WILD SANITY

Poetry by

Blake Steele

 

This  book may shatter spiritual stereotypes

for many, releasing  the beauty and freedom

of the Spirit!

 


Art Work by Vicki Shuck


 

Wild Sanity was first published in America in 1998. It has become a collector's item.

A second, expanded edition was published in 2003. It is even rarer.
To PURCHASE SECOND EDITION BOOK click here.
To PURCHASE CD of selected readings by Blake Steele with music and sound effects click here.

 

These excerpts from Wild Sanity's over 50 poems ©2003 Blake Steele,

may be freely used and reproduced.

Please give customary credit to the author.

For publishing rights please email HERE

All images are © 1998 by Vicki Shuck and can only be used with permission of the artist.

 

Reviews:


“The words of Blake Steele shine with energy and insight. He has the generosity of a
sage, a guide who would encourage us vigorously toward a deep inner place—and a
fiery love for the trail.”

                                                               Naomi Shihab Nye

                                                               Poet, Author



“Many of its images and metaphors are shockingly powerful. Passion and positive
energy pours through. Blake Steele is a good seer. He carries the sky with him.”

                                                               Richard Rohr. OFM

                                                               Author, Spiritual Director



Poems from Wild Sanity

 

A DISCLAIMER OF GOD FOR GOD

 

There is a dead way to think about God,

a way of oppressive connotations:

a baggage-ladened, bickering, constrictive way;

a gray way, all pinch-nosed and guilt-riddled,

of an angry old man in the skies

or the three prudish guys—the status quo

we've institutionalized.

I would like for you to set all that aside,

if you can, and consider with me a second way:

a way of glacial freshness,

of deep belly laughter,

of love's naked longing,

of star-spattered vastness

and the eruptive white spume of whales—

of delirious songs of birds drunk on berries.

It is about the greatest freedom
        you have ever known;

the wildest abandonment in beauty!

and a light that melts you

every time you see it shine in a human eye.

It is about the repose of a rose garden

in a face you instantly love,

and the greatest fairy tale of sacrificial love

come true! It is a Voice

that captures your heart forever...

Or being electric with life!

like the wild Christ!

shaking your head in a dance,

refusing oppressive existence,

breaking open

until you are brimming with life—

being crazy with love—

spinning in wild circles, singing

for no one—not even yourself!—

just because you must sing to say it

and move in it: the eternal spume,

the gurgle in the gut:

drunk and giddy—

angry and blatantly sober—

snapping the chains!

passionate and flaming,

thirsting and howling,

green and all growing,

falling and flowing,

forgiving and free

like a river.

                  *

When I mention the God name,

please know that I'm referring

to this second, more primal way.

 

 

 


 

 

WAKING THE SOUL  

      

Would you wake up your soul?

Walk then somewhere, anywhere,

through a field, over a hill,

down a lane,

and touch the sky with your fingers...

Then turn to compliment the roses

for their dresses,

and the way they watch the ocean

all day with patience,

and how they love the summer garden's

starry skies

when they, in black dresses,

drift in dreams of fragrance.

 

You are waking up to seek your soul

that hides somewhere in happiness

(a secret poet in an unpoetic age),

that dips its naked body

in pure colors and hides

in every color of the day;

that paints itself black,

like the Christ child's skin,

and runs wild and sacred in the night;

that, gray-eyed and innocent,

looks quietly upon you

in morning's light

waiting for you to sing

until all your sorrows are sung away

and you lean against a wall

and laugh at bird song,

and laugh at your hands and feet...

and laugh at children laughing,

and laugh at lover's awkward loving,

until your knees are buckling

as your soul slips through

your laughter

and makes you.

 

 

NIGHT LONGINGS

 

Wandering the streets here

I can't find you.

I think you must be hiding

somewhere amongst

a thousand wild islands of lush herbs,

of goats and birds.

 

By night you travel

to pound your heart inside my ribs.

Sleep is a black flame

that burns holes in the universe

to let you slip through.

