Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: That was Then and Now

That was then, when the movements

of every heavenly body and two of us

were a certainty beyond all chaos.

I understood your soundlessness,

I who floated up from and dove into

star-netted deep of words.

Your language: hands on wood, brass,

dismissive of barriers not made for

one afire with his own heat and light.

And who cooled with lack of same.

It was my part to call to you,

tears like pearls pried loose

for all you did not let go;

and fingertips like moons, suns

scattered across your skin.

This is the time and the way

we breathed at the thin rim of this world

when every miraculous secret thing will

come forward, and humanity set free.

But I am still waiting in wilderness

while you have traveled on.

This is now, but it may as well

be then, movements of planetary power

still a symmetry that answers or echoes

my thoughts as I stride into dark

of winter and you, body-less, flee the night

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: New Talk, Old Talk (for Craig)

We friends learning each other carry stories–

being told them, telling them ourselves–

and speaking for myself moving

like a thief to steal this or that one

from pockets of thin air–

and we trade one chapter for another

in the corner coffee spot: talk reveals things,

talk connects.

But I am in between the moments

as treetops gather and release

sweet bits of sun, gold gleanings of time.

Gratitude spills from our lips

while in me an ache drifts by, a pale feather.

Loss bleeds, though I say only that

a sorrowful message came early today.

Strange how one thing begins, another leaves off;

breathlessness coexists with breathing;

victory is won for some as others flail in darkness.

That one may have left the earth without

one’s hand in another’s–this thought stabs me–

and that hope is held close until there is nothing

brave enough to prop it up against emptiness,

so is abandoned:

this is not what I speak about.

That knowledge slips through a safety net

of words that holds fast the fragrant coffee shop

and moors me–and others–to the ordinary world.

But later on, when on my walk unspooling in the hills,

there are pines that offer themselves

as protection against wind’s wounding

and my legs and heart propel me to the crest,

November cold ripening, roughing my skin.

And as I pause in a swath of sunshine there

comes a whistle through a maze of branches

that holds, a moment, then releases your name.

But I hear it, feel it as I stand alone by the road,

and it’s like a passing train on a high ridge

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem/Photo: Order and Otherwise

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

This is one sort of preference:

vessels useful and voluptuous,

lithesome fishes lined up for breezes,

trees well refined that mind themselves,

stone with a softer side but that does not give in.

A variety of order beguiles with certainty.

I am intrigued by definitions of texture

and design, of utility and indulgence.

But within chaos rises a web of connectivity

that brings to the fore the powers of Presence.

Out of strife surges creativity,

intimacy with confusion allows clarity,

and it is a value of peace and discord

that we humans can jostle to and fro,

discern amazement within, without

and secure our (mutable) selves here

and beyond the living maze of mirrors.

Mirror Art Installation in San Diego (artist unknown)

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Truest of Things

These may be the truest of life,

to eat marionberries or Cox’s Orange Pippins

on a day that glimmers with laughter spilled

and simple promises made and kept

or to sit cross legged under pine and cedar,

attend to doings of blue jay and hawk, and

sniff wind’s foretelling of rain and smoke.

Or to gather up wiggling twin beings,

my arms stretched to bundle affection or need,

my heart breaking and mending with

a certain sort of love’s lightning strikes.

This, that, these–they command an entire universe.

They all know and sow certain secrets.

Even the babies’ eyes, how they find

the might of smallest, momentary things,

and deep-see even me, and oh how we

welcome each other, no reservations.

All instructs me to care more, more:

to savor abundance of apple and berry;

to draw close to the fire of forest gifts;

to hear winged things telegraph wisdom;

to find more when there may seem less,

to discover wee hands tender and sure,

fragrant with newness, nestled in mine.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: The Findings

Leaves vermilion, bronze afloat now

take me over mountains and time

to undulating land beneath northern skies,

where colors burst like birds into blueness

and brightness limned vaporous grey:

that was a place, a time when every breath

was charged with a fury of wind on edge;

spirit made sanctuary in pine and birch,

and wanderlust, powered by desire,

carried my heart in search of stars

over lakes major and minor

to chart a strong course.

To live poems and songs.

And found you.