A House with Windows

 

17.

 

Tomorrow comes. Somehow we are prepared.

Trees grow towards the light. Above the formless

deep the Spirit broods. At least we’re spared

anxiety – to think this way. At dawn

the blackbird sings. But often we can barely

see the line of waiting trees, nor sense

the hidden sun. What hope – when life unfairly

shifts? Our frailty is our one defense.

A feather is as light as air, and yet

it lifts a bird. The grip of winter fails

before the bud. A destiny is set.

A fleet of ships approaches in full sail.

The face I cannot see is like the one

beyond the trees, where day has just begun.

 

20.

 

This afternoon a bird most beautiful

is singing in the springtime trees. The sounds

of turtledoves nearby disperse until

its notes remain like ringing bells. The ground

from which the trees emerge is bountiful,

the sky is clear, the sun has graced the air

with hope. The music is immeasurable

that sweetly flourishes above us there.

From spring to spring it sounds, alighting in

our time. A ray of sun at rest upon

the leaves is silently serene, and brings

us joy. But this serenity of song,

that bubbles up like water from a spring,

is token of a joy in everything.

 

24.

 

I woke aware. I lay that morning in

another land. The summer sun had yet

to breach the window of the room. My fingers

felt the coolness of the dawn. The setting

stars delayed. Within I felt I was

a person other than I am – the noble

trunk of my identity, its lost

meridian displayed. Remarkable –

the person who inhabits I. A poise,

a serious intent, a strength unflinching –

this is what we are beyond the noise.

The spirit glides, wings folded like a finch.

A new ascendancy – as stars at night

replace the frail certainties of light.

 

25.

 

I hesitate to speak of what is near,

an emptiness where meaning should be found,

within the veil the face has disappeared.

Above the distant hills a line of cloud,

transfigured in the light of afternoon,

appears suspended in the flow of time.

Inhabitants of distance seem to bloom

while imminence to winter has inclined.

St Patrick prayed for meaning all around –

before, behind, beneath, within – the Christ

enfolding everything. On holy ground

a prophet hides his face. The soul enticed

by desert finds Him there – in solitude

a flame, the ordinary things endued.

 

27.

 

The photo shows you trying to shake his hand,

while he, with eyes elsewhere, has placed his hand

upon your head. You’re just a child, adorned

with markings of your tribe, while he, adorned

in suit and tie, is ruler of the land.

The privilege to which a man is born

determines much in this great southern land.

The scene was set before the child was born.

But privilege is more than suit and tie.

The colours of the earth upon his skin

remind us of the place to which we’re tied,

and that assize through which new worlds begin –

when You are seen in every human face

and dignity shines forth from every place.

 

A photo of the Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, with his hand on the head of an indigenous boy from Arnhem Land, as the boy, unnoticed, holds out his hand.

 

29.

 

In darkness I can see divinity.

The star maps of the heart describe its rays.

Why close my eyes, when all around I see

the sparks of holy fire? The inner gaze

is insufficient – majesty is high.

In daylight’s visual poverty the soul

slowly expires. The universe is shy.

It is not wise to try to grasp it whole.

An advent in the shadows brings us simpler

times. Reality fragmented, every

seed alive. The cosmos has its wrinkles,

rippling through the sky. Peripheries

are where the truth must lie. My heart expands

to take in life, lying scattered here like sand.

 

35.

 

In music the invisible is seen.

Emotion is abstracted, yet in that

more finely drawn. The place a heart has been,

remembered in a ritual, a fact

becoming form. Greek tragedy distilled

the human soul into a potency –

cathartic pain that makes the waters still.

In truth perceived we find serenity.

Beneath the earth a sapphire’s beauty dawns.

But music’s nearer air. Like clouds suspended,

human life appears in it reborn,

its sorrows in a lighter key. Attending

it, we grasp a greater harmony,

that links all life to what it is to be.

 

40.

 

It’s there again, among the flowering trees.

Like spray from the resounding sea, we feel

it’s radiance. A song that none can see,

that like first love bears marks of the ideal.

It’s luminous and strong, affirming and

denying our brittle personality.

Through it we learn, as consciousness expands

in those brief moments, what it is to be.

It only comes this time of year, and though

the day is resonant, it disappears –

the silence, its true song. In ebb and flow,

the rhythm that identifies the years

is undulating in our souls. No words,

yet so much mystery in songs of birds.

 

46.

 

On weekends, in the afternoon, the air

was filled with gentle music. Coming home

from war, my father had renounced despair

and chosen this sweet joy. The sounds intoned

by clarinet and strings awakened me

to things I did not know. The subtle sweep

of music’s holy time. Affirming, free,

an ordering of things that makes us weep.

Its task is an internal education,

helping us to know the river’s course,

teaching us the way of sublimation,

surrendering to life without remorse.

In gratitude for memory endued,

I offer this in memory of you.

