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LETTERS FROM A CORN FIELD

Poetry by
Blake Steele

 

(opened 1/20/96

 

INDEX

 

                              A...

                              AFTER A BRIEF, LOVING ENCOUNTER

                              ANOTHER LETTER TO THE UNKNOWN LILLY

                              A SONG ACROSS TIME

 

                              C...

                              CHRIST'S SHOES

 

                              D...

                              DAY WATCH (The fourth of July)

                               

 

                              F...

                              FORSAKEN BY THE WHITE--ABANDONED BY THE

                                       RED

                              FREEDOM IS A CHOICE WE MAKE

                                       TO LIVE INTO THE FREE ONE

 

                              G...

                              GOD GOES WHISTLING

 

                              H...

                              HER ABSENCE

                              HOLDING ME YOUNG

 

                              I...

                              IF I SHOULD FIND MY CRYSTAL LADY

                              IMPRESSIONS FROM ANDREI RUBLEV

     ú                        (15th century Russian Icon Painter)

                              I PRAY FOR THIS WOMAN

                              IT TAKES COURAGE TO GROW

                              I WANT TO WALK WITH YOU WHERE

                                     I WAS A CHILD

 

                              J...

                              JUST LET ME DANCE WHERE THE AIR IS GOLDEN

 

                              L...

                              LILLY'S SHADOW

 

                              M...

                              MEDITATIONS ON BEING A MAN

                              MISSING HER

                              MORTAL AND CARED FOR

                              MY SILKIE

 

                              N...

                              NIGHT LONGINGS

 

                              P...

                              PASSING THOUGHTS AND PEOPLE

                              PONDERING MY RETIREMENT

 

                              R...

                              RECOUNTING SONG ON A GRAY DAY

 

                              S...

                              SINGING FROM YOUR PRESENCE

                                    TO YOUR UNSEEN BODY

 

                              T...

                              THE GROWING WAY DIMINISHED

                              THE HISTORY OF THAT PARABLE COIN

                                       THAT HAS CONFOUNDED MANY       

                              THERAPY FOR A MAD KING

                              THIS MISUNDERSTOOD LONGING

                              THOUGHTS IN A SLEEPLESS NIGHT

                              THOUGHTS IN A WINTER'S NIGHT

                              TO A CERTAIN, UNKNOWN LADY

                              TO A CORNFIELD

                              TO PASSIONATELY LOVE A WOMAN

 

                              W...

                              WHILE ENJOYING THE SENSE OF HER

                              WORDS TO CLOTHE NAKED EMOTION

 

                              LAST POEM IN FILE: MY SILKIE

 

 

                                                           

 

                        

                              THE POEMS:

 

 

                              THERAPY FOR A MAD KING

 

                              A mad king

                              sat in a summer field

                              of cut straw.

                              Straw dust

                              whirled around him.

                              He was reading poems

                              from an old book.

                              Memories moved within him:

                              the smell of roasting partridges;

                              corn fields chocked full

                              of pheasants;

                              blue sky rumpled with clouds;

                              the songs of young women;

                              a hopeful look

                              in a boy's eyes;

                              the carefree companionship

                              of a dog;

                              the sound of cows lowing in the hills

                              and geese cries falling from

                              morning skies--

                              these things were returning a mad king

                              to his human soul,

                              through the words of poets

                              and the power of earth

                              around him.

 

 

 

 

                              FORSAKEN BY THE WHITE--

                              ABANDONED BY THE RED

                             

                              It is from this pilgrim ache—

                              the incurable wound

                              of a native arrow

                              in the side of an arrogant

                              white man—

                              that the blood and water

                              flows

                              to nourish

                              the new vision

                              of a new world.

                              All my soul cries out

                              for the miracle balm

                              of common herb grasses

                              that will heal--

                              but a crazy medicine man says, no.

