Thursday, December 31, 2009

Basking in waves of Oneness

From high above the water,
even the clouds
are louder than the birds,
and the waves;
louder still the silence
in which You hold us all --
those who sail
and those who wait, and watch;
those who fly and those who guard the nest;
those who swim and dive
and those who hover,
quiet in the depths of being.
Lift me there, and hold me;
breathe with me,
that I might feel each cell
vibrating with the silent heartsong
which holds it all,
breathes through it all,
enlivens it all;
that I might bask with You
in the waves of oneness.

* * *

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Simple pleasures

Let us float together,
you and I,
two blossoms of white
drifting on a sea of green...
and if your neck is curved
where mine is straight,
and if the grass you choose is brown
when I prefer the green,
and if you're looking down
while I look up and out,
let's not forget
our similarities --
the environment we share,
our ability to stretch our wings and soar,
the simple pleasures
of song and wind,
of paddling about in liquid joy.

* * *

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our New Year's Baby

One blink,
and then the link
to this old year is past and gone,
with only now to greet the new,
and so I do,
hugging the daughter born
not long before that blink,
some 20 years or more ago.

We greet her with champagne --
just as we did that New Year's Eve
so long ago --
toasting new life,
new love,
new year,
new hope,
new eyes to look into my own and smile.

We greet new years together now --
and have for all these years,
sometimes with fireworks!
and will --
at least,
we will until
she shares some new beginning
with children of her own
in someplace far away from here,
no longer dancing on a beach
but holding new beginnings of her own
in tender arms;
new links,
new lives,
new loves,
new eyes
to watch and wonder as the world begins anew.

(Note: this poem in honor of our new year's babe is posted early in in response to L.L. Barkat's
call to join the "Beginnings" writing project by crafting a vignette about "beginnings" or a poem that uses at its beginning, middle, or end some word associated with the New Year. That word could be "resolve", "resolution", "dream", or something entirely of one's choosing.
Contributions to or links to others' posts for the project are here, if you'd like to join in.)

* * *

Assumptions and illusions

I was really on a shopping trip,
and not that far from home,
behind the wheel of my automobile
just looking for a way to spend the day,
when what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but this camel,
in a field by the road.
Perhaps my little trip had taken me
farther than I intended to go?
Or have I crossed paths with the wise men?
It's really hard to know --
and I didn't want to make
too many assumptions...
I took a picture and then drove on,
but the next time I passed, the camel
and his friend (who had only one hump)
were gone. Was it just an illusion?
How did I get here --
and Where did they go?

* * *

Monday, December 28, 2009

Two many A's

All the earth is
Altered forever by this
Angel whose
Ardent hand carves traces of
Affection in each and every soul,
Adorning every heart with

Awake, O Heart,
And look
Awash in
Adulation --in
Admiration for
All your creation --
Accolades well up from within.

* * *

Sunday, December 27, 2009

When will I immerse myself?

Standing on your corner,
my smile echoing yours,
I wait and watch as others play.
I've bared my feet,
and rolled up my pants,
but still I seem reluctant to get wet;
to enter into this engagement
over which you gaze
with such benevolence.
I'm eager
-- appreciative, even --
and yet there is some part of me
that's holding back
and staying close to you,
clinging to a towel
just in case.
Help me, O Holy One,
to dance in your reflected light;
to know where you would have me stand
and when I should immerse myself
in Love.

* * *

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hungering for Paradise

Fond memories
of February snows
and hours spent in a quiet room
with other meditating hearts;
of warm beds
and nourishing food
for body and for soul;
of afternoons spent tromping through the cold,
or reading in a cozy rocker
and staring out the window
at the mountains;
of evening chants
and morning fog:
a hunger grows within for Paradise.

* * *

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the mangers of our souls

In a world designed
for co-habitation,
each of us walks alone.
Passing buildings designed
for daylight occupation,
each of us walks in darkness,
measuring our steps
between intermittent patches of light.
Surrounded by others who ride together
in caravans,
led by a star,
we have only our own feet to carry us
to some as yet unimaginable destination.

Walk with us,
O Holy One.
Guide us through the darkness
and keep us ever mindful
that we carry Your light within.
Help us to cradle it gently
in the mangers of our souls.

* * *

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fade into the bright

Like this crow,
we're curious, and cautious;
eager to learn more
about the center of the cross
yet anxious,
lest there be some unexpected taste
in what lies there;
something that might rise up and bite,
or perhaps some hidden poison
that will shorten this wild life.
And so we approach this intersection
-- between past and future,
human and divine --
step by tentative step
as if to say
I'm afraid that if I set foot here
I may suddenly cease to exist --
as if this black wouldn't show up against that white;
as if, coated in reflected light,
we might decide to fold our wings
and fade into the bright.

