Friday, October 10, 2014

Praise


Pitt the world of Artemis
with all it's moonlight and nakedness,
nymphs bathing without leaves
or curtains of cloth drawn about them
- they were shorn off-
against yourself,
and the reality of your ugliness,
your ill fitting cloths.
See, you are not complete.

Yes, let the moan slip, sighing from your lips;
Let she, who once settled in all of us in the night
when we were youth,
pull once again away from her leash
and spring out from your eye
as if the season had changed to autumn
all at once while you had been blinking.
And the smell, ahh the smell,
perfume, where have I smelled that before?

It was when you came upon a god,
in the stream, or in the woods of your backyard--
in the garden,
and knew, not that you were naked,
but that you were clothed.

Let this moan, who you have unleashed
become a cry, and then a song, of joy and sadness together in one embrace.
This is how to praise:
so loud that it vibrates through the crystal chalice of your body
and shatters you
and leaves you naked,
staring into the face of God.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Things that Sing

Things that sing began with
hearing the wind
pouring into valleys
and whistling notes in between leaves
and rocks;
hearing the Voice that existed before
all hearers, who all, once awakened
from dust and water, yawning into the strangeness of life,
heard, and with terror,
knew that they were being spoken too.

That voice- the birds says- the one
which I feel in my breast, trembling in my feathers
when the dark cloud brings his shouts;
the one that mourns,
that lifts me up into the clear and sweet sky
towards itself,
always,
knows me.

Child, this is why you become sad when you hear
the dove wooing,
or the girl who lets out her voice, who sends it
to quiver down your back and through your spirit.
You are like the bird, who hears the wind, and knows that
It is calling him;
calling him to fly up beyond himself,
to unsheathe the voice of the stars
and to sing back.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Swallow Song

With songs simple as bird notes
punctuating dawn
outside my window
so that I know winter has ended,

She plays her words to me
without even knowing that they are song.
She makes no intention to strike deeply,
to inflict the massive yawning dream of Venus
into my ears.

There are no tricks here
but the ones which were already there--
those which I forget upon
hearing that plain song of she who perched
with swallow eyes beside me
and said, as if to dispel all spells,
"good morning."

Monday, April 7, 2014

The End

Yesterday I found myself going to confession in St. Francis' new chapel, sitting at the end of a line of perhaps twenty. For this reason and not because of any discipline or piety on my part, I was committed to a long time of meditation. It was evening, and the sky outside was cloudy, perforated by light that trickled softly through the stained glass jewels at the top of the chapel's dome. I put in headphones and listened to the ambient soundscapes of Hammock and Balmoreah, kept low enough for me to hear the echos of people shifting in the pews beside me, and the gurgles of restless children experimenting with their sounds and listening to the experiments bouncing back to them.
As I dug in and prepared for the long wait, I read from Balthazar's Heart of the World- catching onto lines about experiencing the unseen like the down of a bird, brushing against me at night; about the sharp call of God, aimed at my heart like a spear, bouncing from my bulwarks; about sin and monotony enveloping me in a layer after layer of hardening fibers, becoming like a carapace that shuts out the Divine. I grasped onto these particular sayings because the call of God is something that seems belong to a life that I left behind. But it bursts out at times, here from a candle, there from a painting, a word, a tree, a book, a look in a girls eyes- these revoke memories of that tender yearning which my being has all but forgotten. I am afraid that I am going to be wrapped by business until this call disappears from me completely.
Partly, I think, because I wanted to forget.
So I spoke to God. I said, I don't know where you are in all of this, who Jesus really was- but I am seeking you as I know how... here. I peer into the tabernacle like a question.
I think that my gaze is like the sort of question that the freshly betrothed asks into the eyes of his soon to be bride... when he realizes that he does not really yet know her: who are you behind that veil?
I am no longer afraid of the answer which I know will come to me as I reach the end of my life.
There my suffering will be the darkest, and most absolutely true. But this darkness will be breached as the sun sets down from my life and is swallowed into the water of my death. All will be soaked in light red as blood... and all that is salt becomes sweet, like Repicheep's end on the edge of the world.
These are just imaginations, perhaps. Impossible hopes that peer into death and expect to have a simple breakfast of fish on the side of lake Genesareth even after life itself betrays us.
But what of this call? This yearning? What is it for?
A little girl runs into the pew ahead of me. She throws back her head, and, staring up into the domed ceiling, cries out in something that she thinks is language.
I smile and look up with her at the blue sky that edges through the skylight.
I thought, this is our second womb- we are all pilgrims, teaching each other the life that we are learning.
Perhaps the hand which grabs us like cancer, that strikes our memory like Alzheimers, that bursts our veins and tears all our loves rudely away from us, are the hands which will bear me away, cutting me from the joys of being I and from the umbilical chords that feed me now, into the hope that we knew so intimately when we saw this world with our newest eyes.
The sky is simply the water that holds us together in our second womb, bright, blue, like a question peering immensely upon me, asking, who will you be, you behind the veil.
The love was settled before the question was ever asked.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Not Yet

She cries to me, her silence
drawing like curtains in front of her blooming eyes.
Their nectar drips out, and I see what she is learning:
Salt is the melancholy taste of love not yet.
It is the seed in the center
that love, like a fruit, envelops in its sweetness.
Before there is the soft skin,
warm, with nectar, there is the wood-
the hard soul that is most alive.
You have such a seed in your blue eye, I wish to say.
Now wait, water it in salt,
let it itch, scratch, until your heart has,
like the sand of a pearl,
covered this other life in you with its own flesh.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Old News

Your face
I seek between loose leaf notebook pages
scribbled and drawn on in my earlier years
when I remembered you better.
In the haze of growing up, all
things become further away,
the spirit loses sight of itself
where your face is printed like fading picture.
Newspaper, crumpled and yellowed
contains something... a picture
of boys running in the forest
with glinted and thunderstorming eyes
and a yearning for what things
should be like,
love gushing as twigs snap,
sapping out.
That was what it was like to remember;
To look at the world and say this is not enough, and
this is amazing, because it reminds us of something.
You.
You are the dream before life,
the one every child wakes up
to tell the world about -- the one
each of us expected to see when we first came here,
the one whom we have been grasping for
with our tiny hands.

Friday, January 3, 2014

To Say I Know You

To say I know you
like the river that braids into the crevase of the canyon,
like a smile or a squint that flows across the familiar places of your face,
like all the things that become firm while they live,
for now,
untill the vast ages of the universe make them vapor.
Between that, there is the river
that can say I know you to the supple flesh
of the canyon, sinking in, with no mind
to what other course it could have taken;
Only that it is folded so perfectly to the walls of its banks
that we cannot ask either which caused the other.
We caused each other, they would say.
We have lived together for so long
that we cannot remember how we met,
or that there had been a time when we had not.
Did the bees cause the beauty and nectar of the flowers,
or did the flowers find their splendor alone?
Neither, they would say.
They are togeather themselves by each other's presence.