Deep Rock Island

The night is a mystery
with tides swelling past
in dark shadow,
Mars a red pearl shining,

 

the dew so heavy
each blade of grass
beads luminescent.

 

The trees awake
with sun gone down,
sharing knowledge
with the stars.

 

I could drop into the sea,
wrap myself in darkness
or journey with the trees
to distant light.

 

Instead I’ll sleep
and struggle in dreams,
a stone for my pillow.

 

Morning comes,
great father rises in the sky,
birds flutter about
as wind brushes the shore.

 

I live in light and dark,
opening my throat
for the song from within,

 

lost and found once more
on the deep rock island.

 

 

 


The Search for Joy

I searched for joy, I did,
sometimes in the wrong places
and some that held a measure.
I searched in the sorrow
of what passed
and painful births
of what was to come.
The trees gave to me
in their unheard voices,
as did the streams
and rock strewn hills.
I thought I’d find it
defeating enemies
but even in victory
joy escaped.
I found it in two daughters
and see it still
in their shining eyes
and in a partner
whose blesses our steps
into each day.
I still search in the night,
walking among the trees
in the blanketing darkness
and on the point beside the sea
as the sun slowly rises.
Yet now that I’m old
I’ve found the hidden place
where it rested all along
like calm water and a fresh breeze
lifting me from within.

 

 

 

 


Woven Together

The weight shifts,
the stone of grief
lifts for breath.
Stories of sorrow
press the earth
as lights come on
across the city
and dawn tints the sky.
We are many
yet in our pain
we are one, one family
of the poor and wretched,
the rich and famous,
woven like cloth
by our joy and suffering.
This lifetime or the next
we will meet again,
our tears the water
of life’s deepest well,
ten thousand Buddhas
journeying together
to the farther shore.

 

 

Artwork by Eilish Hynes

 


Like a River

Grief runs like a river
beneath thin layers
of sand and stone,
carrying stories
of pain and failed hope
to an ocean of silence.
The great heart of the world
includes this ocean and river
pulsing with rhythms of sorrow
and new life born again and again
in the gardens of the gods.

 

 

 


Drink the Rain

Breathing more easily
the rain soaked ground
sheds the dull brown of summer
for a pale hint of green.
Arising like Lazarus
mosses come alive
with fir and madrone;
the slow patter on our roof
peaceful as a lullaby.
There is no altar but the earth,
no religion that returns us
like a cloud filled sky.
The beast says you need more
yet drink the rain
and drop your root
into the abandoned silence.
There’s no one to be but yourself.

 

 

 


Under the Miller’s Wheel

Who am I fooling,
the earth broke me
on the wheel of time,
ground me like winter wheat
for the coarsest bread.
Grind some more
I said in my bravado
and the earth was glad to oblige,
passing me under the miller’s wheel
until fine sifted flour.
Now make me food for all that lives
I dared in my foolishness
and again the earth was glad
to bake me in her oven
and serve me to the people.
Buttered and brown
I pass through faceless masses
until a small sad eyed child
receives a crumb, lifetimes pressed
into one moment of bread,
and put to his mouth I am whole.

 

 

 

Walker Evans photograph

 


Candles

Certain only of uncertainty
I browse the rooftops
with black feathered crows,
seeking sustenance
among the ignored and forgotten.
The ancient temple in ruins,
the one to be a dim-lit dream,
yet within on the altar
of the forever now
shine a thousand candles
lit by untold prayers
of thankfulness.

 

 

 

 


Bearing Point

Amidst the passing cars
and rush of doing
there is silence,
a bearing point
to comfort and guide.
Look up from your footsteps,
beyond the troubled horizon.
That soft light in the distance,
it is for you.

 

 

 

 


Born in the Eyes

No tears this morning,
no wonderings
like fallen leaves,
only a delicate sense
whole and alive
in the cool air
as smoke clears
and fires dampen.
We ride the tides
of pulse and change,
yet there is harbor,
a peace that rests
in silent earth,
within each wave,
to hold gently
what may come
and with grace
release the bones
buried and past.
We were here
when first lines
were drawn,
and now a new draft
traced on the horizon
as we behold once more
the birth of a dream
born in the eyes
of the eternal.

 

 

 

 


Now Here

Sunlight filters through late summer trees,
the dry earth brown as a doe.
A bird calls in the distance,
the soft buzz of life in the wood
where roots descend to moisture.
Nootka roses glow in green,
seals calf their young
and the earth slow breathes
as the August moon approaches.
There’s haze on the distant mountains
but the sea air is clear, tide ebbing south.
Far away the noise, the hustle,
the need for pace and movement.
What is empty to the hungry is full,
what is silent, rich with knowing.
Nowhere to some, now here to others,
weighted like stone, light as bird wing,
sinking with tree roots deep into the earth.