Through the Dark Night

The valley lies in darkness,
the earth pulsing
with great mystery.
Trees vibrate in this pulse
as do the widespread seas.
Deserts shift in waves,
animals move in migration.
On the outer rim
the earth turns quickly
while at the center
there is stillness
and a silence
reaching through stone,
sand and water.
We may be spun by the wheel
or return to the core,
to the place of emanation
where life is born.
The forces move in procession,
water, air, earth and fire,
cleansing what must pass,
giving form to what is asked
from the deep heaven.
What may we bring to this altar
but our breath of thankfulness,
alive and enduring
through the dark night
to the living day.

 

 


photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Through the Dark Night” with music by Samuel Barber


 


Winter Solstice

Out of the unseen
headlights crawl,
carving darkness
into makeshift pieces
above the breathing earth.
The bare branched trees
drink from forgiveness
in the wet rooted ground,
the ceremony of renewal
continuing below,
gathering strength
during long winter nights
for the rising to come.

 

 


photograph by Javier Aragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Winter Solstice” with music by Gary Courtland-Miles


 


Time to Remember

Sun breaks far to the south
barely surfacing on the horizon,
the earth starved for light
as solstice approaches.
 
Forlorn as a whining motor
the trudging path meanders,
seeking any truth left
in the crater of the godless.
 
I recall her innocence,
the pale green eyes and delicate skin
inviting the surrender
of my testament.
 
Following the trail to the altar beside the river
hawks circle in clouds of mist,
the water running cold and pure.
If I enter the freezing stream I may die.
 
Reaching back in the ancient tongue
to go forward, solitary as crow,
what I seek lies beneath the earth,
above the cold winter sky.
 
Now is the time to remember.

 

 


photo by Kishan Upadhyay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Time to Remember” with music by Syntaleta


 


Signaling Grace

Rain clouds sift across the valley
in the late days of autumn.
Stripped bare like the plum tree
I lean into the weather,
welcoming the changes
wrought once more
on the yielding earth.
The spreading fear of death
crowds the space for life,
yet around us the earth
surrenders its green leaves
and soft grass for the plunge
into root and darkness.
In the sky geese travel
with the faith of feathers,
following trails across
the wide arc of heaven
to the wet marshes
of their winter solace,
signaling the grace
awaiting their descent
onto the cold fields
of November.

 

 


photograph by Louis MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Signaling Grace” with music by Erik Satie


 


Imagine Their Returning

Winter storms arrived
lifting the sea, tearing
through the tree tops.
Funneled through
opposing islands
the channel winds
sound their presence
in a deep pulsing thrum.
I linger within,
relieved from the buffeting
as tiny birds flit in the brush,
gathering the last seeds and berries.
I’ve put away what I can
from the long summer arc,
a storehouse of brightly lit days
and star-filled nights,
of green grass
and the smell of corn.
The cave of winter
is dry and warm
with body heat.
I’ll dream of bear
and sleek otter,
of eagle, rabbit
and nattering crows.
I’ll remember
those who are gone
and imagine their returning
in bright young bodies
free of scars and harsh feeling,
eyes open and eager
for the thrill of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Imagine Their Returning” with music by Van Morrison


 


Shadow Dance

Green has turned to rust
as November winds
scour the island,
baring the trees.
Winter approaches
yet I linger,
hearing voices
call from caves
within the earth,
their invitation
to dream again
and share the dark.
With masks carved
from bone, fires lit
by ancient faith,
they dance
in slow circles,
holding the earth
in all its imperfection.

 

 


photograph by Jim Frid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Shadow Dance” with music by Ry Cooder

 

 

 

 


 


Pale Blue

The sound of the tide
on the ebb like a river.
Gulls feeding, crows
calling nearby.
With only so many
mornings to be alive,
the sounds and smell
of the sea bring joy.
The earth has made
a place for me,
the wanderer.
Thankful to the bone
I reach out
to the trees and
flowing water,
letting the woven nest
of place hold me,
sweetly, like the pale
blue of a robin’s egg.

 

 


photograph by Patrick Orleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Pale Blue” with music by Nature.


 


Light that Lives

Awake in the early hours
while the stony earth sleeps,
I drop a line into the inner river,
my bone hook baited
with the scored flesh of faith,
aching for another glimpse
of the golden light
that lives where darkness
cannot reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Light that Lives” with music by Secret Garden


 


For Ray

We once were children,
your playful face full
of innocent humor.
Everything was funny
until it wasn’t,
but when faced
with the brick wall
of who you were
supposed to be,
you cleared the way
with the honesty
of your choice
and became the person
you always were.
The playful face returned,
that smile to let the world know
you understood the joke
and would have the last laugh,
not at anyone’s expense
but from the reservoir of joy
you found as a man
at home in your own skin.

 

 

 

Raymond Masseaux
1948-2020 RIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “For Ray” with music by Kenny Burrell


 


Strengthened in Darkness

Bathed in the dark
I take to the forest
with starlight high above.
A crescent moon
brightens the southern sky
with Mars and Jupiter shining.
Betrayals fade to insignificance
beneath the streetlights of home,
the reset sadly negated
by the modern glare.
I treasure the night,
luxuriate in its beauty,
resting like the sea
between the flux of tides
to let the strength of darkness
bring peace into the coming day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Strengthened in Darkness” with music by Nicolas Jaar