Whisper, Pray Before the Stations of the Faintest Breath

 What within you lives unlived?
Still standing before the storm?
Are there eternal regrets,
Challenges you have not taken,
Parts of yourself that lie unloved?
Do you feed the fires of
hell within?
 
Go down, deeper than the burning hell.
Discover the wildness below,
Places where the Word was born
Before language was ever known,
Utterly unsayable yet present…. There.
 
Such places forever linger,
Past the first death, past the second—
Though words can never say it,
Words and groans are all we have to
Perceive, however briefly, the grief,
Joy, dancing shadows glimpsed from
Corner of the eye before they flee.
 
Until the last light surrenders,
In this calm before the storm
Do not blaspheme the absolute
Grave truth…. Gather in the silence
All the humbling darkness
Flowing within your cold veins.
 
Harness the blowing of the wind,
Seek not shelter from the rain, but
Build your synagogue within the open field,
Kneel before the stations of the faintest breath,
Whisper, pray until the death of hope,
Then give back your spirit, torn and worn,
In gratitude to sleep.

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Remember Through the Storm

In the calm before the storm,
Though you know it approaches even now
As night unwinds upon the heart,
Breaks behind the eyes in pools
And the only sound you hear is
Rising gale of hungry wind,
Hanging, swinging upon the branches,
Jumping white waves upon the lake,
And you feel the depth of fear flooding
Through cold veins within the legs—- 

Find the candles now, while you have power.
Light just one and place it as a seed in
Dark soil, where it will shine
Throughout the night
On tips of thought within the mind.
Though Moon is new,
Does not reflect a grin upon its mirrored face—
Be prepared if dawn comes delayed,
All through the storm remember
Hours do not measure heaven’s reign.

Gazing Where I Cannot See

 Standing on the beach,
Ocean beckons me to reach,
Calls from distant shores of great horizon,
Bare feet only bare beginners
As I gaze to where I cannot see.
 
Waves dissipate upon sand to nothingness,
Seep down, return to ocean deep,
Lessons learned saturate the mind….
Ebb and flow cleanses, purifies, simplifies
As I gaze to where I cannot see.
 
Swimming in water salty as my tears,
I float in currents lifting body into vast beyond,
Relaxing, trusting if I sink, I merely sink
Deeper into Ocean, deeper into Oneness,
As I gaze to where I cannot see.
 

In Praise of a Glass of Water

In Memory of Jim

On the occasion of his death,
The memory comes floating back….
I was only ten and he was maybe forty,
Sitting in his kitchen,
Drinking an eight-ounce glass of water.
 
He preferred it straight up—
No ice cubes.
Just plain water from the tap
In a simple, ordinary glass.
 
“Mmm, my, that tastes good,” he said.
“Best water I’ve ever tasted.”
He sat there smacking his lips,
Then took another sip,
Letting it flow across his tongue
As though it were
A glass of finest French wine.
 
I don’t know if he knew
I was standing in the room, listening,
Wondering what was going on,
That someone could be so enamored
Of a glass of tepid water.
 
Though I can’t remember all his words,
He sat there praising what he drank
For ten minutes– my amazement growing.
Only years later, I began to wonder
Maybe Jim was praising the very moment,
Rather than just the taste of water….
Smacking his lips in the kitchen
On that hot summer afternoon.

Welcome Home

 Some mornings when I wake,
I realize that during dark of night
I slipped away….
So quietly it’s hard to say,
To find the words to tell
Even my own self where I went.
I only know the journey
Was more real than any dream.
Have you been there, too?
 
It seems as though some part of me
Was released to float outside of
Time, space and bounds of Earth,
To visit other hours of love
More real than waking hours reveal.
Do you hold that place within you, too?
 
Returning with rise of morning sun,
I only know that I was both here and gone,
Returned inspired, refreshed from
Going to another eerie space,
Not just one place and
Not just another place, but a
Wide, wide openness, beyond
Need for stone walls or questions
About why in fall the trees
Lose their leaves, die under
Cold snow that lasts as
Long as grief when love is lost.
 
Wherever I went, I can say that
I felt completely safe,
Understood finally and fully how much
Fathers love and mothers sacrifice,
How the everyday vision is diffused by
Glass that serves to separate,
Distorts a unity that exists, keeps away
Awareness of an underlying love,
Present in the in-between,
No matter how lost or close we are
To this miraculous world that is always here.
 
Every night, there is a smell of damp Earth,
Voice of spirits inviting me to move away….
Away from need for fear, an infinite need
Rising tenderly within deep sleep.
It is a presence always here, watching,
Blessing, waiting to be recognized,
Visited by those who cease to doubt,
Traverse within boundaries of otherworldly sleep,
Discover other worlds
Found by those who trust in love.
 
Maybe some would testify that
I am crazy.  But I simply ask,
“Are you willing to go?”  If so,
Will you leave this home where
Everything is unfamiliar,
Find another place where
You will be greeted with the words
“Welcome Home….”
 
When your time comes to go,
Whether in deep sleep or
Last hour of death or
Mystical moments in-between,
Chances are, no one will see you leave.
Perhaps they will sense a breeze
Or the wave of a breeze that doesn’t
Move a curtain hanging on the window.
 
One day the time will come
When others hold the world
Without my presence in it….
But I know where I can be found….
Here, in the thinness of thin air—
If possible, I will reach across
To give my blessing.

Let Them Rest In Peace

Let us refrain from giving strict scrutiny to
Mortals resting row in ordered row,
Names forgotten though they were carved in stone
Many years ago when memories still whispered
Upon the silent heath at night, lingered on in
Homes entombed in grief, hearts heaving
Tears about the empty, lonely rooms….
 
For years, they tolled the bell, came in prayer,
Laid flowers upon their graves, until
All who mourned their loss were swept away.
Come late October, let the autumn leaves
Testify to passing years,
Blindly cover all that remains. 
Let desolation conceal every plot,
Feed the seasoned grass as we listen
Carefully to soft sighs unleashed,
Toothless smiles rotting down below,
Finally free as anonymity slowly
Grows, increases year by circling year.
 
Let them rest eternally in peace
Spread over a thousand acres,
Roaming within gated boundaries,
Headstones slowly leaning, sagging,
Words once set in stone now crumbling to dust
While we walk away in sunshine, turn our backs
Forgetting that all too soon we, too,
Shall join the inexhaustible crowd below.
May the road toward nothingness
Be acknowledged as complete only
When dried tears and laughter
Turn to join the luminescence in the air.
Free at last….  Thank God Almighty, free at last.

There Are No Stars Tonight

There are no stars visible tonight.
Heavy clouds block all shimmering light,
Except in memory I have the sight—
Planets swirling steady in the dark,
Constellations clearly circle in
Slow shadows of the watching mind.
 
There is more room in memory for stars
When clouds obscure the sky,
Block the vision of my lifted eyes….
Clouds become the midwife of the greater space,
Expanding within the mind tonight.
 
Inside the brow of rounded bone,
I count vast coil of stars above,
Light firing inches behind the eye,
Invisible stars form a path of silent answers—
Rooms of infinite space appear within.