Monday, December 2, 2013

Which horse are you riding?

Just as the best images contain both dark and light,
so, too, we carry, fenced within,
both darkness and the light:
each in its turn may carry us
to new insights and adventures...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Empty Cross

Standing here, beside the road,
I see home in the distance.
But first I know that I must pass 
that empty cross that links us,   
earth to sky and each to each.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Allure of the Familiar

At the end of the day,
whatever its adventures,
there is something in me
that longs to return
to the old familiar barn,
to sup at the trough, bed down in the hay
and fall asleep to the gentle sounds
that have ushered me into dreams
for all these many years:
the wind in the trees,
the creaking of the rafters,
the gentle huff of breath
from those who sleep nearby.


I am the road
you did not take
because you were not sure
exactly where I'd go
or if you had
the traction you would need
to back out when the going
got too rough.

Yet still,
whenever you drive by,
you look at me and wonder...

No harm in dreaming

Sometimes we cannot help but fantasize
about other people's lifestyles --
I mean,
doesn't this look positively idyllic?

It never hurts to dream --
unless, in dreaming,
we forget how to be present
to the gifts
that are here
and now...

However worn or frayed

I know.
I could have thought, when I saw this,
"Tied Down"
or "Roped in."

But no -- I heard the words
of that old familiar hymn:
"Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in perfect Love
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above."
However worn or frayed the knots,
I don't see marriage
as being tied down;
more a fellowship of kindred minds,
a kind of fore-taste of heaven...

If we walked on water

What if we spent our days,
not dwelling on imagined slights
or others' failings, but our own
as if they were reflections,
following us like shadows?
If we always walked on water,
we could, at any time, look down
and see, reflected there,
(a little wobbly, but enlarged)
the snarl, or the indifference,
the eye-roll, or the subtle sleight-of-hand
that accompanies each assertion
of superiority.
Perhaps we would then also see
the ripples of joy (how far they spread)
when we reach out in trust, or love, or hope...

Taking off again

I want so much
to stay connected;
I do so love those times
when I am happily paddling
in the deep serene.

But here it comes again --
some chance remark,
some writing on a page,
and now,
fluttering its angry wings,
the ego once again takes flight
to conduct its determined battles
in a dark embittered sky.

The devil in the undertow

I know it well,
and so, I suspect, do you:
that dramatic thrill, that surge of power,
the waves of righteous indignation
that swell and threaten to engulf
when we know that we are right
and they are wrong.
Wake up! Don't get sucked in.
(The undertow
can be the very devil --
whatever you fight you strengthen;
whatever you resist persists.)
Step away from the rush;
run back to shore.
Listen beneath the waves
and find the common ground
that unites us both.

Always You

How like a labyrinth,
this path we walk,
with all its twists and turns:
the times we head toward you,
the times we turn away
in shame, or in distaste
for all the evil that men do
in your name,
and still we walk
and as time passes,
we find ourselves
now facing you again...
When will we learn,
whatever steps we take,
what waits for us --
the center, the root, the end --
will always be you.

The Web of Being

Look on this,
the One Great Web of Being,
and know how deeply you and I are connected,
how delicate and flexible the bonds,
how barely visible the threads 
that link us, each to each.

Floating on a common sea

We are all boats,
floating on the common sea
of love: different sizes,
shapes and colors,
but all sharing a common purpose,
all tied to the same dock.

Why point accusing fingers?
Too tall, too old,
too dirty, too plastic, too orange --
and why be vain about position?
Can't we just enjoy
this one shared moment
of serenity?
Because, you know,
the waves will rise again...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This is the forest within

This is the forest within:
bright with promise,
dark with shadows;
radiant with color,
quiet with strength;
green now, soon brown
then green again.
It's all so busy and complex,
and yet so simple:
some things bloom and die
and bloom again;
others blossom and fade,
never to return. 
Delight in each, enjoy what's now;
gently mourn what's lost
and trust in the lush growth to come...

Monday, September 23, 2013

A prayer for some good weather

We keep these walls
around our hearts,
but without
some conscious maintenance,
there's always a chance
that with time and a bunch
of sunny days
to weaken the wood,
a good strong wind
might come along,
blow through the cracks.
and split those walls
wide open...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gliding into the future

We are on an unchartered boat,
gliding through this infinite universe.
Sometimes that boat's so small
we hardly fit.
But today,
with your presence here beside me,
and your hand on the oar,
the boat is huge
with all that's seen,
been seen,
and will be seen.
Trail your hand in the water,
beloved friend,
and feel the cool breeze of hope
caress your cheek.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ode to Joy

Breathe in,
and open your heart to joy.

