This Time (Complete)

 

 

To my Mother

June 2014

 

 

 

 

This Time

 

This time, I thought, was not as other times.

The morning sun was silently enthroned.

The air was resonant. A breeze, so fine

that nothing seemed to move – and I, a stone

that disappeared. The water breaks, the stone

descends – and so the thought matured within,

describing what the present deems unknown,

a human way to be the living’s kin.

A human way to live among our peers –

the wolf and lamb, the leopard and the goat,

the cow and bear – their children playing near

the wastelands we have made; for now, remote

the horror seen, for we have changed, and time

has brought another time, where each must shine.

 

 

 

No Matter

 

No matter – now the wind has filled the trees

this autumn day is more like summer. A fire

in the mountains near, the smell of leaves

so recently cast to the ground – enquire

if you will, these are the evidence

of things we do not hope for, small reminders

of a world to be. A consequence

is present like a seed, for now we’re blind,

but soon it sprouts and grows. The die is cast.

Our death has its inevitability.

But death of innocents? The first are last

to recognize their culpability.

The last, wherever they may be, are first

to feel the consequences we have birthed.

 

 

 

The Moon

 

The moon has taken root. It flourishes

in starry fields. The soil is dark and deep,

a boundless emptiness that nourishes.

It crosses sunless skies while humans sleep,

so unlike other flowers – open petals

drifting in a silent wind. What roots

are these that have no place, that sink unsettled

in infinity? The light dilutes,

the crested wave has broken on the shore,

the emptiness again is all. The flower

fades, its place remembers it no more.

The moon has taken root. A secret power

flourishes in starry fields – unspoiled,

their emptiness, and dark and deep, their soil.

 

 

 

Transcendent

 

A world transcendent follows us. The birds

who note the hints of dawn to it attuned

become. They sense its silence, like a word

unformed upon a tongue. But we, too soon

are what we are. The distant hills are lit,

the shadows make their slow retreat towards

their origin, a singing bird is sitting

in the sun. I try to find the word

that links beginning and the end, the span

of loveliness between – the sunlight swaying

in the breeze, unanchored to this land,

so gently touching everything. The day

is here. And we, imprisoned, now are free

to speak the word of our identity.

 

 

 

No Sail

 

No sail and yet they span the autumn sky,

sun drenched and radiant, propelled by distant

fire. So fragile that they often die

and disappear in watery graves indifferent

to despair. I watch sometimes that instant

when, immersed, existence fades – to be

is not to be – and nothing is resistant

anymore to change. Across the sea

the pilgrimage of things continues without

end, each vessel made of those that were

before. And in the wind they form and live,

no certainty to which they can defer,

except the blue in which they are, and were,

and will be when oblivion occurs.

 

 

 

Another Day

 

Another day, so ordinary, and yet

it is the ground in which all beauty flowers.

We live in time, for only statues let

transforming sky pass over without power,

and time takes residence within. The risen

wheat, the trees, the mountains veiled in cloud,

the shadow pattern made by leaves – each is

a thing of time. But this – is this allowed?

Extinctions like a cloud, the biosphere

impoverished like an orphaned child, the wheat

and corn, the mountain springs, the atmosphere

no longer as they were. Instead the heat

is everywhere and generations still

to be to this are held, against their will.

 

 

 

Unveiled

 

What kind of world has capital unveiled?

The one where summer blooms in spring, and winter

fails like barley shriveled in the field.

The earth was once at peace with us. A splinter,

our experience of pain. But now

a sickness grows that threatens every limb.

A thirst for more has gripped the soul, allowing

no relief; humanity, a thing,

and nature, a resource. The consequence:

A DNA encoded deep within.

A way to be that withers being, offense

against life’s patterns of renewal. A sin

that causes pain to heaven and the earth –

so we again await Messiah’s birth.

 

 

 

Words

 

Are words the thing they speak about? The cup

that holds the wine? Are they the guardians?

The flags that signify? The anchors up

when ships set sail? The calm meridian

between the hemispheres? The word made flesh

is what religion holds. The texture of

divinity, a cup that overflows.

