Beneath the Forest Dark

The other world signals
with blankets of snow,
quieting the noise
in moments of peace.
Not to be outdone
cars roar back to life
and the search for joy
resumes at full throttle.
While contemplating
the last threads of night
the other world continues
long after our meander
and the broken pieces
of our perfect egg
are laid to rest
beneath the forest dark.
There the value of kindness
is priced against the market
and the value of the market
is found to be zero.

 

 

photograph by Adrianna Carr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Beneath the Forest Dark” with music by Kiev Chamber Choir.

 


Dark Heaven

Morning rises
under clouded skies,
the longest night passed
in the slow turn
toward brighter days.
Aldebaran leads Orion
through the winter arc
as I pursue the star within
on the long road leading home.
Be of good faith my friend,
though we have far to travel
we are connected however distant,
following a light in the dark heaven.

 

 

photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Dark Heaven” with music by Gustave Mahler, Symphony #4.

 


Words of the Disciple

The tangle of roots in mud and clay
hold the impossible height
swaying above the rooftops.

 

I burrow down in what’s left
of imagination, clawing through
wires and pipes to the soil past grief,
finding a grip in the broken clods
of thankfulness

 

to recall your face, your name,
the years when strength was real.

 

I fought the greater force and lost
though you’d never tell by the smile
I wear like a medal of honor
from the wars of insanity.

 

Grace can be forgotten
but the slender threads
of love’s splendid garment,
torn and spoiled with mud
will not be undone.

 

With arthritic hands
I reach out in morning light,
caress the dawn as it gifts the sky.

 

Scatter my ashes below the evergreen,
let me be food for the gnarl of roots
and from the darkest earth let me rise,
let me rise.

 

 

photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Words of the Disciple” with music by Van Morrison.

 


Still Point

Quietly he gathers attention
to the still point within,
a candle flame brightening
the inner sanctuary
where life force pulses.
His roots of awareness
drink deeply of the sacred
as prayers for peace
suffuse the sentient world
turning now to greet
the new earth dawn.

 

 

photograph by Brenda Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Still Point” with music by Vivaldi, Violin Concerto with Itzhak Perlman

 


Original Intent

After the burden of travel
I return to the evergreen valley
with winter light along the rim.
Without wonder the soul becomes weary,
needing the air that stirs the high trees,
cleansing the passages clogged
by the dull weight of repetition.
One lightning stroke of imagination
and the body, racked by the failure to love,
comes alive with original intent,
tearing down the fences of ignorance,
clawing through the debris of vanquished beauty
to the dawn horizon opening in the eastern sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Original Intent”

 


Calling Us Back

In early dawn hours
the moon sets in the west,
Venus alight in the eastern sky.
Perhaps I’m foolish to become so joyful
yet I hold the morning dear
like the Navajo who sing
each day into being
with prayers of thanks.
However far we stray
heaven will light the sky
to brighten the darkness
and call us back to beauty.

 

 

photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Calling Us Back” with music by Hermanos Gutierrez.

 


Somewhere in the Night

The skies are clouded
but beyond the layers
of gray and black
starlight and a moon
I cannot see.
I travel knowing
but not knowing
beneath the street lamps,
my eyes fixed on cobblestone.
As I make my way
I signal you with a smile,
one of remembrance
and distant shining.
You are out there
somewhere in the night
yet also here, in my heart.
Let this mystery be a candle
to guide you through the dark
and our friendship be a flame
to warm you with its light.

 

 

photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Somewhere in the Night” with music by Keola Beamer.

 


Wise Men

Christmas 2023

 

The long night lengthens
on a rain swept evening,
blessed dark
as wanderers from afar
we traverse the city.
Estrangement from the sacred
surrounds our passage
yet stars guide us to the child.
The stable candle lit
with beds of common straw,
our hearts full of wonder
in this holy hour
while shepherds watch
and angels sing.

 

 

photograph by Brenda Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Wise Men” with music by Secret Garden

 


Free from Repetition

The waters of life
flow across the wheel of time
bringing change and resolve.
While the horrors of war plague
the silent earth yearns to heal,
covering the graves with green solace.
Forgiveness is the antidote
for bitterness and hate, medicine
that requires repentance.
Let us meet at the earth altar,
bundle our grievances upon the pyre.
The fire will fall from heaven
to free us from sordid repetition,
our swords again become plough shares
in the wheat fields of the Lord.

 

 

photograph by Willard Walch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Free from Repetition” with music by Samuel Barber

 


Dark Strength

The trees are a problem,
their roots lifting sidewalks
to the autumn sky
and my complaints
bitter with the choices
between hardness and life.
I decide with the roots
going down into wet soil
for knowledge,
up with dark strength
to break apart ignorance.
Black hooded crows
watch from nearby branches,
wondering what will rise
as avenues of leafless trees
join the revolt.

 

 

photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Dark Strength” with music by Stan Getz.