Draw Closer to the Fire

Moroccan desertBush burns but is not consumed—
Captivates both ego and the eye,
Draws the watcher nigh….

Become the fire.
Breathe deep the acrid smoke
Until it burns the lungs,
The very flesh seared by passion.

Do not walk away
In search for water’s cool
Ability to quench the thirst.
Stand close to intensify desire
Longing to be exquisitely alive….

Soon the day will come—
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
But as for now remove your shoes
Dance closer to the Light….
Burn away whatever holds you back—
Never merely watch in safety as you pray.

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What Have We Learned in a Hundred Years?

flanders From the distance of a hundred years
You see how time slowly erodes stone—
No matter how elegant the rows
That hold their dead in grave silence.

Eight million lost their lives in the Great War
That started on this day a hundred years ago….
Archduke murdered in Sarajevo was the match
But muddied killing grounds were waiting.

For the first time in history, ordinary soldiers
Identified by name were buried alongside officers—
Equality of death finally found in death.
But what else did we learn?

We learned how to manufacture chemical weapons,
Tanks and airborne bombing— found more
Efficient ways of killing an entire generation.
Now the last soldier is dead—let us still pray.

Kings, kaisers, czars and sultans lost their power.
Empires crumbled along with decency and common sense.
Incompetent generals were cold to human sacrifice,
Losing lives of thousands for a few feet of no-man’s land.

Do you see long shadow cast across the world
As inheritance that led to other wars and wars and wars?
“In Flanders fields, the poppies blow,
between the crosses row on row…..

Those unnamed that once lived and then were lost—
Their places on this Earth are ours today.
For a time they were as real as we
And tomorrow we shall be but shadows as they are today.

I’m Sure It Happened Before

 Happened BeforeI cannot say with certainty
How often it’s happened before.
I suspect more often than we suspect
Though we may never know.

But surely it had to happen before—
And without doubt will happen again.
I believe it started so long ago
That years of forgotten history passed—
Far in the past and later it happened again,
Closer but still ages ago
That we’ll never remember their names.

It happened early one morning
While most were still asleep.
It happened midday when the Sun
Cast no shadow under feet.
One year it happen when there was snow
Falling fast from dark sky one night,
Wind swirling around the tents.

Whether it ever happened to you I cannot say.
I know from the hole in my heart that
It’s happened to me more often
Than I care to remember or admit to myself.
Maybe it missed you by half an inch
Or were not standing where you were seen that day
Or slept too late in bed. Perhaps it was luck—
If you believe in such thing as luck.

Perhaps it was fate; perhaps it was prayer.
If you consider each time you had close shave
Or escaped through a hole in the net
Or maybe you had hid in dark cave….
But you were saved— not alone
Because others were there on the right,
On the left, before and behind.

I sit here wondering about you,
About me…. About how many times
We might have been together
Before we got lost. Sometimes at night
I seem to hear your heartbeat
And I lie speechless in the dark
Wondering and wondering.