Don’t tell me about loneliness, that fiendish friend.
We all well know its ways, how it arrives
and vanishes, and hollows a sinuous
trail inside density of life like
a worm or a beetle into greenness.
And then unbidden, you follow, track
it with eye of hawk, root out damage
of its work, you howling and quaking,
trying to snatch all up, take it away.
The trickery is that loneliness is a masquerade,
and it seeks to beckon you into places
where the wearied self must seek truth
blooming inside each perilous, solitary ache.
But God sits there, the One you forgot,
God Who flings stars that will forever net you,
Who prunes sorrow with a stubborn mercy.
Then brings forth a mirror, reveals how beloved
are we who somehow imagine abandonment.
The next two weeks will be busy with places and people far from here so posts will be fewer. I leave you with this older poem oft revised as I prepare to attend a writers’ conference. Catch you again next Wednesday!
Blessings your way,
I consider the essential of all fruits,
artful spheres of blush and chill,
voluptuous, innocent of harm, a
rare simplicity in hand, on tongue,
happiness offered, never wasted.
An apple shines amid daily rumors
of ruin, confirmations of death.
Pressed closer to nose and lips,
this first scent and taste recalls
the hearty good which yet remains.
That such a thing so ordinary,
perfect, snug in my palm
could seem a salvation
frightens and reassures me
as I bite, savor sweetness,
its life sap moving from
bright skin to fill my hunger,
keeping at bay a bitter world.
In the early morning as
visitations pause or fade,
past and future days that
will call upon one’s strength,
all bright wings and brokenness
left to such fading plum blackness,
its comforts, lessened terrors spilled as
sweet water over trespassed body, mind:
Lo, such a beautiful prison of humanness!
This right to wonder, to seek holiness
before hot tea and cinnamon bagel,
waking in shivery autumnal light
that tenders skin and bones and
illumines precious air as soul
nests within, home again,
just one sacred feather.
It may be that making room
for mercy, letting it take hold
of you, does so only at a price.
You may never again see yourself
or another without feeling
a deep release of tenderness,
an upsurge in benevolence
like a music unfurled by light.
Many suffer, pass by day or night and
you will recognize a hoard of hurts
and consolation will spill unbidden,
even in your smile or nod of your head,
a flash meeting of your eyes and another’s.
Charity rises from the soul’s wellspring,
and fills you. It will long to act.
Even if what is returned is
disconsolate anger, even if a
you will offer a gentling of more mercy.
And when someone pains you,
compassion and forbearance
will take charge in spite
of unjust, fearful jarrings.
You can endure much in mercy.
Who knows what being merciful can bring?
Perhaps a revolution of wholeness: begin.
Who said our human lives will be a lark?
Can we be generous if we are lazy, only smart?
Can we be kind and be selfish, then hope to heal?
We learn to be humble, then wings can grow.
You alone know your true reflection
in the mirrored passages of time,
if you answered yes when
someone needed forgiveness,
if you answered no when revenge
bellowed your name.
Either way, mercy lives on
best when you claim it, free it, use it.
It moves in the power of opening hands,
in reverberations of simple, decent care.
Some may welcome it and perhaps even you.
Many will not ever notice.
You are the one
who will be
changed by mercy
reigniting your valiant life
A swishing dance of barest stems was
perhaps nothing but a passing of the wind
and yet it came to me as kindness.
Sun with great dome of warmth blessing all,
flowery or buggy face a measure of its power.
It was welcome that I sought, leaving worries,
adding nothing to my thought than
assurances of earth’s own wisdom.
Those fine, secret hours. A promise of unity,
and forgiveness of capriciousness.
The girl I was, the ways I yearned–
heaven to lie among those favored
ones, creatures and plants gathered
without malice or demands.
It was no less than sovereignty
of beauty, ease and genius of this planet.
But it was only half (if that) a story then.
The lives of humans proved felonious
as well as courageous or reconciling,
gave or took such scarlet blood as well as love.
My own life was like others: peaks and rills,
made of rust, of lightning, midnight and morning stars.
These things meadows told me, too,
as I lay lolling in its wilder, grassy seas.
So I am reaching toward sweet if resting grasses
and their counterparts who advise: patience.
Abundant, brave spring will circle back.
I will let the world turn in its shadow and silt
’til messenger dawns arrive, bring us to thaw,
bestow upon us each a deeper truth, dear God, once more.