Resurrection Portal

I whirl through space,
a sea of aether and stardust,
yet can’t lift my eyes
from the dirt trodden path.

 

I stumble around
ignorant and afraid,
though determined not to fall.

 

I’ve begged a thousand pardons,
walked in rags about the sacred mountain,
followed endless breadcrumbs
toward the promise of silence.

 

I keep my head shaved,
soul broken open
to the voice of the tide.

 

Don’t deceive me
with false affection.
I’ve fed on junk food
far too long.

 

Weightless and inspired
the deep sea calls me
to witness the night sky,
take flight with the lonely.

 

Resurrection is a portal
and through that gateway
the vast reach of the stars.

 

 

encaustic painting by Eilish Hynes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Resurrection Portal” with music by Afro Celt Sound System.

 


To Be Like Water

More stone than sea
I’d be like water,
touched by wind,
loved by the moon.

 

I’d dwell in deep canyons,
travel the furthest reach,
and beyond sight of land
be the ocean that shapes your grief

 

in a curling wave
of foam and sunlight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “To Be Like Water” with music by Tinariwen.

 


To Beauty Let Go

“It is the nature of stone
to be satisfied.
It is the nature of water
to want to be somewhere else.”
– Mary Oliver

 

We walked on windswept dunes,
over flower-strewn meadows
where the sound of birds
and flowing creeks
gave the air its beauty.

 

You asked “what is the meaning”
and with you I remembered
that beauty is its own meaning,
and it is for beauty that we have come,
and for beauty that we lie down,
and for beauty that we hunger
and do not rest.
And when we rest it is for beauty
for that is our nature.

 

The way sandstone
folds around us,
the faces hidden
in the shapes and hollows.
The music of the sea
and the way the wind
rises in the trees
and sets the island atremble.

 

And again the why
and again the meaning,
on hummingbird’s wing,
starling’s flight
and the complaint of crow.

 

We see hands of the invisible
behind every leaf
as our bark sloughs off
and our bones slowly crumble.
We speak to the stars
and to them we drink deep.

 

We’re not afraid
of winter storms
and their terrible darkness,
of the fire ant’s bite
or smell of the tide.
Or the waves pitch and toss
that loosen our stomachs
as we ride out the sea
and the clouds as they smile.

 

Wherever you travelled
you changed the earth
by the gifts of your sight.
In debt to your shaping
when my time comes,
beauty I will remember
and to beauty let go.

 

 

photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “To Beauty I Let Go” with music by Snowy White.

 


When Leaves Burst Out

Look for me when leaves burst out
and voices of spring
ring full in the valley.

 

Follow the snow melt
along the Clackamas
and Long Tom rivers,

 

beside the Willamette
where wild flowers spread
and deer grow fat.

 

Where salmon run the Deschutes
and herds of elk
trek to higher ground,

 

the invisible hand
guides each creature,
and here with me

 

where the deep courses of spring
rouse the rivers of my heart.

 

 

photograph by Kadir Celep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “When Leaves Burst Out”

 


Noise of Flowers

Spring flowers rattle the caves,
provoking the apostles
to take up their pallets of sorrow
and leave dark comfort.

 

Trees hide in the rain,
fearing the cold; as crocus
and daffodils join the chorus
the noise of flowers disturbs my sleep.

 

Pulling on the coat of forgiveness
I stagger toward the light,
shocked into wakefulness
by plum tree flowers.

 

Wind-driven rain soaks the stone mountain,
ice bound rivers break from their bonds.
Trembling with cold I walk out on a ledge,
and look down into the valley of forgotten promise.

 

What can I do but leap from my refuge,
made bold once again by the flowers of spring.

 

 

photograph by Dennis Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Noise of Flowers” with music by Chet Baker.

 


Engineers of Love

The gravity of your smile,
lighthearted yet muscled
with the blessings of sorrow,
keeps my satellite in orbit,
my rage against the machine
tempered and refined.
Chasms of belief threaten us daily,
yet as engineers of love
we span the dark depths
with bridge after bridge,
exhausted but unbroken.
No steel and wire
of mechanical contrivance,
rather light-bodied filaments
constructed of cosmos,
tendrils of soul
that extend to the stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Engineers of Love” with music by Van Morrison.

 


Passport Stamped

I won’t outlive the sea,
not one drop of its salt depth,
not the old growth trees
nor the stone beneath my feet.

 

I am a guest to this banquet,
a pilgrim at the bazaar.
I fought madness and money
and though my bones grow brittle
still I grip the tools to carve these words.

 

The tide flows on,
mountains stand in silence,
and here I breathe, for just a moment,
passport stamped for the great beyond.

 

 

photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Passport Stamped” with music by Afro Celt Sound System.

 


Flies with the Spirit

The stars we follow
have written our names,
the ones we’re given
on journeys with the sun.
The one your mother knew
when she regarded your face
outside and breathing,
that your father held
and surrounded with light.
The name of your soul –
flies with the spirit,
the gypsy through time,
an explorer of space.
The one I knew
when first I saw you,
full of passion
and hungry for life.
Cast off the baggage,
your heart space open,
we’re made for this music
and together we love.

 

 

photograph by Ann Foorman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Flies with the Spirit” with music by Hermanos Gutierrez.

 


Given this Beauty

Tune your instrument
to the key of praise
while morning light
shines on the sea.

 

Trees lift their branches
in the rising breeze
and the sound of life
buzzes in the forest.

 

How important
must you be
when all around you
glows a miracle?

 

You might seem drunk
but given this beauty
the stones would shatter
had you not begun your song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Given this Beauty” with music by Django Reinhardt.

 


As She Passes

I return to the sea,
her face and tide
the peace of my heart,
the words of our story.

 

From far north
to the straits of de Fuca,
the inland passage
speaks in ancient voice,
braided with fog
and the cry of gulls.

 

Younger than we were
yet so much older,
I carve this message
by the light of the moon,
that you might find me
on your way home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “As She Passes” with music by Claude Debussy.