In an old trunk
amid papers saved and rotting
a letter from you never seen before.
Where, I wonder, did this come from?
The words shine like moon rise
Still – I let it go.
unmoving lips give the script a voice
“Here is Ali by the Great Rock Here is Ali by the Great Rock!”
cried the lost boy under a full desert moon.
Wooden camels scraped across the stage
How I loved you!
Still – I let it go.
A white mare snorted for me in the yard one night
signaling it was time
to leave my desk and pens and tea and come outside
where poetry lives.
I followed her beckoning and rode her to the sea
where I dismounted to watch
as she galloped through the sandy tides.
The waves grew large as the moon rose up
and cloaked us in soft light,
Shadows of clouds lie atop reflective moon beams.
I watched safe from the jetty
as the mare splashed and pranced in the water,
her mane mirrored in the crest of curling waves,
her breath becoming the sound of breakers in the rocks.
Her neigh rose and fell with the wind
and the calls of the gulls in the squall.
A five year old girl appeared and jumped on the mare’s back
clutching her withers and laughing,
daring the sea to swallow them.
The mare paused, gave me a long look and trotted
back to where I clung to the safety of rock and land.
She must have known I longed for the freedom of the storm
for she regarded me with her wild eyes and untamed soul
“Come with us. Everyone needs to leave everything
at least once.”
Did you hear the wind last night
howling up the creek
whistling in the snowy, twig shaped shadows
of January’s full moon?
Did you see the moon
last blustering night
brazenly brightening the deep sky
dark of clouds?
One time, when the gale quieted
and all sound was frozen silent
I slipped outside in time to see
a Screech Owl fly stage front shrieking
“Wild, wild everything is wild!
Everything is wild!”
The wind rose again as I huddled under a tree
It pushed me through a tunnel
into the reckless freedom of space and adventure,
shattering the stale sameness
that orbits everyday life.
It sang a new way into being and then,
returned me to my bed, freshened,
where the barking spirit of Coyote
stalked my sleep
and dreams dripped into an awakened life.
I walked the labyrinth with your hand in my pocket
and your voice on my shoulder.
Your shoes walked with me
and we saw that there are barriers in life
and you can jump them sometimes if you want,
but if you do you find yourself someplace
you were supposed to be earlier or later
but not now.
The smoothest way in or out is to follow the path
without leaping the stones, though you know you can,
until you reach the center
where the way of return is not what you think
and is unrecognizable, although it mirrors the way in.
If you don’t follow the path you could be lost in the maze.
I heard your voice say
“It takes a lot of patience, but
what else are we here to do, except follow the path to its end
where it begins again, notice what’s in our way
one foot, then the other
breathing, opening, paying attention.”
I say “I’m so happy to have you on this path with me, so glad you return when I call you, and wistful when you go.”
Tell me a truth”, I say to you
“Tell me what you’ve learned over there after you finished the labyrinth.”
“Things just are” you reply. “Just look and enjoy, there is nothing else to know.”
Prayer Takes Flight (An Artist’s Statement)
This morning poems and prayers appeared in the paint
as I smudged colors on an unfolding canvas.
Verses of joy, gratitude and aspirations for truth and life
jumped from the luminous hues
and when I chased after them
I saw yearnings, previously snared in drying pigments,
rushing freely upward on beams of rainbow suns
shimmering in the snow.
All today I searched to see where my fleeing hopes had gone
and now, in the evening skyI see where they have landed.
There are the poems of my heart bouncing in the star lights
and my desires are taking voice
in the cries of the night hawk.
And my paintings have not ended with the departure of those prayers
for, no longer trapped on a canvas
the visions sparkle with renewed awareness
of their Heavenly Source
and return to rain stains and pictures of love and holy light
upon the flat cloth surfaces of artists
and the rolling skin of earth.