Far Off and Forever Close

This morning I paused….
Slowed down my thoughts enough
To overcome my deafness,
Heard the echo further down,
Saw a splendor waiting at my feet,
Smelled divinity in scented breeze,
The light from sun charged with glory—
Glorious like a circle burning in the air,
Enlarging, dispersing, renewing all around
Until the sky appeared a deeper blue and
Evergreens a deeper green and
I was summoned from sleep
By music, splendid music surrounding,
Invisible, far off and forever close.


Taking Time on the Journey

Dedicated to my dear friend, Sue, who recently lost her husband of sixty-four years…

Keeping the river always on the left,
I walk with the undulating water near me,
Two hawks flying in slow circles to the west,
Dimmer and dimmer, they soar with motionless wings,
The familiar pattern:  approaching, retreating.

Soon I will be traveling home in cold of night,
Through discouraging ice and winter’s diminishing light.
Diaphanous patches of shadows the color of clay
Shelter all sight of the sun, the hour running on….
Running on toward the river, slowly graceful and old.

I am not alone in my aloneness.
The early evening does not fall only upon
My face, my solitary thoughts, my thirsting view of the water.
The remaining hawk ascends, hungrily searches,
Weaves in the tremulous wind, its head davening as if in prayer,
Sailing, floating upon whatever spokes of light remain,
Silent water glistening as it flows against the past.

Taking my time on the journey, I contemplate the setting sun,
Attending to the absence that quickens the heart.
Aware of the closeness of a terrible, sudden loss….
The company of grief floats like driftwood on the river,
Positioned like the heart, just a little to the left.
When parting comes, there is always deep sorrow if there is love.

No one steps in the same river twice.
Though I travel in devotion to the river’s source,
To the wind-swept lake far to the north,
With waves sweeping the unchanging shore,
Whose banks are populated with tall stands of evergreen….
Pinecones littering the ground in hope of spring,
Still my sleepless nights will be spent waiting and praying,
Forever in exile, alone and yet tied by a mystical thread,
Heart burning with enduring and endless love.

The Idea of God Flies Away…

Last night I went to bed in darkness,
Blind to the presence of the lake outside my window.
This morning I gaze upon the snow covered expanse,
Quiet in holiness—a white silence
That says both nothing and everything.

The trees on the mountain are bare,
No apparent sign of life, yet they wait….
Singing in their quiet way of tenacity, hope, prayer—
Waiting for the return of spring.
Do they know greening is possible?  Do they care?

The whole world turns in its perfect imperfection.
If only I had more than one pair of eyes to see,
Wings to soar, petals of the heart to blossom….
Open fully to the fragrance that now lies wrapped
In the silent praise of my soul.

So many thoughts I cannot think,
Depth of feeling too deep for words,
A tongue that cannot taste the fullness of the
Delicacy laid before me.
The idea of God flies by
In the form of a bird…  flying away.

I cannot hold the Presence;
Cannot touch Holiness nor can I capture love.
But I can reach out.  Keep my heart open,
Aware of the clear, blue air.

The Hour of the Wolf

Last night I woke during the Hour of the Wolf,
The hours after midnight until the stars begin to fade,
When most people die; when most are born;
When sanity loses its foothold and nightmares come
Out of a thousand years of cloistered darkness,
Kept at bay by modern mind until the cry is finally heard….
The hours when the sleepless contemplate the dark….
Strong, ancient truths that call to each and all.

Do not mistake this time for insomnia…
Wake not because something is wrong, but when you hear
Darkness calling, sacred revelations, disturbing visions,
Waking dreams from deep within the well of mind.
Like a wolf, the naked instincts sense the haunting fear,
Draws back from surface motions into inner needs,
Slowly bleeds into realms that wait, unexplored.

If you are honest with yourself, you’ve known such hours.
Have you run away into prayer or books or found comfort
In a warm bath?  Or have you sat alone in silent meditation…
Faced down the yellow eyes, collapsed exhausted at the
Threshold of the soul, reached deeply into the dark
Mysterious places where you would never walk in day…?
In such thin places, all answers are wrong.
All you know is useless… falls away,
Supplanted by that which cannot be named:
Shapeless forms, severed from their past….
Unutterable worlds waiting in the night, for the
Hour of the Wolf that will inevitably come
When you are least prepared to listen.
Go down into the dark and wait in silence.
Release the necessary need to howl and
Know the wisdom underneath.

The Table Near the Lake

The table near the lake, now covered with snow,

Sits half out of view.

Last August, as we sat—

Heard the frogs’ low voices sing as dusk descended,

My elbows planted on the planks, looking out across the lake,

Counting blinking stars, avoiding your dark eyes….

Because you made me feel so very chaste and shy.

Suddenly, I felt your warm hand upon my own.

We both leaned forward and you kissed my lips….

As I swam into the fragrance of the flowers that

Grew along the shore, avoiding your dark eyes….

Because you made me feel so very chaste and shy.

Even as I turned to you, there were no words that came.

The moment slowly passed, but there wasn’t any shame.

Your hand upon my own; your impassioned scent;

The tender silence that descended from the twinkling stars,

The warm evening air, the way I avoided your dark eyes….

Because you made me feel so very chaste and shy.

I Dream of Children, Sleeping

There are rooms in the house
That are empty,
Have been empty for years.
No color on the walls
Other than the color of tears.
At night, always at night,
I enter them in hopes of
Finding the scent of love—
Perhaps a discarded memory
In a drawer of the heart.
But no words, no messages are found
Under pillows, between sheets.

I am alone, and whatever peace
Can be contained within four walls
Is now found within an empty heart.
On the nights when I can sleep,
I dream of children sleeping,
Breathing softly as the house sighs, keeps
Watch through the silence of the night.

If This Were No Lake But Were An Ocean

Across the lake, dark evergreens, heavy with snow,
Crowd upon the eastern flank of mountain rock.
No wave breaks the icy surface of the water’s flow;
No boat sails unimpeded in the frigid wind;
No driftwood found to warm the night
As darkness falls in winter’s silent haste.

If this were no lake but were an ocean
I could sit and hear the waves,
Watch them break upon the shore—
Thoughts slowly sailing into harbor,
Drifting in and out of islands sheltered within the mind,
Moving from cold horizon of the eastern sky,
Roaring upon the beach I scarcely know or feel.