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?

* * *

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What part of us?

What part of us sits cowering;
stares into the future,
expecting the worst
and ready to spring?
What part of us
demands so much attention
and still fails to trust?
What part of us
is always hungry,
always anxious,
so suspicious, and afraid?

Find that part: seek it out
and approach it gently,
hands outstretched,
and give it all the love
you've been withholding from yourself.

* * *

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Letting go

Isn't it time for that part of me
-- that part that wants to show
how good I am at what I do --
to retire?
Isn't it time
I settled down,
nestled into my dock,
allowed the reeds
to grow up all around me
and just reveled in the light?
Shouldn't it be enough
to have served all those years
and still be floating,
bobbing on the waves?

* * *

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stone Spirit

I walk the beach,
and spirit lurks
in every stone,
her feather poised
as if a quill
born to inscribe
her presence;
to carve her words
of love and loss,
of fundamental inevitabilities,
across the graves
littering the landscape
like shells and seaweed,
those days when what is not
or never was, or is no more
is all I seem to see;
the scrape of what's been torn away
is all I seem to feel
and She Who Loves
lies here, entombed
beneath my stumbling feet.

* * *

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bright anticipation

As we stand in the shallows
awaiting the waves,
we who are darkness
are dancing in light,
our shadows truncated
where hearts begin.
How can it be,
that a heart casts no shadow,
that all the dark comes
from the legs, hips and heads?
Perhaps that single elevated foot
provides uplifting answer:
our darkness is at its strongest, clearest,
just before we step into the light;
can it be each heart's already glowing,
bright with anticipation?

* * *

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In these dark places

Standing within and before us
bathed in light
you extend a constant welcome
to our souls,
and yet we linger
in these dark places,
hoping we might find
that ache of fullness
for which we hunger.

And so,
as days grow short and dim,
help us to take this time to pause
and kneel before your throne
in humble application:
bless us Lord,
and come into our hearts anew.
Help us yet again to know
your beaming presence
in a life grown cold
with sacred longing.

* * *

Friday, November 6, 2009

At the water's edge

Seaweed tangles
at the water's edge;
shorebirds tiptoe
through the tide
while the gray cat peers
from the long grasses,
golden eyes gleaming orange
in late afternoon sun.

One dead goldfish
floating by,
released from prison
with a burial at sea,
mourns the loss
of his freshwater bowl,
staring one-eyed at the sky.

* * *

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In the gray between

Much as I like to think of myself
as a mini-Galileo --
looking to the heavens,
finding inspiration in the stars --
there are definitely days
when the real me
seems to have much more in common
with the evil machinations
of this prince, Macchiavelli,
and, far from wondering
what the world might be, and become,
I find myself trying to control what is
and fend off what will be.
Instead of "Hmm, what if...?"
it's "Hmm. What if..."
in a far more speculative tone.
Fortunately I mostly live
in that gray and unformed space between the two...

* * *

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beyond the furthest star

Beyond the furthest star,
a loving ear is listening;
each tender cry held close
to a heart worn smooth
by countless longings.

Below the deepest sea,
earth beats her steady drum of wonder;
waves echo across the water
their endless song of love.

Behind the tallest mountain,
crouching, furtive, in the shadows,
waits the dark of all between-ness,
the illusion that is endings
and beginnings;
that is separate;
that is

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A wild-embracing hymn

Let every stone and tree,
each grass or shell I see,
invoke epiphany:
that You are there.

In every heart,
weak, wild, or bold --
all humans,
young or old --
may each of us behold,
that You are there.

In troubles and in pains,
in sorrow, loss, or gains
let knowledge still remain
that You are there.

* * *

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lindsay, lost

Where once three lamps
lit up the night
with bright intelligence
and thoughtful hearts,
now two remain,
the third snuffed out;
and those who linger still
will carry light,
now dimmed
but richer still for having known
a presence and awareness
that lives on.
For those now left behind
-- who lost a child, a friend,
a love,
or struggle still for life --
and for the one
who bears responsibility,
hearts pause in silent tribute
to those paths forever changed
in a single crossing.

* * *

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Getting beyond perfectionism

The problem
with being a perfectionist
is this:
even when you're doing something new,
for the very first time,
you can't give yourself permission
to make mistakes
and you keep wondering
is this okay?
and will this work?
and am I doing it right?
and how did SHE do it?
and how will this measure up?

And when you're done you think
I should have used a finer pointed pen -- and then you realize
you didn't pay attention to a single stroke.
just gets in the way of