Among The Thistles

How can one sleep with a moon like this?  It’s so early it’s not even early, it’s late.  I mean early, you’re not up yet, not awake yet, slurps of hot liquid with eyes closed, fan of the mind humming, oscillating between two levels of consciousness, tendons shortened, digestive organs finishing up their work. 

Ten-thousand pinpricks of light still glimmer overhead, and you’re already out walking.

Hormones have been secreting, cells have been forming in your bone marrow, the liver is a tireless magician, the sublime workhorse of your heart has been laying low, half-drunk old man in a hammock.  And, like a gathering wind in the distance, love rises. 

It rises above lies and dictations, the sound of the mind.  It rises above the texture of your words, the swirling ether of your thoughts.  It blows among the thistles, it blows through your whole life.

A love so impossibly vast, unbearable its confinement.

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Real Time

What have we been, in the very ground of our being?  What might we become?  These questions are of past and future.  In trying to answer them, we will not find peace.

Carry the wind of the present in your heart and you will never thirst.  You will participate in eternity.  You will experience Real Time, not clock time, not practical time, not linear time.

We carry bow and arrow but not much power.

Let us have no use for it.

There is no room left to breathe when we make too much of things, when we are swept into drama.  The drama takes up all the space.

The simple things, small things, have the most power to bring us peace.  There is space around them.  They are not so small after all.

Field Row’s End

ox turns at field row’s end

the onions, tomatoes, zucchini and dill

 

the luminous strands of March

get up, get ready, to work, to begin

 

get up, get ready, to work, to follow

the arc of the world, the slope of the light

 

earth beneath thumbnail

knees pressed in soil

 

clods of mud smear rubber boots

and we, the workers

 

anchored to weather

with its moods, whims, dictations

 

we, the workers

fastened to the ox and the engine of his breath

 

fastened to the fields

splashing around in our patience

 

working until it is no longer work,

but who we are and what we do

 

settling down to seek the stillness of evening

we have become the work itself

 

we are the field, the ox

we are the onions, the mud

 

watching attentively, listening closely

viewing ourselves as if through a microscope

 

the metronome held in the bone-basket of our ribs,

its momentum not yet interrupted

Tree

The next time a storm comes, set your eyes upon a tree.  The branches toss and turn, flail and bend – and wisely so, for what happens to things that don’t bend?

But then, beneath the boughs and limbs, the trunk.  And beneath that pillar of power and stability, the roots – firmly fixed to the earth.

 

Rungs

It’s hard to be sure

if you’re climbing.

You know,

really going somewhere.

As opposed to

just milling about

as if you were

at a cocktail party.

Who can say

in what direction

you’re actually moving?

Could be sideways,

or some off-the-charts

geometric angle.

Perhaps there are

no directions at all,

and we’re just taught

that an absence of direction

would be impossible.

Or maybe

you’re hanging on

for dear life

to the same slippery place

you grabbed hold of,

when you lost your footing –

and almost fell –

so long ago.

Yard Work

Let me tell you now how much I will miss you.

Let me not spend another moment wandering the world with words unspoken.

Let me not wait until you are gone, as I have waited with so many now lost from me, and narrowed my eyes as withered chances blew past my flushed cheeks, lifted by a sudden wind, leaves in a wheelbarrow carried back to the place where only a moment before, I gathered them.

As if I were trying to perform a task far too large for me, something to test the bounds of my mortal endurance.

How Fortunate, How Small

How small are we, how fortunate to see with eyes the dolphin, the stallion, the bee, being what they are and doing what they do.

To hear with ears the wind across the palisades of mountains and the song of the ocean.

To know with flesh the pleasure and pain of the body, lust and hunger, bleeding and burning.

To thirst with spirit for the very earth we walk on, for an open dome of sky or dense canopy of rainforest.

To sacrifice with courage all that we are, and send an invitation to what we might become.

How small are we, how fortunate.