This life as we imagine it draws breath,
expands and shrinks as is required, while
a universe births and thrives in a water drop.
It is a signal of more, a homily for humility.
Yet the scramble of cogitation thrills us and
we are diverted into mazes, veering off course.
Angst-ridden inquiry tends toward dead ends.
Try instead a pilgrimage of quietude.
Be chased and adorned by salty tang of sea,
let spontaneous wind usurp the worry, fear.
It matters less that you win a solution
and more that a stream of tawny or aqua sky
slips over the aching slope of your shoulders.
Any thoughts you hold close will captivate you.
This cave brought you here to lead you from
yourself, mend cracks and knots you’ve sustained
as has this earth with its eons of wisdom, power, beauty.
Why do you hope to find an enduring answer
within ego’s declarative restraints, its petty smallness?
Sit awhile with volcanic sand and agate, crab and whale,
wave and wing, the headland a bulwark against storms.
Visions and knowledge arise and find you here;
your compass trembles, horizon shines, skin sighs.
The soul does not need to solve one single thing,
nor travel fast or far to find its truth and be at home.
It feels familiar because it has made a place here, in you.
Then night’s dark environs curved a cave
about as I shut eyes and mind cruised
among a cornucopia of thoughts,
such a banquet that seemed not to
whet my appetite, so I let go and fell
in a wilderness of words, nets
of rapture and folly that caught me,
brave conspiracy of verbal happiness,
a wardrobe of syllables crafted for me
of dismal slags and daring surprise.
Such vocabulary leaving and arriving
hews deep, familiar pathways
to moments which manifest life
despite being paused–by age or health,
temporary material circumstance;
or that restlessness of worry,
all the hard prayers to high slung moons.
Every arc of words creates a visage
of love that recognizes me or not as yet
as I navigate waves of wakeful slumber.
These tricky acrobatics of curiosity,
capricious nouns holding forth, verbs astir,
a language of energy launching me toward
horizons colored with shining letters…
ah, may language of this small bestowed life not desert me.
May I attend and serve until the ending blesses.
And we shall leap, drift into rhapsodies of silence.
Lay me down in a high green place
along a serpentine river to see
sun ride day into night, and
furred and feathered ones gathered as
clouds drift, stars ignite, wind hums.
Let limbs of trees bow deep into
clover, sway in acres of
grassy shimmy and ripple.
Then I will know earth can yet
live and breathe clean.
Let evening speak of honorable ways
and daybreak reveal more gifts divine.
May wild things mingle on land
for all who come to seek, find, pause,
with more arriving and those now done.
Voices here are full call and response,
rumbling deep where silence reigns.
Visitors will release their truths
of late confessions and longings,
hoping for bridges to our migrant souls.
But death and forgiveness rearrange everything.
We no longer know what harnesses hate;
nothing remains of schemes that bound us.
Just lay me down in a cradle of peace
where spirit’s embrace is welcome, safe
and light embraces fleet shadow
and twilight makes tender all loss.
Rites of passage leave no mark
that cannot be transformed beyond.
All life merges with water, earth, air.
We loosen from needs that tether
love to grief and drift on a course
where nothing follows everything.
So lay us down easy in a mountain
valley watched by Eye of God,
where water runs its natural race
and wind blows bright on wing and leaf
and tears fail to flood mother soil
and the soul is a poem filling its sails
on a river that flows up to far away skyscapes.
Lay us down in green fire of summer to rest.
She tricks the eye. He is not prepared,
grace of shoulders aligned so strong,
feet of light that skim the earth
and her face, it is not what he recalls.
How it curves inside incandescent air
or is it her shine, this child soon
in flight beyond his scope of knowing?
It happens like this amid slogging
and leaping through his life, the falls
into capricious and unwise ways.
All the silt and slivers of rust mixing
with moonstone, wildflowers and luck before
he can right himself, sort what means what.
He fears he’s not made all good, done right.
Yet she still comes along. Forebears him.
When do daughters know they are
loved well or enough, he wonders,
then leans close to discern meanings
of expressions, spaces between words.
Once she was that fragile and wholly divine
he could hardly stand to hold her.
Now he peers into the well of his heart
to find her like sun glossing the waters,
like his own dreaming and her mother’s prophecy.
She comes into summer on a wind
from the west. Her fairy dress shivers
and her eyes are birds that must sing
and her trust is dispersed too easily
and he cannot watch all this changing
as she glides here and there, farther away.
But he will not cast off. Not now, nor any tomorrow.