Sitting Alone While Wandering With You

Yet again, I walk down to the tree by the lake,
Sit alone for ten minutes or an hour or more,
Slowly breathing in the air that has run
Down the mountain, across the lake,
Picked up a subtle fragrance,
As I brush up against the vast blue sky.
I sit and watch the clouds walk by,
Their forms appearing, disappearing,
Forever changing.
 
I am alone, sitting here,
Wandering off, letting go,
Breathing along with you,
Warmed by the same Sun,
Watched over by the same unseen and silent stars,
In love, under the tree by the lake,
Floating with the awareness I am not alone.

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When Morning Comes

Tonight the clock walks
In the same circles as the moon
And the dog barks
Saying she wants a walk
Out and around and around.

The stars are not out.
It has stopped raining,
But the trees still drip upon the path.
As I look at the clock,
Notice how late the hour,
I am tired, even more tired
Knowing promises have not been kept.

Even now as I write,
The rain comes again,
Blowing across the lake in the dark
And I promise the dog
I will walk her when morning comes.

Keep the Flame Alive

In the living room of my house
There is a fireplace made from stone.
But this is not where I learned to build a fire.
I learned when I was five or six,
Dug a shallow pit out in the backyard,
Filled it with dead leaves and dry sticks.
 
Box of matches in my hands,
I struck out twice, sparks burning
On my slender wrist, no hair yet on arms,
Not on boy of six, learning, prodding
Wood to burst in flame, as yet unscarred
By age or fear of northern winds,
Blowing hard, seldom getting warm.
 
Finally, on third match,
Little pile of sticks caught fire,
On summer day in my old backyard.
Now I’m still playing with fire every day,
On knees I softly blow,
Honoring wondrous flame,
Keeping it alive when walking in the rain,
Suffering smoke that stings the eyes,
But I will not let fire die.
Burn, burn in day and darkest night.
Never let your flame go out.
 

The Lonely Cry of the Loon

I do not know where they go….
The loons that cry upon the northern lakes,
Calling through early morning mist,
Their voices an ancient sound
Echoes within wild interior of the soul,
Drops behind the brow,
Dives deeply to some haunted place
Unseen, unmapped upon the surface of the mind.
 
Only in the north are waters cold enough.
Darker shadows match their black and white,
Center curving down beneath the waterline,
But it is their lonely cry that returns to visit me at night,
A high trembling call lasting through so many years,
Remembered floating, forlorn in waking morning light.
Once the lamenting calls of loons
Sink within the memory, it takes the form of
Floating prayer, swimming with the suffering tide.
Suddenly, they flap strong wings and fly away,
Breaking loose, they soar and disappear.

Autumnal Equinox

 Today is the autumnal equinox.
Now the darkness comes, long awaited
Course, descending until pitch of sun
Barely whispers back when bare branches wave,
Approach of winter relentless in its march.
Each day, I’ll pray for March to bring spring again,
Hoping darkness will be brief.
 
Still, the dark times come.  Impossible to avoid
Awareness that no prayer will end its chill.
Only greater darkness will end this darkness,
And in that darkness there lies a buried hope,
Across another border where silent crowds
Gather, listen, dream as they watch the scene.
 
Is this the postlude or prequel?  I cannot say,
The story is so long…  I know it will not end with me.
Tonight, I will gaze upon fiery stars
That blaze almost endlessly within the dark,
Constitute an order stronger than any doubt,
Exploding, shining light into endless night.
 

Yellow Sky

Yesterday, I read about the drones
Stationed on green tropical isles,
No longer kept secret from a public
Who no longer cares about the war,
As long it’s kept at a certain distance.

I am grateful that our soldiers,
Boredom exploding in their lives,
Can push buttons, watch drones
Take off toward Yemen, Somalia,
Targeting those who got us into this mess,
Forcing us to war and war and war
Until we forget to argue with ourselves,
The cost diminished— collateral damage
No more concern than roadkill.

Progress has been made.  No longer
Do we bomb with yellow poison gas,
Nuclear bombs burning yellow flesh,
Personnel weapons designed to wound
But not kill too fast, not until the organs rot.
No longer is the agent orange….
We have Kissinger and Rumsfeld to thank,
And I am truly grateful it’s all invisible.

I don’t want to believe that much.
Some things should be kept secret,
Lest the desperate metal roil my sleep,
Turn my dreams to red or yellow flames,
Stench of putrid, burning flesh….
So I don’t stare or care that much,
As long as it’s over there.

There is a yellow glow in evening light tonight.
As wind dies down, I see the beauty of
Shadows gather within the passing clouds,
Shape of fears, unhinged like jaws of death.
But this is of no consequence, like moving parts that
Lie between distant mountains
Of a distant continent.  I am content tonight.
My life drones on.  I will not waste my time
On smaller folks, whose skin is glowing yellow,
Burning between the mountains of a distant land.

I Cannot Live Another Day Half Caring

Where am I to stand but within this very hour?
Where to catch my breath, but from empty space
Now present from last gasp of air?
In this silence where eyes awake,
When sacred void is sensed within the deeper belly,
Let me unfold the limbs and stretch,
Uncoil from memories of past,
Push back against the folds of time….
Welcome present moment, which is all I’ll ever have.
 
I cannot live another day half caring,
Not saying what I hold within my heart;
Not meaning much of what escapes my mouth.
Let parched lips cry out and learn from thirst.
Let feet not touch the ground from dancing faster than the wind,
Reaching out in prayer the way the dying hope for morning sun.
 
Fill my lungs again, Beloved.
Remove the clots from grieving heart and narrow veins….
Steady trembling hands when fear attaches to my thoughts,
Till flowing blood dissolves all but sacred flame and
Only healing love remains.  And only healing love remains.