Trail of Smoke

Stirred awake at dawn
smoke blanketed the island,
the forests of the Clackamas,
Santiam and McKenzie
lifted into white clouds,
passing on their trail
to the other side.
So many old friends
who knew my name,
sheltered me through
turmoil and grief.
I rose and walked
to the rock point
in early filtered light
to stand on the shore
and honor their journey.
Orcas exhaled
in deep bass sounds,
a line of them
near and far along
the smoke laden channel
signaling farewell.
Years of standing vigil
beside mountain rivers
leaving this life,
their mantle passed,
carried on the wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Trail of Smoke” by the author with music by Little Wolf


 


Full of Grace

With open heart
morning floods in,
smoke filled,
alive with birds.
Some ragged memory
with a broken muffler
pulls to the curb
but I wave it off.
What could be
more important
than inner peace?
Find your way
to the soul altar
and speak your truth.
What you need is there,
waiting, full of grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Full of Grace” with music by the Microphones


 


Beyond the Door

When your cup is full
with what need not be
empty yourself
to the morning,
untangle the knots,
untie the line
and free the boat
of your precious self
on the still waters
of the waiting sea.
The world of things
will not reclaim you,
the endless debates
and terms of struggle,
yet beyond the door
of the ancient prison
green fields
await your coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Beyond the Door” by the author with music by Van Morrison


 


Everyday Miracle

Along the coast
the sweet smell of the sea
blends with forest green.
The sounds of tide and wind
and shore birds mixing
with woodpeckers thump,
the rustle of madrone leaves
and sigh of tall firs
swaying in the breeze.
Dawn lights an orange glow
with the sun peaking
over the horizon
in summer warmth.
With our cities upset, disease
and painful issues stressing
the fabric that holds us together
I sit apart, letting the peace
of the holy world settle in me
and offer my thoughts as prayers
on the altar of the earth,
sent out on the invisible
as quiet reminders
of the everyday miracle.

 

 


photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Everyday Miracle” by the author with music by Tom Kenyon


 


May These Words Find You

When did you become a ghost,
angry and walking away?
Bad words were said,
turbulence between us,
but I called to you,
asked you back
into connectedness.
These are harsh times,
many will leave,
behind them
a trail of ash.
It is easy to forget
and always difficult
to remember,
who you are
beyond time,
beyond the illusions
that tear us apart.
Each morning
I send this prayer,
the heaven full
of what may be.
As the sun reflects
off rippling water
may these words find you
and lighten your soul
on the long journey
yet to travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading by the author with music by Dire Straits


 


Kindled Like the Sun

Quietly the sea rests
between ebb and flow,
still water before the next tide.
The sun rises, golden light
through banks of blue-gray cloud,
the passing sound of eagle’s wings
and far off the hoot of a sea bird,
gathered in early light
to shape the new day forming.
Like water waiting upon the moon,
you may give way to the broad heaven,
let go the field of opposites
for the purity of the morning
and become malleable once more
to the Shaper’s hands.
The book is open to write your pages,
what you want to leave of yourself
in the great story. Your quiet
like the resting sea, the arc
of your wings over water,
the depth of your waiting
like the endless stone shore
and your fire, kindled like the sun
to burn and light the waking world.
Write this with your one life
and sign it with your blood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading by the author with music by Tonbruket


 


Free the Iron Bound

Awakening from night
into low gray clouds
and soaking rain,
the land is quiet
but for tree tops
stirring in the wind.
The forge within
glows with heat,
shaping the metal
of peace from bars
of the unforgiven.
Compassion frees
the iron bound,
melting the chains
of ignorance
for souls to fly
in the sweet air
of freedom.

 

 

photograph by Malte Wingen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Free the Iron Bound”


 


Wingless Angels

As the wind passes over the sea
we’re born on a flood of salt water
carried by the spirit.
We find ourselves and are lost,
lose ourselves and are found,
this mystery our brother,
the dark night our sister.
Coming alive, the dawn
announces a glory
trembling our hearts,
filling our lungs,
delighted in our
coming and going
like wingless angels.
We are shooting stars,
comets far from home,
blazing with our tail
of tears and joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Wingless Angels” with music by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

 


 


Radio Giza

I tune into your station
on the wireless radio,
hearing your voice
within the static.
The old rhymes
and sing-song melodies
distorted by the sounds
of Humpty Dumpty
and the Forest Witch.
I remember harmonies –
boys on a street-corner,
girls in the nuns’ choir,
sounds of Christmas eve
and the stories we’d tell.
I could turn up the volume,
shout back over the confusion
but the smell of water
and sight of long-tailed birds
keeps me grounded,
tuned into what’s playing
beyond the uproar,
radio station Giza
and pirate broadcasts
from the high Andes.
The ancients knew,
the voices they heard
still clear and pristine.
Just turn the knob,
tweak your dial.
There’s music playing
that all the king’s men
will never hear.

 

 


photograph by Hana El Zohiry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading by author with music by Ahura


 


The Crossing

The call goes out
from high places
to lush valleys,
broad deserts
and tide rushing seas.
To fashion anew
from broken bones
and ash filled cauldrons,
from the sore tried hearts
and tender feelings
of so many who’ve
gone before.
This is our time,
perilous and difficult
as the Red Sea,
standing between
impassable waters
and the forces of night.
Fear not the voice rings out,
this is your day to live,
to find salvation.
Not to another world
of vain glory
and false promise
but this world
with all its imperfection,
crossing over now
to the green land
and jeweled city.
Steady your hearts
and let the peace
of the eternal flow
to open what lies
before you.
The crossing
is in your hands.

 

 

photograph by Joshua Earle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of The Crossing with music by Sting