Breathe out,
that deep, self-emptying breath,
and let your joy
spill out into the world.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not an Obstacle

At first glance,
the obstacles we face
dominate our vision:
we become obsessed with them,
and miss the beauty that surrounds us --
sea, and sky, and all the glory in between.
Look again:
Look again, and see
the wealth of possible avenues --
over, under, around and through --
and, when you see,
does not this fence
become a thing of beauty,
a chance to find new textures
in the pattern of
your lavish, luminous life?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Boehme's Illumination

First, desire, yearning,
a deep, magnetic hunger;
then the stirring up,
the agitation that longing brings.
Then the ache, the stinging anguish
of not having what's desired.
and in the friction, in the tension
between want and cannot have
a flame of self-awareness must ignite.

Such illumination then gives birth
to the True Self -- first an other-
(and then Other-) awareness rising:
which transformation then awakens
next a gentle kind of resonance:
let's call it Love.
And when that love is spoken,
expressed through act or language
new worlds -- yes, new worlds --
come into being.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

and the gulls cry
while those who labored rest.
A day of stillness, to reflect
on all that's gone before,
prepare for what's to come,
and breathe the wonder
that is now:
blue water,
dappled sky,
and a golden boat
to mirror back
the promise of tomorrow.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

That burst of joy

That burst of joy
when the line you cast
and the hook you baited
bear fruit
despite your tethered boat,
your disinterested companion,
and the damp chill
that penetrates
so deep
so deep

Friday, August 23, 2013

Heart like a ferry

It's late.
The ferry has dropped
her last load for the evening
and awaits final inspection,
empty in the dark.

I feel her windows
echo deep within;
some light declares
that joy once occupied this boat
and surely will return,
rumbling through dawn
to fill again and empty,
then fill again.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Poet on his Pilings

Gray day, and the heron waits,
a poet, patient on his pilings,
for inspiration to strike:
just the glimmering possibility of a fish,
and he/imagination will take flight
to soar, then dive, and skewer;
and -- with luck -- emerge, triumphant
with some juicy food for thought...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sound Wave

Foghorns sound,
and echoing the blast
the masts increase in size,
then fade to nothing...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finding Balance

Each human,
such a mass of contradictions:
that drive to action,
the attraction of noise,
the intensity of passion --
and yet,
the longing for stillness,
and peace.

The tension between those opposites
pulls us ever forward
into light.

Summer's Eve

On a lazy summer evening,
we stroll along the docks after dinner,
watching as the boats glide in to rest,
The city glowing softly in the setting sun.
Life could stop here --
another peaceful moment,
poised on the brink of change --
but no, the clock ticks on,
and so, too, we must move along
with miles to go
and things to do
before dark settles in...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Consider that internal fence:
the aging boards
which separate us
from the paradise within.
Who built them?
Was it you?
And if it is so aged
and so low,
what holds us back
when we long to tear it down?
Is there some ladder
we can climb
to get a better view
of the glories that await
on the other side?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One hallowed night

On a night
when the moons are full
and the trees dance over the water,
tossing their lacy shadows
across the waves,
we see the mystery
goes deeper than we know,
and following that clear blue dream
to its source
we find the light
we thought we'd left behind,
and understand at last
that it only circles round
to reappear again,
on the morning dew.

A moment of peace

The peace of a summer morning:
a boat tucked away in the shadows,
the waves lapping quietly at the shore,
the dog snoring softly on the deck,
the cat drowsily licking her paws,
basking in a patch of sunlight --
even the crows and the eagles
have stopped their noisy squabbling.
The only sound the delicate pop
of the scotch broom pods
opening to release their seeds
and the crunch of the drying grass
beneath my feet.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Full moon, echoing
in my heart's mirrored chambers,
sets my soul on fire!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The link from now to next

So small a link,
to hold so much together;
to keep so many cars
from sliding off the boat;
to keep so many folks
from stepping off
before the dock
is ready to receive them.
So easy to unlock --
you only need to know
which part will give,
which arm to press
to remove this one last obstacle
to our next destination.
If only crossing thresholds
could always be this simple...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Night offering

I hold the solstice moon in feathered arms,
bent backward with the weight of light,
and brush against her silver cheek
a farewell kiss,
then lift 
and brace
and toss her to the stars:
an offering of love to the summer's night.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rarely the rainbow

Rarely is a rainbow
as clear as we long for it to be.
Rarely does a rainbow
last for long, and yet --
we see, for just that instant,
that hope survives the darkness;
that somewhere there's still sun.