                              And so an exile

                              wanders

                              outside the cities,

                              far from every comforting town,

                              lost in bleak wilderness

                              in a strange, forbidden place

                              befriended only by wolves

                              and rogue madmen

                              who spout eccentricies

                              to the wind

                              and dribble their spittle

                              in leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    THOUGHTS IN A SLEEPLESS NIGHT

 

                    Tonight there is sunshine in my bones

                    and moonlight in my belly--

                    tonight all the voices of the forest

                    sing in my voice

                    for I am God's child!

                    The blood of Christ is upon me,

                    spattering upon the roof

                    of my soul like rain.

                    There is a golden silence

                    brimming in the deep well of me;

                    a silver light in the water

                    shimmers me with silence...

                    It is God's voice.

                    He says,

                    "Tonight there is sunshine in my bones

                    and moonlight in my belly--

                    tonight all the voices of the forest

                    sing in my voice,

                    for I am a child

                    and you are a child...

                    Let us love each other!"

                   

 

 

 

 

                              WORDS TO CLOTHE NAKED EMOTION

 

                              O that I might write words

                              young lovers long to say,

                              that body might touch body

                              wreathed in holy emotions:

                              words that light the mind's flame

                              fed by the oils of youth's passions;

                              words that infuse meaning

                              into each touch,

                              each fleeting glance,

                              as mind and body

                              do a spirit dance

                              of poetry's music

                              coursing through the veins...

                              until dark falls,

                              and the magic wanes.

 

                            

 

 

 

                              RECOUNTING SONG ON A GRAY DAY

 

                              Silent.

                              No birds.

                              The apple tree

                              outside my window

                              is as naked of song

                              as it is of leaves

                              for I have not fed

                              those wild little

                              sky creatures

                              who are in

                              some another place

                              this gray day.

                              Likewise, the lilac stands bare

                              of birds,

                              holding up its thin young arms

                              and countless fingers

                              in anticipation.

                              But my quiet companions

                              are patient,

                              at rest with their secrets

                              and silently savoring this:

                              that I have loved them

                              and celebrated them

                              in a semblance

                              of song.

                                   *

                              Suddenly,

                              one bird

                              appears.

 

 

                    

 

                         THOUGHTS IN A WINTER'S NIGHT

 

                         How long then,

                         how long shall it be

                         until I return again

                         to the angels and the animals,

                         to the wind whistling

                         through a straw roof,

                         and the yellow light of heath fire

                         in night's shadows?

                         The sea gulls are crying

                         for the darkness of my soul.

                         The mackerel jump

                         around the small fragile ship

                         that rocks the magical child

                         of me

                         in the gold light

                         of my imagination.

                         This is the dream-land

                         moving through me,

                         full of ancient voices,

                         where sea stones

                         speak of sad-eyed seals,

                         and within thick, white walls

                         mother's warm milk

                         dribbling from softness

                         wets the lips

                         of the next generation.

                         This is heartland

                         that grows tender things:

                         young bean leafs in kitchen gardens,

                         rose petals

                         and golden haired girls,

                         lambs and black-eyed shepherd boys.

                         This is the slow hand,

                         the slow mind that feels old stories

                         in a piece of driftwood,

                         that braids horse hair entwined with sea shells

                         to make heirlooms for children.

                         This is where the old roots weave

                         and tendrils are braided 

                         through colorful stones

                         for the sake of birds

                         and new buds on slim branches.

                         Poetry befits this life I love,

                         I long for,

                         from the deep core,

                         where my being mingles with yours

                         in remembrances

                         of where we have come from

                         and what we are seeking.

 

 

 

 

 

     IMPRESSIONS FROM ANDREI RUBLEV

     (15th century Russian Icon Painter)

 

     There are times when the human soul best sings through the eyes

     of the mad, those whose hearts drift like a cloud of milk in a swift

     stream. When evil incarnates in human form, great is the suffering

     of the innocents; great the purgation as complacency burns like

     frilly lace in a charred chapel. Is soul best forged like a great

     silver bell?: molten metals flowing from furnaces of affliction into

     the narrow neck of a rough clay mold...

