Monday, April 28, 2014

Letting the Song Sing Us

I wake up thinking about Mount Ascutney. The time Jake and I went to its peak the long way, coming down in a soft rain, and not once seeing another person. I am in love always, and bound hard to memory's sturdy drum, but I am also willing to look at what does not work and let it go. Bells ring, forever internal. While later, out walking after the sun has risen, we spook a few turkeys near the feeder pond and they walk slowly away from us, up into the spindly pine trees, for some reason unalarmed, and it makes me happy in a way that beer cans and lug nuts don't. Violets all of a sudden, and an obsession with puddles in which the sky is reflected, somehow more real than anything else I know. Gravel hissing under our bike tires, our voices carrying on muddy back roads, talking about the characters in your favorite stories. How strange after so many years to be such a happy father, full of wordiness and activity. Days pass. I sleep on the couch for no reason other than to remember how much it hurts and also to remember those days in bus stations and park benches, when it really hurt and there was no end in sight and I was stupid enough to think it was something other than the booze. The first time I heard a harpsichord! Stumbling out around midnight to pee and studying the sky for hints of rain. Why can't I remember her name now, the woman from Ireland who saw me through that difficult time, those weeks before I finally made it to Dublin and Bloomsday and drinking beer with Misha on rooftops while fiddlers worked the cobblestone four stories beneath us, the two of us trying to figure out what the Russians knew about fiction that we didn't. Books piled so high on the dresser I can't see myself in the mirror, though when I reach for Wittgenstein they all topple and there I am, looking tired as usual, but also amused. I said to her - this was years ago - I seem to need women, that's all, and she said in reply, yes but why do you need them, that's the real question. We played backgammon a lot, smoking and not talking, in a cafe whose name also escapes me. We dyed Easter eggs with tea and cranberries, we dreamed about parakeets, and we offered hungry kisses in an empty classroom, breathy and hot and scared. Something floats in around 3 a.m. and says "follow me" and I do and it's okay, for a little while longer it's okay. You look tired too! We pretend it's about this when it's really about that, and we pretend why we do it matters, when all that really matters is unhinging this love of which we are composed, and letting the song sing us, any old way it wants.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

As Happy As Possible

Rain at 2 a.m., compounding loss in a soft way, a commemorative way, until at last I rise and pad softly through the house putting on a jacket and pouring cold tea and going outside to walk.

Mist rising to meet the rain, which in the budding maple trees makes a hushed sound, like quilts being drawn, or pages being turned.

And the sweetness of it - the rain, the fog, the peepers singing between cattails - the loveliness of it - is bearable at last and one accepts it gratefully, alone.

And the copse of birch trees, all saplings yet, denoting purity, or something, for I stop always when I pass, as if the altar were temporarily removed from within and set just there to be admired, to be loved really, as if that were the lesson, which it is, nearly always.

Water boils for tea and I swallow a wall of text whole, again.

One works carefully in darkness out back, rearranging fallen gutters, filling feeders, smiling, not alone at all.

For she sleeps in the next room and reads whatever I give her, and it was she who brought me to the country of turtles and allowed me to build a small hut there, and she who comes so often at dusk to share the thin soup of my broken but aspirant love.

Sentences like thickets when what one longs for is the fox passing through the thickets, on fire and hungry, so hard to catch.

For a long time I thought women were the answer, and for even longer I thought it was whatever was hidden in books, but it turns out the answer was always just sentences, like this one, and the next one, and the one that went before.

And the nineteenth century is neither lost nor gone.

And the eighteenth century battens what is loose in me and gives welcome to shadows.

I am the one who loves the names of flowers more than the flowers, and often renames them in secret, in order to be as happy as possible.

All the way out to the fire pond, dim in the gaining light, the ripples of attentive beavers swimming reaching all the way to shore, and continuing beyond in a way that - as yet - defies my facility with language.

Cookies left over from Easter will be given later to the chickens, for whom such thanks is never not appropriate, nor unwelcome.

For a little while longer, the tea will taste different because it is not in my favorite mug, and for a little while longer I will continue to have a favorite mug, but soon . . .

