Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
The sand has the name of the journey
For it has known the seas, can speak
Their names and tell the storms
The secret places where the wind hides
Its stormy jewels and sings its terrible
Songs. Oh the night. Oh the night.
And we hold the sand within our hands
And we let it go between our fingers
Making patterns with its soft body,
Its gleaming eyes, the mantle of
The waves. Oh hear, we die in seas
So cold the ice itself grows teeth
And spells our ship till it
Commands and we, even climbing
High into the masts can see no
Land and fall, oh yes we fall
For twenty leagues and call
One to another across the loom
Time makes with water and here
You came, and they, dear friend,
My dear, dear friend are made of sand
Are made of sand.
You said this blue sky was imperishable
But now it is gone and there is frost on
The edges of the pond every morning.
All these thoughts I had of you have gone
Away suddenly. There is nothing left to think.
I can only look out across the valley now.
I’ll sing a little song to myself, one
That you used to enjoy. It is about
The sound the oars make when they
Scrape the gravel in the shallow water.
Maybe that sound will stop my sighing.
We were not supposed to compare
The miracles when they occurred.
One was certainly not better than another;
The roses of Juan Diego to those of Theresa
of Lisieux. We were not to crumple at the
Tiniest comment. What of tears anyway?
We should be able to rise up to the very
Top of buildings without moving our legs.
Surely there would be the burning that carries
Us higher and higher to where
We could finally become less and less.
So we spill over and flush the earth
With our tears and quiet sorrows.
We will open the serape of Juan Diego
To see the face of the Virgin, we will find
Joy in the smallest things as we watch our
Hearts empty and fill with love like the locks
On a canal, lifting us up or lowering us
To the clear way around all obstacles,
The way singing does or looking into the eyes
of the beloved, the light reflecting, souls dancing.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
THE BANNER UNFURLED
We were standing below the eaves
With the rain coming down hard,
Almost unbroken as if the water were
A solid that had been forced to
Reconsider its mission. What was it
To do? Be drunk? Irrigate crops?
Flood a street? Drown an animal?
That and the day around it, gray
With an insistent dull red of the
Traffic light breaking through the torrent
On a predictably regular mission
To change the day with its insistent interruptions.
It was no good.We knew we would
Be here for a long time. The world
Had turned soft and soggy around us.
We were no longer able to talk through
The down pour. I remember thinking “This
Is what it must be like all the time when
We grow old and once again live alone.”
I knew this wasn’t so but it
Became a banner and I imagined
The years running away from me,
Afraid of what would happen next,
The water rising above my shoes,
Slapping at my ankles.
TINY SHARDS OF GLASS
We were sitting in the other room,
The one away from the woods.
We were unable to see what was making
The noise but we all could hear it.
We all heard different things.
That it was music seemed a general
Agreement but what clothing that music
Wore was what mystery would come
To claim as a definition.
I was dreaming the form.
Nothing had prepared me for it.
It kept breaking like promises,
The kind made when you’re really afraid
And will forget when the light returns
Or the danger passes or we recognize
Someone we know and everything isn’t
So scary anymore. It burns.
When I opened my hand there were five
Planets, each in flames, each a different
Color. This was unacceptable
But brought much comfort from the noise.
We had supposed it to be something,
Anything almost, a place to begin,
A room toward understanding but
It was not. It was a mere stone,
A place to stand, to emote and to
Have a place where we could see
These planets in their luxurious fire
And gaze at them without fear
In not knowing what they were
Or why such a thing should be.
They were unelected, like love does
When it finds itself in a depth
It has never seen before, much less
Understand, yet still as true and wide
As the great Missouri river in full
Flood, everyone standing on the banks
Wondering if we shall perish or merely
Break into tiny shards of glass.