Tonight’s full face of golden Moon
Haunts the field with many circles,
Movement edging along the shadows,
Filling four corners of the night.
The world is more subtle than most ever realize.
Just as Monet sensed the change of light
Every eight minutes in fading hours of afternoon,
So does the unfolding transition
Breathe its way across our edges,
Finds the purity of pure despair
Adjacent to pure desire,
Both located in blazing unnatural light.
Some gods have already fled.
Others are waiting for their birth.
The essential task is yours to answer—
Is the ordinary merely ordinary?
Or is the ordinary more extraordinary
Than we can ever know?
Do you prefer to avoid the fearsome edge?
Or do you sense Otto’s
“Mysterium tremendum et fascinosum”
(Fearful and fascinating mystery)
At the core of all reality?
When you sense the mystery,
Does the amazement say
More about Reality or about yourself?
Knowledge cracks and strains to hold,
Uneasy with the stumbling gait,
The world fully belonging only to itself….
Pray tell me what you mean
When you say that God is Love?
Have you stopped to seriously consider
What you mean when you
Praise the Lord God as One?
As for me, I tremble as I wonder.
The Book of Hebrews says, “The word of God
Is sharper than any two-edged sword…”
Life itself is living on such edges, is it not?
Mind itself sharpens in long tearless nights,
Buzzes in summer among the garden flowers,
Knows the day’s on fire… Here—
Within dark and light crevices of nobility of soul.
Have you not met your fear recessed within the cave?
Or do you strive to dull the edges of the knife?
Do you pull covers over head to hide, not knowing
It is natural to burn with inner unnatural light?
Place your feet upon the rocky path and climb!
Row with all your might against the common undertow!
The edge is all you have! The edge is where
Deep within the deepening shade, the eye begins to see.
Of course your desires are dark and there are serpents
Crawling, hidden among the rocks. Name them!
Know the difference between the cry of
Heron standing one-legged on the water’s edge and
Wren that’s perched high within the branches.
It sings that you might waken from your sleep,
Find the echo once again within the dreaming woods.
Edge of risk is never obvious. Do not seek to clarify the task,
But daily walk within this no-place, within the slippery mist,
Shadows growing, sun fading, the wideness of night
Approaching just for you, edges of your knowledge
Just the place adventure comes, departs, arrives again.
After years of travel, you will know the inner thing—
Warmed by its splendor, far away from cold artifice
Found upon the neighbor’s smile. You will know
More deeply into self the painful sense of discord,
Loneliness and love, the very edge of oblivion
That I now see as fleeting shadow in your eyes.
The Moon is always the Moon,
Even in poetry….
Though it is also a house
That admits no wind or rain,
Lifeless as a life that feels no pain,
No anger, no grief, no love.
Moon may hang close at night,
Though it be closed to what is wanted most.
Its light may leak through cracks of roof,
Inspire romantic plans both senseless and sane,
But airless and barren are its plains….
Stone face ruined and cratered with smallpox.
Still, it monthly awakens as
Mirrored surface waxes,
Haunts the flow of women’s blood—
Tidal storms that flood the darkest night.
One day I whispered inmost secrets to the wind,
At night they reappeared within my dreams.
Trees had overheard my murmured words,
Soft voices floated gossiping in clouds,
Around the hills and misty mountains of the world.
I cannot blame the wind now blowing.
There were no promises exchanged.
What was given was soon returned
Yet remains kept as mystery within the silent breeze,
Blowing smartly through my hair.
Perhaps tomorrow a brighter revelation unrevealed…
Unknown secrets now reserved to share another day,
And those which can never be revealed with words.
I paused from killing
When out of chaotic winds of war,
A piano stood, unscratched among the ashes.
Perfectly tuned, my fingers found a chord
Remembered for many years within my heart.
Returning, it flooded melody so clear,
Tears falling from my cheeks to keys…
Minor notes echoing as fears among
Shadows of the nearby trees.
Mozart, Shubert, Mendelssohn appeared,
Forgotten friends still vibrant in my ears.
Then the hated metronome insisted order be obeyed,
Marching as to war, obedience is restored.
Goodbye sweet instrument of peace….
Duty and love of country demand I go to war.
Uncounted are the graves
Undecorated on this day—
Forgotten names unknown to those
Who walk across the dust,
Brown soil recycling toward a greener Earth.
Moans and sighs of death,
Soldiers caught too early or too late,
Wives, widows, children far too young,
Desperate loneliness of each and all
Now scattered among brown hills,
Blessed by rain that soaks
Naked bones that once
Were flesh much like our own.
Forever the beloved child,
They now share our universal fate,
No fear, no hunger, no pain—
They rest at ease in death….
Why do we fear an imaginary loss
Of an imaginary separate passing self?
Our fleeting names to which we cling,
Very breath within our feeble lungs,
All that, too, will one day fade.
Whatever day, the date expires,
The shadow comes upon dark wind,
No word will summon, no prayer or power avoid
When time to forsake old body from its need.
Your bare, un-honored self will lose its color,
Shake off attachment to the warp of reality
You’ve silently spun within your mind,
Give itself to the invisible wind,
Yet still be held secure
Within larger cosmic time and space,
Arc of life and death and life
Much larger than we think.
Listening to the rustling of leaves
Coming from an early summer rain,
Moist air drifting in through open windows,
I find myself wondering where you are tonight.
Is it raining there as well?
Will we be together in our dreams as we sleep apart?
Is your skin also cool to the touch
Yet warm against the sheets….?
The room is quiet now, only the whispering rain
Gently tapping as it falls on the roof above my head.
There is no lightening thunder,
No moon behind distant clouds,
Only a contended solitude as I contemplate
The nape of your neck,
Curving thighs partly covered by red sheets….
Quietly count rising and falling of
Your breath, fresh with hint of mint.
I wish you were here beside me….
Cuddling, holding, kissing.
How much longer will I have to wait?
What will tomorrow bring?
Will I still be walking on the beach alone?