Quickly as a rainbow fades,
the revelation leaves.
Quickly as the gold darkens to gray,
the sense of wealth diminishes;
the vision of abundance gone;
sky closing in, the dark invades
the memory of light
and all is lost again...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Enfold, unfurl

Sharp yet tender fingers
enfold, embrace, protect, allow;
everything in its own time
to unfold.
this is the model you endow:
we stop, arrested,
watch your garden glow,
and hope to learn
to see, to be,
to do and to undo
with patience;
to discover in ourselves
the strength and trust
to wait for the unknown
as it unfurls.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cold comfort

The kind words said,
the tender hands
rest briefly on mahogany.
The hard men come
in their t-shirts and their caps
to drop you here
to rest beside the ashes
of your love.
The die is cast,
the dirt and flowers
thrown into the pit,
the carpet rolled away.
The wailing imprecations
of the lost and the bereft resound,
awakening responses in my heart
too harsh to bear.

And so I walk away to get my distance,
and find this marble bench,
set here by some other loving family
thoughtful in their loss.
I sit, and stare through these dead branches
at a sky too blue, at hills too green, a day too warm
to witness to the trauma that lies beneath.

And as tears dry
and focus comes again to vision dulled with weeping
I see that each fine branch
so delicately etched against the blur
carries, at its tip,
a bud, the promise of new life:
what looks like death is life already launched anew
though spring and the day
and this new life without you are all new.

The marble seat grows cold:
I shiver, and I feel a coat steal over my shoulders--
"You'll catch your death;
(Too late, I want to shout--
It's already here,
the intimations of mortality too numerous to bear)
put on your coat;
it's not as warm as it looks out here"
and I understand:
it's not as cold as it looks, either.

Your kindness is still here,
it's just taken other forms
and echoes still in the warm tones
of your son.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Linked In

As Icarus
with pasted feathers
soars to meet imagined destiny
we here apply,
first words, then fonts,
envisioning some flight to greatness,
dreaming of the accolades to come
then finding,
with those lifted, falsetto, wings
the glue that held it all together
drips between the lines
to pull us from the sun
and back into the sea of applicants;

the ascent so slow,
the fall so steep

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A call to resurrection

Blue skies, it seems,
will cast blue shadows,
just as you and I
influence others
with our moods:
one more reason
to step beyond
a momentary irritation
to resurrect the joy
that wells up deep within;
that constant
that is soul,
that is divine,
that is real,
that is always
here, and now.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Music to my eyes

Just as a word,
when stared at for too long,
begins to seem misspelled,
or something other than itself,
a view, often seen,
can in some other light
take on a character not its own.

following a visit
to the barber,
your face
-- dearer and more familiar
than my own --
becomes -- however briefly --
some stranger's visage.

Today these houses,
which greet me every morning,
have suddenly become piano keys;
music to my eyes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A flower in the lap of being

No matter how intentional
our efforts to comprehend
the web of existence,
chances are the most we'll get
are fragile, accidental glimpses.

Occasionally a trick of light
reveals those delicate connections
and all that lies
beneath, behind
slips briefly into focus
and then out again.

And as I wait and watch for more
I am a flower
in the lap of being.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Omenilad, Omenilad

Looking out my brother's window,
I notice all the patches
on the roof across the way
and wonder how effective
they might be
at keeping out the rain and cold
for residents within.
The poverty is captured here
in searing black and white.

And then there's the graffiti:
What artist lives to scramble
to a roof, to paint --
words that seem to have no meaning?
Is it just an exercise?
Or is it boredom?

Is there some message here,
some beauty that I cannot bear
or do not care enough to read?

Omenilad, Omenilad,
no matter where you toss your dice,
the probability of your escape is low.
(you and me, you and me
I think about you day and night,
it's only right,
and if I call you up, invest a dime,
and you say it belongs to you,
to ease my mind) --
I'm hoping that your paint brings warmth
to you and all the residents within.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

He cut the bangs too short

A snip or two,
a conscious decision to prune
that went too far,
and suddenly the veil's pulled back --
too high! too high! --

And there it is, exposed:
the forehead I inherited,
and all the fear and distaste
come tumbling in,
the memories,
the belief in my own
because she'd not been loved,
and couldn't love in turn.