Your pure motion colors dreams,

your lines are mimicked

by grapes and lilies.

 

How can I find the door

unto you

which our shadows have closed?

Should I knock on a stone,

or starlight,

or on the face of a flower?

 

And who owns the key

of questions

only the wind

can answer?

 

 

 

 IF YOU HAVE NO REASON FOR JOY
(Listen to Reading from Wild Sanity CD
with guitar music by Eric Roche)

 

If you have no reason for joy,

       then dance because the sky is blue

              and the growing grass is green.

 

Spin in thankfulness

       because your lungs grow large

              then small,

              because the air caresses you

                     and lifts your hair,

 

because you have eyes to see

       form and miraculous color,

                     because of water.

 

And if you can,

       speak these words,

              "I love you,"

 

unto the nothing you have always feared

       you'd be...

 

and let nothing echo back,

       "I love you,"

 

as light leaps up

              in your bones.

 

 

 

ONE DAY, LOOK NO LONGER HERE

 

(Listen to reading from Wild Sanity CD)

One day

the Song of Solomon

shall swallow

the book of Romans

up into itself.

 

Then the beautiful cathedrals

will fill with trees,

the baptismal bowl

will become a luminous lake,

the holy aisles will be flowered paths

and birds will be quickly

admitted to the choirs.

 

Then the simple pulpit

of a country church

will become a great stone

upon which is everlastingly

written these words:

 

Look no longer here,

for God is writing

His beauty

with a lover's hand

upon the waters

of your heart.

 

 

HOLDING ME YOUNG
(Listen to reading from Wild Sanity CD)

 

There is an island

      that holds me young

        in its ancient memories.

It still rocks me

     as a child

     in rosy pines

high on white cliffs

     above the blue waters

       of my dreams.

At night

     the island moves

     somewhere

       upon a sea of stars.

Perhaps it sails

     around the shadows

                            of the world

     until it sinks

     in vast gold seas

       of the sun.

Or perhaps

     it has sailed small

     and hidden

     in some woman's

     green eyes

     until she opens them

     in love

       upon me.

 

 

MORE WRITING IN PREPARATION
(Listen to reading from Wild Sanity CD)

 

When you arrive,

summer will blow in my windows

dressed in its carnation garments,

       trailing straw.

And that secret worm will shrink

before your luminous gaze

and fall from love's apple

into the dark.

 

You are the little sister

of those wild spices

that have grown upon the dry hills

of Provence since Roman times:

thyme, oregano, lavender,

to perfume your hair by day,

the smoke of sage-wood fires

soaking into your skin

by night.

              I swear,

if you should write a poem

the paper itself

       would reek of summer.

 

 

 

ECHOES FROM THE BLUE BOY

(Jean Giono)


(Listen to reading from Wild Sanity CD)

 

Break nothing, tear nothing,

stifle nothing, efface nothing.

Let the whole round world

of blue air and green seas,

of stars and planets and countless waves

course through the embrace of two

innocent lovers.

Let honey flow from lip to lip

in words and kisses.

It is meant to be like this,

no gesture forbidden, all love-born

and breathing, pouring silver life

in shivers, in the shaken bells

of laughter, in the brightness

of eyes shining in eyes...

 

As summer fruit swells, gorged

with sunlight, and leaves shimmer

their own leaf-laughter in the breeze,

so our hearts are to be lush with life

and free to love with Love's wisdom:

that architect of rivers and the rhythms

of years.

 

 

 

THE COLORS OF GOD’S DREAM

 

The dream of love comes from clouds,

from the wild eyes of horses,

from the laughter of water falling.

It lives in simple houses, in stone sinks,

in wooden tables and chairs,

in loaves of bread, in dustpans and brooms,

in a bed of love where sunlight shines in the sheets.

Love is poetry,

a poetry that asks of us all the heart:

to drink the brew of heaven,

to pour out simple

shifting fragrances in words,

or colors, or the forms of things.

How rare is the soul who knows

how precious is the gift being offered.

