My Empty House is Discreetly Blessed

Sang to me in Rome

It makes little sense to me

To think of working toward happiness.

It comes and goes of its own accord,

Not to be forced, yet it grows—

Slowly, more often out of silence.

 

Roots of the old shag bark hickory

Just outside my windows

Send out deep roots.  No one has seen this.

But I know roots grow deeper in darkness.

Tall tree is fed, lifted higher as roots go deeper.

 

All creation is like this growing tree.

Beginning in silence; beginning inside the bark,

The work is slowly preparing, always out of sight.

Joy, for me, is different— a sudden surprise, freely given

As grace blows to waken, glittering in the sunlight.

 

But happiness is born of contentment and peace.

Perhaps like an old piece of furniture in the corner,

Polished and clean, it waits to be noticed.

Like old familiar gods, it cannot be banished.

It holds its place beside shelf of photographs and books.

 

My life, the very air within my lungs—

My empty house is discretely blessed.

No less are blessed the oak, elm and hickory,

Whether stripped of leaves in winter or

Green leaves that catch light in summer warmth.

 

Happiness is rooted here, gently folded among forgotten dreams.

As friends depart, close the door, joy leaves the house.

There remains an inward living presence….

I am reconciled in love to the silence of the house.

I’ve swept the lingering fear away from every room.

 

No sadness is permitted sway, but now the work begins

As happiness is born, rises out of silent mystery,

Warms itself before the fire of memory. 

No longer need I yearn for something unpossessed.

I am content, at peace, in living prayer and very happy.

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Where Old Whispers Dwell

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Hidden inside an upstairs closet,

Carefully wrapped in black silk scarf,

Down in soul of the wishing well

Is place where old whispers dwell.

 

I know this room where whispers dwell,

Packed along with acorns from ancient oak,

Webs of history buried within forest of mind,

Concealed place where no one knows.

 

Keep this secret, deep in the midden,

Bounded by early morning mist…

Forget in a minute what I’ve told you,

Remember nothing of where old whispers dwell.

 

When deep bell tolls for fishermen lost,

Out in uncharted parts of ocean vast,

Beneath thundering waves where old bones rest,

You can hear echoes of whispers in watery graves.

 

I keep such voices alive in my heart,

Meadows where witches dance and cast dark spells,

Caves where little folk keep treasure of gold,

Deep quiet woods where old whispers dwell.

 

One day, perhaps I’ll share the way—

If you kindly ask, before I leave.

Maybe show the way, if you take my hand—

If I remember the place where old whispers dwell.

Miracle in Blue Stone

 

Blue Stone

Thick stone slabs mark pathway

Alongside my house, down to office,

Further down to dock and lake—

An inch and a half to two inches thick,

Weigh more than strong men can carry.

 

Most are four feet wide,

By two and a half feet deep,

Made of native blue stone,

Crevices, veins and fossils—

Each one could be an altar

Used for holy sacrifice.

 

Miracle comes when it rains—

Stone turns from gray to sparkling blue,

Mixed with deeper, brighter hues,

Gleams and comes alive when Sun

Shines and warms each smooth slab.

 

When rain drops fall from heavenly clouds,

Smell of petrichor arises into air—

Petra from Greek for stone,

Ichor is the fluid blood in the veins of gods.

Sounds of thumping drops, dancing

Lightly until they finally come to rest.

 

Transubstantiation happens

Not only upon altars in church—

Where bread and wine are changed,

New essence now revealed,

Necessary sacrifice complete.

 

Blessing of the Earth

Does not come only from words of priests,

But falls from clouds, sunlight, moisture—

Pure and luminous to the eye, new memories

Formed here and now, soaking into dry veins.

The Essence Deep Within

Slow Me Down

Sometimes I pause at end of day,

Slow down, quiet racing thoughts…

As day fades from long shadows into dusk,

Image of myself softens at the edges…

Diminishes and starts to drop away.

 

Just before stars begin to shine,

The world almost seems gone,

My friends, all ideas of self,

All thoughts fall into the past

As I’m One with Presence fully present.

 

Within that moment of peaceful silence,

Radiant emptiness blossoms open,

Brightness of Soul emerges—

Finally known and now embrace

 Pure Essence deep within.

 

If I’d Only Been Allowed to Speak With the Dead

When I was born, my innocent soul
Was like a moth, ignorant it would be attracted,
Then burned in the flame of life.
Why was I denied the chance
To speak with the dead?
Perhaps that was my only hope.
 
