Obituary

Will it only be a list of information, a collection of the external?

Born in so-and-so, to these parents of this descent, lived here and then here, and then here.  Worked as a nurse, a cook, an accountant, managed a dry cleaning business, taught fifth graders or at the university, produced movies.  (Your name here) loved dogs/cats, was notorious for having ice cream for dinner.

Or maybe include a little something more.  How you used colorful expressions – I need a  little alcohol in my radiator.  I’d rather see the devil come.  He’s dumb as a fencepost.  

How you instilled in others a sense of curiosity, wonder.  What your passion was, what made you feel most alive, what sustained you in difficult times?  What drove your courage, your work, your will?  What was the nature of your heart, your spirit?

In lieu of flowers, please make a charitable donation to the preservation of nature or the arts.

 

 

Sand

All the things you

thought were true

in your life turned out

to be built on it.

Even mountains

are sand yet unground

by water, wind, and time.

Use my bones, oh world.

Make a ladder

so that someone in need

may climb.

 

 

 

Refugees Welcome

There are the small crystals you left as blessings, tucked just beneath the earth.

There is the love you have for everyone you feel separated from.

And there are the invisible arrows that keep you on the path, your path, all your life, so that when other people try to yoke you with their doubts and question what you’re doing, you know enough not to listen.

The learning seems to come geologically slow, but you do eventually learn when to forget them and pay attention to the voice emanating from your center.  Through deep listening, through the acknowledgement of that voice, you come to know your center, and you come to hold it.  And the things you expect from yourself begin to change.

There are the great vertical stones you have glimpsed in dreams, and also the smaller, more rounded ones along the shore.

There are the bells on the necks of all the ponies, the raindrops, fall as they may.  There are the trees, connected – like all of us – in unseen ways by unseen roots.  There is the road, the path, your shoes, yellow rice, steam rising from a bowl of soup.

All the prayers you hold inside are on display in the world around you, before you.  You don’t need anyone’s advice to learn how to see.  You only need the courage and will it takes to look – that which you already possess, but do not always choose.  Its only requirement is that you choose it above all else.

There are places to rest along the miles of all your days, if you will only sit.  There are ferries to take you across all the rivers, if you will only board them.

There are ways to remember you are not your body, if you will only forget about your clothes and your appearance.

Allow yourself to sleep.  When you wake it will still be there: this yearning to bring all knowledge inward, this thirst to move on, out, through, up, into, from all the trials you’ve undergone.

Take your time, that’s what it’s there for.

Love returns to your heart as you walk to the ends of the earth.

Now, choose something to burn.  What will it be?

 

Humpty Trumpty

You know how it is:

one minute you’re riding high.

The next you’ve had a great fall,

and what’s done is done.

You’ve thrown your fit,

made your mess.

 

Then comes the pulling

together of yourself,

the attempt to reestablish

your place on the shelf.

The king’s men

won’t be of much use

since you betrayed them all.

And the horses…

you drove them away,

remember?

How Loons Say Goodnight

Are you out there?

Yes.

Are you okay?

I am.

Good night then.

Night.

 

 

 

There Is So Much I Want To Tell You (Part Two)

There is so much I want to tell you about the middle way, about evenness, neither embracing nor rejecting.  This idea that everything just shape-shifts, and nothing is ever really gained or lost in the sense of how we define gain and loss, out of our profound longing for the security that absolutes appear to give us.  It turns out security is an illusion, so we might as well begin making choices aligned with our inner voice and dare to discover the truth of who we really are.

The world never stops sending us messages, if we might only find the courage and clear sight to receive them.

There is so much I want to tell you about wild horses, bows and arrows, primordial warriors, the retracting claws of mountain lions, about locks and pulleys, windmills, Tasmania, the alphabet, Maoris, archaeological discoveries, lost cities beneath overgrown jungles, the jaguar (he who kills with one leap) moving through the world alone except to mate.

It doesn’t matter what the song is, or if it’s even playing at all: it’s always there inside you, dormant yet vibrantly alive with the vastness you contain, the spaciousness around your heart that you often forget is there but then notice again, reminded when you sit quietly and take a long, slow breath.

I want to tell you about the marches of ants and the fiestas of rats, though you already know.  The unseen houses of cottontail rabbits born naked and blind, the smoky jungle frog and the violet orchid, the harpy eagle waiting high up in a ceiba tree for eleven hours to snatch his prey, like some avian samurai of the rainforest.  The love I have for so many people, and the brokenness I feel at having lost so many.  The visions I have of roads that wind through the countryside.  I see a rucksack, a hat, a walking stick.

Strange, how there’s no money in bending spoons, walking through walls, eating fire, poetry.

 

 

There Is So Much I Want To Tell You, Part One

There is so much I want to tell you about living life with curiosity.  New wonders are awakened, old ones slip out of reach but remain ever-touchable in one’s heart and spirit.  Thanks be to the Great Mystery, Great Spirit, ever-present, ever-steady, touchable.

There is so much I want to tell you.  You, who buy gold candlesticks for saints.  You, who give your grief to the earth and sea piece by piece.  You, who linger in the garden of your own heart.  You, who bravely sit in silence and observe the mind going round and round.

You, who visit that certain holiness hanging around the homeless, the broken, seeing those qualities in yourself also.  Just seeing them and still giving thanks and polarizing yourself into a laser beam of non-reactive calm.  You wear that certain holiness like a halo, like a legend, a myth, an intimate devastation.