* * *

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Floating in a Haze of Grays

Though I cannot see You
quite so clearly today,
I know you're there on the path with me.
And though the shore seems far away,
I know the boats you have provided
to carry me to you
-- though old and worn --
are safe and watertight;
know also that if I rock the boat
enough to tip myself into hot water
it won't be all that deep.
Still -- though I see the light in the distance --
I find I'm quite content
to sit here,
floating in a haze of grays,
and gaze on you.

* * *

Monday, December 21, 2009

Grounded in Love

However much we find ourselves
-- in families and communities --
bumping up against
our failures and our imperfections
(both yours and mine
are sometimes problematic)
there is a chance
we could step back
and see that through it all
there flows the dance of light and stars:
moments of grace
or ambiguity
that could lead to giant leaps of faith
to take us high above this earth-bound condemnation;
help us soar above the separated life
into a heavenly unity
even as we remain
grounded for life
grounded in life
grounded in Love.

* * *

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sinking into Light

"I've got a sinking feeling..."
she said,
as if it were a bad thing,
and yet, I realized,
that indicated that she understood
she'd let somebody down,
that she could have done better.
What if we took that sinking feeling
and just dropped right into it;
took all those times we let our brothers and sisters down
-- all those times we let YOU down --
and allowed ourselves to feel that sinking, and to see
that it doesn't lead to Smaller Self and darkness
but rather into Larger Self, and Light;
a light that does indeed sink in,
and in so doing helps us to become
enlightened beings.

Ah, Light --
our longing for You
grows deeper every day.

* * *

Saturday, December 19, 2009

No longer night and day

"In Him there is no darkness at all:
the night and the day are both alike."
And when I am "in Him"
-- which is to say, in You, in Now --
I, too, am Open;
I, too, shall see, Face to Face,
the glory that is all, that is One;
the miracle that someone built a building
-- however ragged it might be now --
the miracle of a cup of coffee on a cold dark day
-- however bitter the particular blend --
the miracle of Your Divine Presence in my life
-- however often it remains undetected,
however rarely I am able to set aside my judging,
however clearly I can or cannot see
the beauty and goodness that are an integral part
of each moment and element of your creation.
Now I may see dimly,
but when the difference between good and bad
is no longer night and day
I shall see

* * *

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anticipating a White Christmas

As I reflect on all the Power
that flows through You
and finds its way to me
and back again into the world
That sense of separation,
of being set apart --
a house on fragile ground about to topple --
begins dissolving,
and, hesitant,
I step outside these carefully crafted doors
and merge,
silent and naked as a tree
into the surrounding wood,
and, knowing oneness, know this, too:
I shall rejoice
in that sweet and all-uniting blanketing of white.

* * *

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not today

Such classic lines,
serene and pure;
they mimic how I feel
when I'm at one with You --
even the color, this pure deep green,
matches the peace
that permeates my soul.

But this is not my car;
it's someone else's to maintain and cherish.
Mine's a bitter orange,
and stained with diesel smoke;
there are puddles on the floor of the back seat
and the doors don't lock any more.
Does that mean it's at one with the universe?

I hope so -- cuz I'm sure not --
not today, anyway.

* * *

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Right brain, left brain

Hail, O guardians of perception --
you who look both right and left,
allowing me to see
into the depths of reality --
I see a question in your eyes,
in the tilt of your reflected heads
and wonder:
which of you is guiding me today?
Which is in shadow,
and which is lit for all to see,
and when will I have the courage
to step down the path
you guard so closely
into the verdant fields of acceptance
that lie beyond this yard
I've played in for so long.

* * *

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Which is Heaven?

When standing on the bridge
between now and then
I find I grow confused:
which is which?
Is now the mix of flowers and weeds,
the confusion and the plethora?
Is then the carefully manicured lawn,
where everything will be orderly,
divided into yes and no,
into play-here and safe
and don't-play-there; not-safe?
Or is now the tidy, cropped illusion
and then the wonderful profusion
of color, growth and decay,
each containing seeds of future,
born of past?
And who built the bridge
on which I stand?
Could I,
having stepped off into the abyss between,
still reach the other side?

* * *

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beyond the veil of being

What lies beneath,
and what's beyond
what we can plainly see?
Or can it be that all is veiled --
and now,
and after --
by our own
(all too human)
clouded by our searching
for what is already
here, and now,
and true?
Time to take that leap,
hop down off that safe pedestal of knowing.
release those defenses,
and jump to the ground of your being.

* * *

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where is the Grace?

