Saturday’s Poem: Interludes Intrinsic to the Whole

Light then comes forth, rises as it is wont to do,

leaves traces within caves and tents of scattered shadow

and all the peculiar, keening and unseen things

and, when you do not even search,

sparks life within life as all

appears relentless, darker and beyond

even grand imagination’s scope.

It stirs amid the wreckage with magnetic power

a miniscule breath, a lilt of song.

Embrace, look up with the spirit of welcome

even as–because–beating wings of fear,

of sorrow will hover and circle once more

and all the while, you will have one ancient key

to acceptance, and hope’s illustrious guidance

Friday’s Poem: Life of a Poem

To some poetry can seem a crime,

secrets disrobed, unmasked souls

paraded in a staged accounting of heresies

and heroics. There is little that is modest,

mannerly or regrettable about words that speak

for or against a reality possessed

by a poet with will made fearless by a pen.

It’s a poem; it arises, takes hold and lives.

The offerings can seem a crystal ball cupped in hand

or jewel trembling through the tawdriness,

or trails of dreams sketching maps to

other worlds before mysteries erode.

It can be a signal for revolution

or like bread for the hungry; a poem morphs.

But neither crime nor prophecy,

not even prayers clothed as verse

are enough to wake dazed sleepers or

the bitter turned away from life,

a poem like a useless feather drifting by.

Still, it takes but one to sense the cadence of

telling language, to hold it close

to ear or eye then heart.

Either way, the poet doesn’t mind;

the lines given move to another

or fall like a curtain dropped

to once more cloak life’s wizardry.

There are other words and visions,

other visiting spells for living in full color

or fading into seep of grey that

runs to darkness, shelters

a passel of shadows and lights.

And by sunrise these may render clues

to a meditation or fledgling poem–

another human declaration,

a forlorn sigh, rageful crying out,

a kiss on hands too tired to move,

a bliss that frees a smile,

a truth that finds the wound, then heals,

another human hope that will not be silenced

and somehow finds its way.

Friday’s Poem: Light Reveals

What have you heard?

That the gift of light fades at end of sunset?

That it recedes in metered rush

from sea and prairies, mountains, piney spires;

across the smudge of dazed cities

or the huddle of villages bent inward?

It is alive, the light, and shows off truth.

It stretches, seeps, spreads thin–

but does not fade like a frayed blue skirt

or dimming eyesight of an old woman.

No, it laps at my bare feet, scrolls across daunting skies.

It plies swamp, desert hollow, drifting ice with its glory,

then eases up with barest strokes,

each a bright exhalation upon earth. A sweetening of light.

I was struck dumb by light as a child

while hidden in the maple, gazing inward,

skating over frozen water, rising from muddy lakes:

there, see that light casting itself,

holding all close and letting go, floating

as if made of feathers, as if whispering powerful secrets.

I wanted to be opened, remade by this.

To be on intimate terms with sun and lightning,

stars and moon. More. And since it is easy

to surrender to beauty, so have I been.

I find it. Or it finds me. Us.

What do you believe? That it leaves us?

Light does not vanish, it pauses then arcs,

saturates what we cannot see; ruffles the soul,

agitates this veil of skin as it leads us into

more shifting and shining in those hard places

we lay our heads, plant our feet, keep on.

This house of magic is where we weep and rejoice.

Where life ignites, scatters, glimmers, alters,

its prismatic colors a vision that turns

inside out notions of every single thing.

Light can then transfuse the heart, these

veins and arteries all lit up like pathways

to a surprise party where love awaits.

Friday’s Poem on Saturday: Poetica, Again

Sometimes there is no poem within reach.

You look for bounty and see dust;

despite splashes of color and light

there surfaces a rock hard notion

that the billions of places where people rise up

and lie down meet each bone and spirit

with denial and pain, prayers as ash on the tongue.

Leftover dreams are torn into dark ribbons,

and time is not a deep enough well to bury regret.

One cannot wear dark ribbons a whole life;

one cannot have bones that cry out

and a spirit that goes mute forever.

Wells overflow, time is curtailed–then what?

It is so much to ask.

So it is that a vagabond poem pauses

in its evolutions and locates

a heap of sorrows and it roots around,

finds a fissure, the loose seam,

an unlocked trap door

and makes itself at home.

It opens curtains and windows

so the sky can parade its splendor

and birds dive in and slip out trilling.

It shuffles debris and braids

a quilt of discarded pieces

as if they were shining silk or clean wool

and then carries its bulk to a resting spot. Lays it out.

The poem knows ways to make a hollow habitable

for the soul rubbed down to almost nothing,

and apply balm to a voice abraded by life’s grime.

Such souls lean on the back doorstep until

a small radiance of invisible words

flares, and poetica in motu welcomes in

the worn one so doom is chased off,

the quilt of stitched dreams tucked about it just so.

As with any rescue, this poem has work to do.

Because a poem is a miracle maker,

even when simple minded,

even if barely noted and put on a shelf,

forgotten in another dawn.

It will stay on, anyway, and

if no longer needed and tossed out,

it will again find a lost one or old traveler,

the terrified or bravado-driven,

the besotted or unloved.

The dust, it seems, is more than dust,

and poetry rises from what is left over,

often mistaken for little of note.

Friday’s Poem: When it Comes to This

When it comes to this-

dark diamonds of grief glinting

in the melee of the world–

there is little left to say.

So I take my self north to more land,

and listen for its secrets.

Well of sky opens, a depth of blue

that can drown or nourish.

Earth lays its rough-edged silk

to the wound that bleeds inward.

The pond releases frog-moss-leaf breath as

heron’s wings disperse a mist of light,

glimmering blue that turns sorrow

into an iridescence.

And I come to the tree that spreads its beauty

about birds, insects, old, old dirt.

Four hundred years here, a white oak.

A giant broken, bent and lustrous,

anchored still for what may come.

She offers branches, knows the hollows I inhabit.

I sit in the sunshine waiting for God.

Her majesty sings a rhythmic hum

and the universe echoes:

tap and release, crack and spill,

sigh, shudder and bow.

I lean against her creaking strength

as even children do, bereft of nothing.

I lean into

what is left

when it comes down

to only this.

I sit in the sun with God.