Hooked to Bedrock

Gray seas reflect the cloud filled skies
as autumn light begins to fade
along the northwest coast.
Winter cold is settling in;
winds increase into light gales
with only gull and crow
flying above the shore.
I draw in with the forest,
letting my soul find warmth
by the inner fire
as winter opens its story
without remorse or prejudice.
Shingles have blown from the roof,
a few windows crack
yet the four corners are strong,
the house unmoved.
Put your faith on the shifting tide
or far off horizon on summer days
but within the arms of winter
better to find your footing on stone,
hooked to bedrock like the old juniper,
shriven and worn by many years
while holding the grace of life
for the thankful earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Hooked to Bedrock” with music by St. Petersburg Chamber Choir


 


Storing Honey

Quiet and still
the island rests,
summer’s movement
on land and sea
abated by the cool air
and shortened days.
Breathing in moisture,
exhaling in rhythm
with the trees,
I slow my desire
for motion and sound.
Layered like clouds
and deep as the mountain,
the one life will find me
at peace with the giants
beneath the earth,
storing honey in my soul
from the waning light
as the land turns down
into autumn.

 

 

 

photograph by Willard Walch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Storing Honey” with music by Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure


 


Time of Descent

Darkened clouds cover the valley,
welcome rains arriving
with the turn of season.
Gently comes the fall
as vibrant green fades
into russet and gold,
a quiet time, not a death,
a time of shedding leaves
and descent into root.
Even the old growth must yield,
allowing life force the way back
to the benevolent earth
where wisdom lies deep and still.
When we let go we fall
into arms of belonging,
embracing root and darkness
and the germs of new life
that await our resting souls.

 

 

 


photograph courtesy of Thomas Kast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Time of Descent” with music by Jay Ungar


 


Among Falling Leaves

Equinox 2021

 

Clouds reach down to the gray sea,
the waters calm on a windless morning.
Trees begin their slow descent to root
as autumn approaches, birds returning
to the green grass of September rain.
A full moon, orange and bright
marked summer’s close,
time to leave the high branches
and touch the ground once more.
The nights grow long
with solace in the dark
and winter stars rising.
A time to grow quiet
among falling leaves,
listening to earth song
as the tone changes,
melody deepens
and the land sings
in minor chords
the blues of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Among Falling Leaves” with music by Jack White


 


Hole in the Clouds

Heron croaked taking flight,
prehistoric wings and angular form
reminders of another time.
Like a hole in the clouds
or stirring of the sea,
I am part wind, part forest,
part native to the water.
I’ll tell you the story
as I remember
however incomplete.
This is your home,
body and blood,
yet in the helix
of your innermost
star seeds woven in light
brighter than morning.
You won’t figure it out
by unwrinkling your paper self
to somehow read the eternal.
You’ve got to live it,
beyond the pastures you were fenced in
and ride on into the wastes.
It’s drier out here and stony ground
but in the moment you cross the line
you’ll breathe the clean air you were born for
and your story will make perfect sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Hole in the Clouds” with music from Sister Drum by Dadawa


 


Song of Freedom

Steel gray water like polished silver
shines in the dull light of cloud filled skies.
Dolphins feed the tide line,
dorsal fins gracefully arcing
as they surface and dive.
I might seem to be alone
yet I am bathed in a vast community,
life it is in all directions
that rises with the sun and stars
both day and night in the eternal presence.
I should tone it down, speak in the mechanics
of physics and biology. I should but I won’t
for I only have so many days and the music
of my soul will only be sung if I let it.
I worship where I will and refuse the idols
of ideology and vain precept.
Aboriginal in my origins,
boiled in the kettle of a hard city,
I know what it’s like to break the chains
of fear and dependence.
I won’t go back to servitude,
bow before the altars of gold and cold marble.
What tree would vote for the axe,
desire to be cut down and milled to brutal standards?
The prison walls are as fake as the collar around your neck.
No one binds the soul. Ask the monks who kneel in snow
in the gulags of their oppressors.
They smile at the blows of ignorance,
knowing who is really bound.
Each day I follow the breadcrumbs of my heart
and choose life, to breathe the air of earth itself
and send my blood to every cell with the song of freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Song of Freedom” with intro music by Bruce Springsteen


 


Across the Water

Ancient stones rise from the sea,
black basalt topped by towering firs.
Eagle perches in a crag,
crow lands in a juniper
calling to the morning.
I’m old with muscle,
root in hard to reach places.
Let the sea look for me
along the gravelly shore,
the forest as I walk at night
in fellowship with darkness.
I belong to the earth,
fearless in its silence
and across the water
I call to you, knowing
as in the long ago
we will find each other
in the timeless place,
cloaked in many colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Across the Water” with music by Piano Tribute Players


 


Fresh Water Spring

Rain falls gently
on the dry earth,
the first relief
of approaching autumn.
As water seeps down
to the deeper roots
I follow the rain
through the unforgiving clay
of choices I’ve made.
Below the hardpan
there is new life
waiting for moisture
to rise and wear
the green mantle
of September grass.
I must let go,
receive the pardon,
the grace of One
who reaches out
to the repentant
inviting renewal
in all its wet glory.
Up from the root
I am like the trees
with sap still flowing,
branches extended
in the gray light of dawn.
This life a gift, given
like a late summer shower,
my portion precious
as a fresh water spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Fresh Water Spring” with music by Abaji.


 


Sand Painted Mandala

Time will reveal its truth
on the lonely highway
rutted with errors
we celebrate and enshrine.
Only the humble
will find a key
to the portal,
decode the mystery
of the long unjust.
Each stumbling step,
each hesitant word
tests our muscle
yet we are not so old
as age broken stone,
not so brittle
to deny the gifts
bestowed by the gods.
No matter the hardship
let us find the way
to our place in the eternal,
drawn with mastery
on the sand painted mandala
of this our earth
in this our time.

 

 


photograph by Patrick Orleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Sand Painted Mandala” with music by Ahura


 


Enveloped in Magic

The body travels
with mind and heart,
yet spirit remains
in stillness.
Place changes,
time continues
yet where I am
is not disturbed.
Holy the rock,
grace the blessing
of the silent watchers.
Giving myself
to the changeless
I travel the world
while strangely unmoved,
enveloped in magic
by the mystery
of the Beloved.

 

 

 


photograph by Johannes Plenio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Enveloped in Magic” with music by Huun-Huur-Tu