In the Fiercest Night

The winds have laid down
after a black night howling.
I went out to the darkness
and the roaring winds calmed me.
The moon showed her face
behind racing clouds
and I was brightened by her light.
The sea pushed onto the rocks,
the sound of rushing waves
reaching deep into my heart
offering peace.
No need to remain defeated
despite how harsh
the troubles suffered.
Life will raise you up
if you speak your desire.
The dark night
and punishing wind
may frighten and roil
but that magical germ buried
deep in your bloodstream
signals your birthright
and in the fiercest night
your joy everlasting.

 

 


photograph by Edward Curtis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading with music from Indigenous


 


Room at Last

Peering into the future
there is the sea
with tide and wind
and sound of birds,
the cloud filled sky
full of light by day,
aglow at night.
There is the land
green and fruitful,
rising from spring
after long winter sleep
and there is the heart
empty of longing,
with room at last
for the silence of peace.

 

 


photograph by Terry Stoupa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Room at Last” with music by Los Angeles Master Chorale


 


Your Original Face

Not good enough
echoes through dreams,
lifetime after lifetime
trying to please,
to shape your self
to another’s standard
while the one in the mirror
remains mortal, imperfect
and near buried.
In the time you have now
offer a kind word,
supporting,
encouraging
the only life
you’ve ever had
and be the one
passed down
through ages,
eroded like stone
until all that’s left
is your original face.

 

 


Navajo Velvet by RC Gorman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Your Original Face” with music by Gary Courtland-Miles


 


Earth Walk

As birds wing over water
our souls travel this world
with tiny hearts beating,
fervent through
the rush of air
and scent of salt.
Propelled from within
through suffering
and mortal ache,
life hollows out
our urgent hunger
until reedlike
we give voice
to the music
of our earth walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Earth Walk” with music by Ry Cooder


 


The New Heaven

The old heaven and earth
are passing away
before our very eyes.
Anger and opinion of little use
as the ground slips beneath our feet
and the wide sea opens.
The words written long ago
about horsemen riding
and a great city falling
are now in present tense.
Hold together what you wish
of the crumbling structures
but be sure to look ahead,
to begin the work
of the new heaven.
Don’t scar it with old hatreds,
with all that hasn’t worked.
Remember to forget
and follow the trail
where life is leading.
Keep peace amidst the turmoil
and your crown in the chaos.
New life is coming
and into that new body
we are all being born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “The New Heaven” with music by Secret Garden

 


 


While Night Slowly Gathered

Songbirds were singing
as light left the sky,
the day’s warmth lifted up
as the damp sea closed in
and I heard their different voices,
the songs they sang
back and forth between the trees.
Dark came on and they grew quiet,
setting up night camp
high in the green leaves.
The tide bottomed out,
clouds covered the sky
and swifts began to careen,
taking insects at dusk
while the music faded.
I don’t imagine the birds
were singing for me
yet I was glad
to hear their songs
while night slowly gathered.

 

 


photograph by Amariei Mihai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “While Night Slowly Gathered” with music by Norm Smookler


 


Comfort of the Stars

When the sun goes down
and the sky grows dark
the trees begin
their quiet conversation.
They picked up the thread
when the two legged
grew silent, each night
speaking to their neighbors
and sharing the news
of home and distance.
The language of the trees
ancient and soothing,
their melodious voices
bass-toned and resonant
with green life and birdsong.
I stand with them
in the night forest,
looking up to far-off light,
feeling the comfort
of the stars rooted
deep into the earth.

 

 


photograph @re_stacks vis Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Comfort of the Stars” with music by Bob Dylan

 

 


 


Rich With Desire

Mountain rivers flow
as sun warms the high country,
the valley full with fresh water.
Our deprivations reveal
everyday miracles,
the gift of life amidst contagion,
the voice of spirit despite the shouts
of loudspeaker and opinion.
Wings of birds shaped to the wind,
the curl of waves over rock
and how your heart only bends with trouble
then peers past stone walls to the earth beyond
rich with desire for spring planting.

 

 


photograph by Willard Walch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of Rich With Desire with music by Morten Lauridsen

 


 


Inner Garden

It’s not too late to rise
though the sun
has travelled up in the sky,
the trees long awake,
birds fed and rivers running.
Years and years ago
an ancient people
travelled up the Colorado
from Pacific swells.
They made home in caves
throughout the watershed,
high above the rivers,
painting stories on stone
of sky gods and long journeys,
leaving their memory
for those who would follow.
What stories will we paint,
what history leave behind?
When the scales fall from our eyes
all will be infinite
the poet once foretold
and today we might see,
refusing the false,
turning away from idols.
Rising above the two
we can be as one
and find our place once more,
undivided and forgiven
in the inner garden of Eden.

 

 

Edward Curtis photograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of Inner Garden with music by Bob Dylan

 

 


 


Sky Singer

Sip down
into memory’s cup
sweetened by first light
and pale flowers
then turn to the voice
of the Rain Bringer,
the Sky Singer
who grace with melodies
the bright unknown.
Don’t refuse the morning
or betray the Ancient Ones
who see your face
one among many
calling you softly
into tomorrow.

 

 


photograph by Marguerite Gillies @vermilioncrane