I Find Myself Everywhere

Mountains-mountains-and-waterfalls-8387762-1476-988Last night, I woke in darkness,

Discovered I had become drops of rain

Falling hard upon the roof.

This is not the first time.

Last year, I opened bottle of vintage wine,

Breathed in bouquet, realizing

I was not only the wine, but crushed grapes,

Even vine on the hill, warm under Sun.

 

On Fourth of July, I am always

Shooting stars exploding in night;

Or the red canoe covered by winter snow

Down alone on the shore of the lake.

I am the bull in the meadow;

Sometimes rout swimming alive up streams.

More than once in cities,

I was paper blowing down windy streets.

 

The cracked china plate in the cupboard is me,

More often than I admit I see.

But never am I afraid to acknowledge

I’m full moon behind the clouds or the trees,

Candlelight flame on the mantle….

Singing cricket on summer’s evening—that’s me.

 

But never am I the big sharp knife in the drawer;

Never the rifle waiting hidden behind the door.

Please, God, never the weapon that wounds.

See me instead as chipped cup that still holds tea.

Look for me when searching for first robin

Singing in early spring or eagle soaring or

Ancient mountain forever sleeping beside calm lake.

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Memories Remain, Tumbling and Polished by Time

Memories Remain

Back in the days when I was young,

Winters were long and summers

Never seemed long enough to dwell in

Contemplation of the lightening bugs

Captured in Bell jars, holes in the lids

So they could breath. I hated that they died

By morning light, translucence turned to lead.

 

Some winters there were drifts that covered

Bedroom windows, blocking light morning, noon,

Even cold stars at night. In such frigid temperatures,

How could Jesus find me, covered as I was in

Blankets on the bed, knees askew and close to head?

Yes, I’m sure they had it worse in Saskatchewan,

Though once the paper said it was as cold

As surface on Mars, considering wind chill.

 

Thank God there were no dust storms; no plagues of locusts.

We managed population of frogs on

My grandfather’s farm ponds, feeding a

Childish imagination that eating frog legs

Would permit you to jump higher

Than those who only ate chicken. Back then,

Chickens ranged free, as all chickens should,

Until necks were rung and prepared to fry.

 

In Boy Scouts, I learned to march in time

Down in the basement of the church— left, right,

Left, right as we made a trip around the room.

Camping out on the edge of the lake, we collected

Mosquito bites like merit badges, learned history

On a fifty-mile trek that followed old wagon trails.

I remember unfolding a wrinkled canvas tent,

Finding a scrap of paper hidden inside folds

With “I love you” printed in pencil.

I never found who wrote that note

But wondered for years

Why a Boy Scout would be up to no good.

 

Clear water to fish; flat stones to skip on the ponds.

Mowing grass, riding horses out on the farm.

Memories remain, tumbling and polished by time.

In dreams, I’m still a boy and the small town

Has never changed. Before morning, I know

My grandmother still lives, back in the years

Before cancer destroyed hope that love would last.

 

Then the edges splinter. The dinner bell rings,

Calling me inside for dinner, after which

There’s one last hour for lightening bugs,

Communicating in some silent commentary.

Then as bugs and stars are wearing down,

I say my prayers to Jesus, and the air is sweet,

Dreamy embers of the starry sky and sleep.

 

Feel the Breath of Silent Wind

I know you as Love

This afternoon, clouds drifted
Across horizon of distant hills,
Moved not only across field of vision
But seemed to enter into my life.

They did not carry rain.
These clouds did not bring storms
But lingered over water into evening,
Adding color that signaled coming night.

It made me think the word of God
Might sometimes be quite small—
Perhaps as wide and vast as clouds
Or as small as a kiss or song…

If you shed tears when clouds appear,
Then new shadows and effervescent shapes
Haunt your hours of afternoon and enter dreams,
Bring heaviness to waves and dancing water.

Blink once, then twice to wash away all tears,
Feel breath of cool and silent wind
Whispering eternal questions echoing deep into heart
As world embraces, makes love to all of life—

Past the dimness of the dusk,
Toward birth of stars that perhaps
Hold the only answer to the storms,
Brings a breeze that hovers, then gently rustles leaves.

I Want So Much More

 burning tree

                                                                      For Claire

It’s a baffling work to know what to do,
Even know what you now see in the world—
Objects that are stone cold sober and real
Yet deeply burn with love and mercy for an entire cosmos,
Most of which I neither see or feel.
I am blind. No wonder I want to see….

