Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hungry for Easter

This must be the gate to Easter:
just grab the latch and pull.

All the signs are there --
the colors,
the invitation,
the promise --

But why do we NEED a gate?
And why is there a fence to keep us out?

I am standing on this threshold,
longing for those sweet pear yellows,
Hungry for the crossing to be over.

* * *

Monday, March 30, 2009

Divine shadows

We are but shadows
cast by divine love;
Missing that luminous dimension,
we stare into the dark deep within
and long for light.

* * *

Sunday, March 29, 2009

When light comes

On a sunny day in Spring,
The swallow sings to her mate
even on the wrong side of the tracks:
Beauty everywhere.

* * *

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Leader of the Pack

At last I've made it,
infiltrated their network;
I guess the old saying is true:
clothes do make the man --
or sheep, as the case may be.
I mean, I'm not a WOLF or anything,
I didn't do this because I wanted to eat them.
I just thought
maybe I could do a better job of herding
if I fit in a little better.

Funny thing about that:
this sheep suit really slows me down;
no more nipping at their heels.

* * *

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Northwest Blessing

Isn't it always true
that the brightest blooms --
the moments of sheer illumination,
that color our lives with wonder --
isn't it always,
or almost always,
that they emerge,
singing fire,
from the darkest moments of our lives?
And so, for you in the dark, a Northwest blessing:
The rhodies are coming,
The rhodies are coming!

* * *

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Please sir,
May I have some more?
What can I say?
I'm addicted --
just gotta have one more slurp
of that double decaf breve' latte.

Hit me with some more foam, baby,
I want it all;
the cup is not enough --
gotta lick every last bit
from the lid, too:
so useful having a flexible tongue.

You know you can get more:
wouldn't you like to share?
You want me to give up cream for Lent?
What were you THINKING?

* * *

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just before the floating

"It's all downhill from here," she said,
and though she meant that in a good way,
a sliding into home base sort of way,
a you're-on-the-home-stretch way,
what I heard --
my attitude being what it is these days,
coloring everything
like the brush of some demonic painter,
in shades of dark and gloom --
what I heard, and saw, and felt, was this:

that the rest of this time,
however long it lasts,
will be some unavoidable downhill slide,
a gravitational pull,
a sinking into the muddy edge of nothingness...

I can't seem to remember
that the mud comes just before the floating,
that thing we were born to do.

* * *

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passing moment

It's all here:
the long-dead past, still ornamental;
the barriers that also protect,
the subtle invitation of dawning color,
the looming dark,
the single flower,
once a harbinger of spring, still hanging on;
the river, which, though flowing,
seems to have stopped
for the sole purpose
of reflecting the halos of ordinary things;
the softness and the edge,
the rough and the smooth,
magenta sky and green green earth...
a trick of light
and a single moment,
explodes with everything that is --
save us, of course;
we who stand and watch... but stop!
I hear the slap of oars in the distance:
a scull will break the surface of this stillness soon.

* * *

Monday, March 23, 2009

The closed mind

Why would you choose this,
choose to get stuck
in these old patterns of thought,
this ridged and corrugated mind,
arbitrarily stiffened,
rusted and stained,
no way in,
no way out,
no vision...

I suppose it would be safe against the storms.
But wouldn't you rather grab the edge
of that sliding door,
push it aside,
let in some fresh air?

* * *

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Having a ball

We are all in this together,
afloat in this liquid sky,
waiting for the journey that comes next.

some of us lean left,
and some of us lean right;
there are one or two straight arrows in the bunch,
and others who will always serve as obstacles,
keeping us from imagined freedoms,
the freedom those birds
who rest on us between flights of fancy
now take for granted,
But now is not a time we get to fly.

Now we are suspended,
And as long as you are with us,
we'll be sure to have a Ball!

* * *

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In the glass, darkly

I don't understand.
When I look in your eyes,
I only see myself reflected there.
Where are you?

I don't just want to see myself in you,
to bounce my own ideas
off your serene clear surface.

Take away the mirror please;
break the glass
into a thousand pieces
that I might see what lies beneath
and learn.

Oh, dear:
I'm talking to myself again,
that's only my own voice
echoing back in the descending dark.

* * *

Friday, March 20, 2009


So here's where I stand:
I can see the magic,
the flow of it --
I've been on the path a while --
But from here
it looks like the path stops soon
and there will be a cliff.

What am I supposed to do now?
Climb down?
Dive in?
I don't think these old bones are up for that.

What's that?
Just stay on the path?
Don't worry about next, just now?
I see.
Just stay the course --
and be prepared for miracles!

* * *

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've grown accustomed to this place...