Grace has no season:
a rhythm,
but no reason --
a promise of life
that is rooted in stone
and yet it's clear
there are hidden springs below
toward which we stretch and reach
and which we try to grasp
with every last determined fiber of being
and yet we question,
almost daily,
"Where is the grace in this?"
Where is the grace in suffering and death?
God only knows...

* * *

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Inclusion without exclusion

When you look at me
as if to say,
"We're all in this together,"
does it also mean
we're bonding against
or laughing about
some Other?

How can we teach
the ones to whom
the world will soon belong
that inclusion need not include
that you and I together
might never need to mean
"against him or them."

* * *

Friday, December 11, 2009

No place to stand

Today there seems to be
no place to stand --
no higher ground,
no level playing field --
but just this helpless falling,
clinging to a camel-shaped crack in the rock,
wondering where the light has gone
and what on earth
possessed me to follow this stupid star
because the only way out appears to be
an attempt to walk on water.
I've tried that before,
and found this faith was not enough;
whatever made me think
things had improved at all with age?
Oh, perhaps that's it;
I've galloped off in yet another wrong direction:
looking back, I see the star
is gleaming far behind me
and wonder again if life has passed me by
while I pursued what I had thought were hallowed dreams.

* * *

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As flower fades

Who loves the flower
as she fades,
as petals start to droop and sag
as her bright gaze
grows dim with age
and crisp thoughts soften and fade?

The One who planted,
who placed the seed
and watered the sprout,
who fed her with love
and rejoiced in her blooming,
in the wafting of petals
in the breath of wind
and the flow of the future --
born of air, sun, and love --
through her stalk as she sinks;
that bright promise of tomorrow
that ripens even as her petals gray
and fall to lie, grounded,
pierced by the frosted grass.

* * *

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blessings to share

Blessings abide
in beginnings and endings --
in the cool of the morning
and at the end of the day --
and so we set this table
and prepare a feast
to share with those whom we love.

Inspire us --
breathe into us
your heavenly color and light,
and encourage us
to clasp another's hand
and lead them to your table;
inviting them to share in the blessings
you so graciously provide.

* * *

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ignoring the door to more

Please, sir --
May I have some More?

It is the season;
we're longing for light.
It's no longer enough,
this game of smoke and mirrors;
no longer enough
to simply carry the illusion of light.
We want to BE the light,
pray for the light to burn in us
and shine through us;
we long to smash through this wall
that separates us, to become windows
into that Divine Self that animates
and brings ALL souls to light.

Yet still we fail to choose to climb the steps
and ignore the door that is already there,
lingering outside instead,
mesmerized by our own reflections.

* * *

Monday, December 7, 2009

In wind, a transformation

Tis the season
to be harried,
to be blown this way and that
by memories and expectations:
brace yourself,
hold onto your hat --
or let it blow
and let it go:
this, too, shall pass
and in its wake --
if we remember to breathe --
stillness might come,
and night,
and stars,
and wind become
sweet music to my ears.

* * *

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Be careful where you shine

The challenge of shining
a light in the darkness
may sometimes involve
the shadows you cast:
However bright the reflections may be,
there's always a chance
that things once hidden
-- when brought to light --
may not all be pleasing;
that cracks in this facade we've built
may become quite glaringly obvious,
and that if we've any hope
of staying afloat
some changes will need to be made.
Be careful, when you shine the light of Truth.
Be careful WHERE you shine it, as well.

* * *

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ionic irony

Sometimes we go to extraordinary lengths
to keep ourselves feeling safe,
insulated from the challenges
of living and loving.

We long to hide ourselves away
in thoughts of past glory
or dreams of future promise;
construct elaborate plans and fantasies
and choose to live inside
their ionic/ironic columns
as a child hides behind fanned fingers,
if I can't see them,
they can't see -- or worse yet, touch --

* * *

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beach blessings

I'm wishing you some simple joys --
a sunny day and an inviting beach:
a blue umbrella to shade your eyes,
a comfy chair,
a lack of crowds
a cooling drink,
the cry of the gulls,
the pounding surf
and the feel of the sand,
warm beneath your feet.

I hope you find
a few sparse clouds
to break up the endless expanse of sky,
and I wish you each
a friend to talk with,
a lover to lie with,
a child to laugh with,
and a rainbow of color
to carry you through the day.
Blessings, my friend --

* * *

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All Better is Already Here

When life is good
and my arms are full of joy,
there's always this sense
that a bomb's about to drop;
some unseen tree behind me
is leaning hard
and about to fall
and I'll be knocked off my precious perch
and left alone and broken.

