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.
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.
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.
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: a 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.
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.
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.
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.