Rugged Beauty

 Do you see the ancient beauty in her face?
Each  wrinkled line a story etched,
Wisps of white hair clean and long….
Oh, what stories must belong.

How many times has she been betrayed?
What loves in heart are harbored, stored and stay
As memories of long years now past,
Tears brimming in her eyes downcast.

Sit, Old Mother, in the rocking chair.
Let me pour a cup of sweet hot tea,
Give you jam upon a slice of bread,
While you tell me of your younger years.

May I sit face to face or at your feet,
Listen as you tell your story?
Speak and share with me, if you will.
Let us spend an hour together before sunset.

Teach me what your suffering has taught,
What have you learned that I have not?
I sense a multitude of sleepless nights,
Weight of worries, fears that adhere to you.

There is rough wisdom in your vacant stare,
Strength and courage as you look ahead,
Truth of suffering faced without pretence….
Patience gathered in your leathery hands.

The wounds you carry within your heart,
Make my heart open with tenderness.
Every breath I breathe brings close the pain;
Compassion grows, accumulates in veins.

Only as waters held within deep source are still
Can calm and undistorted light
Be reflected in your eyes,
Full moon dwelling, with no cold lies.

Secret Sanctuary


Today, I found a silent place of stillness
Hidden deep within my heart.
Here an eternal light burns,
A sanctuary in tranquility, reserved.
 
Within this sacred place, I see myself differently—
A clear and simple sense of self
Within this safe retreat
Where no one intrudes.
 
I have spent a lifetime seeking,
Trying to find this secret sanctuary.
It was waiting here all along,
Infinity concentrated in a single breath.
 
In this precious time and space,
I am not at war with self or anyone.
Here I wait, as fruit upon the tree
Waits for ripeness, surrenders to its call of destiny,
Fulfilled within a larger mystery.

An Empty Field But For A Singular Tree

 Last night I dreamed of an empty field,
Vague except for a singular tree.
Shadow so broad that it covered the field as snow,
As wide as the silence that reigned in the dreamy world.
 
A single moon peeked out of the clouds,
Down on the singular tree in the snow.
All was barren as silence, frail in the cold
That covered my dream as darkness covered the night.
 
Here in this fragile space was a world most unworldly.
No reference, no frame, no language
To express to the moon or the tree that stood in the field
The deep tranquility that emerged in the cold and the snow.
 
Was the gold that I saw in the sky
The sun going down or the sun on the rise?
Either way, I sensed that the moon looking down
Saw the longing of prayer in my eyes, for a minute or two,
While I dreamed in my bed, closed eyes flickering in head.
 
 

Would It Bother You If We Hold Hands?

Bring your cane and walk with me,
Down to the lake just before sunset.
Let’s gaze out into green mysterious mist,
Speak about what we sense,
Not just with ears and eyes.
We’ll stand for a time in silence,
Then close our eyes,
Deepen our intuitive sixth sense.
 
What’s there beneath the view?
What lurks under the water?
Cast yourself out and stand on the island,
Then look back upon the two of us.
What do you see of yourself
When you don’t use a mirror?
 
I’m sorry.  Standing here I’ve lost all sense of time.
How long have we been standing here, the two of us alone?
For the first time in days, I have no desire to move.
I could stand here through the night,
Watch until the sun begins to rise.
Would it bother you if we hold hands?
Suddenly I feel so very close.
It’s better than feeling all alone.

One Less Mouth to Feed

 Yesterday, I counted six hungry mouths to feed.
Today, only five remain.
Is this a case of infant ornithoid fratricide?
These are not yet fine-feathered friends….
Is one or more now a murderer
Still free, unpunished by flighty neglectful parents?

Atticus said it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Heaven forbid this hungry nest of birds
Shoved the weakest out of nest
So they could eat a larger portion of the worm.
Was the motive hunger?  Greed?
Did they simply crave extra space in nest?

I looked in vain below, but found no fallen baby bird,
Saw no soaring father or gliding mother.
Perhaps some prowling cat had landed upon a meal.
In any case, an innocent bird will never sing.
This child will never learn to fly,
Never harmonize a birdlike tune.

Wrenched from nest, I heard no aching plea,
No choir or chorus stopped to sing a helpless melody.
It’s fate decided, left in nature’s hands….
So why do I still feel a nagging twinge of sympathy?

Would I have risen to assist a wounded bird?
I have no expertise or time to feed or care,
Yet still I offer smallest prayer I’ve ever prayed
For little sparrow I hope that God received.

Mystery Hidden Within My Empty Heart

No one knew, but I held a secret.
For 400 years, my heart’s been missing…
A hidden space hollowed out within my wooden body,
While my smile imparts
Eternal enlightenment and truth.
 
Such an exciting discovery
When they discovered books
Hidden in my abdomen and chest,
Woodblock prints on white mulberry paper,
Red ink used as blood unfaded on the pages.
 
It took both x-ray and CAT scan
Before they knew for sure.
My cavity’s mystery had endured,
Ears attached with handmade nails.
Only now can someone read
What’s been hidden all these years
Within my absent heart.
When will someone know the mystery
Hidden in your heart?

Wind Will Have Its Way

 Mystery and wonder fill the universe.
I felt it as a child, and even now it overwhelms.
Today, the wind is having its way—
Invisible it moves across the trees,
Exquisite the bluster sound….
This is no tender kiss of gentle breeze,
Yet not a howling wind of warning.
 
I savor every moving minute.
What is it telling, this wind breath
Propelling, never in straight line?
It permeates the mind while
Above it all, eye of Venus shines,
First time in four score years
Her naked glory is shown carelessly in day.
How could the ground beneath
Not praise sweet smell that blows
With breath cast from Sun’s burning throne?
 
Brilliant sunshine astonishes and wakens,
Light more constant than the wind,
Communicates without words
Some meaning only heard within.
Great mad roar comes and goes.
Whatever old is swept away today
By what is beautiful and amorous and young.
Beware.  Spring is here.
Nature’s love now bellows loud.
Are you light enough to be blown away?
Can you open ears and eyes as
Lover sees upon first sight new love?
May your heart blow open with new ardor,
Aspiring toward surprise, emerging green
That heals the harshest winter injury.