On This Quiet Shore

You won’t find me in those old haunts,
the cobblestone streets above the river
where metal bridges and railroad tracks
lead to the iron bound city.
I acted the fool, irresponsible and careless,
but there was method in my madness,
following the stars and dirt roads
to be with wild geese and towering trees.
In the distance fog banks cover the mainland,
ferries sound their deep throated warnings
yet here on the island the skies are clear
and a great orange sun brightens the land.
I couldn’t scrape the city clean
nor my own heart on those unforgiving streets
but I’ve found a home on this quiet shore,
swept by the tide and ocean wind.
The grass is soft and night skies dark
while into the silence the old songs rise
with a place for you beside the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “On This Quiet Shore” with music by Boccherini

 


Blessing Way

In first light
the clouded skies
begin to lift,
sun burning through
to warm and awaken.
Quiet lays upon the land
with the sound of birds
and echoing calls
of nesting geese.
Heavens open
to the waiting earth,
intimate the touch
on a rising whale,
the throb of hummingbird
and this human heart
given as the ancients taught
to the blessing way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Blessing Way” with music by Norm Smookler.

 


May You Walk in Beauty

We are an old people,
among the first the stories say,
who walked the land
when fresh with the Creator’s touch.
Though scarred with years of trouble
yet we sing the blessing songs,
greeting the Sun each day
with the thankfulness it deserves.
And sing for you
a song of belonging,
child of a distant Light
and ancient Mother.
May you walk in beauty
all your days, and if forgotten
may this song remind you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “May You Walk in Beauty” with music by Navajo Dreamer

 


Our Promise

This time
is like all the rest
only different.
This time
we won’t forget
kind words.
This time
we’ll understand
how pain
can change you.
This time
we’ll call on heaven
to guide us
through the chaos
and bless the earth
with the seeds
of love.
This time
we won’t
be deceived.
This time
we will
be human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Our Promise” with music by Eddie Vedder

 


Where Dreams are Crafted

I hadn’t found you
though I’d looked
in the branches above
and roots below the street,
in the faces of the serious
and the moon behind clouds.
Searching high and low
I came up empty
until I looked
in the space
where the heart
softly beats,
where dreams
are crafted,
and in the silence
without regret
there I found you.

 

 

photograph by Brenda Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Where Dreams of Crafted” with music by Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder

 


In the Hour Before Dawn

Tell you what I’ll do.
I’ll scrub the world
with steel wool,
scrape away the grimy bits
of cruelty and war,
put soap and water
to sorrow and despair.
Fresh flowers
on all the graves,
remembrances
for the forgotten.
Silence to cleanse
the tangle of sound
then starlight
for speaking.
When you awake
you’ll find tears
of kindness
watering the garden
and green earth waiting.
That’s what I’ll do
for you this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “In the Hour Before Dawn”

 


Gospel of Innocence

Easter 2023

 

Surrounded by noise
it’s difficult to discern
how life each day
speaks through starlight
and the colors of spring.
Tiny birds flit about,
rivers loosen as ice
releases its grip
and though your body
descends in the arc of age
the inner voice remains clear.
Why take up the sword
the closed hearted invite?
On this day
the gospel of innocence
holds space for all
and through the pain,
the long suffering and despair,
into the light of forgiveness
you rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Gospel of Innocence” with music by Kenny Burrell

 


Where Bones Grind

The cherry trees
are soaked
in cold rain,
the valley skies
wrapped in gray.
I watch with faith
like the druids of old,
talking quietly
to the broken earth
of my own body.
Where bones grind
the lesson to go slow
takes form and speaks.
Patiently I wait
with the cherry trees,
roots sunk beneath
the pavement,
drawing up beauty
from the soil
we’ve been given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading “Where Bones Grind” with music by Netherland Bach Society

 


Building Bridges

Under gray winter skies
the heart of the valley pumps
through the tap roots of evergreen.
Crows sit atop the tall firs,
lean and thin with winter hunger.
I am not gathering, no,
still living off summer fat,
quiet as the stones beside the river.
There I dream of building bridges
to span the chasm that keeps us apart.
Later, much later, people will cross
with their wagons of desire,
ready to inhabit the forgotten land
verdant and rich with green destiny
yet only we have the power
to reach out now
and dare to touch hands,
savoring this moment
across the expanse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Building Bridges” with music by Vivaldi featuring Itzhak Perlman

 


Eyes of the Awakened

Thick and gray
the clouds of winter
break open on
the ides of March.
The threshold of hope
bringing reason for faith
while discontent
yet plagues the restless.
Roots of the ancient forest
stir beneath paved streets,
life older than imagination
come to resolve our sorrow.
Within the hardest hearts
there is the sound of water
as red buds of spring
fill the flowering plum,
turning eyes of the awakened
east to rising light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Eyes of the Awakened” with music by The Chieftains.