Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Graceland?

What part did Grace play
in the sway of your hips,
the curve of your lips,
and your guitar?

Were you dressing as an angel,
clad in white
with all those sparkles
and that pink car?

Did you lose at love,and was it, then,
a window in your heart?
And -- tell me true --
did you believe
that we all would be received
in Graceland?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When good casts its shadows

When good casts its shadows,
will we take time to look?
What happens in the dark places
created by the power of the light?
Will we turn our back
on the true light of day?
Prefer the impact of the light
in the darkness?
Become creatures of the night
who worship the shadows?
Better we should choose
to live for the morning
when light will shift and broaden
to cover all of the scene.
Then the statue will fade,
and all will become one
with the house of the Lord.

(Somehow I kept thinking of Penn State when I wrote this...)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Swamped by the holidays

I never quite realized
before seeing this
that there might be a connection
as visual as it is visceral
between Christmas --
and the tree,
all covered with oddments
of Christmases past --
and feeling,
Perhaps, when the tree
goes up this year,
I'll add a small alligator
as a reminder:
this is perfectly normal,
and still beautiful...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A song of her own

Each of us
has a song of her own,
and though I may be singing mine
while you are drumming yours
the combined effect
if we will both
do what we do best
is sure to draw a crowd.
Get out on the street:
Set up your suitcases,
your drums, mikes and sound.
The beat of your voice
will make the alleys ring with joy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What next?

There are mysteries,
and there are mysteries,
some start with a bang,
others end with a whimper,
but the meat of each
is anticipation:
what will come next?
What surprising gifts --
or challenges --
will swoop down upon us
or flutter lightly by,
titillating souls
or nostrils
with the scents
of possibility,
of fear;
of blood, or hope?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Suffer in silence

And if, by chance,
you were to eat --
or drink --
too much this day,
and find your head
is feeling
cracked and sore,
fair weighted down
with remorse
and regret;
your stomach
bloated with shame,
remember those
less fortunate
and suffer
in silence...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beautiful, beloved

As long as we continue
to hunger for the exotic,
the unreachable;
for plumage
unrelated to our species
we may very well continue
to be fish out of water.
All the leprechauns in the world
cannot recreate us
as other than we are --
and infinitely vulnerable...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't think of Icarus

Let's fly together,
you and I,
off into the sunset:
just think
how romantic it could be!
Don't think
about a stray wind
or a broken line,
your fear of heights
or mine,
or what it would be like 
to fall.
Don't think of Icarus.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This fence you built

About this fence you built --
the one that separates
your land from mine --
can you see your way through it?
And if the trees on my side
came from seeds
sown by your trees,
who is it, then,
whose job it is
to rake the leaves
that fall
and turn the road to gold?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hope like a mist

When the cold night
of unfortunate truths
connects again
with the warm depths of being,
Hope rises like a mist,
drifting over a silver sea,
by the dawning light.
Illuminating some thoughts
while obscuring others,
it floats, ephemeral,
then fades again
as daily consciousness returns.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The hope that lies beneath

As the sea carves
its ever-changing path
through the sand
that coats the shores of being,
so does the truth
that courses through our veins
engrave your word
upon our hearts,
scraping away
the sedimental self
to reveal
the glow of purity;
the hope that lies beneath.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Those bitter stones

Through the signs
and symbols of the loss to come
we catch a glimpse
of the river of hope,
running a bit low
this time of year
and yet the current flows,
making its inexorable way
past all the obstacles
placed in its path --
and can we see
those bitter stones
as stepping stones
to the Other Side;
the gift that will one day
allow us, too,
to walk on water?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Put your finger in the water

I'm tapping in
to the Crossroads of Now --
just a slight dip,
you understand;
just getting my toes wet...
I never dreamed
(as Katherine Hepburn said
in African Queen,
after going over the falls)
physical experience
could be so exhilarating!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

They don't give out Oscars

Despite what your mother
may have led you to believe,
they don't give out Oscars
for busy-ness.

So relax a little.
Drop the sword.
Put away
the inessential tasks.

Get in touch --
with the body,
the anxiety,
the family,
the issues,
and the love
that lies beneath it all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lost in fog

and the fog rolls in again,
muffling the boundaries
and whispering
of sun and warmth to come.
Above the cold gray sea
clouds drift and scatter,
soft and woolly,
blue against the rising dawn,
while tufts of land
reach out, then disappear,
sliding doors
into infinity.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Goddess of Mercy

Goddess of Mercy,
hold us in your warm embrace
as we embark
upon the sea of days.
Help us to accept
the constant presence
of our shadows
and teach us
by your gracious example
that a step into the darkness
is but the beginning of a dance
that leads us once again,
ever stronger
and more sure,
into that which lies beyond
both light and dark.