This fruit we bear is heavy,
and so it is
that prior to its birth
we send out tendrils,
clinging to whatever is near
and offering support.

But now,
now that the fruit is gone,
whether plucked,
or withered into dry, hard lumps
of lost opportunities,
why are these tendrils still in place?
Why stay connected,
now the life we bore is lost?

Brown and brittle,
these anachronistic bonds break easily, and fall to the ground,
yet still I rest here,
no longer tied
but grown accustomed to the closeness.

Perhaps I'll doze here now
anesthetized in the comfort of your arms,
and while we are sleeping and dreaming of spring
the secateurs will come to prune us back
so we may bear fresh fruit.

* * *

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Failed Prophet's Lament

I did not take the road less traveled,
and I'm not sure what difference it made.
Some ages back in time
I left the narrow way and took the wide,
and sometimes now I think of that and sigh.

I've thought of going back,
yet seeing where those simple choices led,
were I to choose again, I'd have to say
the differences in many ways were slim,
the end result quite possibly the same

though at the time it seemed
I had the chance to save the world, and lost;
to tread the lonelier path and work for good
was just too hard: I chose instead
to take the other, and found it just as fair.

Now bent with age, I look back in the wood
and see how far I've come, and what is left
of the road I didn't take, and how alone
I might have been. And though I'm sad I could not travel both
I see those two roads merging into one.

* * *

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Vineyard

Barren in winter,
No pumpkins,
no sweet ripe grapes:

Pruned vines yearning for fruit.

* * *

Monday, March 16, 2009

From I to Thou

Each snowflake
on the slow or windblown slide from sky to earth
claims its separate identity:

I am proud to be unique:
you are Other,
we wear different styles of lace...

At the end of the fall
we meld into white wonder,
feeding your eyes with slippery promises,
then melt in liquid wholeness
our watery essence
nourishing the earth.

* * *

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Psalm 19

Who makes
this comforter of stars?

Who stitched together
the firmament of heaven,
first weaving rainbows into
fabric of the night,
then, torn and spun into patterns,
carefully refabricates,
backing with a cushion of light,
tying it all together with silver threads
to drip the morning dew
and tucks it in around us?

Who tiptoes from the room
leaving the door
open just a crack
in case we should awaken;
Who leaves this thin gold beam of light
to reassure us in the dark?

* * *

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reflections on Simone Weil

I'm watching you dissolve:
emotions mixed and blending still
light into dark,
doom into daring future,
a taste for solitude
nurtured in community
or a taste for community
nurtured in solitude:
which is it?

A single step
into this pooled reflection
will scatter drops of colored thoughts
rippling out from timid, testing toes:
will it be cold or warm,
this new ocean of oneness;
what unseen chemistry
might strip away the mask,
reveal the common heart that lies beneath?

* * *

Friday, March 13, 2009

In color and in light

Born into a world of color and light,
blessed with the eyes to see
creative gifts at work
in hands and souls,
how can we not rejoice
and turn with longing hearts
toward this bright feast of Sun?

* * *

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the Grip of Divine Love

I am waiting
for enlightenment,
for the ecstasy of knowing,
of seeing you are everywhere
and now,
in me as well;
for the peace and security
of knowing my own divinity in you.

do I feel that I am drowning
in a sea of my own slime;

that some divine lifeguard
is lugging me to shore
out of a sense of duty,
that with luck I might get lifted out
but never up,
never free,
stuck forever
in the fiber of being.
Why do I bother with this struggle?
And why don't you just let me sink?

* * *

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tibetan Bowl

Years ago,
you did not know me well.
One morning,
when I was in charge of leading prayers,
my hand slipped
when I struck our Tibetan bowl.

The resulting sound was tinny, lacking resonance,
and when the prayers were over,
you took me aside
to give a lengthy explanation
on how to tap the bowl
as if I were a novice.

You thought you were being helpful,
but I,
carrying years of experience,
mixed with rejection and invisibility,
resented your assumption
that I'd never struck a bowl before;
found you officious, condescending.

And now,
now we both are softer, wiser,
I see that you, too, needed to be heard.
Watching you bloom in love,
I'm blooming, too,
and the Heart that holds us both
is resonating like a deep Tibetan bowl,
thrumming with reconciliation.

* * *

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Heart behind the curtain

Pay no attention
to that man behind the curtain:
Don't delude yourself --
your choices were your own,
not that you were made that way,
not that those choices
have anything to teach you...

How many years
and how many tormented souls
before we get it,
get that this distant angry face,
these fires,
are just a construction,
an illusion built to terrify and control,

and behind it all is just a heart
that longs to make us whole
and help us find our home.