To find the truth of things – the great because,

retreating as horizons swallow sky –

a noble task. With ingenuity

a sheet of paper may be coaxed to fly,

a likeness sketched with cool veracity.

Skillful lips can imitate a bird,

a miracle – to hold it in a word.

 

 

 

Above

 

Above the restless sea, a soaring bird –

a metaphor, a small eternity,

the architecture of internals worlds –

our spirit and our soul’s captivity.

In sickness and in health – the solemn vow

that, joining two as one, has marked out time,

in melding joy and sorrow makes a crown.

So God the Holy Spirit makes us shine,

who brooded once above the formless deep

until the light had come. Our spirit soars

above desire. Awake within our sleep

we watch our dreams. We hear our voices call,

but somehow know all will be well, that dawn

will come with golden dew upon the lawn.

 

 

 

Yours

 

What’s yours is mine is only half the vow.

Five hundred years and still it is the same.

The wealth of other’s hands we count as ours,

injustices long past endure unchanged.

The earth that drinks the rain responds with joy,

its fields are clothed in flowers, its trees in song,

each leaf transpires, for nothing is destroyed.

A blessing we receive does not belong

to us alone. What’s mine is yours, the vow

concludes. The ways of nature and of love

are twin. But we, how miserable is our

response, when what we have is mostly plunder?

Am I my brother’s keeper, queried Cain.

The answer in the heavens still remains.

 

 

 

This Night

 

This night the moon of Shavuot begins

a ripening, an echo of the grain.

The ocean sparkles, dolphins glide within.

The world contains a flourishing unnamed,

a spark that activates the seed, a stream

that sweeps towards completion. No one knows

where it begins. An image in a dream –

what is its origin? How did it grow?

What happened in a former time that sets

such things in motion? Look, the moon that drifts

tonight through acres black with stars. Regret

alone will sprout when unacknowledged gifts

lie fallow. Pentecost is in the air,

a fire of life, triumphant everywhere.

 

 

 

Unchangeable

 

Unchangeable, its ceaseless change. The earth

has many faces, one by one revealed.

The autumn fades, the planet’s stately curve

has chilled the air, the birds scratch out a meal.

I know each thing has been before, each moment,

without end. Beginnings all begin

again – the dew at dawn, the sun enthroned

in crystal air, ten thousand different wings,

the endless flow of personality.

Each is unique, the I, the you, the all.

Great glacier of frozen time – have pity,

we are frail. And even your unconquered walls

break off into the sea. A ringing bell

needs but one strike to sound that all is well.

 

 

 

Created

 

What God created this, a world so grand –

a star filled sky, a biosphere, a jewel

encrusted earth – an act of mighty hands?

Unseen – the ceaseless bringer of renewal.

A sparrow falls, he knows – life’s measure, dust

to dust – while all around in singing trees

its kin continues. Life on earth he must

preserve. A flower needs a passing bee

that it may live eternally. No face

but every face that’s seen, from bird to wasp

to child – all bear the features of his race,

the spark of his divinity, who lost

all things, and measured dust for dust. Outweighed –

the world and everything that he has made.

 

 

 

In Life

 

In life there is a permanence, a steady

gaze that reassures. The constancy

of rising suns, the time and place made ready

for a soul to bloom. A grace that’s easy

to ignore, and yet, the residence

that we adorn. A life of rootlessness

destroys a human being. Their sustenance

depends on those familiar things that bless

fragmented time. Like clouds, whose forms

imagination tries to grasp, so much

is void and chance. Our sky is marked by storms.

A bird extends its wings, its feathers touch

the turbulence and settle in the air –

a permanence, sustaining in despair.

 

 

 

The Wind

 

The wind blows where it wills, we know its sound,

its origins and destinies remain

profound. It sweeps across the barren ground

of certainty, a presence without name,

unsettling us, and kindling flames. Resemblance

to our breath is not an accident,

so briefly ours, its frailty is a semblance

of another. Grace is evident,

reminding us each moment of its power.

The sun retreats, the evening breeze awakens –

before its breath, a field of bending flowers.