*These lovely statues created by Anita Feng of Golden Wind Raku.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


at the point of conception
we question yet again:
what is the point
of all those lives
once lived, now lost;
or perhaps
more to the point --
what is the point
of those lives left behind,
and what would be the point
of staying?
Forced to look inward
by the challenge of the season,
pointed reminders
of inevitability,
we fall like leaves
into our groundedness;
scrabble among the stones that pierce our knees
in search of that one pure diamond of awareness
whose sharp light might cut through the shadows,
and still we cannot see
that this need not be another instance of divine finger pointing,
but rather the divine reaching out, extending a hand,
becoming more deeply rooted
in being.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

For Now

We build the walls
and plant the trees
yet still the bones pile up,
threatening to overwhelm
our carefully crafted shores;
the leaves -- so bright,
when we chose to plant them --
falling now, the dead bare branches
mournful echo of the bones below,
the stones, cold graves that mark
the losses, wait for wind and wave
and tide to bring yet more.

Perhaps I'll mow the lawn
to keep this tidy edge,
delineating what is mine,
is green, is thriving still -- life --
and what is not, is theirs,
is oh so carefully held at bay,
but mounting up until I can't ignore,
and feel this fragile boundary
dissolving, color leaching out
while gray seeps in.

Come, blessed fog:
roll in, and muffle sound and feeling,
tame the dark and light
until they no longer speak,
no longer tell the tale
of was and is and is to come
but only toll for Now
for Now
for Now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blush to forget

I blush to think
I've strayed so far afield:
here I am,
all grown up,
almost ready
to take that final leap,
to sever that last cord
and drift away from all that was
to all that may someday be --
and I forgot
the cardinal rule:
we are what we were born to be,
nothing less,
nothing more,
just -- everything we are.
What ever made me forget
I need no more than I have?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The jewel of infinity

a small island.

Heading home
After a long day,
Rejoicing in deserted roads;
Alone at last.

I turn the corner,
And beauty flares,
Igniting the path ahead.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where the music goes

This man,
whose horn blew once
so strong and true --
where will the music play
when he no longer
has the strength to blow?
The rhythm will live on,
the songs inside his head,
but without breath,
the horn is just a horn;
no life, no spirit spilling into sound.
But still the music lives,
and so it reinvents itself
in smiles and heart, and grace;
a lap to hold a grandchild on
while humming
jazz tunes in her ears.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I find it hard to watch

I understand
that death must come to all,
that trees must shed their leaves in fall
to feed the soil
which will in turn
feed them in spring.
But I find it hard to watch
when death takes the young ones
who haven't had the chance to grow,
whose futures seem so bright,
and yet must dim, and fall...
And in that long lazy circle,
carried on the breezes to infinity,
do they, who ride so much more lightly,
laugh and rejoice,
delighting in their journey

Monday, November 7, 2011

Afternoon light

Late afternoon, Autumn,
and as the day deepens into blue
a few last fingers of light
part the branches of the old Maple
to cast a blessing
on the leaves that thrive in its shade,
exposing the hole
in the apron of one,
the tattered edges of another,
and still they bask in the sun,
arching and unfurling;
Cinderella glowing
in that one brief moment of love
before midnight falls,
the glass shoes dissolve into dust
and her briefly golden gown
subsides to rags.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In memoriam

And so, with voice and drum
the cloud of witnesses
swells yet again --
one more soul
sung into flight --
and we are left
with grief and guilt,
with joy, and mystery,
and wonder, that so much life
can be lived so graciously
in so very short a time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Shattering

and more beautiful,
than gold --
this light that pours through us
as we prepare to die;
(at the moment
of greatest glory)
all of our accumulated jewels
in one last attempt
to avoid the inevitable:
take this, I ask,
and this,
please --
dripping jewels into your hand
(as if death were a mugger,
easily bribed)

Walking through some radiant forest
I'm stuffing sunlight in my pockets
hoping to preserve the memory
of that bright flame
only to find
on emptying again
the crumbled, crisp remains
of what was once
so true
shattered in my hand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ode to creation

O Holy One,
you weave such beauty
into the world,
with such attention
to the little things,
the design and pattern of our days...
Help us to stop,
to breathe,
to lift your delicate creation
into vision;
to see your delicate stitchery
in a leaf, a wave,
in the wrinkles on a face;
help us to protect
and not to rip or tear your work
in greed, or haste,
or anger.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Glowing up

We start out so green,
and then,
the closer we get to you,
the brighter we become,
or is that
a blush of shame,
a final recognition
of how little we deserve
all these blessings?

I like to think
that it might be
a glow, a beacon;
proof, somehow,
that we are filled to the brim
with the glory
that is you...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How many chairs?

How many times
can we sit and watch
the sun die in their eyes,
the floor beneath us
wet with tears;
how many empty chairs?
And yet we still believe
that once we turn away,
accept the night,
that morning will come again;
that if we turn and face,
not past, but future,
light will fill the sky again,

a slow pure drift,
trickling along the edge of mourning;
clouds lit like memories,
a spark of anticipation
before -- as in winter --
it falls again, this gray; this grief,
muffling all light and joy,
and still we see the shapes around us
take on form;
dawn's soft illumination still unfolds,
to bring again
that sharp bright ache of longing.