That Single Blade of Grass

cliff2living at the growing edge
is often like a

stretch that breaks
tendons too tender

for more movement

like dancing foolishly
on a crumbling cliff
peering into an abyss
seeing only night

and hearing only echoes
of shining shadows

singing silently

hand reaches back
to grasp
that single blade of grass
you think will save you

but discover it a mirage

rooted in the wind

so you fall forward
and hope
that one of those shadows
is cast by the light of your deeper self
blocked by the bulk
of your fear-mind

Fall Away

live-oak-1000My skin cells
slough off
to make room for the new
like the leaves
of this mossy live oak tree

fall away

due west, summer’s end

fall away

due east, autumn begins

hover here for a moment

feel the balance
between darkness and light
between drawing within
and explosive expression

harvest your juicy
sun-soaked fruits
perhaps too easily procured

honor
the growing shadow

it’s okay to grieve
the dry and dying
the no longer needed

relish the transition
let the last leaves
flitter to the floor

limbs to feel
all the more lighter

Sea of Voices

img_2216we swim in a sea of voices

some we may claim our own
but most speak to us
uninvited

Pretender voices
crash like wave upon curling contrived wave
upon our shore

their steady rhythm
drums us into
a consensus trance

threatens to bury
the siren song of our sandcastle heart
throbbing to be heard

should it wash away our fortress
well, this is the nature of castles and sand
once a rock, once a distant mountain,
once carried by a river wise enough to meander
towards the sea

so we retreat to the seacave in solitude:
a mere temporary respite.

but the tide draws near
the waves crash in
unrelentingly

The sea of voices
roll along
like so much wet traffic
racing unaware
of the delightful calm below

there’s no way to halt the thundering waves

but we can grow our sea lungs
and dive down deeper

league by league
settle into
the soul-tide
quiet depths of true voice

silent and still and slow
in our hidden
mariana trench
from which,
should we bend
the ear of our heart closely,
the echoes of our sublime bass notes
spring

resonating through
all our fibers

Further down
is a mystery
where no one goes

yet from which all emerge

quieter and quieter yet
it is the deepest voice
and unknown

perhaps it one voice
perhaps it is none at all
some in and out breathe
of Being

not to be conceived
only to be felt

no, let us not drown in the sea of voices

rather, grow our ocean ears
to listen for
reverberations from the trench
from whatever edifices
we find ourselves in

drown out the superficial waves above

rather than be battered
on the shores,
risk ourselves
in deep waters

The Habits of Sunset Moonrise

img_2228Recently I find myself adopting an evening ritual. Taking my pillow and blanket down to the beach before sunset, I change out of my shorts into long pants and lay down to read and write. Tonight it was the beautiful masterpiece Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams and the jotting down the beginnings of a poem about being bumped by a whale. So many poignant passages in Refuge:

“I am slowly, painfully discovering that my refuge is not found in my mother, my grandmother, of even the birds of Bear River. My refuge exists in my capacity to love. If I can learn to love death then I can begin to find refuge in change.”

The full moon stands up in the east, the epitome of change, the later summer sun reclines to the west. Seagulls soar and sandpipers scurry, while sand flies feast on rotting seaweed.

As it floats under the horizon, I add layers and sit up to meditate. Sometimes I can, sometimes not. Tonight I ‘fail’ after a few minutes.

But I do notice how this ocean seems to somehow simultaneously embody change and permanence, stillness and motion. I think this is the same ocean I saw up north earlier this summer. 🙂

Sometimes it is too powerful for me to handle. I’m a man of the mountains and forest and cornfields, not waves. I confess, it’s a mystery to me.

Yet I realize now that everything waves.

But lately it is soothing. It washes out all that is still too rigid in me. Then I change once again into sleeping clothes and climb into the car for the night, the eye of the moon shining down on me, a silent collaborator.

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