Its peacefulness belies. Our hearts mistake

the silences within for this shalom,

a spring that is the source of every song.

 

 

 

Solitary

 

The solitary work of clouds, no one

to help them balancing on air, nor speak

for them in the great task they have begun –

expressing radiance to us, obliquely

granting earth a glimpse of glory. Fair

exchange? A bank above the sunlit hills

is satisfied – the land beneath it shares

the golden rays, the birds all take their fill,

their wings ablaze. As daylight wanes the clouds

are gleaming like the moon, a pearl blue sky

accompanies, and then it’s done – a shroud

encompasses the world. In stars that fly

in other realms I see their Sabbath come,

completion now, in hosts of sparkling suns.

 

 

 

A Lifetime

 

A lifetime, balanced on the edge of time,

the sunlit plain that never ends, aware

there is a compass, set within, assigned

to navigate its way. An apple, near

the other fruit portrayed – so vibrant is

its being, so self contained, that we forget

the stem extending from its core. A wisdom

not our own, has fashioned it, directing

life from fruit to seed, and linking all

with all. What of the dark eternity,

the world beyond the table laid? The fallen

fruit have disappeared. A mystery,

this verdant scene, a painting with no frame,

its compass true that points to what remains.

 

 

 

A Quarter Moon

 

A quarter moon tonight, in winter sky.

They see it shine above Jerusalem –

it’s early summer, rabbis spend the night

in study, meditating: Treasure given

once, a sign, divine identity.

The spirit soars above its nest of words.

A festival is like a verdant tree,

its roots are nourished, multitudes of birds

are resting in its branches, singing, feasting

on its fruit. If time is like a river,

ceaseless, restless, uncontained, the blessing

now is time constrained. At dawn I shiver

in the winter air, the moon has set.

Infinity is sealed in Hebrew letters.

 

 

 

Ideal

 

Ideal – all that which is but is not now,

the architecture of another world,

perfection that our thoughts conceal, the flower

that the seed entails. A precious pearl,

torn form a living being, is testimony

of suffering. In this dark universe

the end exceeds what gives it birth. The key

that’s fitted for the lock, within the earth

remains as ore encased in rock. The soul

contains a flame, not kindled by our hands.

The power of the ocean’s steady roll

that turns the cliffs before it into sand,

who would not fear? A spark more ancient here,

illuminating all till all is clear.

 

 

 

As Sisyphus

 

As Sisyphus would roll the heavy stone

towards the mountain brow, we, captives of

our age, serve out its will. Outcasts, our home

forgotten, nothing fills our dreams, we love

illusions, skillful to deny despair.

Our planet, pillaged, feeds the greed of men

behind closed doors. The commons of the air

is seized and privatized, enclosures rend

the rain from peasant’s lands. The ancient marks

of purity, that sanctified the poles,

are sacrificed, collateral to our lusts,

the future comes on railroads laid for coal.

What world exists beyond the mountain brow?

A better one – where gods of slavery bow.

 

 

 

Who Notices?

 

Who notices the rain delayed, suspended

on a leaf? A moment’s elongation,

time at rest? A space to think depends

on opportunities as these. A brief negation

opening our minds. As Mary wept

before the open tomb – the only one

abiding – ignorance within was swept

away. The evening and morning come

as pillars of the day – two angels, seated

at the head and foot of where his body

had been laid, were sentinels of cheated

time. For now, to questions asked of God,

the emptiness replies. Reality

is seen through patient, waiting, weeping eyes.

 

 

 

On Poles

 

On poles, or nesting in the canopy,

in chains, with arms encased in steel, the living

serve the living, the free guarding the free.

With chains of love and idealism giving

is not hard. They hear the distant thunder –

earth at war. Not armies battling armies

without pity as before. The wonder

is the sound of earthly cries. Alarmed

that ecocide should be the crime of modern

times, they hasten to the barricades.

Resisting steel with hearts and hands while sodden

in a storm or sweltering without shade –

the cost for those who care enough. They give

what should be given – lives – for life’s reprieve.

 

 

 

Strange

 

Why do you stare as if these things were strange?

