Friday, December 31, 2010

Expanding compassion

Not all God's creatures
have this much charm --
and looks can prove deceptive --
and yet do we feel less compassion,
knowing how much damage
this sweet face can wreak
when he gets inside
a boat, or a house?
So then,
if we can imagine loving
a pesky river otter,
can we not also learn
to love this grass, these trees,
the sand on which he stands,
the water in which he swims,
the fish on whom he feasts,
and then expand
that growing of affection
to include all of creation --
even that which hinders or destroys?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In the spotlight

Some endure the spotlight;
others seek and enjoy it;
still others
prefer to shine it elsewhere;
to observe,
or simply highlight.
on this stage,
I kneel before the light,
like a cup
to the Divine;
await illumination
on my knees:
exposed, welcoming,
clothed in simplicity,
poised to respond,
glowing softly
in Your radiant beams.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Constraints and constrictions

Be patient, love:
in Spring the sap will rise.
Once that replenishment begins,
this thick skin you've cultivated
to protect you from the storms
will no longer be enough
to contain that which grows in you,
and will begin to peel away.
The slow excruciating tearing
redeems itself
by carrying away the scars
of old cuts you once endured;
will leave you fragile, vulnerable, glowing;
overflowing with new life.
Each stage has its discomfort:
the constraints and constrictions of winter
give way to the defenselessness of spring.
Soon you'll begin again to dread
the painful severing of autumn --
even summer aches with anticipation.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The hate you carve

The hate you carve
into the wall
that is my skin,
that peels away my resistance,
my inability to love
outside my canvas of influence,
and that with which
I in turn respond to you,
the brush, the palette knife,
that separates us
each from each
and therefore
one from One,
cripples both
until we understand
that with each stroke
of these embittered colors,
we paint ourselves
into a deeper, darker,
lonelier corner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

1Peter 2:5

We, the living stones,
set here to dance
before the world,
articulate a tale of love and life,
of rebirth and acceptance,
of oneness with the earth;
with sea, and sky.
But remember this:
we are simply stones.
We did not construct ourselves
or choose the pattern of the dance;
the shape our lives have taken
is a gift of grace.
We are not responsible
for anything but being:
we needn't stop breathing
to hold the pose --
it will be held for us;
it's in our nature and design.
So breathe, and do not fear --
you'll not be tipping over; not just yet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Poised for proclamation

For unto each
a child is born:
into each heart
the spark is laid,
the table set,
the manger swept,
the stars aligned,
the patient shepherds
and their sheep,
the boisterous angels
and the wise ones
with their gifts
all waiting,
poised for proclamation;
for the moment
of acknowledgement
when all earth shall cry out
in recognition
of the Divine,
which is birthed again and again
each time we open our eyes.

* * *

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's still not Christmas

It might be red and green,
but it's not Christmas.
It might have a silvery gleam,
but it's not Christmas.
There may be sparkles,
or long lines,
or snowflakes melting before our eyes,
but it's not Christmas.
It's close -- the bells are ringing
and Bing Crosby's singing
Silent Night in his deep bass voice.
The cats are batting at the ornaments
that hang in lower branches of the tree,
the presents are all wrapped,
there's a fire in the fireplace
and Christmas cookies
cooling on the counter --
but it's still not Christmas.
How will we know when it arrives?
Something tells me that we'll feel it
in our hearts...

* * *

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A different view

Standing there,
waiting for the moon,
I turned for just a minute
and saw another view
beyond the fence;
a different set of mountains,
a different sky,
and wondered -- as we all do,
when we reach a certain age --
what life might have been like
had I walked a different path,
followed a different course,
taken the time to look
in a different direction...
See? It might have been
every bit as wonderful!

* * *

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This morning

This morning
I was craving a little blue;
thought I'd need to find it
on my own,
and then looked up to see
You'd offered me,
not just the blue,
but moon and mountain,
and mergansers,
all floating together
in perfect harmony,
dusted with a blush of pink:
an answer to a prayer
I'd never prayed;
a gift unveiled,
an offering of love.

* * *

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hold on -- they're on their way...

Hold on --
He's coming!
Hang in there,
it won't be long.
Clutch the edges
of your sanity;
hang suspended
in the madness;
paint yourself green,
add a big red bow --
Christmas, with its magi and the babe
are on their way...