I remember sheep in the hills facing Castletownbere, the blue and red swathes painted on their shaggy hides, and the way whiskey and cigarettes hit the back of my throat just so, and her kisses by the night fires we lit, and how she leaned into me after saying "just talk, I don't care about what."

And trains, and the distance they make possible, and the landscape thus emerging, and the need to bridge it somehow with words.

And the futility I face, day after day, night after night, of knowing wordiness is not enough, but having nothing else to offer, and so offering it over and over and over.

Oh and the apartment three stories up, across from the homeless shelter, where I first read Wendell Berry and struggled with zazen, and began to lose in a serious way the ability to sleep, and so took to walking at odd hours, rain or snow be damned, and the diner near the lake that opened at 3 a.m. and how I often stopped to order toast and coffee, all I could afford, and the waitress who said "you remind me of my son and not in a good way," and how I literally left the city a week later and have not lived in one since.

And later how the rain spools across the window, just visible in gray light, the dog and I drying off on the bed, shivering but happy with all the apparently random trails before us, so silver, so flowing, and thus.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Many Fierce Ripples

How cold the wind is, howling from North, bearing in rough spirals dead maple leaves disentombed, and reminding me of the old dream of a clear and impeccable tundra.

And rocks push the yet-frosty soil before them, and the down of old chickens tumbles this way and that towards the road.

And the daffodils and crocuses rise only uncertainly, and one's dream of bluets withers as if winter were not a time but a condition to which one is now - is necessarily - inured.

And the man without shoes splashes happily through puddles in which the sky is briefly - silverishly - recalled.

And the pine trees splay their limbs and wave without semblance of pattern as if working toward balance, as if swimming through an invisible sea and its beautiful surging currents.

And how silly time is, and ideas of self, and yet how important to give attention to them, and resolve them, and carry their resolution forward so that others may learn too.

And birch trees.

And birch trees.

And my old friend anger coming out shyly near the great withered pine, bearing dented shotgun shells and riddled beer cans and a couple of dull bolts, and how fast he talks and how persuasively, and only after does one realize the paucity of his gifts, and the nature of all resistance.

And moss rising so brilliant and green it is as one's first view of Ireland, and a thousand later subsequent views, especially the weeks on breezy hills facing Castletownbere across the bay, and the Welsh woman - nameless now - who lifted me those many days and nights beyond the cult of ancestry, thus allowing me to discover the Land of Ten Thousand Sentences.

And the church of regret, and the church of bliss, and the secret chapel beyond them both, hidden in a clearing, to which at last I know the way.

And hints in quartz, and in deer prints, and in fox scat and in sentences too for those who know how to look.

And possibility, and choice.

And the many filaments of relationship, all adrift in the fast-moving air, which is both Arctic and tropical, fern-like, and prayerful.

And the songs muttered by the man without shoes as he dances over the tops of rocks and climbs trees to see a little further into the light and tells stories about owl feathers found floating in the air and remembers a time when there was only this.

And this.

And sunlight creeping up the copper bark of so many pines, and the last patch of ice - treasured now four days straight - at last gone, and shadows with their blue hearts stretching away, always away.

And what is corruptible and what is not and what is still confused about the difference.

And the nature of starlight in the presence of the sun.

And I stand finally on the pond's edge, another of the many fierce ripples bearing sunlight forward, and long to enter now the cold water and swim through it to the You the many youse represent.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Understand Hunger