An earth created by the ones it made,

great cities where the silence was, the ranging

bison, wolf and deer in memory laid,

the windswept times that come each year denuded

of their trees. The seasons drift. Migrating

birds arrive before their food, excluded

now from their ancestral homes. Negating

ways so ancient and sublime indeed

is strange. Your eyes observe the heart within.

I meditate on this strange thing – a creed

that speaks of God appearing to his kin,

and wicked men that marred his face and nailed

his limbs to wood, while they, our king, had hailed.

 

 

 

Torn

 

Another way to be – our pressing question

and our quest. The fabric of the world

is torn. When ninety companies can wrest

the blessings from the atmosphere, a bold

appraisal should be made. When bonded labour

of the poor exists in slums the size

of cities, great injustice cries for answers

to be found. The world is in a crisis,

multitudes despair. What empathy

remains within a culture that deceives,

corrupted, narcissistic in its dreams?

Though seeing may awakens us to grief,

our poverty is greater by the day –

before it burns, we should be making hay.

 

 

 

Our Silences

 

Our silences grow underground, among

the roots that seek for water. Winter trees

are clothed in blue, their emptiness begun.

The moon has taken vows of poverty.

As yet, no frost upon the ground, the white

is high above that sparkles in the darkness.

No place to hide, the wind embraces light,

and without stealth moves through the open grasses.

The treasure hidden in the field awaits

discovery. A precious pearl among

the common shines. Although the time is late,

a stranger walks beside. The setting sun

is on the hill, the travellers turn within,

in broken bread – a vision of the King.

 

 

 

Maybe

 

Maybe it will be tomorrow not

today. A movement that will sweep it all

away, and in its place create the sort

of world that should be, though its strength is small.

He planted it in stories long ago.

The leaven that expands within the dough,

the tiny mustard seed’s surprising growth,

the workers paid according to their worth –

the flourishing of human being when tables

turn and structures of society

are shaken by the truth. We are not able

to respond. Another destiny

appears that we might have the ears to hear –

in hearts that turn, and kingdoms that come near.

 

 

 

Love

 

No words, I think, have power to explain

a mind and heart awakening to love.

How much we felt the world was ours to gain,

and feared the height of sky that was above.

When seasons change all nature knows the way

it should respond. A tree will flower or change

the colour of its leaves. A fox may stay

in hollows with its young, and seldom range

beyond their watching eyes. But we, who loose

the one we love, reject the wind of time –

the season of despair we did not chose –

and like a runner racing for the line,

immovable in heart, and nimble in

our mind, pursue the image seared within.

 

 

 

The Holy One

 

The Holy One of Israel is not as

a man that he should lie. The words that he

has spoken long ago endure. Like grass

that flourishes and fades the life that we

are given is short. Our love that sweetly rises

in the spring is beautiful to the

great Father of us all. In time the wise

appear among us here, who see the gentle

reasons for our pain. And sharing it,

they help us through the valleys that remain.

Beyond this world the angels all submit

to he whose kingdom will forever reign.

My soul will always bless my Savior King

who teaches us to love in everything.

 

 

 

A Poem

 

A poem is not solitary. The seed

of thought engages with the words upon

the page. Each has a lineage of freedom –

of singing thoughts and language that has shone.

When words awaken to their holy task

they hold the sun and stars. The river that

is time flows past the waiting trees, so art

abides in fellowship with all. A bat’s

ability to know when it is night,

to hear the echoes of its voice to judge

where it can fly – I think this is the light

that shines in poet’s eyes. Though we may smudge

the clarity we hope would fill a page,

we’re grateful for the one who will engage.

 

 

 

Languages

 

I understand the languages of silence

and of song. Of silence – clouds that drift

across the face of sky. No man’s an island –

all that’s still and voiceless is a gift,

a friend to walk with us through passing time.

Of song – the sea that sings at night though open

doors. Our body’s resonance – the chime

of recognition in our bones. The spoken,

too, can never be ignored. Each word

lifts being towards the light, and like a chain

of flowers, sentences adorn the world.

Like clouds they drift across the page, no claim

to immortality, a resonance,

though, can be felt, a gift of life’s abundance.