And so I've always got my eye
on the magic keyhole,
planning my escape
and longing for safety;
hoping that there's someplace I can go
where Someone's Magic Kiss
can make everything All Better,
when in fact
All Better
is Already

* * *

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dancing in the Moonlight

Today I sit facing the moon,
and watch the waves of You
roll in;
roll out...
and, noticing my breath and thoughts
I see that I'm not sleepy now:
there is no place I'm going to
that is not You,
and I am dancing on the edge
of being and nothingness,
alight with love and longing.
Why count these breaths
when I could be lying
in a hammock woven of moonbeams?

* * *

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finding strength in vulnerability

Help us,
O Holy One,
to balance our openness
with strength;
to face our vulnerability --
to know it
with the gentle familiarity
of the hair we comb
or the face we confront in the mirror --
and still be conscious of that inner core
which you inhabit with such grace.
Help us to gaze upon
the rest of your creation
with acceptance,
and compassion;
help us to trust our own abilities
to sort out good from bad,
safe from unsafe,
love from false flattery and delusion,
and in the sorting find a vehicle
for carrying your Peace into the world.

* * *

Monday, November 30, 2009

Full-spectrum Perception

That which my eye
so easily distinguishes --
the light, the dark, the color,
and all gradations in between --
becomes a challenge for my camera,
which, seeing one,
must miss the other;
seeing into light,
reduces dark to black, losing all color,
seeing into dark,
reduces this tiled floor,
and this Venetian vista
to mere white;
just as my brain cannot encompass
all the shades of my soul,
but seems to focus solely
on the lightest or darkest places,
and then decides -- depending on my mood --
that only one is Truth.

* * *

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beast of Burden

Constantly flinching
from blow after economic blow
she staggers,
blinded by this illumination:
however much you decorate it
a tomb is still just that:
a tomb,
and all her efforts to deny this truth
have only served
to create a mountain of debt,
a crushing weight of opulence,
impossible to both carry and maintain.

when the spirit is so burdened
by concerns of the flesh,
can it ever learn to soar again?

* * *

Friday, November 27, 2009

Saved from boredom...

Wouldn't it be lovely,
if each of us
had our own unique niche,
and knew from the beginning
where it was,
and how to get there;
if we could stand guard
in that familiar space,
carrying our own unique props,
our lines, carefully memorized,
spewing out at exactly the right moments?
I suppose,
we might get bored,
looking at the same view,
day after day;
our lovely robes
reflected in the same dark pond
after night,
after night...

* * *

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blessings after rain

Light shines
in the strangest places,
colors building at my feet;
puddles full of sky,
windows into one another's souls;
blessings melt into the patterns
of a life whose rituals,
bring a taste of sunshine.

* * *

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The reign of light

They promised a light rain today;
no one explained
they meant it'd be raining light,
a lightning's flash of illumination,
drizzled across the clear blue floor of soul
in some obscure and ancient shade of gold;
a liquid dose of wisdom
spilling forth,
from the mouths of children once unborn.
I stare,
mesmerized by the patterns of thought,
and drift off into never-never land
to learn my lines again
for a play I never expected to perform;
a life I'd never expected to live;
for children whose challenges
I'd never expected to face.
It's always new, isn't it --
this tilted walk through time?

* * *

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Faced with opulence

I'm so intrigued
by this opulence;
these wealthy ones
who -- back some 90 years ago --
built mansions with huge gardens
and filled them both with statuary,
with pools, and complicated grottoes...
What is it about us humans,
that we can so rarely comprehend
the difference between
enough and too much?
And how, as an artist,
can I find it in my heart to object
when a person wants to fill a house with art?
Is the fact that each work of art
gave someone a job and food
enough justification?
Or is it just enough to know
that one day they died,
and now a whole community
revels in their riches?

* * *

Monday, November 23, 2009

And the Reality is...

We have this image of vacations,
where every day is warm and sunny,
every color bright and cheery,
and every photograph we take
a masterpiece of composition.
But as my old boss used to say,
his hands extended outward
as if holding a box,
"The Reality is..."
The reality is,
we don't always get to BE on vacation --
and certainly not from ourselves --
and even when we are, the sky may cloud up,
the reservations may get canceled,
and we may find ourselves standing unprotected,
in the rain, in some strange place
where we are not at home with ourselves;
may find, to our sadness,
that we forgot to pack those bright umbrellas
of self-delusion,
and what we're seeing's NOT a pretty picture.

* * *

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Outsiders' Hymn

It's a haunting tune,
this lonely song we sing
when love has passed us by
or left us
standing in the cold,
staring at the moon that seems to shine
for all the other lovers
but not for those of us
who linger by love's door
awaiting invitation;
exiled for burning out,
smoke quietly beside the potted plants
and scatter long gray ashes
on the steps that lead
to someone else's dreams.

