Save Me from the Surface

Save from SurfaceThere, among the undergrowth, confused,
Seething yet somber thoughts arise, unbidden…..
Twisted as gnarled tree trunks or
Voluminous clouds on stormy day
Reflected in the lake or muddy puddles on the street,
Watching as you transgress upon the bridge.
 
Occasionally, I roam empty streets
Alone with thoughts that stray among strange shapes—
Some are brief and some stay for hours or days.
Others come as ghosts, at midnight hours—
Old and shy of day, yet still they speak,
Transform the world with haunting mystery,
Their manic flash of skin akin to mine—
Teeming with life even through death.
 
There is a spectral presence that hovers,
Settles within the mist or far above the rest
With subtle intensity it becomes a part of
Field, hills, flowing streams and empty streets,
Walled courtyards and quiet rooms.
Have you stopped to notice ancient gates,
Threshold that gives passage to another world?
 
At times they seem to suddenly arise,
But more deeply and broadly, they stand and watch
For years, while we are unaware,
Live blindly to open portals where they dwell.
There is an unseen cost we pay to be oblivious,
To live our lives thinking only common sense,
Afraid of fascination of the darker human face.
 
Listen to your dreams!  Find the diamonds
Glimmering in ephemeral islands in the lake.
They live within your love affair, cannot be escaped
But paid by blood stain spilled upon the sacred space.
 
What great painter paints only
How people look like on exterior of face,
Who fails to grasp ambition, arrogance, brooding
Mystery carved from within by suffering and quiet grace?
The world entire is a masterpiece,
Accommodates more than eye can see,
Stretches down long centuries, whose height and depth
Causes some to flee to only surface, shallow, bankruptcy.
Pray each night you do not slip
Into clever though shy dimension, caught forever
Within shallows of the world, damned
To certainty of thought, tight, constrained within heart,
Lacking imagination to walk the empty streets.

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Best Prayers are Weary Prayers

weary prayer The best prayers are weary prayers,
Wordlessly spilling from an open heart,
Sighed silently in meager light,

Whatever calm might come
Shines through after rain has passed.
Sun burns forever through dark clouds..

God, like Churchill’s Russia,
Is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Never do we know why Spirit shines so brightly through us.

I pray that I can surrender need to delve
Into the inner character of God.  Let me accept Mystery.
Better spend my time searching within my own abyss.

Walk with me, O Great Spirit,
Out on the open road when no one else is there.
Keep me company until after storm has passed.

Searching Among Empty Spaces

lake in winterFor Jacob
 
Elderly man shivered in waning moments,
First chill of winter cold against his naked flesh.
He watched in silence as last leaves
Departed from branches, fell silently in death.

Young lover searched among bald spaces,
Discovered map etched upon the old man’s back,
Wondered at the lingering pain hidden under aging flesh,
Pondered the cold facts of approaching winter.

Together they walked up steep hill hand in hand,
Then down to the water, tranquil at last.
They watched reflecting moon reflected in the lake,
Horizon of stars turning so slow they forgot to notice.

Boxwood That Grows Along the Path

boxwood Only once this summer did I trim
Boxwood planted last summer
All along the path up from the road.
I was tired of deer eating all my flowers.

I trimmed the tender tops,
Wanting branches on the sides to grow,
Reach out until they form a hedge,
Touch the green that reaches out to them.

Next summer, some will finally embrace.
It does not happen overnight,
Not like corn growing so fast in July
You can almost hear it grow on a quiet night.

Boxwood know their place,
Stay green and hopeful through winter snow,
Define the path and separate weeds
That always grow out in encroaching lawn.

Boxwood grows as slow as healing heart,
Transforms the path into deeper beauty,
Gives subtle fragrance to emerging truth,
Still visible within spaces that never close.

Where Does Mystery Come From?

Where Does Mystery?At times only in a trickle, then in torrent
Words seem to flow, wave upon wave
Crashing upon shore of consciousness….
Blown as falling leaves by wind,
Guiding thoughts as though the words
Arrive through open windows,
Blow against unhinged doors or
Upon a pathway in quiet woods.

Where do words come from anyway?
Are they sentient beings rising from an unconscious Self speaking,
Streaming from the woof and warp of universe?
As it is these words are stars
Exploding into vast sky of mind and heart—
At times unravel the fabric of separate self or
Shred old shroud from years of treading
Rigid paths or winding labyrinth,
Blocking or releasing languorous electric energy.

Though I slowly walk, limp or run,
Life seems an endless daily wrestling for the blessing.
Sometimes I search for words to grasp,
Give form to formless Holy Desire or Holy Doubt.
Often it is the words themselves that form the house,
Assist across the threshold,
Touch the place where Thou
Comes young and bright, luminous,
Soft and tender Voice merged with Breath—
Surrounds and supports me with shy Love,
Both subtle and vibrant, holds both tight and tenderly,
Burns alive from inside out.

Even now I hear the sound of falling rain,
Silent ecstatic shuddering of leaves,
Each drop a word, each leaf a phrase
Stirring me from silent restless sleep….
Prepares me to embrace the Mystery that I am aware.

Lavender Lasts But Briefly

LavenderLavender of evening lasts so briefly.
Takes ten minutes find precise word,
Choose to focus on lavender as opposed to
Inadequate words such as pink or mauve,
Though the entire palate must be honored—
Light begins to fade away toward twilight stars.

Monet felt he had but seven minutes
To paint before light changed,
So sensitive his eyes to transformed beauty.
For me, such lavender sky becomes a passing prayer,
Not sent upward but descending as a blessing.
Precious times do not last long,
More brief than fragile sand castles
When high tides approach upon the shore.

How vain to resist high passing clouds.
Go get the camera!  Where is canvas and paint?
Build a moat around the sand castle—
As though your work will hold forever
Against passing time, decay, and loss.
I wish I knew the mind of God
To know why Death comes so swiftly,
Takes away such lovely things as human life.

Do stars and swirling galaxies
Fear black holes that swallow them?
The Good Book says that God
Sends sunrise upon the evil
As God does upon the good….
Sends rain upon righteous and unrighteous.

Whether we be lavender or mauve or pink,
We are but as clouds, light forever reflecting,
Sometimes rainbow, sometimes thundering dark.
We have only passing hour to treasure,
Conscious of our suffering yet grateful for the pain….
What does God want from us, from all Creation?
What is there to do but surrender?
What is life but saying hello and then goodbye?