I pull, and pull,
and still the hairs
will only grow at their usual pace.

I wish I could resist
the tug of the mirror,
but everywhere I turn,
there's her reflection --
that high bright moon,
trapped between the branches --
and I keep looking, a hungry child;
keep hoping:
does she love me yet?
Does she love me yet?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Blessing for the Snowbound

I'm thinking this morning 
of all those who are snowbound, 
who struggle to open their doors, 
who trudge through hip-deep drifts
to feed their livestock and gather wood,
who shiver in the cold
and wait for power to return. 

May winter's chill 
be soon relieved, 
may the beauty of the snow 
feed their hungry souls, 
and may the promise of spring 
keep them warm til it arrives...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

From agitation to peace and back again

So many times
I've climbed and then descended
the steps from agitation
to peace and back again,
I'm wearing down
that hard smooth surface.
Soon, I hope,
it'll be an easy slide --
just close my eyes and know
I've only to extend a toe
and all the deep
will come rushing back...
But 'til then it'll still be work,
a concentrated effort,
like learning to drive a stick;
perfecting that clutch/accelerator action;

learning when to lift
and when to lower,
when to drop into a slower gear
and when to stop, get out,
get off the bus and smell the blooming flowers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In a blue lagoon

Spring nears,
and awakening
to a world no longer dark,
I step outside and breathe:
fresh scents enchant
the blinding dog,
who stretches his lead
in new directions,
exploring some new corner
of the yard between
your house and mine.
I stand between
your pine tree and the water

as he wanders, nose to the ground,
and listen to the chirp and whirring --
a family of hummingbirds, whose presence we disturbed --
then (duty done) turn back, round the corner, head for home,
to see a drift of cloud, white against the gray,
suspended over houses, and there, below,
swift shadow of an otter,
chasing after fish
in a blue lagoon.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

With rime, if not with reason

In each life, so many seasons --
and this one has been blessed
with rime,
if not with reason;
that frosted edge
that comes with too much fog
and too much cold,
with a growing stillness
that rises from within.
I'm watching my own breath
congeal to crystals,
ice tufts that settle in my hair,
my brows,
imparting some new granularity
to thoughts, to actions, to response...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thesis/Antithesis: A Relationship question

Let's posit -- just consider --
that I am blue, dark and cool,
and you are yellow, bright and warm,
antithesis to my thesis.
Which implies -- when we mix together --
a synthesis of green: how perfectly ecological!
But if I should glide into tealishness
(a gentle fading, blue to green)
is my blue lost to the world?
And if you were to begin
the slow slide into lime,
what happens to the sun?
How can we give birth to green
without losing our true colors?
How do we define that delicate line
between give, and take?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

If home were where the heart is

There are days
when I miss the islands so much
I can hardly breathe:
the sharp edges of the cliff,
the lithe curve of the madronas,
the way the sea licks the shore
and returns, again and again,
for more...
Like the sea, it seems,
I can never quite get enough.
And what is enough, anyway?
Isn't enough when home is planted
so deeply in your heart
that you always know you can return;
be there,
no matter where you are?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Textures of a life

The textures of a life
so richly lived;
the scars, the bumps and bruises;
the tender shoots that spring
from that which went before
and is no more ---
yet still it stands,
still leans against the wind,
still draws sweet sustenance
from roots that trip us on the path;
and still leafs out in spring
to shade and dapple forest floor:
a gift of green
to color every breath we draw
with hope.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The call to beauty

While wandering down the beach
and wondering at the cliff above,
I hear the call to beauty, and look up.
A simple rock,
a sediment of stone –
blueberry, folded into dough --
an arc of iron, orange, bright eclipse;
a dust of celadon,
the hint of moss to come,
the shells that speak
the presence of the sea,

of tides whose height surpasses mine;
of waves that hurl their gifts
against the stone
to settle in the cracks and spark
as stars might peer through a rain-clad sky.

Who needs a pen
when hardness such as this
can hold such color,
tell such stories?
Let eyes drink deep
and feed the poet’s heart.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Umbrella music

Downloading photos from my phone,
I come across this image, taken --
I can't remember where, or when --
and realize I think of it
as music for my eyes;
dark characters on white,
scribbled and spinning
their delicate waltz
across my field of vision...
Umbrellas, twinkling like windchimes
in my eyes, their sweet high clarity
released into the bright blue sky
with every glance,
every appreciative exhalation of sight;
like breathing light,
or tasting icicles on a cold December day.