, snow settled down among the trees,
On top of fifty inches already there—
Rocks upon the mountain barely visible,
Though I know they’re there, waiting for the spring
To show grey bulk sitting, before the hiding green.

Everything seems settled now.
There’s hardly any wind.  No sun; no shadows.
Snow will come again this afternoon and
Through the night and more tomorrow.
Tonight there will be no shining, no fading of the stars.
Tomorrow no rising of the sun.
I only hope tonight I’ll see the lights in homes
Across the lake… windows filled with light
Visible against the darkness and the stirring wind,
Snow drifting against the doors, silently
Covering the visible world with mystery.

First Robin

I saw my first robin of the year this morning,
On a cold day in late January, snow flying down,
Its red breast alarming as it seemed it didn’t belong
Surrounded by a winter storm, sitting on a branch
All alone, all alone, without a worm in sight.

As I prepare to scoop the path, I turn my head to see
Three other robins join the first, now four of them displaced.
Am I relieved the first is not alone?  Or am I worried more
That this small flock have lost their way,
Failed to find a source of warmth to shield against the cold?

A Savage Silence Slowly Grows

They sleep beside each other, yet apart,
Unseen, impassive between clean, white sheets.
Each night the bed grows colder, wider—
The empty space passionless as patience slowly fades.
As in graves, they lie apart, not touching in the silence.

There is no shared blessing in these ingrown nights.
No joy, no singing in the flesh,
No heat to warm the heart as they pass the hours asleep.
A savage silence slowly growing,
The absence of a yearning scream,
Murderous glances, as though the wrongs are strange.

They concentrate the will, endure the years
For children, ignorant of the void within their hearts.
The growing trance hardening, waiting
For the day when seasoned heart is free, to leave,
To walk away from death of love before it is too late.