How tempting as always to see problems as separate and in need of separate solutions. Thought is a process, a system, and not a series of distinct temporal events. What is measurable is measurable and no more. Meaning as use, indeed. Many birds at the feeder making me happy, or holding my interest anyway, as the moon finally appears to fall beyond the western horizon (rolling coniferous hills) into whatever west holds, being for me the least traveled of the four cardinal directions. One wakes up and in the middle of a long walk deep into the forest realizes they are walking in the forest and longs to write "the moon sat on my shoulder like a cat" but refuses, and for damn good reasons. What crashes in the underbrush and causes the dog to freeze rather than give chase gives me pause. Choiceless awareness presently held as a spiritual ideal, which is to say I've learned nothing at all. It is nice when grace attends but learning does not follow accordingly, and it is that form of undoing to which our attention is now directed. Trout undulating in currents just shy of freezing. Understand hunger and you understand the idea of Heaven. The big dipper tilts its black ladle and I laugh in the field heading home because the old cravings - for tea, for kisses, for words - go on without abatement, and because I'm still a little boy taking delight in his relationship with stars. Roosters give welcome and at the fire pond beavers whack the water with slick tails to warn me away. After all these years the only real kinship I know is with those who swim for all or part of their lives. I mean one who routinely indulges their proclivity for bullshit. The first thing you think when you wake up is "this is it!" and the second thing you think is, "seriously, this is it?" We discussed Michelangelo's David as being unnecessary, and agreed it was only because you can't eat it in an emergency. One pauses by the river just before dawn, which is in motion (the river and the dawn, of course, as well as the one watching), and whose parts - broadly speaking - are so minute and fluctional as to be - broadly speaking - one, and thus learns - or intuits in the direction of learning - that life is simply relationship (and movement, motion), and so understands - again intuitively (mostly) - why living is, for them, this way and at this time, so apparently complex and difficult. On the other hand, chickadees.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Derivative Way of Heaven

When you are sad and lonesome - when I perceive it so from the great divisive distance - I want to tell you we are neither alone nor separate but to do so would - paradoxically - only confirm the illusory isolation. Muscular geese beat ash-colored wings, passing overhead at dawn and dusk, and one thinks as always of the silvery wake they leave when landing in or taking off from the pond. In the morning you can finds rabbit track near the daffodils and picture them eyeballing the yellow moon which last night was a perfect circle, or so it seemed while walking south through the fields home. I remember years ago walking in the forest - tracking a moose well beyond the familiar landscape - and came to a stop realizing I stood at that moment in the same space the moose had occupied hours earlier. "We are all connected" presumes the fundamental divide, so it's better say "there is no we" but that's harder to hold in mind, isn't it? When you are lonely and frightened and I perceive it so after so many decades and thousands of miles I want to embrace you even though to do so would be to violate the Holy Compact. She pads up and down the hall in slippers, a whispery sound, that neither quite ends nor begins without her prior consent. Blue skies beg flames and we divulge accordingly. My solitude is not perfect but nor I am unhappy in its muddled bounds. The running tally of goldfinches now in triple digits and one wonders - not for the last time surely - what the real value of any number is. The new call is to engage and participate and yet doing so begs a carapace, as if I am still that wounded child hiding in a barn wondering why so many blows fall and when the next is coming. She pulls close, she withdraws, but she is always within. The trail collapses - frosty caverns yielding to pressure - and my feet grow muddy and cold. I long to sleep - to sleep well - and yet insist on conflating spirituality with those hours that make sleep just about impossible. Well, we are all in motion, all following the proverbial goose, all settling as best we can the relevant scribbled maps. A coniferous divide to the west, and literary toll bridges and - critically - memories of a dead horse. When I want to hold you I do and it works, it does, but you have to trust yourself first. She wakes me a little after midnight, blankets opening to let in tuffets of cold, against which our bodies flare in the derivative way of Heaven recollecting itself. One reaches a place where there is nothing left but to accept the fundamental uselessness of language and go on without it. A little rain falls, a light breeze delivers clouds into the aging moonlight, and we rise in the early hours to write and pray and sing the way we do in the presence of the only love we need.

The Idea of You

Who burnishes affection for certain words has found the chapel beyond the cross. A green world blooming. One by one we ascended the spiral and found our way into the light. The kids report an American Woodcock and I go out later to check. Hours on the highway, signs for Tennessee. It rained in Saint Louis and I walked for hours thinking the idea of you. I remember being drunk in church singing "Be Not Afraid" and the priest looking at me, highly irritated which - as was my wont in those days - made me sing louder. A cardinal foul. A belt made of glistening stars coming off and on every time she speaks. How gorgeous, how graceful. Will not scripture allow abatement? We beg the sodden world and blessings erupt accordingly. He walked a long time with his hands swinging, recalling certain gallows, assuaging guilt with movement, all he had ever learned to do. Be my rose petal, be my grim receiver. Dust behind us and before us fields of glass across which we will crawl weeping, begging her to forgive us. Abraham Lincoln's hat, figure skaters wearing bow ties. My lips unfold and on them your name appears, kind of like a little cloud. A thousand grackles settle on the flowering dogwood tree and for no reason I think of cinnamon, as if the world were a kitchen, as if. Terror in a drum. We make arrangements and stick to them, considering the many folds of family.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Shadows Precede Us