* * *

Monday, December 20, 2010

The awkwardness of Grace

Certain moments of grace --
the transition between airborne
and back on land or water,
for example --
or even when I'm taking off again --
can look
or feel
incredibly awkward
and exposed;
I never wanted you to see
how thin my legs,
how ruffled my feathers,
how contorted my wings can get
when I'm in that uplifting
or lowering space
between then and now.
Could you just turn your head away
while I settle back into position,
adjust my plumage,
show you my good side?

* * *

Sunday, December 19, 2010

For all the possibilities

In dreams
I am a child again,
running forth
in hope of love and flight;
by promise,
by invitation,
and example.
I lift a foot in hope
and spread
pink unfeathered wings,
and toss sweet corn
and scraps of bread
in gratitude
for all the possibilities
life holds.

* * *

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not what you add or subtract

Perspective's an amazing thing:
I look at these seats --
now that I've tried to make
all the lines more even --
and suddenly the seats that are farther away
look closer than they should,
bigger than they are,
when all I was trying to do
was line them up --
which just goes to show:
control isn't always a good thing.
What looks rational
may not actually BE rational.
Mothers don't always know best. (Sorry, kiddo)
And what (I have to say,
looking at these seats)
makes an image -- or a life -- great
may not be what you and your ego
choose to add or subtract
but rather the light
that you somehow manage to convey...

* * *

Friday, December 17, 2010

One way of being One

Let's marry on the river, you said,
in a war canoe (how appropriate!),
and so we paddled to this place,
to say our vows, and to recite
that Robert Frost poem we found,
"West-Running Brook,"
saying solemnly,
"As you and I are married to each other,
We'll both be married to this brook.
We'll build Our bridge across it" --
and so we did
--you and I and the brook --
and we've been battling and bridging
that Oneness ever since.

* * *

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sailing right into a rainbow

In the midst of the darkness,
the clouds,
and the rain,
when the prospects are dim
and our troubles loom large
it's hard to remember
that this is the season
for rainbows.
It's when we're sailing along,
with the wind and the wet,
shoulders hunched
under raingear
and shivering
that there's a much greater chance
that the Sun will break through
and the glorious mix
of damp skies and light
will help us to see --
if we only look up --
that we're sailing
right into a rainbow.

* * *

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Before the night

Before the night,
the reindeer doze,
sleeping fitfully
in the afternoon sun
and dreaming of the task ahead.

Before the night
the cattle dozed
and shepherds watched their flocks,
dreaming of falling stars.
Before the night
the wise men rode
through the desert,
following the star.
Before the night
Mary rode her donkey,
full belly bouncing,
wondering sleepily
where and when the babe to come
might be born...

* * *

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joining the Christmas Club

Tis the season melancholic,
But it needn't be that way.
What virtue would you sparkle with
if you could afford the price?
Here they are:
The Merry Must-Haves,
All Under $100.
Compassion, and Tenderness.
Faith.  Hope.
Courage, and Love
Humor, Passion -- the list goes on
And someone's surely checking it twice.
But you can have it all, the glitter and the glam,
if you just start saving now:
What's holding you back?
Don't wait till the season's gone
to join the Christmas Club!

* * *

Monday, December 13, 2010

Relax, release, and trust

While the rest of you
are open to cup the light
I'm curled in on myself,
my underside exposed,
bright veins knotted in anticipation,
carrying the memory
of the rain that is to come,
and though my differences
add interest to the picture,
to remain in that position
creates an ache,
a twisting, a resistance;
I'm longing to relax,
and trust...

* * *

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hoping for illumination

You got that right:
I want it all --
the deep teal of the water,
the brightwork
(but not the upkeep)
the contrast
of whitewrapped sail,
the crisp thin line
of white against the blue,
the shadow and the light...
and so I wait, and prowl the docks;
return again and again
with my expectant camera,
hoping for some brief illumination...

* * *

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A song of hope

There's a present
wrapped and waiting
in your heart.
There's a ribbon
that just aches
to be untied.
There are layers
upon layers,
tissue thin,
of joy
and sorrow
that are hoping
to be slowly
peeled away.
And beneath it all --
yearning --
lies the One
you have been seeking
that is Love.

