A Fortunate Man
Gray foamy rays streamed through the room.
I felt the warmth of the bed and her body next to mine.
A rush of peace, or joy, or deep contentment came over me as I lay still next to her.
Together these eleven years. Yoked together by an easy yoke, a yoke I willingly put on.
And here we are-laying in our bed together in our home we made for ourselves.
I turn my head-I don’t know how to let her know how much I love her.
I am compelled to try or I will burst apart.
Reaching my arm around her waist in the grey light,
Whispering to the back of her head “I love You” –she clasps my hand and softly replies
“I love you too”. Not another word is spoken. The world had just been born again
And I knew I was a fortunate man.
The black- throated woodpecker
Perched at the old wooden birdhouse
Jarring his orange beak into the wood–
Rat-a-tat tatt, twists his yellow neck
To see who might be watching
As two stellar Jays, dark grey in the evening shade
Burst into hot blue flames as they dive
Through rays of sun streaming
Between pine branches drooping down.
Two rabbits nestled together
Catch me standing at my window.
Startled at the sight of me sighting them
They race quickly under the fence
All the while a small girl helps
A headless boy to read as they sit by the pond
Caring not that he has no ears – she is practicing.
Can You Tell ?
For man looks upon the appearance of things, but God looks at the heart….. I Sam. 16:7
Can you tell what is in a man
By looking at his face, the wrinkled brow
And drawn cheeks, round belly
Or by the white hair, balding at the crown?
Can you tell what is in a woman
Whose hips have spread from child-bearing
And breasts sag from nurturing
To contentment our children?
Do you know the teen sitting in a group
Feeling alone and lost as brutal comparisons
Fly Like razor-edged saucers
Wounding and scarring in unseen places.
What is invisible to our eyes
Makes up both heart and soul.
Only compassion and kindness
Can see what is really there.
This retreating season of night
Has for months been my womb.
Why I prefer winter’s black bleak chill,
Its solstice shadow casting life in shades of grey,
The way sounds muffle and parks are cleared
Of chatting mothers strolling infants while barking dogs chase
Squirrels chasing nuts makes no sense
To normal folk.
While most frolic in the tease of spring,
Who but nocturnals morn the passing darkness,
The lengthening days announcing the coming noise?
It’s the quiet, the stillness, the music of silence.
I need no other thing.
A snowflake lands on my nose
The weather man is right.
I stop and strike a pose
In the dark this wintry night?
Snowfall like a tea-soaked Madeline
Soaked with glad memories
Loading snow ammo in my den
Poised and waiting on my knees.
Or simply leaning on the window
Watching with wonder the world turn white
Street lights reflect the refulgent snow
Shine on this winter’s night.
Down empty streets home fires burn
As children press their nose
To see each flake in its turn
Fall and strike its pose.
What mystical force gave way to this
Each ones’ geometric shape
Sings of joyous bliss
And a child of an adult it makes.
Love is a Plate of Food
Today Love is a plate of food
Placed before me like the thousand before
Sometimes laid gently down, sometimes
Tossed at me with a hmmph
Rushing in at the end of the workday
Never pausing to remove her coat or shoes
She dives in to the task
Cupboards and drawers thrown open
And digging for the right pot and pan
Still agitated over last night’s disagreement
Yet love or duty take over
And the stove heats up and the chicken simmers
The sweet and sour sauce spits and bubbles
A glass of wine to sip while
Roasting brussel sprouts with garlic.
Chopping celery and carrots
Grating swiss cheese over Romaine lettuce
“Dinner” she calls and I take my place
Once more, like every other evening
Once more, over and over again
Love is a plate of food.
On Hearing Irish Spoken in Dingle
Swirling ,churling, whirling, curling
Around my ears the words split apart
Into flying letters, flashing through and down
Corridors looking for new mates
Like electrons screaming through space
Until crashing into protons creating
this. Letters form syllables – sounds
that rattle and hum Like Bono in Temple Bar
among those gentle folk
That would rather sing than talk. Their syllables
Float from their mouths like music from a plucked string
Seeking an eager ear tired of empty talk.
A simple conversation in Dingle-
A symphony when joined by two or more there I am
In the midst of a moment on fire with beauty
And music and friendliness and yes, Joy.
I long to hear the words of everyday
Surge like Van’s hymn to silence
Today, I resolve to live as a monk;
Stepping softly into my cell, I light the wick-
Watching shadows dance on the walls like gypsy’s lauding the Sun.
Stilling myself, waiting for the light of day-
Standing guard, a sentinel over a sleeping world,
Watching in gentleness, wearing this day loosely.
Letting go of all that is not love
I rise, take up my staff, and walk.
Today, I resolve to live as an artist;
Peering into this moment like a seafarer searching for unknown lands
Or the first man naming what no one has named,
I look for signs, and I wait to see the ancient path
Where word and spirit and earth press together
And present themselves as gifts in my hands
Today, I resolve to live as a mystic;
Where phantom boundaries between you and I
Fall like tattered garments to the ground
And naked truth stands alone
Exposing joint and marrow
Revealing all that binds us together.
I will live as you, and dwell in the hidden ground that is us.
I like to sit alone and watch
With my back to the window.
Watch my neighbors I don’t know
And imagine that I do.
What would I say if I did?
“How are you? What’s going on?”
Or maybe “How’s the chemo going?
Have you found a job yet?
Why do you think she left you?
Do you know where your children are?”
It’s so much easier not knowing
And imagine if I did I would say
All the right things at just the right time.
Suffering hangs in the air around me
A silent cloud waiting to burst
When the wrong question Is asked.
It is so much better not to speak –to stay
In the corner and watch what will happen—
It will happen with or without you.
Like an impotent angel I can only observe
“Hey, you – How long have you just been sitting there
By yourself? How long? Did you know the world is burning down?
As I sit, I observe, and I report.
The crawl space underneath my home
Must be entered with dreadful care.
Wrapped in cloth I become a pale gnome
No patch of skin left bare.
I hate being deep down here,
The smell of dank damp among the webs.
Oh, it is mostly the webs that I fear
Disturbing the vigilant arachnids in their beds
And piercing through the dingy darkness
My lamp reflects two emerald beads
Staring back at my trembling carcass
Watching me inch around on my knees.
Breathing deep and hard and swift
I finish my task and lunge away
From this tomb my heaving body I lift
And find yet another way to pray.
There are some places in this world
I simply do not fit, ill-suited in every way
So I climb back out into mine
And resolve to enjoy the rest of today.