Mist gives way to sunlight, a ready series of angles refracted. We are always ready, we are always singing. Beyond blue hills - hills the color of dust and yet voluble - the moon, pale as chalk, containing its own blue (as white must) and rising slowly. Graceful edges where we know each other happily. Bells rang, horses responded. We watched a cardinal work its way through the hedge rows, coming closer and closer to the corn crib. A little brook? When the sun shines we are relieved, suggesting that may be our default condition. A flicker works the dull grass beneath the pine tree. Our shadows precede us. She stood before the painting, gazing at her reflection in its glass, wondering who would be home when she returned. A little girl holding a milk pail, a little bandana to say this is where I am. We slipped beneath blankets and it was as certain stars followed. Marriage a cold light moving north in slow waves. You have to be willing, that's all. Saints abound for those who have eyes to see. Biblical mercy easing out from under the piano. A ringlet of notes rose and fell, somewhat like rain in summer at dusk, and we identified the beloved. It is all according to plan.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

All Results are Possible

What is measurable is not nothing. As the last illusion is choice. So long as there are alternatives, one is not committed. Yet alternatives exist. Don't they? Don't you? A pair of crows, flying not north but south, absolutely in Holyoke, flying low across the landscape, between budding maple trees, one slightly higher than the other and a bit behind so that at first I thought it was an attack, then a race. Then play? A certain level of silence attends, insisting as always on deepening. Beholden - be Buddhable - accordingly. We ford the river gently, as least we thought we did, but in fact it was entering a cinema in which old westerns were playing that mattered then. Historical narrative in which we appear, are implicated, even complicit. Cows appear in memory the same as crossing a field no longer pocked with melty snow and you wait for them, satisfied. My fingers trailed across the iron beams of their skulls, my thumb disappeared in their hungry mouths. Corn snakes the color of old tires coiled lazy beneath a moldy canvas tarp. Also bouquets! She stepped out from under the balustrade wearing black leather and it stopped him, it did, the way that she carried herself, shoulders slung back, head slightly turned to see up the rainy street, and how sleek she was altogether, and lovely too, as if the shadows themselves were no longer nameless. All results are possible then? We entered the chapel to celebrate her ordination, bearing tulips and wearing translucent veils and a song began, a familiar one. Behold the Massey-Ferguson.

Monday, April 14, 2014

North is Light

North is tundra, north is light. North is not no, but yes, but yes differently, without opposition. North is that, that way. But not only. A landscape approached as if the center were everywhere, as if walking in it were itself sacred. That action, which is not activity. At the beginning, one longs to perceive the end, and at the end, perceives the middle, but in truth there is no beginning, middle or end, only perception. A way of saying center that matters. We go without a long time, we are sent back. Fox tracks crossing the last patch of snow then faintly perceptible in frosty mud then gone. At the beginning, one moves to find the beginning, or anything. It is a way of holding on. A way of holding one? We are always helpfully implicated. Melodies assume shape, become tassels, ribbons, the silken tendril of milkweed dander recalled in April when winter is not so distant. There is no "out of it" because there is no "it" to leave. On the other hand, lack. We are composed of abundance, forever composing. Two crows in Holyoke, one flying slightly below the other, both going North. A trail I can only just make out, not follow, not yet.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What Rises, Rises in Place

Yellow moon. Near the old feeder ponds, a deer spooks, thumping the ground as it bounds away, circling us to come up behind. At three a.m. one yawns walking but then is rushed by the familiar, the intensified clarity. Killdeer cry their plaintive cries. And stars - certain stars - are remembering they are stars and we support them with wishes and gazes.

Where are we? Clouds the color of ash move in from the North and light is interrupted accordingly. Conifers stay rooted to the same patch of soil all their lives, part of why my father cried when moving them. No wind nor even a breeze, so what rises, rises in place, and one perceives - in a sense - their location by smell. Spring is movement as winter was but the birds sing earlier.

