Spark of Life

Across the heaven
a line of light
opens the day
while another
marks the night.
Beneath the skies
we sleep then wake
alive to the morning.
The voice of God
rises tender and sweet,
a green sprout of corn
to comfort us
while seeds of the eternal
take moisture from the well within
and a spark of life
struck on the old stone of faith
fires the miracle
of our deepest dreams.

 

 

 

photograph by Patrick Orleman


 


The Heart’s Desire

Songs of going down
will have to wait.
The drawn curtain pulled back,
a window looking out
on an uncertain sea,
waves steep and frightening.
What has never been will be,
what corrupts finds no solace.
The old psalms comfort
but new music rises.
There, off in the distance,
a hand waves, a door opens
and what I have been rushes by
like wind above the water.
Against all odds
this is a good time to raise sail.
Let the heart’s desire crack on!

 

 

 

 


 


Hammered Gold

Part of me is held by earth,
part follows the wind
with the gray clouds of winter.
I race with high geese,
follow the crevasse of night
until light breaks
and with folded wings
I return to the cold wet land.
Straining for freedom,
desiring the cave,
I am loosed and unloosed
as ghosts tell their stories
and trees speak in silence.
Like hammered gold
I am forged on earth’s anvil,
shaped by storms
that furrow the sea.
I bring you this peace
deep into winter root
and release my bare-branched truth
upon the morning.

 

 

 


 


To Light the Dark

Across the miles
and hours of time
we connect on lines
invisibly woven
throughout the earth
and to our thoughts.
I speak to you
in your sorrow,
to what is broken
and may never repair.
Our bodies may be scarred
but wounds do heal.
To make the muscles work,
the nerves continue,
we build a fire
with the plans of our construction,
release our designs to smoke and ash,
begin anew with unmarked tablet.
Amidst the pain and grief,
the lost and never to be found,
there is this flame to light the dark,
dissolve the way we’ve held the world
and guide us into tomorrow.

 

 

 

photograph by Patrick Orleman


 


Before Light

The morning calls grey and darkling
while night travels west
seeking the ocean
and another long journey
across the sea.
I rise once more from sleep
and travel to the heart of the world
on a colorless landscape.
Before light I think forgiveness,
of all who began this journey
and the few who yet continue.
What can we do except love
all that life has given us
and cleanse this darkness
of our own misdeeds
while the world yet sleeps
and waits.

 

 

 


 


Placing My Prayer

The moon rises
before the city wakes,
her bowl turned up
waiting to be filled.
Raccoons roam the streets,
deer browse the river,
the green world silent
beneath sheets of pavement
as I place my prayer
on the altar of darkness
for all who inhabit the night.

 

 

 


 


Headlights

Along the dark wet avenue,
plying your way with other pilgrims,
your radio on morning news,
I reach out to you from this window,
the small rectangle you won’t notice
as you pass a thousand others
in brick and wood.
Through thin glass I see you,
know a portion of your travail,
even your joy. I wish you life
my unknown friend.
May your headlights guide you
to something like the place
we once called home.

 

 

 

The Mummers by Rima Staines


 


The longest night of the year passed
noiseless except for choirs
praising light’s return.
I’m out of step once more,
like bear, devoted to winter dark,
the quiet of snow,
how ice holds the river,
the path to root.
Iris and daffodil
would have no color
except for the soaking soil
and waves of rain.
As salmon smolt begin
their long sea journey
toward the taste of salt
and back to bear’s belly,
beneath fur and claw
in a dry lightless cave
hunger eats last summer’s fat
while bear sleeps, letting old winter
have it’s slow, deep darkening way.

 

 

 


 


Unadorned

Maybe its the way the cards are dealt –
some take the high road,
others down into the fray,
yet no matter how improved or battered
your unadorned self is still the one
the world desires.

 

 

 


 


Unwrapping the Message

The message you failed
was schoolyard normal,
your sense of self
pulled down to the pavement,
ground like chalk.
You recover, create someone
who faces the world
in the way you admire
yet even if you fool the world
you know who’s behind the mask,
who you were told you are.
Some appear not afflicted,
others cured more easily,
but there in the dark
no amount of make-up
can hide the broken visage.
This is what the world says
on the tape inside your head.
There’s another message
the earth holds for you
when you’re ready to unwrap it.
It tells you of a kit fox,
a yearling deer, an old stag elk,
a river falling white and cold
and in her wholeness
a place for you, unadorned,
edges fading into tree bark,
rising mist your companion.
You weren’t broken after all.
She’s known it all this time
and now, so do you.

 

 

 

 

photograph by Eilish Hynes