Meeting the Soul While Meandering Through the Woods

Today, I met my soul while walking,
Not out upon some straight, paved road,
But while slowly meandering through the woods.
Sunlight broke through canopy of leaves,
Exposed a miraculous green world
My eyes had never glimpsed before.
 
This morning my eyes were opened.
I cannot fully answer why…..
By good fortune or grace of God,
I found my soul sitting upon old mossy stones,
Sunlight shimmering as an iridescent rainbow shimmers,
Shedding many colors in cool morning’s gentle wind.
 
My soul was in no hurry.
She did not wear a watch nor care for time of day.
I knew she was no stranger;
I’d seen her pass along on other days.
Today I stopped and gazed upon her face—
There was unspoken intimacy I had not felt before.
 
Now my soul unfolded like a fragrant flower.
She entranced with one mere trace of breeze’s kiss upon my cheek,
Wildness present in glistening atmosphere….
Extraordinary streams of light released…. Yet never strange,
For something deep felt right— a benediction’s bliss,
Unspoken yet scattered upon the speechless forest floor.

When the Extraordinary Becomes Clear

 Admittedly, I tend to be skeptical.
So when the ordinary dissolves
And the extraordinary becomes clear,
I sometimes close my eyes and cross myself,
Feel some living, breathing hope
That changes Whole of Everything.
 
All words fail, even in a poem….
Life is no mere performance.
The ultimate question always seems to be
Whether I can trust the Universe to love,
Always glimpsing as I do only partial truth,
Though it may be profound, inspiring….
 
When the surface becomes apparent,
Explicit it is only veil that covers greater light,
I relax and breathe, grateful for the glimpse,
Knowing I am alive and here.

When Everything Seemed Simple

There are those nights when sleep
Does not come easy, and thoughts wander
Like an extinct carrier pigeon
Flying back to home from which it came.
There is a stir of the curtains…
Drifting breeze on hot summer night.
Is it now or many years ago?
 
As I child, I slept within billowing clouds,
So much I could not see…..
What now amazes most is that
I cannot remember any questions.
I recall answers, so there must have
Been questions… But how profound are questions
When answers are always given?
 
Everything seemed simple then.
The only dark side seemed within.
My grandfather would stand on Sundays,
Close his eyes and spontaneously offer prayer…
Prayers always ended with “Amen.”
Though there was no greater love.
 
Whatever rules there were seemed clear,
As was disobedience and the beatings,
Almost always in the basement in the
Shadowed darkness where screams were muffled.
Kitchen cupboards were always full, but
Adultery was always hidden out of sight.
It took years to recognize the hunger.
When no one was responsible,
There is no sense to blame.
Far better to forgive, for they did not know what they did.
 
Hunger fades but never disappears,
Though now the family is scattered like ashes—
Cold wind blowing hard, leaving
No greater knowledge, only residue of pain.
The church still stands and speaks words of light,
Though I’ve never been content with easy answers.

When Lost in Dreams

When you lose yourself in dreams—
Or more precisely when you are lost,
Drifting out upon the lake at night,
Unmoored, unsheathed from consciousness,
Caught in vast tidal undertow far out from shore….
You can’t explain; you can’t speak.
 
When you turn to dreams, admitting you are lost….
Give up your eyes, for here you are blind.
You may ask for map of memory’s past, yet only
If the hunger’s strong enough,
Then wind begins to rise,
Blows from strange foreign land
Where Moon is never only one, rippling
Stars come close as angels in the dark,
But only speak in tongues.
 
The images that flow are seldom clear,
Bleed from scene to scene,
Edit out the intermission of intervening years,
Plot as thick as cream….
The mist that gathers there on mirror
Comes from your own breath.  You stare,
But cannot fully see the face staring back at you.
 
And if the quilt unfolds…. the one hand-stitched
Before your wedding day, pressed for years
With dead flowers in attic chest…
Unfold it gently, with tender love,
For years have made it fragile.  Ask no questions.
Simply sit upon the bed, breathe deeply….
Inhale the fragrance of the flower long gone….
Wait until out of the stillness comes a voice,
Perhaps a single note from ancient song,
Yet from somewhere comes the sense that it belongs.
 

After Rain Has Fallen

 Last night’s rain has fallen.
This morning under bright waking light
I glimpsed a glimpse of soul, sparkling—
Out among the drops of dew upon the grass.
 
As I watched from window,
I saw the Spirit of the World appear,
Two great souls communing
About music and the fallen rain.
 
Others woke from sleep,
Their unquiet hearts spoke,
Knocking at the door….
They flew among the branches of trees,
Sang as larks among the opening flowers,
Singing songs of peace for an angry world
That hungers for a song after rain has fallen.

Men Whose Hearts Are Sleeping in Wood

You may not believe what I say,
But these are not four trees, no matter
What appearances they give while sleeping.
Four old men now stand rooted in dreams,
No longer striding, they wait for warm rain
To awaken hope for new life.
 
It was tragic what happened at sunset one eve,
Sages still tell of the time when the four
Raised gnarled arms as though pleading,
Refused to speak of the greed in their bones….
Winds of the nation destroyed their hollow hearts,
Made wooden their chance to walk or talk.
 
On dark nights you can hear their blistering cries,
Warning the living not to stand on the ground,
To never keep your feet planted for too long.
If ever you feel a chill in the air; if ever the mountains
Speak of a lingering sleep in refusal of truth—
Then walk, then run to the shifting fields,
Love the naked reflection you see in warm fire,
Swim in cold waters of spring from the well.
 
Awaken!  Awaken your heart while still time,
Lest anger be blurred by the age that surrounds.
Compel your feet to keep walking.
Keep open the heart; keep seeking for truth.
There is no reason for fear in good greening spring,
Have faith in the song that you hear,
Flowing it comes from deep rivers of Earth,
Believe in your dreams that keep you alive.

I Would Come, If Only for One Day

 The truth, I fear, is that your broken heart
Is too wounded to forgive, cannot be mended,
So easily offended I can’t even suggest
We try to build our relationship again…
But on different terms, so we could both
Be together, even if only for one day.
 
You seem to pay attention to the life I live,
Enough to disapprove… embarrassed I suppose,
Though you refuse to say, your truth muffled—
Refuse phone calls, letters, as though you’d
Quickly walk by if you saw me pass on street.
You did not visit when I was near death;
Nor speak to me when I was in grief.
It makes me believe you think I’m a creep.
 
Years ago, when we met, I said almost nothing,
For fear of offending you.  You failed to notice.
You ignored me, as though I wasn’t there.
Finally, I had to conclude you didn’t care.
One day, when you’re as old as I,
You may want to talk….  If I am allowed
To kneel upon the clouds, I will bend low,
Listen to your every word and if you’re silent,
If you ever read this poem…. Perhaps you’ll hear
How much love rains down from heaven,
Overflows from hearts that never stop caring.