The dog is waiting for me when I return, coming back through the village, shuttered houses, porch lights, unrequited dreams. The dim world is not brightened thusly. I know Worthington mostly in terms of its brooks and rivers, no one of which has escaped my attention, and I locate myself accordingly. Lovingly? An owl passed overhead, going back to its piney bower, silent so likely fed, briefly flashing in streams of moonlight.

Skeins of ice deck shallow puddles but the pond is thawed now, the beavers at work, their plashes and thwacks reverberating through the forest the closer I get. Old stories are nice, the ones that endure, because they too reverberate, and we know ourselves in the echoes. So much of what I do passes for effort and grief - still - and yet I stumble on, often happily. It is a marvelous world in which to learn the ways of Christ, the roadside maples dying to be our teachers, the daffodils repeating the same lesson year after year for the benefit of those who give attention. Halfway out I come back, same as always, home.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Healing Consists Simply of Nonresistance

The woodpecker goes down the oak tree backwards, looking for a soft patch, or maybe the buzz of insects at work in the pulpy interior. When I was little - I mean four, five years old - there were still dairy farms in town, and milk trucks, and dairy farmers, who I remember mostly as lanky, well-liked and given to smiles. Idealism is problematic and nostalgia not much better but so what? For two weeks straight now, we can hang all our laundry outside.

And the quartz in the old garden now stands clear and bright, washed by winter, faintly prismatic in spring sunlight. The weather vane leans due east, the iron arrow (and the iron rooster atop it) pointing straight up into the sky. Of course blue is my favorite color, and of course we all associate it with God, love, eternity and so forth.

The dog is a form of the Infinite playing dog, as I am a form of It playing poet, man, confused, beautiful, et cetera. The chickadee is closer in essence, but the bluet is closer yet. Who sees the world in a blade of grass is being melodramatic, but who sees the face of God there may be on to something. Even as I lean towards a clearer and more logical (and internally consistent) way of writing, I remain convinced that Emily Dickinson saw God, and left behind a very helpful - a very practical and fruitive - map for those of us inclined to follow.

Conversation now turns in the direction of trout and - more distant yet - spring bear and turkey. D encourages me to look closer at using oxen and "log the damn land yourself," but I'm not sure. My father cried cutting down trees and I've never not forgotten that, nor especially want to. Once you have identified with That-Which-Is-Awareness, a Beethoven symphony and wind in the pine trees are the same thing, and healing consists simply of non-resistance.

A few dead maple leaves, the variegated music of red-winged blackbirds, and just enough chill to make an old sweater cozy equals a morning, this one.

You have to decide for yourself how seriously you want to take the intellectual aspects of all this, but if you decide you want to, then you really have to submit to rigorous, even tedious, study. For a little while longer there are choices that are more helpful than others, and we need to be correspondingly attentive. My body yearns now to enter the river, however cold and rushing, bony nakedness sinking into icy frothing currents that have been moving in that space since I was born, and before, and which will also - all praise be to the Goddess of Rivers - outlast me. I am not saying that I am a body precisely but rather that what is not a body that is temporarily in this body is happy - ecstatic actually - for even a hint of genuine happiness.

Friday, April 11, 2014

North Always North

Gray tea. Earlier, walking, I couldn't discern between the sound of wind, the sound of the train two towns over, and the sound of the many nearby brooks rushing their muddy banks.

Not quite six and the robins begin. Yesterday a chalky moon floated above the moisty fields and without giving it a lot of thought I waved. Rhyme isn't essential but that doesn't mean it's not fun.

How slow the moon is! One fold enveloping another and so forth. But what is the space in which the folding is?

We linger near the brook where it is colder and darker.

Words become dense, or their concatenation does, and yearning for light intensifies accordingly. The first crocus is instructive, the second redundant.

The dog sleeps deeply and limps now when we walk and I am amazed as always at what my heart will bear on behalf of canines. Deer prints in the last of the snow, cry of geese continuing north, always north.

And this, always this.

In one dream I constructed a ship from stars, in another I chose to be bound to its tenuous mast in order to hear a deadly song and live, and in another I was condemned to a tiny green island inhabited only by bossy parrots. Over and over I return to Robert Louis Stevenson, as if reading were a map, a good one, and his work a necessary way station.

There are always birds, as there are always Emily Dickinson poems, thank Christ. I like your sentences too.