However painful love may be
for some the isolation
will always be
a harder cross to bear.

* * *

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In the delicacy of a moment

Some days I look at life,
and all I can see
is its fragility;
how vulnerable we are,
how ephemeral these lives
we design and cultivate with so much care.
It is, perhaps, a side-effect --
a necessary one --
of opening to possibility,
of exposing our shadows,
of the acceptance
that change, like suffering,
is inevitable.
Some other days I see
how precious, and how beautiful
all that fragility can be;
the infinite delicacy
of a single moment
even though our noticing
might cause the earth to move
and all this brittle artifice to shatter.

* * *

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where and what is God?

So when --
and what --
do we believe?
Is it only under stress,
when all we love's been set adrift
and we're no longer feeling safe, secure
that we postulate a God who will protect,
and bring us home?
Or is it just when things are going well
that we feel we can trust and believe
in a loving God?
And what is that God like for you?
Is it some old guy in the sky
who waves his hands
and makes the waters go away?
Or do you see God in the face of the neighbor
who shows up at your door in hip waders
with a casserole, and a smile?
Or is it God in us, AND sky, AND friend
that helps us each survive
and calls us safely home into Pure Grace?

* * *

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beneath the bright

Pay no attention
to that face behind the curtain:
ignore the lashless eyes,
the sneer,
the intent watchfulness of ego,
the waiting fist,
the one-two punch of recognition.

Spin, gypsy, spin
in your relentless tarantella,
throw a Tutu over your shoulder
and imagine yourself a despotic ballerina,
en pointe in a minefield of misconceptions;
don the many-colored coat
your father gave his favored child
and run from the jealous brothers
before they sell you into slavery
to the self you thought you were
or strip, peeling away the layers one by one
to reveal the courageous heart of love
that pulses still beneath -- and above -- it all.

* * *

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In dreams, an invitation

In dreams, visions evolve:
one moment this,
and then the colors shift
and we are lost in some other world,
and, waking,
still imprinted with your love,
which colors thought,
we are encouraged --
as if we had been listening to your voice --
to let the colors speak through us,
through art:
they fly onto the page,
inviting us to balance;
to rise, and to converge.

* * *

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A seasonal response

Light and life are rushing by,
pulling me into the frantic,
and so I photograph the rush,
and flip it on its side;
make a copy, match them up,
and light becomes uplifted hands;
the rush becomes a prayer,
and when I add
a hint of worship,
the rush becomes a tree
whose star is yet unseen
and I realize again
the seasonal nature,
the perfect rightness
of these worries that propel me
forward into destiny;
into birth that will again
lead us to death.

* * *

Monday, November 16, 2009

When light reaches into now

When light reaches
into now
and carves its seminal split
between the oneness
we once knew,
and the separation that is future,
yet also past,
what connections will be forged
between earth and sky
for healing and redemption;
what sea-green forest
will reach into the mountains
and clamor for the moon?
And where,
on this unearthly landscape,
that is both,
that is and,
that is divided,
that is whole
will we ever find our home?

* * *

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When shadows point the way

You are the sand
beneath our feet,
the water tracing patterns
in our lives.
Your spirit perfumes
the air we breathe,
And those obstacles you send?
-- the ones that float in on the tide
and out again? --
they cast their anxious shadows
over thought,
coloring each life
with an instructive darkness
that points the way
to new horizons,
new possibilities.

Help us to trust
that each unwieldy challenge
will bring us to a new frontier
and re-form us in your image.

* * *

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Born to dance

We are,
all of us,
born to dance;
to sing our own unique songs to the universe,
to allow the light
that is creativity
that is energy
that is love
to flow through us
and out into the world,
igniting all it touches
until all that is
flames with holiness.

Bless us
with your most

* * *

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lord help us

Lord, help us --
even with all this rich green grass,
We've still got our eyes on that fence.
Help us to see
the blessings here before us.
Help us to know
the protection and guidance
your fence affords.
Help us to listen
for the sound of your voice;
to perk up our ears
at the call to greener pastures;
to follow our noses
to the loving shelter you provide
right here;
right now.

* * *

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The art of recycling

Those pieces of our tattered lives --
the ones you crop away --
where do they go?
Is there some grand
recycling bin
where all the lost colors go,
where shapes and lines,
some grand and innovative architecture
of a new and unlost soul;
where empty cans
and can'ts
and couldn'ts
become a tapestry
of wills and haves and owns;
somehow transformed
into comfort,
into color
into life?
into love?

* * *