* * *

Friday, December 10, 2010

Listen for the Now

A thousand gates,
there are,
that open to the spirit;
ten thousand paths
approach them.
But then,
beyond the gate,
lies only one invitation:
a call to light,
and air;
to water, sea and sky;
to oneness with all that is,
that ever was,
and ever will have been;
a timeless space
in which to float
and breathe the light
that fills our hearts,
eyes, ears and mouths
with wonder:
Rejoice!  and listen for the Now.

* * *

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A spark of yellow

Help me to remember:
just because I have lemons,
I don't have to make lemonade,
no matter what
the popular wisdom says.
Not all lemons are bad, you know --
sometimes we grow them
or buy them
on purpose;
for the smell,
or the taste,
or even just the bright golden glory of them.
And if,
by some chance,
you got a lemon
when you were hoping for something else --
well, then; lemonade might be a good thing...
or maybe you could just accept it,
as an unexpected gift,
a spark of yellow
to enliven a life of deep, dark green...

* * *

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time to dive in

Dive in, now,
though the water's murky
and churning,
release your clinging to the wall,
step out onto the board
and take that necessary leap.
It's time to turn
from the shattered separation
that is being
in your current space;
time to delve into the oneness
that awaits,
the deepening confusion,
the ripples of despair,
the joy all woven in together
like seaweed on an ocean floor...

* * *

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The stage is set

The stage is set
for your entrance now;
the dark descended full,
the flames of our past agonies
toss sparks of possibility
into futures yet unknown,
and still we wait -- breathless,
seated now,
having bought and handed in
our tickets --
we grip each others hands
in anticipation:
what new act,
startling in its ingenuity
will hurl itself from the balcony of stars
and into our hearts?

* * *

Monday, December 6, 2010

Please: stop, and breathe

Today I seem to be swimming upstream,
hedged in on every side
by a scaffolding of responsibility;
my path set in colored stone,
my breath coming in painful gasps,
eyes blinded to the beauty of the season
by the demands of duty.
What if I were to shatter here,
break into bits and fall away
from this annual race to the finish?
Would the star still rise,
the manger still fill with hope,
the angels sing, and shepherds cry in wonder?
Release, I think, rejoice --
stop clinging to the wall.
Please; stop, and breathe.

* * *

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When art inhibits anger

Stop! you say.
Smell the flowers!
But those you offer have no scent
and I grow tired
of all the ways
you attempt to entice me
with sly references to universal truths,
trying to reel me in
to your particular belief system.
And yet --
is one flower, however bold or unscented,
all that different from another?
Do they not both have color?
Stamen, pistil, petal; a single artist
to paint their colors on an unsuspecting world?
You say this one's not real,
but what is real?
What's real is this: an angry woman driving by
who leaves her anger for a moment
to shoot this photograph
and smile.

* * *

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Looking, not up, but in

I'm tired of looking up at You:
it's making me dizzy,
the world is beginning to quake
beneath my feet,
and I need grounding.
So if you don't mind,
I think I'll seek You elsewhere,
somewhere closer to home;
somewhere deeper,
more tangible,
more Now.
All those lofty ambitions
were all very well
when I was trying to build a bridge
from here to there,
but now I think I'd rather spend my time
getting comfortable with Here,
with Now,
with looking -- not down -- but In.

* * *

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thinking of you

Immobilized in snow,
wings frozen by the storm,
arrested, not in flight,
but in a moment of grace;
shoulders piled high
with cold,
that, though it does not weigh her down,
will nonetheless enforce
a certain grounding --
she lifts her hands in prayer
and thinks of you,
of all the thoughts and duties
that keep you tethered to time;
of all the coldness in the world
that drives you to forget
the wings that even now could lift you
from the Slough of Despond,
of all the burdens that you carry --
the ones that slow your steps
and make you ache
for all the losses that you've borne...

• • •

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Here, and yet not present

The lioness waits, frozen in the now,
one paw curled as if ready to lick
or pluck a pesky thorn
from tormented pad,
eyes forward and ears cocked,
as if the sight, or scent, or sound of game
has captured her attention;
taken her,
if only for this moment,
out of herself,
to focus on the what-might-be.
And if you were to shoot me now,
would I, like her, be staring at the future,
ignoring the pleasure of bird-in-hand
for the temptations of two in the bush
while failing to notice
the softness of the sand that cushions me,
the cool breeze on my cheeks,
the rosy light of the dying sun?
Tell me then: what is the difference
between here-and-yet-not-present
and death?

* * *