Thus dawn. Unsure as always I turn to language, ask it to guide me through the welter, and witness what it answers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Sing of the Slow Melt

Yesterday I walked to the old fire pond. Rain was beginning, a cold spit just this side of ice. I was alone and glad for it, and gave attention to gladness, and to wholeness, which at that moment seemed so distant and impossible. How I long now for order, for simplicity, for service.

And brought no one with me, nor wished that I had. Several times I stopped short, feeling the nervous eyes of the deer, and wanting to see them in turn but could not. How precious to want only what God gives. A very light cold rain fell, and the dog wandered in circles before me.

At the fire pond, one percieves the way thaw proceeds from the shallows inward, to where the pond is deepest. Wood ducks floated across open patches, pale silver streams in their wake. I thought of stars shining behind clouds, and of the love I long to give but cannot, and of the ones upon whom I selfishly project the lesser fragments, and it made me angry. Sometimes we cry but sometimes we want to rage against the disappearing light.

Who knows the trail can choose to deviate from it or follow it quickly home. How slowly I go, being in love with the rich silence of the forest, the last song of chickadees in shadowed pine trees, and near the little feeder brook the muffled thrumming of an owl taking flight. What are my twenty sentences - what I have been scribbling now for more than thirty years - but a form of resistance? When one hears the sounds of the village, something settles inside, something goes back into its interior glade and rests, awaiting still its truest acceptance.

Oh put no faith in my broken and misguided heart, because I don't, not anymore. What is the mystic really but the one who can say finally - honestly - that they don't know God and despair they ever will. It is the nature of love to humble itself into unimaginable poverty from which it can then offer itself endlessly to all. I sing of mercy, I sing of stubborness, and I sing of the slow melt despite the apparent dark.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pretense and Code

So it is spring. The man without shoes wanders a little out back, studying drifts of crusty snow shrinking back into matted grass. A crow passes overhead, going north, muttering as he goes, and I mutter too, as I always have, maybe must.

She catches me at odd moments by which I mean when I do not expect to be caught. A bra strap, the M word, and yoga in Lenox. "Caught" is the wrong verb but the right one is - for now - very difficult to say.

Hense pretense and code and misappropriated Hemingway references. How could one not "be in love?" The highway beckons, waterfronts beckon, and beyond all that is the simple clarity that we already have all that can be given.

Sigh. The dog twitches in her sleep and I dread the moment when the house fills with noise and bustle, most of which will ask something of me. The code, so to speak, is not about keeping anyone in particular at a distance but rather protecting me from my fear of snakes.

"My fear of snakes" is itself code, obviously, but for what? Can we meet again and can it this time be different? If she disclosed the M word would I write her a letter (though where to send it after all these years is a mystery)?

Mystery. Maybe. Moose tracks followed together, lost in soft kisses under a canopy of maple.

I wait, fingers poised above the keyboard. For now.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Precisely the Emphasis One Wants

Can I say enough about the chickadees? The trail giving way underfoot with a satisfying crack? One laughs alone in the forest and it is exactly as if one were laughing alone in the forest.

It is in the nature of a correction - very gentle - and also an ascent to which one is naturally inclined. A gift for poetry helps, so long as you offer it up on behalf of making others happy. Please remember that a strong proud woman can also be a kind woman.

When I perceive the inclination now I gently shift and what is eternal is there waiting. Passing the tangled hose out back I think - surely not for the last time - about what a bad rap Lucifer got. And later out front - old guitar warm in sunlight - go deeper into d minor than ever before, than I even thought possible.

My heart broke a thousand times a thousand times and then one day it didn't because it was whole and always had been! Strictly speaking we are moving beyond the duality of even saying "one." In certain arrangements, faint bells lend precisely the emphasis one wants.

That we are held - perfectly - is all one really needs to know. Perhaps collecting stones all those years was in the nature of a reminder? Well, at 2 a.m. when I wake and pray you are there, and lots of others yous as well, and it's nice, it's more than nice, it's fucking amazing.

Taking Fionnghuala for a walk so she can take pictures, mostly of flowers, or brown patches where she wishes flowers were. (I must still need to learn) it's not a question of choice but acceptance! Following the brook south and a little east, wondering will I spook a bear, and now and then sobbing snotty tears at how happy I am, against what once seemed like such long goddamn odds.