The Great Love is everywhere,

enveloping us as oceans enwrap fish,

as sky holds birds and clouds—

yet how rare the soul

who can drink it in

and wake up

with passion to share

this poetry of life,

these colors of God’s dream.

 

 

 

MY RED HORSE WEARS TWO BELLS
(Listen to Reading from Wild Sanity CD:
Music by Kailash)

 

My red horse wears two bells

upon his bridle.

He trots along under a turquoise sky,

happy as only a young horse can be

who stretches his energetic legs

and loves the wind in his eyes.

How beautiful the sky is.

How beautiful the woman is who carries

pink carnations next to her heart

as she walks along the road.

I pass her and leave her eyes laughing

with the light of my two silver bells.

Half my heart remains with her

though my horse has forgotten her

and dances joyously on.

 

 

 

A DOO-DAH-DAY

 

Today, the trees seem ecstatically happy.

Perhaps it is as the psalmist foretold—

they are clapping, they are swaying,

they shimmy and clang!

They feel God…

If they could pull up their roots

they’d dance on them—I’m sure of it!

Because when I feel God—

all fresh and lissome,

frolicking in green—

my spirit shimmies, like those trees,

in an inspirational breath,

and I want to dance from an essential urge

bursting from my core!

To throw back my head and howl,

like those trees surge back:

clattering and trembling,

ecstatic and shimmering,

rattling with sky in the wind!

 

 

 

ANOTHER LETTER

TO THE UNKNOWN LILLY

 

I hear your eyes are as blue as certain pools

hidden in the mountains of Southern Russia,

where old men drink blue vodka

and dance on their toes,

where old women still card wool,

and young women loose their long hair

that the cold northern winds might

fan it out to weave around them.

 

I hear there is a door in the bottom of your soul,

and that sometimes you so gather yourself

that you might drop back through

to stand naked in silver fountains

where you sing to gathering birds and other angels.

 

I hear that your hair is as yellow as wheat

in the black hills of the Dakotas

and that your soul has two rooms:

one gold as your hair

and one black as velvet on a casket.

I've been told that when you pass

from the gold room into the black

you carry two luminous pearls in your right hand

and that when you pass from the black to the gold

you carry two ebony seeds in your left.

 

I wonder what you would do if God asked you

to leave the world and tend sheep in the Pyrenees

until stars dropped from the skies

so that you might learn the holy language

of birds and sheep, brooks and breezes,

until you might, at last, as winter turns

your summer-gold hair white,

write one poem that would live forever

in the hearts of mankind?

 

And what if Christ just once, and ever so briefly,

touched the free, soft places

of your core with his fingers of fire

and caught your eyes with His

in an eternal embrace?

Would you then run away

from your beloved wild birds and deer

down to orphanages, death houses,

and other holy churches of encounter

just to gaze at His eyes once more in theirs?

 

 

 

 

PONDERING MY RETIREMENT

 

When I am old

       I want to be an artist

       who buries his fiery body in color

       in the way a black mole

       snuggles into mud.

I want to hunt

for green leaves in paint,

       and burn canvas

       with vermilion flame.

I want to splash a sky

       with those roses

       that birth the sun

       day by day

and throw golden hair

       over your face

       with a huge sweep of brush.

I would paint your eyes blue

       with my toes

and your shimmering smile

       with a glob of paint

       on my chin.

We shall laugh

in color,

       you and I,

and run down

empty streets at night

       leaving wet footprints

       on the sides of walls.

 

 

THE HUGE HOT SPILL
(Listen to Reading from Wild Sanity CD)

 

They say that God is distant,

well-ordered, reserved,

like a nun's tentative breathing

in the presence of a beautiful man.

But I say that God is hot and huge!

rolling in the lightning blue depths

                     of His own being.

 

Mostly, God moves cloud-like

through inner, spacious places of the human soul

at a rate too slow for mortal sense...

but sometimes, when the world

weighs too heavily upon Him,

                     He trembles,

and is felt as a passionate dream!

too full of fire and song to be contained

even in His own infinite expanses.

