Temple of Your Heart

Tender is the birth of joy
and though the lies of fear disturb
innocence will not betray us.
As we move from solstice dark
look within and see what rises;
that ray of kindness
in the temple of your heart
will surely save us all.

 

 

photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Temple of Your Heart” with music by Maryliz Smith


 


Brave Horses

Quietly night slips away
into the western peace
of starlight and dreams.
As day rises with bruised faith
the shadows of discontent
can consume the light
yet in winter dark
brave horses
await their riders
bearing a new earth
yearning to be born.

 

 

photograph by Doruk Yemenici

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Brave Horses” with music by Mickey Hart


 


Flame in Darkness

a kaddish for Tony Kennell

 

There is healing in the tide
and the energy beside the sea
yet I’m on short rations here
in the gray light of winter dawn.
The rain soaked streets
add to the melancholy
but self-pity is a waste,
so faithless to the many
who walked before.
So I go on lighting a fire
for all who despair,
one flame in the darkness
for those without friends
that none may perish alone.

 

 

photograph by Metin Ozer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Flame in Darkness” with music by Steely Dan


 


Healing of the Nations

On a cold November morning
the sounds of the wind
and rushing tide awaken me
amidst the silent trees.
Winter here is closing in
and I must find new footing.
The grief of the land
is quiet, unassuming,
so I let myself drop
into the deep earth
where the ancestors wait,
chanting their welcome
to this wandering son.
Heka ho my grandfather cries,
and smiling my grandmother
casts the runes of what must be.
Nothing is wrong she says,
only falling leaves
and the movement of wind
across the water.
Travel where you will
but remember this sanctuary
where the healing of the nations
goes ever on and on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Healing of the Nations” with music by Gillian Welch


 


Guardians of the Earth

Guardians of the Earth

 

Winter cold settles on the valley
with smoke curling
from the rooftops
into steel gray skies.
The trees stand alone
surrounded by cement,
crows inhabit the wires
that fill the airwaves
with messages of isolation
while guardians of the Earth
surround the sacred planet.
The presence of the ancient ones
penetrates the dark night,
lighting the altars
in stone lined chambers
on solstice dawn,
their radiance broadcast
from deep heaven
to the caverns of memory,
reminding us of the births
occurring now and now,
always now
in choruses of joy
sung by the eternals.

 

 

 

Christmas 2021

 

 

 

Reading of “Guardians of the Earth” with music by Vince Guaraldi

 

 

 

 


 


Deep Dreams of Winter

With the icy fog
and sun far to the south,
dawn barely shines
on the cold valley.
Trees are silent
in the sopping earth,
drinking in vigor
for the rising of spring.
Shrouded in dense clouds
and the dim light of December
my mind wanders over rooftops
to the pale horizon.
In the snow covered mountains
buried in cave burrows,
elders call from warm firelight.
I’ll answer their call
with rattle and drum,
wearing bones of the salmon
and rich eagle feathers,
hungry as a raven
for the deep dreams of winter.

 

 

 

artwork by Patrick Howe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Deep Dreams of Winter” with music by Chanticleer


 


Ancient Bond

Softly comes the morning
with the green grass of autumn
and the silence of trees.
Rooted in stony ground,
still as the water between tides,
we are brethren to the land,
kin to the distant stars.
Fed by light
and nourished in darkness,
we guard the arc
between earth and spirit,
the ancient bond
that holds this life
unbroken and eternal.

 

 

 

photograph by DH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Ancient Bond” with music by Eleanor Shanley


 


Drop the Skin Face

I listen to the earth,
to the sound of the animal
that paws from within,
scratching at the door
for release into light.
How long it’s taken,
the miles of dream track
and forgetful busyness
while the scent of morning
had invited him out
for the pleasure of dirt.
I drop the skin face
and let the wolf loose,
his soft fur bristling
to roam and run free
in the winter wet forest
of sunlit desire.

 

 

 

photograph by Marc-Olivier Jodoin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Drop the Skin Face” with music by Robbie Robertson and Little Wolf


 


An Old Tree Falls

For Robert Bly

 

He had gotten old
last time I saw him,
hair thinned white
and walked with a cane
though he still
had fire in his belly.
He’d lit that fire for many,
bringing wildness
and passion
to the frozen inmates
of boredom.
We won’t find
another like him
until we drop
into the dark pool
of reflection
and recover the face
lying trapped
in deep water.

 

 

 

photograph by Manyu Varma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “An Old Tree Falls” with music composed by Turlough O’Caralan

 

 


 


Janitor in the House of Soul

I’m a janitor in the house of soul,
working each night with broom and mop,
pushing my old cart with dust rags and cleaners
through the dream time.
The body sleeps while I toil
vacuuming the worn books and tall shelves
filled with intricate records of relationship.
In winter months there are lots of visitors,
inquiring about family stories,
reading the how to books of salvation.
I’m not the librarian, only the janitor,
dusting the long tables and many chairs
for those who do the winter work.
You can spot the studious researchers
with bent shoulders and bowed heads
turning the yellowed pages of ancient tomes,
lips silently moving as they repeat their incantations.
I keep to myself, one hand on the cart
and one on the beads I carry and thumb,
hailing Mary and hallowed be the Father
while I mop the tears and scrawl a few notes
of those I’ve loved and forgiven
before the lights go out in morning.

 

 

 

photograph by Edward Leon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Janitor in the House of Soul” with music by the Memphis Sanctified Singers