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
continues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


 


Alive in Darkness

Three owls call
from the wood,
their hoots
back and forth
resonating
in the forest.
Pale light
slants down
through the trees,
casting shadows
of juniper, fir
and the fluttering leaves
of ocean spray.
Alive in darkness
the earth quietly unveils
with no rush
toward morning.
The channel tide
passes like a river,
moon arcs above
in a clouded sky
while sheltered ones
sleep and dream
of hooded birds
with moonlit talons.

 

 

 

 


photograph by Robert Aughenbaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Alive in Darkness” with music by Chick Corea and Gary Burton


 


To the Renewal

In my time
the turning of a page,
the loss of courage
and rush to escape.
Within the failure
charred remains
of villages in the forest
and shoots of fervent green,
their seeds cracked open
by the incendiary heat
of a landscape born in fire.
I observe, I witness,
and add my signature
to the bottom line.
I lost sight of the treasure
yet darkness brought return,
the fall from grace
softened by your beauty.
Now beyond forgetting
the renewal of our vows
from our watch above the sea.
Amidst seals’ bark
and ravens’ harsh croak
I lend myself to the tide,
surrendering the armor
of this long suffering shell,
and to the renewal I offer my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “To the Renewal” with music by Bach


 


Countless are the Bones

Countless are the bones
beneath our feet,
each sacrifice of those
who’ve gone before
a gift to the newly born.
They are present
on moonlit nights,
in fluttering trees
and the echo of owls,
looking on
with tender care
as we find our way
through the living dark.

 

 

 


photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Countless are the Bones” with music by Samuel Barber