* * *

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shadows of Green

What are we to do
when green is gone?
what ungreen thoughts
will fringe our barren branches,
stripe these pale grasses;
stain the pepper and the grape,
frame our flowers and feed our fruit?
How will we breathe?

Ah, yes --
red, oranges, and purples --
or perhaps
this yellow grass
and that blue sky
will blend in memory of past artistic fusions
and green will live on in their shadows.

* * *

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Stripped and barren

Lent has a way of exposing us,
of paring away our protective layers
until we stand, all bare and prickly,
to await the coming condemnation.

Masks and all protective coloration
peel off in the relentless pounding
of shoulds, what-ifs, and might-have-beens.

And what is left,
O Holy One,
When we stand stripped before your liquid altar,
fallen brothers at our feet,
pale bones gleaming
in the harsh light of truth?

What stark redemptive beauty
will spring from this barren landscape
of self-disgust?

* * *

Saturday, March 7, 2009

L is for Love

L is for Light,
is for Love,
is for Living;

L is for
Laughing at
Lapses in

* * *

Friday, March 6, 2009

Step into the light

Who said
we had to walk this colonnade?
Who lures us through the darkened doorway,
waits to stab us as we pass,
piercing heart with sorrow, yearning;
calls us into darkened shadows
filled with ghosts of sin and failure?

Do not confuse
one "holy father" -- or many holy fathers --
with the One Holy Father
who calls us into light,
who beckons us away from this dark path
with light-filled fingers,
singing through the veins of marble,
arcing overhead
with energetic waves of love.

Spring is coming, my child:
Follow where the light leads
and find me at the center, waiting.

* * *

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Abundance, overflowing

This grand gesture of blessing --
a word here,
a silence there;
a smile here,
a tear there;
a visit for this one,
and absence for the other;
a hug for one
and space for another --

Best to give from understanding:
what most honors those we bless?
Know what -- and when -- to sprinkle;
when to step forward,
when to step back...

Best to stay connected to the Source
so the blessing plate stays full;
so you'll know
when to eat and when to throw:
Yours may be the hand,

but the abundance --ah --
the abundance is Divine.

* * *

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Swim to the edges

We erect these boundaries,
you and I --
or perhaps they are all mine? --
swim here,
but don't swim there
grow here,
but don't grow there...
Is this really necessary?

Do I really believe
I could keep you out
if you wanted to come in?
And doesn't all growth know
its own time and place:
when to shoot forth in green profusion,
when to die back, gold and fallow?
Did we really think we could control...

Let's link arms and swim this edge together,
meandering out to sea.

* * *

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Poet as prophet

When did my words slip off the board?
There was a time when I spoke up,
when I knew what I knew,
and I said it.

Something happened;
that rebellious spirit, crushed,
slid slowly off the page
and I took refuge
behind another curtain,
calling out anonymously,
Pay no attention!
Pay no attention!
pulling the rug out
from beneath my own feet
in order to keep a low profile.

But action inevitably follows contemplation,
however we allow our souls to be stifled:
this is the heart of radical grace.

* * *

Monday, March 2, 2009

When spring hesitates

Standing before her closet,
Dressed in winter’s white robe,
Mother Earth asks Father Wind:
“Shall we warm up a bit today?
I'm longing for a little green
to add to my palette…”

He drops an airy kiss on upturned cheek
and murmurs in her ear, “Why not?”
then steps aside to watch, filling the room
with fragrant scent of spring’s cigar.
She shivers into a fetching frock,
autumnal browns fringed gold by warming sun,
pale grass embroidering a fluttery hem.

“Very tasty,” he smiles;
“Perhaps I'll add the scent of rain today –
I love to watch you ripen!”
But then she makes her annual mistake,
and off the groundhog scurries to his den:
"What do you think: does this grass make
my fundament look big?"

Hurt by his appreciative assent,
She doffs the dress and dons her snowy robe,
Storming back to bed in frigid fury.
He blusters; his cigar sends ashes flying, snowflakes on thick carpet:
Six more weeks of winter.

* * *

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Second Chance Dance

What curious eco-logic is this,
that what was dead and brown
can spring to life again
unfurling welcome to the warmth?

Take it!
Take this chance to try again,
to wander through
the forest that you missed,
to touch again the lush green curves of youth,
to hear once more the fledgling cries
of adolescent hopes; give voice to poems
extolling love and other dreams
you thought you'd long outgrown.

But watch your step:
old passions mixed with rain and tears
have decomposed:
that slippery mud that feeds new growth
is rarely solid ground.

Stay balanced, centered, on your toes --
And beware of apples
Still too green to pick.

* * *