Autumn leaves dodge the rage of this world,
descend in swirls, a tender confetti like
righteous flares of charity: a chance
for me to break full open to wonder.
An easy thing some days, thrills of nature,
yet it is innocence hard to save from terror,
to cherish as human lives fall faster, redder,
farther, erased in ways that cannot be forgiven.
Yet still leaves release from high perches,
and grace my passing, whispers of mercy,
a breath passing one from another and
to me as I weep without making a sound,
and kneel at their blazing, frail beauty
and loosen and strew my heart among them
The stories shared by our remaining brother
gave tribute to places sculpted by vastness,
drought and heat that could kill;
trees like beautiful spirits;
people crouched in expectation;
nights woven with soft netting and rent
by lions’ talk that elicited screams.
My safe skin tingled though far from Africa.
Earth is lush with danger and amazement.
In that place, life and death appeared simpler.
Orxyes, wildebeests, hippos, antelopes, leopards,
each name a bright bell rung around our table.
Rare tracks of the black rhino,
such zebras with curious children,
tiny frogs click click clicking under star-struck skies.
It is enough to make me abandon other realities.
Enough for my breath to be stilled not by loss
but adoration of prodigious designs.
Our older, lost brother would marvel over warthog, antelope.
After all, he and wolves knew one another;
we both admired their songs, endurance, loyalty.
He gave consideration to all manner of beasts.
I recalled more exotic countries–ones
mapped by the fierce intellect and feeling that
our lost brother had inhabited, full of more tales.
And the Mexican village to which he had longed to return,
with its colors singing, hands rough but open,
breezes like kisses as his saxophone,
clarinet or flute stirred dust and birds,
his living finally distilled, vibrations
no longer wounding heart nor disrupting his soul
…nor taking from him the best he may
have had yet to offer us. To himself.
That old frontier was a dream of new music
birthed of quietude, a calm wrested from forces
feverish, half-sorted, but that he owned.
I am audacious about God, about possibility,
so venture to report he has made his way.
He left us to the minutiae of time left,
to our capricious attitudes,
urgent manner of sentience.
I can say he seized hope near the end of his road.
It answered me as we hugged a last time;
his arms were weary but they were right.
Now our remaining prayers are loosed,
notes and words fleeing on May’s generous sweep,
a promise carried on shear of wind above
his music room, the rest of us
left with ache of love and wondering.
Spring will claim then take you.
It may seem to ease in, inch
by inch, clamor softly at your edges
like verdant chimes ruffled by a breeze.
But eyes open to a baptism of clear light,
nose to a phantasmagoria of scents,
hands to satin petals amid a flurry of tiny wings,
ears to a scherzo of birds, frogs, bees.
Admit it, there can be no illusion of control.
Without your consent, renewal waltzes the body,
slakes a deep thirst from chalice of sky so
you rest in the palm of earth, amid a bounty
of countless, stirring perfections
as the world still plots, hearts grieve,
dreams founder, long stray aches
bind up the night, and phantoms of need
cast furtive shadows across the dawn.
Human life will always bruise, bleed, require
stitching even as we labor to make it safer.
We tend to its frailties but we want for peace.
So let another spring just now take you into
its nucleus of wisdom, its molecular beauties.
Its unprejudiced, forgiving, unerring welcome —
what else does this without your unbelieving retreat?
Say yes, hallelujah and your own sweet amen.
Legendary king of rivers moving to entwine with the great salt sea,
generous, brawny, demanding, enigmatic, indefatigable, crackling,
monstrous, mystical, ancient, unpredictable, transformative, spellbinding
anadromous miracle, water to water, life to life, power to power
Carry me along the rim of this world,
through capricious magic of sky-lit
waters where formidable tales are made
of labor, beguilement, exploration, survival.
Take me to heights and depths where life
shines, burrows, vanishes; light shadow dances;
gold and greens, silver and blues are silken
transparency and density of salt, fishes, shell, plant.
Bring me to the uncertain edge of capriciousness,
rapture of the seventh wave; cover me with lace of spray, sand and stone beneath feet. I will sing a song
of kingdoms built of the tumult and peace of the sea.