What is out there I only glimpse
With eyes of an animal, for I can merely
Take a child and teach her to gaze
Not upon a world that is wondrously wild
But measured and still unknown.
I want to do more. God knows I want so much more….

Who sees a garden without looking for flowers?
Who sees the magical space which holds flowers
That endlessly open and offer
Fragrance freely given with such amazing grace?
Sometimes I awake and I am there, always alone…
When I am there, I have no voice,
Cannot find words even as I feel the wind.

Speak to me. I want to hear.
I’ve sensed your whisper touch me,
But always I want more.
Speak to me. I will be here, listening.
Let me find the meeting in the hidden place,
Learn the mystic wisdom imparted in silence,
Always within that holy space….

One Day I Shall Write A Poem

Change in the World
One day I shall write a poem
About youth, age and folly—
And the incessant evolution
That marks our time on Earth.
Like birds blinded by the Sun,
We fly indecisively, seeking
Memories lost within the distant valley.

Though obsessed with dawn and evening,
We observe the unstoppable passing of
Life and death and life again,
Tapestry of flowers so intricate
We wonder if there is meaning
Pervading, whispering hidden subtleties,
Yet never does it fade or die.

Here I rest among April mornings,
Content to see tardy trees begin to green,
Still leafless for another week or so.
Before long May will warm them
So that every naked branch will soften,
Delight in budding groves where I roam
Confused, yet awake to all living dreams.

Standing on the summit of common pleasure,
I hear the stream singing, each liquid moment,
Pouring itself toward summer’s warmth,
Wild growth and fields marked by birch—
Large yew at the edge, resplendent with age.
If only I could make this place my home,
Years after I am gone and in my grave.

How many more Springs
Before an eternity of long winters…
Where I lie secluded and deep in slumber?
Blossoms of fruit, fragrant yet unformed,
Slowly ripen to yield themselves,
Passing from summer’s heat to
Sensations sweet when full promise comes.

There are such mysteries hidden,
Waiting in the weary world— sublime,
Felt within human heart yet unremembered,
Lost in the mind, mislaid in multitudes of empty rooms.
Still it is a blessing to be a living soul,
Fever of the world hanging upon each breath,
Slowly changing the world more than we can ever know.

Silent As An Empty Church

Silent Church
Leaving the safety of the road,
I walk out into desert,
Feet shuffling through sand.
There is only silence here,
Silent as an empty church.

Cliffs made from red sandstone
Look down upon my thirsty body.
Higher up is white limestone—
Where once an ocean flowed.
No more lapping sounds…
Only the scorching sighs of summer winds.

One day my own body
Will be like a dried river,
Bones petrified to stone,
Worn down, hobbling along in
Rivers of sandstone—speechless, broken.

Back in the days when rain fell,
Fish swam upstream among green rushes,
Flooding along deep valleys,
Finding their way to the sea.
Now their fossils lie under my feet.

How do we keep up
With all that’s gone before?
We cannot bring back water
From limestone made from dried bones,
Compressed now into mountains
Shimmering as diamonds in moonlight.

Does it help to close our eyes in prayer?
Will God summon water out of stone?
I fear my faith is worn down, exhausted,
Dry as dust in the stifling heat of noon.
When my bones are transformed to stone,
Will those who still speak pause to say “Amen”?

Glistening in the Dark

GlisteningStrength is needed to endure,

To stare into the overbearing darkness.

I do not speak of the flaming sunset,

Nor the glory of morning full of hope.

I refer to the long cold of winter gloom

When presidents and potentates strive forth,

Chaos rules and truth cannot be told.

 

Most among us get depressed,

Cannot face the loss of light,

Eyes closed to even the North Star

That orients world of wonder

From thickness of the dark,

Foretelling of sickness and doom.

 

Stand solitary, give attention

To all the various signs and visions….

Focus eyes upon whatever sparks may gather.

They are barely visible, these glistenings.

Consult both fools and wise ones,

Those who hunt alone in the High Country.

 

Learn to lean into the wind that blows

Across oceans toward hidden leeward shore.

Study the emptiness of deep space,

Breath deeply of the cold air, stay awake—

Do not allow your eyes to close or dilate

Lest you miss the omen of the single star that glows.