 

47.

 

Within the grass a thousand dandelions

had raised their graceful heads. Each one would bob

whenever breezes passed. It was not time

for their farewells. A blackbird sung a noble

tune. The sunlight, settled everywhere,

was in no hurry to depart. The shadows

marked the slow advance of time. A careless

wind toys with our destiny, we grow

aware. Like galaxies, whose stars are birthed

in spheres of burning light, the dandelions

appear as icons of the universe.

Each beautiful, according to their time.

The wind will blow, and each will disappear –

and each return again in the new year.

 

49.

 

My silence, underneath this tree, is prayer.

You hear it. High above, two crows traverse

the limitless blue sky. This earth we share,

one biosphere in which we are immersed.

Where is heaven? What possessed you when

you prayed so long ago? Surely, knowledge

that the kingdom had come near. It bends

the world like wind. Its shoots appear. The solid

things melt in its heat. What did you say

on mountain tops surrounded by the stars?

Great silences inhabit us today.

The dream has passed. The crow calls from afar.

But this is home. Before the sun appears

the sound of singing fills our waking ears.

 

51.

 

And now, at the renewal of all things,

it’s joy that is their substance and expression

of their form. It is as life begins

in spontaneity and innocence.

The lamb, however, bears its wounds – the marks

of former things miraculously enduring

in the dawn. It is as if the spark

of life initiates again – mature,

complete this time, the fruit instead of seed.

The bones that you have crushed, restored, awake

to shouts of joy, amazed at their reprieve.

A broken heart is never a mistake,

the cities walls are fashioned from such stones,

the residence of joy, and joy alone.

 

52.

 

The incarnation – purest bloom amidst

a field of flowers. Somehow God inhabits

us. Unique among all that exists –

humanity. A template so elaborate,

sculptured by the infinite in time.

Eternity unto eternity –

you see with heaven’s eye. We only mime –

a clown’s impressions of your majesty,

a shadow that will die. The day’s horizon

features both the sunset and the dawn.

Our soul has intimations of the sky,

and discontent, until it is reborn,

looks out into the evening stretching far.

At night it blooms – the bright and morning star.

 

63.

 

The earth’s in pain, besieged by Capital.

A slow attrition. Like a noose its power

grips the neck. All is expendable.

Relentlessly – a weed without a flower –

expanding into virgin territory.

Exploiting wealth indigenous – of people

and of place. Expropriated free.

Who can resist?  Its influence the steeple

and the bank defend, the mighty set

against the suffering of the poor. Five hundred

years, its character unchanged. The best

of men subsumed. A crime. A fearful wonder.

For those who break its spell, a world repaired,

in time, the wealth of earth and nations shared.

 

64.

 

An earth that slowly burns. Apocalypse

in present tense. The rich add wood to their

own funeral pier. Who hears the silent lips?

Who speaks for those we cannot hear? A tear

in human history, ripping future from

the past. Jehoiakim, while listening to

the prophet’s words – the fire burning long –

attacked them with his callous blade, and threw

the severed scroll in portions to the flames.

Assembled riders, horses white and fiery,

black and pale as death, await their names.

Whose voice will call them to invade? The sky

is blue. They answer to a voice below,

a generation here commanding – Go.

 

74.

 

Let justice roll on like a river, never

ending may it stream. In broad headwaters

may its current swiftly save, deliver,

all the wrong sweep clean. In bricks and mortar

principalities and powers build

a cruel society – the face of God

on earth progressively laid waste. The guild

who privilege their own shall ride roughshod

the rest. Eternity will set things right.

But who can wait eternally – the pain

is now, injustice rules, no end in sight.

I hear the waters’ steady roar, a reign

of righteousness, a river none can cross,

arising where we thought all things were lost.

 

76.

 

I lay down in the dust. Beginning there

so long ago, how far the stone was thrown.

I celebrate the stars in tangled hair,

prehistory recorded in our bones.

The dust has claims – our origin and end.

I feel the breath that animates my mind,

my heart, my soul, and like a reed I bend –

the wind that set eternity in time.

My face down-turned, I taste the earth, and let

its claim on me be once again renewed.

From dust we came, to dust, without regret,

we must return. Among the wheat that grew –

a single stalk, abundantly in seed,

victorious, though bending as a reed.

 

78.

 

The spring has room for many birds. Today

another one appeared. I recognized

its song. Each is in flower. The singing stays

as long as blossoms. Many darting eyes.

A rich community. The avian.

The vegetation. Spring surprises me.

A multitude. A start. A year begun.

I feel the weightlessness of heavy trees.

The turtledoves. A wing that darts. The is.

The gentleness that is a mystery.

The hours that pass. The sun that is and with

us stays. The tabernacle housing me

in festival antipodean, with sky

its ceiling – wide enough for every why.

 

 

 

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