Hole in the Clouds

Heron croaked taking flight,
prehistoric wings and angular form
reminders of another time.
Like a hole in the clouds
or stirring of the sea,
I am part wind, part forest,
part native to the water.
I’ll tell you the story
as I remember
however incomplete.
This is your home,
body and blood,
yet in the helix
of your innermost
star seeds woven in light
brighter than morning.
You won’t figure it out
by unwrinkling your paper self
to somehow read the eternal.
You’ve got to live it,
beyond the pastures you were fenced in
and ride on into the wastes.
It’s drier out here and stony ground
but in the moment you cross the line
you’ll breathe the clean air you were born for
and your story will make perfect sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Hole in the Clouds” with music from Sister Drum by Dadawa


 


Song of Freedom

Steel gray water like polished silver
shines in the dull light of cloud filled skies.
Dolphins feed the tide line,
dorsal fins gracefully arcing
as they surface and dive.
I might seem to be alone
yet I am bathed in a vast community,
life it is in all directions
that rises with the sun and stars
both day and night in the eternal presence.
I should tone it down, speak in the mechanics
of physics and biology. I should but I won’t
for I only have so many days and the music
of my soul will only be sung if I let it.
I worship where I will and refuse the idols
of ideology and vain precept.
Aboriginal in my origins,
boiled in the kettle of a hard city,
I know what it’s like to break the chains
of fear and dependence.
I won’t go back to servitude,
bow before the altars of gold and cold marble.
What tree would vote for the axe,
desire to be cut down and milled to brutal standards?
The prison walls are as fake as the collar around your neck.
No one binds the soul. Ask the monks who kneel in snow
in the gulags of their oppressors.
They smile at the blows of ignorance,
knowing who is really bound.
Each day I follow the breadcrumbs of my heart
and choose life, to breathe the air of earth itself
and send my blood to every cell with the song of freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Song of Freedom” with intro music by Bruce Springsteen


 


Across the Water

Ancient stones rise from the sea,
black basalt topped by towering firs.
Eagle perches in a crag,
crow lands in a juniper
calling to the morning.
I’m old with muscle,
root in hard to reach places.
Let the sea look for me
along the gravelly shore,
the forest as I walk at night
in fellowship with darkness.
I belong to the earth,
fearless in its silence
and across the water
I call to you, knowing
as in the long ago
we will find each other
in the timeless place,
cloaked in many colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Across the Water” with music by Piano Tribute Players


 


Fresh Water Spring

Rain falls gently
on the dry earth,
the first relief
of approaching autumn.
As water seeps down
to the deeper roots
I follow the rain
through the unforgiving clay
of choices I’ve made.
Below the hardpan
there is new life
waiting for moisture
to rise and wear
the green mantle
of September grass.
I must let go,
receive the pardon,
the grace of One
who reaches out
to the repentant
inviting renewal
in all its wet glory.
Up from the root
I am like the trees
with sap still flowing,
branches extended
in the gray light of dawn.
This life a gift, given
like a late summer shower,
my portion precious
as a fresh water spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Fresh Water Spring” with music by Abaji.


 


Sand Painted Mandala

Time will reveal its truth
on the lonely highway
rutted with errors
we celebrate and enshrine.
Only the humble
will find a key
to the portal,
decode the mystery
of the long unjust.
Each stumbling step,
each hesitant word
tests our muscle
yet we are not so old
as age broken stone,
not so brittle
to deny the gifts
bestowed by the gods.
No matter the hardship
let us find the way
to our place in the eternal,
drawn with mastery
on the sand painted mandala
of this our earth
in this our time.

 

 


photograph by Patrick Orleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Sand Painted Mandala” with music by Ahura


 


Enveloped in Magic

The body travels
with mind and heart,
yet spirit remains
in stillness.
Place changes,
time continues
yet where I am
is not disturbed.
Holy the rock,
grace the blessing
of the silent watchers.
Giving myself
to the changeless
I travel the world
while strangely unmoved,
enveloped in magic
by the mystery
of the Beloved.

 

 

 


photograph by Johannes Plenio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Enveloped in Magic” with music by Huun-Huur-Tu


 


The Return

From the cold distance
of rigid thought
barring the way
to the beloved,
life urges return.
Isolation suffers
a severe price,
the withdrawal of love
injuring the heart
in its link to joy.
Return to grace
life calls from
the broad horizon
and deep flowing sea,
to the fountain of healing
and light for the soul.
Let the dark stranger pass,
the dismantler of dreams.
Choose now the path
where forgiveness guides
and welcome the return
to the place where you live.

 

 

 


photograph by Javier Aragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “The Return” with music by Keola Beamer


 


Quick the Heartbeat

Sun bathes the sea
in morning ritual,
the legacy of life
continuing over time,
yet what we leave behind
like summer grass,
here then gone
in quicksilver moments.
The calculus of memory
grows and hardens
while the heart struggles
to send its charge
to muscle and bone.
Grave clothes comfort,
the coffin fit snug,
but life has more in mind
as sunlight calls on the water,
inviting the heart to open
and shatter the chrysalis
of the second-hand store.
We’re not designed for the grave
though indeed that time will come.
We’re here to sing our music,
voices drunk on the ripe wine
of many years passing
quick as the heartbeat of a bird.

 

 

 


photograph by Lindsey Jane Roby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Quick the Heartbeat” with music by Maryliz Smith


 


Beside the Gray Sea

The land is wet
from last night’s rain,
the long slow drink
having eased the stress
on trees and grass,
for robins to unearth worms
from the softened ground.
Beside the gray sea
under cloud filled skies
I inhale the green world,
lungs drawing deep
amidst bird song
and rushing tide.
Come now my friend
does this not spark memory,
speak to the time
when arm in arm we walked
with no thought of separation?
Such are the rites of morning,
given to us without redress
by the fountain of the living earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Beside the Gray Sea” with music by Valentin Silvestrov


 


Words of Morning

Words of morning
come like light
on the water
while day awakens.
No longer in shadow
seeking furtive touch,
but open as the sky
and color green,
reaching in
and flowing out,
tender as the tide
to meet you.

 

 

 


photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Words of Morning” with music by Maryliz Smith