Quick the Heartbeat

Sun bathes the sea
in morning ritual,
the legacy of life
continuing over time,
yet what we leave behind
like summer grass,
here then gone
in quicksilver moments.
The calculus of memory
grows and hardens
while the heart struggles
to send its charge
to muscle and bone.
Grave clothes comfort,
the coffin fit snug,
but life has more in mind
as sunlight calls on the water,
inviting the heart to open
and shatter the chrysalis
of the second-hand store.
We’re not designed for the grave
though indeed that time will come.
We’re here to sing our music,
voices drunk on the ripe wine
of many years passing
quick as the heartbeat of a bird.




photograph by Lindsey Jane Roby



















Reading of “Quick the Heartbeat” with music by Maryliz Smith


Beside the Gray Sea

The land is wet
from last night’s rain,
the long slow drink
having eased the stress
on trees and grass,
for robins to unearth worms
from the softened ground.
Beside the gray sea
under cloud filled skies
I inhale the green world,
lungs drawing deep
amidst bird song
and rushing tide.
Come now my friend
does this not spark memory,
speak to the time
when arm in arm we walked
with no thought of separation?
Such are the rites of morning,
given to us without redress
by the fountain of the living earth.





















Reading of “Beside the Gray Sea” with music by Valentin Silvestrov


Words of Morning

Words of morning
come like light
on the water
while day awakens.
No longer in shadow
seeking furtive touch,
but open as the sky
and color green,
reaching in
and flowing out,
tender as the tide
to meet you.




photograph by Louis MacKenzie



















Reading of “Words of Morning” with music by Maryliz Smith


What riders from those darkened hills,
what breaches known on once calm seas?
We journey toward unseen precipice,
entrained by soothing voices intent upon control.
In the night, waves of supplicating energy
urge us to prepare, to break the spell
and turn away from the downward spiral.
Contemplating the ritual sacrifice
practiced since ancient times upon the altars
of stone, of war and now in consciousness,
how much must be surrendered
before the incantations of the tender heart
free the restraints of blind conformity?
The voice of protest sounds within,
calling from the inner earth
with love’s magnetic impulse.
Adventure will not soothe the hunger,
nor the drug of acquiescence.
Riding the tiger of life’s passion
take heed along the watchtower of your highest vision.
Breaking scar tissue requires pain and fortitude
yet beyond heartbreak there is life,
a river to cross and green land waiting,
ripe and verdant with the fruit of your immortal soul.




photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen



















Reading of “Incantations of the Tender Heart” with music by Olga Kharitidi and Jim Wilson


Only We Can Know

for AnneMarie


The past lies in shadow
waiting for the lanterns
of our yearning,
the desire to remember
who walked before
in these footsteps.
Of course there’s a debt,
a tribute or remittance
for sacrifices made,
punishments suffered.
Their sins are bottled,
their gold in iron-bound chests;
we have our own lives
yet we are not alone.
Soulful and sentient,
we climb the hills
to dimly lit cottages
as rain falls unceasing.
Perhaps it’s time
to rescue the boy
from his isolation,
the grandmother
from her sorrow.
Only we can know
but we won’t know
until we seek
and in our seeking
there is mercy.




photograph by Javier Aragon























Reading of “Only We Can Know” with music by Patrick Ball


Outside the Fences

Moonlit shadows
on the solstice,
the forest alive
with druid magic.
Nearing midnight
and barely dark
I prowl the shoreline,
the smell of sea
and rushing tide
release the soul
from time’s limits.
Back through
trembling trees
rich in silence,
energy beyond
night and day
pours down
from the sky.
I’m in the old world,
outside the fences
fearful and complacent,
where life it is
and the journey























Reading of “Outside the Fences” with music by Michael Tsarion


Womb of Peace

Rain clouds cover
the nearby islands,
the shapes of hills
rounded in the dark
of a moonless sea.
The only sound
a solitary seal
within the dense quiet.
Womb of peace,
fertile earth,
giving birth to kindness
in the silent night.




photo by Isaac Quesada


















Reading of “Womb of Peace” with music by Louie Gonnie


Walk Again the Ancient Road

Hummingbird thrums its wings
inches from my head,
startling me to alertness.
Sparrows flutter to land
on thin grass stalks,
eagle crosses overhead
on its vigil above the bay.
Each occurrence a signal,
rekindling memory
of unbroken connection.
Year by year
I add back the links,
trying in my way
to un-break the egg.
Across the water
sun glints from a cloud break,
the cold air of morning
disguising summer’s approach.
I place my prayer on earth’s altar
beside the many animals,
waiting upon the sun
to bring us warmth
and fire our hearts
that we may walk again
the ancient road together.




photograph by James Frid


















Reading of “Walk Again the Ancient Road” with music by Huun-Huur-Tu


Holding Service

The past lies sleeping
in the quiet earth
as day unfurls
on a still sea.
To the evergreen
and juniper
the future will be
without troubling
the moment,
and I find my place
in the green world,
sentient and conscious
of what I bring
to the chapel
of the pure heart,
holding service
in the bright light
of morning.























Reading of “Holding Service” with music by Alisa Jones


Beyond Castle Walls

Two ravens appear
flying to the wooded point,
the sound of their bark
distinct from the call of crows.
Geese honk in vigilance
then quiet as they take wing
toward a distant island.
Gulls cry plaintively,
winds sough through the trees,
and dew lays sparkling upon the grass.
Deep mother of night
opens to bright father of day
and I join the choir,
surrendering the castle of self
to the awakening world.
I fly with geese,
bark with raven,
bloom in the rain
and rise up shining
like green grass
for beyond castle walls
there is life ever inviting
toward the unguarded
moments of oneness.




photograph by Louis MacKenzie





















Reading of “Beyond Castle Walls” with music by the Grateful Dead