Okay? My wings, my band of faint violent, my song coming from across the universe home?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Familiar Broth of Yes

Shimmering cobwebs in the room where I write. In the distant fields now more grass than snow. Even from a distance one perceives the soft pink of maple buds, most delicate of delicate folds.

And what did she think, years later, walking rainswept cobblestones, hearing by chance the melody he'd composed in her name? Such gorgeous flux in which to recover emptiness! Time given to studying nature's habit of decay is never mistaken.

More than this will not do as less would render the spirit hungry. All morning I study the forest for sign of the fox that last night studied the chicken shed. We know ourselves at the margins, or what we call the margins.

A country in which I do not speak the language would likely foster a helpful communication. In my dreams we were sap and we ran together home. As certain angels agree to manifest, bored as always with the density of bodies.

I am considering writing the new project by hand, or perhaps I should say the new project is studying my hands. Emotional acrobats abound. Joy the color of burlap now, calves tottering across the slippery field.

We look forward in spring to the crap apple blooming, we look forward to whiskey begonias. Scraggly lilac branches shadow over where the old dog loved to sleep. How the heart yearns to no longer yearn!

Some necks were made to be kissed! How happy you make me, both of us stirring the familiar broth of yes

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Soup of Ordinary Days

Yearning is always opposite. It presumes that God's plan for salvation is insufficient. In the presence of longing, look within, for only there can the perception of lack be corrected.

The woodpecker manages a greening world without reference to gift. We watch geese circle the pond a little before seven, grateful to share the sacred continent, and laughing at how much their honking sounds like donkeys. Life is not ethical but only after we pass seriously and attentively through the phase of ethics can we know this without distress.

Scraps of birch bark on the trail here, mangled beer cans there, and close to the town line, the mascara ring of an old fire. The crow remains my confidant, urging me ever deeper into the forest, and reminding me that has truth has never disdaind a veil. Remember as well how the fox doubles back on itself, muddying the trail, all on behalf of sex and hunger.

Moonlight Sonata repeated until it enters the higher levels of consciousness, becoming a theme. A thousand raspberries that dream of entering pancake batter just for me! And this, forever this.

I beg for simpler times and receive instead a gift for attention to complexity. Resting on hay bales, kicking dust, we discussed clearing a few more acres of pasture, mostly happy to be talking again. An empty rocking chair in the bedroom corner signifying who.

Adjust your focus accordingly! After multiple drafts one realized there is no such thing as finished, at least not with writing, and possibly with nothing. A gratitude bath might be just the thing.

I am saying "what if" is not the helpful question anymore. I tend the soup of ordinary days, grateful for the company I have.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Speed Disrespects All Landscapes

My earliest experience of language included letters as image - the cursive capital S a sailboat, for example, and the uppercase A like the chapel made of pine one might come upon in a dream. Flags don't matter but a window is a border and we know ourselves in crossing. What most we long for hides behind language, as once I wanted to escape, once I wanted to pray.

I mean are you there yet? One spends a long time in the forest getting clear on how much they can go without. Joy is the river but also her smile over breakfast and sneaking out later to kiss behind the barn.

You aren't getting any older either! Often what I mean to say is what I said first, then clouded with heaps of steamy prose. I remain entranced by Jonathan Edwards.

I remain the dance of turtles and hedges? Certain rifles were meant to be buried far away from the house. Yet another poem about longing means yet another distraction from wholeness.

I, too, have a library addiction. Denise Levertov (Oblique Prayers) on a whim, and then remembering almost thirty years ago hearing her in Vermont with you, and going up to her after to talk, and how kind and open she was, telling me to write more with my eyes closed, and not to force creativity into one mode only (we can do anything - we don't have to just write poems). We whisper because we are getting somewhere, we listen because we know there's nowhere to go.

The mountain emerged slowly from night and seeing it one felt the expansiveness - the emptiness - to which we are all effortlessly related. I can't sleep for the memory of rose petals! I drove slowly as I do now, happier on foot, knowing that speed disrespects all landscapes.

Thank you for turning the light on when you did! And later leaving a note saying "thank you I love you goodbye."