It came to pass, the fervid dream
that claimed the imagination and remained,
captured in a design of good intention.
The boat was built in time, did run,
the sly fish were caught and sold,
and river rolled and rambled to sea
with its insistent, munificent charms.
What an abundance of days
someone had at its bow, clearing
furious whorls and blinding depths
that cultivate coldest death.
A hail life or a middling one,
the Pipe Dream prevailed with
its steadfast ways, then perhaps
mistaken for more than it was,
a good dream made sturdy but
not undaunted, not untouched.
And the weather blew in surly,
the waters bucked and battered
and our stalwart boat was rushed, beaten
until it felt it might come undone.
Near to utter lost it was, yet not forgotten.
So the Pipe Dream II was crafted to
outlast a string of lifetimes
on that river, a place of welcome,
ceaseless toil and more laughter,
the result of great laboring and love.
But not all honest work is enough,
and plans are toppled by mere slips
and that dragon of a river takes
even the best, will toss over others.
So it stands the boat is a reminder:
there is no joy like a stubborn
dream taken in hand, with the
wind song in soul and whistling in ear,
river mixing a richness in one’s blood,
a man or a woman standing tall,
strong and proud at the helm.
But it will come to pass, they will be done
one day, will be sure and finally
done, while a good old boat
will endure as it can, will go on waiting.
(This boat is an old gilnetting boat, left on display as part of the history of Astoria, OR.)
From here I can see only possibilities of
eternal renewal that shatter all we insist
seems true: the final ruination of beauty,
brutish betrayals that extinguish love,
relentless human industry absconding
with more than can ever be given back.
But we are the life we seek; we can awaken.
There is a design moving deep within
and without: I open to sea’s lush rolling waltz,
ingenuity of snails, wild birds chorusing whether
hunted or hunting, bold spirit wind riding waves.
They have as little thought of our
foolishness as do we of their brilliance.
We perseverate, escape; they be and do.
Then come children, small prisms reflecting
all light that air and water molecules offer.
They are singular in perfection as they
chase sun’s glitter and happiness across sand.
But together they secure whole worlds
with great wide hearts, souls streaming.
Perhaps this world, this one that fights
and bleeds even as it yearns to heal
but, too, those faraway shores we left
to be born in flesh, home where every
being knows its worth, its sacred place,
our praise-making souls burnished and vast
and each of us could not, cannot help
but shine and shine
as magnetic brightness skimming water
as moon, sun, starlight on wings aloft
as clarion of triumph in all children’s laughter.
then be the design
you already are and want to love
It may be that making room
for mercy, letting it take hold
of you, does so only at a price.
You may never again see yourself
or another without feeling
a deep release of tenderness,
an upsurge in benevolence
like a music unfurled by light.
Many suffer, pass by day or night and
you will recognize a hoard of hurts
and consolation will spill unbidden,
even in your smile or nod of your head,
a flash meeting of your eyes and another’s.
Charity rises from the soul’s wellspring,
and fills you. It will long to act.
Even if what is returned is
disconsolate anger, even if a
you will offer a gentling of more mercy.
And when someone pains you,
compassion and forbearance
will take charge in spite
of unjust, fearful jarrings.
You can endure much in mercy.
Who knows what being merciful can bring?
Perhaps a revolution of wholeness: begin.
Who said our human lives will be a lark?
Can we be generous if we are lazy, only smart?
Can we be kind and be selfish, then hope to heal?
We learn to be humble, then wings can grow.
You alone know your true reflection
in the mirrored passages of time,
if you answered yes when
someone needed forgiveness,
if you answered no when revenge
bellowed your name.
Either way, mercy lives on
best when you claim it, free it, use it.
It moves in the power of opening hands,
in reverberations of simple, decent care.
Some may welcome it and perhaps even you.
Many will not ever notice.
You are the one
who will be
changed by mercy
reigniting your valiant life
The constancy of nature is the reprieve,
entering this country of luminescent green,
pausing amid stirrings of blooms like bells.
Such brave translucence, how it sings.
Ducks, humans settle into warmth and shine.
These days break open extravagant beauty.
I am unbound from winter’s shadowed ways,
given over to a sweep of miracles washing
eyes to feet with aromas, with colors of life.
I fill up with every perfection, this balance of life, joy.
There were such open April skies then,
air gone silky in green crystalline light,
flowers that shimmied at a touch,
rivers rolling on, past good talk, past life.
What did not shine and wink, expecting more?
Measures of joy in us stood up, sang out,
grasped hands, linked arms, trusted time.
We can act easy, can care much but lightly.
We cannot believe what is yet to come:
bodies will loosen from our souls.
Ties between us may appear torn, broken
yet we’re woven tight with invisible thread.
Stitches seem frailer some days, need more
strength as I seek wisdom amid worldly loneliness.
Evening surrounds me like God’s whispering
beyond star dark and dazzling space,
offering bountiful nets to be filled
in spite of my paucity, asking for hallelujahs
freed up while so many anguished bow low,
hearts to earth to hope to saving Love.