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.
This life keeps turning turning over,
a common stone in a common river that
courses through long arms of earth,
slippery banks that will not hold
more or longer than a flash and scurry.
The river stones have no choice either,
traversing chutes of roaring cold
that take also broken wood,
vestiges of winter bleakness,
a few unfortunate creatures,
detritus along the waterway.
Rock and root, the mossy sponge
seize comfort in a frail fall of light
in one last March morning.
Its bright bloom transforms edges
into something more forgiving,
attracts the elements as skin
does touch, familiar yet startling.
I surrender for the sake of these:
a holiness in lucent depths
and heights that make me smaller,
bring me closer to God even
as forward movement leaves me
gasping, clamoring for the riverbank.
Each requisite cut from climbing and
sliding drains my heat while
river royal decrees a new direction.
Stone and I so quickly spin into
vortex of darkness and primal muck,
sink and settle, make ourselves a home
when invisible to this human mind
some mighty change retrieves what sinks:
a fine stick or leaf, a lost living thing
is brought to the lambent surface
weary, ecstatic, once more gleaming.
After the shocking snows melt, all
that virtuous stillness weakens.
So much living and dying,
need and want are magnified.
City jumbles of sound interrupt
before I am released of dreams,
and the hint of darkness taints
soft light seen through blinds
as I wake, swim through morning.
I take to the street as if
walking into any January day
and search for the sweep of relief.
The voice of my country clamors
before I can understand all its words.
Where will changes take us
while edging through winter,
pulled by yearning for spring?
Will we get lost in blind spots
that scatter among us or can
we mend our wavering shadows,
unfurl dusty or untested wings?
The watchful ones on the wire
manage as before, wait to burst into heat
of a beautiful day. I nod their way.
I fill with my own waiting and warmer air
when greetings of strangers cluster
about me like bright confetti of hope.
But there is no silence like the earth
faithfully turning within perilous times
and no sound like cries for liberation.
With such action the day became
what it was only meant to be,
careless of strife and competing,
far gone from remove,
crash landings of happiness
splayed across the white canvas.
Father with sons created a pact,
unearthed and sealed it in good snow.
It was all of this once for us and ours,
five with their ten legs and ten arms,
voices warbling, wrapping up air.
Soon, petty border disputes forgotten,
jealousies waylaid, hurts vanished,
that madcap gang spilled into
cold sweet banks and each other.
Laughter was life heat, grasping
the game with each other.
This was the way it was. I was there.
That was what we meant it to be,
love masquerading as riotous fun.
Their overlapping echoes boomerang
through thinness of memory,
fluid and crisp as a five part harmony,
those feathery humming arrows
that fly to target
in the center of me.
All the worldly echoes gathering, rumbling,
layers of razzmatazz donned, deserted
then shed as if one more tawdry mask,
catchy talk illuminating nothing,
feeble promises like love that never starts.
One more day loosed and leaving us,
another night swept past gauze of horizons,
the weighty human heart an interruption
of what matters so little, even less.
We might quell the charade of deception,
harness winds of truth, scatter revelations
unlocked from where a deeper power resides.
Enact one, ten thousand useful mercies,
give out hope we, greedy, have safeguarded;
refine the worth of courage, let it gleam.
Reassemble walls, those ancient errors, redesign,
but first look up, lift higher, keep burning
hallowed lights of freedom, flame of peace.