 

It is then that He spills over

the brim of His being

into our being,

                     to seize us 

with His song.

 



 

INNOCENCE RISES

 

The tomb was opened by slim white hands.

       A beaten body shimmered.

Outside, guards were cursing for fear

while the Roman Centurion in his dark tent

suckled on the breast of a Hebrew whore.

 

Wise Innocence walked out

with daylight in His face,

       with the full moon in His eyes,

and dying night became luminous

around Him.

Before their cold, war-hardened eyes

He disappeared like dew

into the heat of God...

until Mary came,

the seven-deviled Mary

whom the Lord had loved,

and a gardener whispered, "Mary..."

No one else could speak her name

with such a quiet passion of love...

It was a serious war,

so the Child couldn't laugh yet,

but He showed her His torn wrists saying,

       "See here what the darkness did."

And His eyes held the joke of it

and all the tragedies

of ten thousand years.

So she wept at the beauty

and ran to tell His disciples

       to wake up.

 

 

THERE IS A RICHNESS OF VISION

WHICH GROWS

(Listen to Reading from Wild Sanity CD)  




There is a richness of vision which grows

as the heart softens, as the mind opens.

"Grow into a better vision," God seems to say,

"And, play in it!"

Jesus came. The man stood like a flame of God,

His eyes clear with the clarity of His own Spirit.

God shone through! Everybody saw it,

(though not all believed even then in the light.)

Still, grace and truth flooded out!

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is

is spontaneity of outflow."

So said St. Paul, though translators

missed the implications.

"And Wisdom played in the earth,"

was an old Jewish proverb.

Here wisdom stood as a full and free man:

He shone with the light that births and becomes

and bore His freedom like a lover should.

His words were to the souls and the spirit of the people

when He worked to illuminate the people.

But when He was alone, (I believe this in my heart),

He bellowed his words, and roared His words,

and rang and sang His words,

soaring them out to touch the stars,

until they fell back down like rain

to swallow up animals in the wilderness

with rich, honeyed light.

He spoke in the night to the fish of the darkened sea,

and their scales glistened with His voice.

Glimmering fish sang silently His silvery words

in the morning's first light

as they were gathered into nets.

And their words to the fishermen were,

"Sons of men, you are loved!"

Even as the fish were gutted

and thrown roughly on the decks,

the light of His voice still shown

in their pearl-like eyes.

             *

Everything was then a flaming word

of this man's word

in a richness of vision which grew

as hearts softened, as minds opened.

And for those who could see it,

for a brief season,

all common things

shouted and danced!

 

 

THE WILD CHRIST

 

I surrender to an infinite Christ...

       not a local, owned version,

but a spontaneous sanity of silence

who makes the Pleiades burn

       in utterly pure flame:

who smears the orange chalk of the sun

       all over the leaves and bodies of the trees;

who rides careening clouds,  like gray ponies

       prancing down wild rivers of wind;

who changes breezes into His angels

       to whisper a spacious laugh of liberty;

who puts a silver moistness in dark valleys,

       a seep between mountains

       where the wild ones drink;

who cherishes birds

       so passionately from the inside

       they have to sing!;

who swells succulent grasses

       for the white teeth of cattle;

who breathes life into a sullen bear

       and sucks it out again

       when those dark, simmering eyes

       cease to burn;

who makes pear trees

       drip slow, golden bodies

       for the juice of the sun;

who seduces water into wine

       in every grape of the world

       to celebrate a perpetual wedding feast;

who makes the human heart

       like a candle in meditation

to spout through it words

       as sputters of flame in a wind—

to sing his own wonder

       at the infinite plentitude

       of Wisdom's everywhere wise,

              spontaneous lush of being.

 

This is the wild Christ no one can tame!

This is the new,

 unknowable name.

 




To PURCHASE SECOND EDITION WILD SANITY BOOK or
To PURCHASE CD of Wild Sanity readings by Blake Steele
with music and sound effects click here.

 

 
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