Now there are still traces of questions
Scratched illegibly upon the walls of my veins.
The pain remains, sits there coagulating truth,
Lost within the extensive caves
Where light of consciousness rarely goes.
 
If there were justice, I would have died,
More than once…  As it was,
Death approached, returned again and again,
Hidden and seen, gently called by some force
Moving down dark hall so silently
I could not hear its steps or voice….
 
I once knew a woman who had a name
For each and every tooth in her mouth.
Such mystical wonders often escape me,
Reflection and introspection taken to such degree
Where I need help with my body, too stiff
To know who poses a request that I love as much….
 
I’ve finally learned to know the absence of love.
But I’ve only begun to know where love is present.
What is the shape of the eternal questions asked by love?
What is its smell?  Is love silky to the touch?
Did Mozart and Beethoven capture its sound?
Or did Francois Gossec capture it best
Only when he sat on afternoons in Paris
Composing his symphonies after watching the guillotine
Sever heads in the morning, the bloody sunrise
Framing death as a choral work of beauty.
 
Some say after we die we will burn in the flames of hell.
But what of inevitable flames that come in the morning?
Who intentionally put rocks on the path?
Why don’t the dreams and longings of youth work out?
Why must we be willing to get rid of the life
We’ve been longing for years and years,
So as to have the life that’s waiting for us?
Where is the hospital?  Who is the nurse?
I pray to God the dead have some of the answers….

No Blame and No Excuse

Full Moon, no excuse

The year I learned the heart

Is merely an instrument imprecise,

Organ of the body that keeps

Blood rushing through veins,

Brain only asked to validate,

Endorse haste without complaint.

Later in summer, I learned

To buck bales of hay, hard work,

Sweating in blistering heat.

Sun taught me another lesson—

How easily I could

Feel sorry for myself.

 

So much in life is like the tides,

Rising until noon, falling in night.

It seems an arbitrary wind that blows,

Never ceasing, always flowing as blood

Outside control, unawareness has the upperhand.

 

There is no blame,

Neither are there any excuses.

Experience always comes too late to teach

Until we suffer pain.

High above old cheesy Moon

Weeps when we lose love again and again.

Storms upon the sea

Rage against the rocky shore

But still, the young man cannot see,

Walks blindly up a curving path,

Leaves everything as it was….

Lesson left behind.

 

It took stillness in the air,

An empty space to finally teach

How to be tender when kissing

Another upon the check.

God forgive my slow ignorance,

Many times I was not brave enough

To confess I was confused.

 

From cold distance, Moon may see everything unchanged.

But for me, now nothing is the same.

Perhaps at times I am still a lunatic,

Loving old Moon more than I should,

Thinking I have a handle on the truth,

Yet so much remains untouched inside,

Unseen, but no need to make excuse.

 

Sadness in the Air Today

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Sadness is in the air today,
As green slowly turns to yellow.
Nights can be chilly enough
To make me wonder about a hat.

Perhaps I might call all of this
Second nature….
But maybe, truthfully, it’s just Nature.
It’s all as clear as the October air.

It won’t take long for leaves to fall,
Strong wind or rain can
Take out either a leaf or a life in a single day.
No matter what— it’s Nature.

Eventually, trees will all be bare and naked.
It seems cruel to see them come to this.
Do they know? Do they care?
Is there within bark and core awareness?

Then comes darkness; then the snow.
Suddenly the consequences look black and white.
Wind comes along and whips the snow
Like stinging freckles onto your face.

Each flake seems to pause upon skin,
As though waiting for an opening
Or maybe it’s the snow that wants in.
A small piece of the world now wants inside.

Like any proper border, our walls
Never quite thick enough.
Do you wipe it off or let it soak it in?
Relax. Maybe I’m only talking about skin.

Come winter, when snow grabs you—
You can’t just brush it off….
Well, you can, but there’s always more.
In midlife, deep snow can cloud the whole world.

Of course, it drifts into private corners,
Accumulates, endures deliberately
Just for the sake of it…
I wonder if it wants to last.

From inside the house, looking out,
I envy the snow.
Soon it will disappear,
But it doesn’t seem to care at all.

Call it snow; call it chalky paint;
Call it a mask or moisturizer for your face.
Blink your eyes and see both world and Self,
White like snow and without complaint.