    

     I know that only faith shapes lasting things.

    

     And why should joyous spring winds fiercely fan furnace fires if they

     too did not dream of beautiful things; if they did not long to carry

     clear bell tones, like ecstatic bird song, over desolate ridges into

     the ears of young woman?

 

     The haunted eyes of a silent monk who has seen too much suffering:

     the cries of an insane woman who cannot face the torrents of black

     water coursing through her dreams; the tongue of a harsh bishop

     which cuts throats like a horseman's saber; tears in the eyes of a

     stone-faced mother; white horses foraging for grass around the

     bodies of dead children: these are images from our roots, these are

     the impetuses of repentance.

 

     After years of laboring in a vow of silence an old monk, who once

     painted beauty on white chapel walls, whispered these words to a

     blind man in a snow storm: "My brother, this world is the perfect

     place for us to learn compassion."

 

     To pursue the wind is folly. Riches melt away like snow. We must

     forge beautiful bells and ring them.

 

 

 

                          

 

                         JUST LET ME DANCE WHERE THE AIR IS GOLDEN

 

                         Just let me dance

                         where the air is golden with wheat dust

                         and lamp light at night

                         shines yellow on straw

                         whirling in the air

                         because of the feet of dancing folk:

                         those whose hands are calloused thick

                         from hours of gripping the hoe,

                         scythe, and the home broom--

                         whose fingers are strong

                         from squeezing a cow's udder.

                         That's where I might best

                         write poems clear enough

                         to endure

                         for the unborn to read:

                         words about the mystery

                         and value of every soul,

                         and the wonder of the world,

                         and how love opens the heart

                         through awe

                         to build a new millennium.

                        

 

 

 

                    TO A CORNFIELD

 

                    It is a cornfield, only, green popping

                    its silent singing towards the gold of it;

                    ears as deaf to man's world as Beethoven's.

                    The whole field composed, like a symphony.

                    The little woods full of wind around it,

                    with trumpet vines curled beneath,

                    the bass in the pond of it

                    play to the field's relief.

                    And a rich necklace of pearls

                    falls from a farm matron's gown,

                    into the thick ooze of it

                    to where pearl divers from India

                    come for wild wallowing,

                    carefully skirting the fat feet

                    of elephants: the small-eared kind,

                    not like the dreams of this corn stalk,

                    nor the ambitions of countless cobs.

                    And with the elephants are always monkeys...

                    swinging in banyan trees

                    which circle the field like pillars

                    heralding a great performance hall,

                    while stars glitter over it all

                    like a majestical choir,

                    until the silent weight of their song

                    spirals down as small tornadoes

                    of stars into silver buckets:

                    each fixed at the base of a corn stalk.

                    Buckets of stars!--

                    radiant with roots--

                    to reflect to itself and God

                    each stalk

                    so it can cease fiddling and grow

                    until all old bows are straight,

                    and the fruit so fluted and full

                    that the folks enlist

                    to picka the high and picka the lows.

                    A poet must not harp on things,

                    so while they cord the ears and man da lines,

                    with this word I will note and atone my faults:

                    "The birds are its applause."

                    It is a cornfield, only,

                    the whole poem conducted

                    of connotations.

 

 

 

                   

 

 

                         CHRIST'S SHOES

 

                         I need to go out and come back

                         and write the language of love.

                         Christ can come down

                         if we dream Him to

                         and put funny little shoes

                         on our feet made of

                         carbuncles and wheat grass.

                         With these shoes

                         we can walk in two worlds.

                         Yesterday I lost the right one

                         and hobbled blind in this world

                         until I stumbled back upon my shoe;

                         today the left one fell off

                         and I got lost in paradise.

                         Sometimes I lose both of them,

                         and then who am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         MEDITATIONS ON BEING A MAN

                         

                         To be a man

                         you can't be all bird wings.

                         It takes something heavy

                         in the soul,

                         something dark and sorrowful,

                         like you find in an angry horse

                         or in the body of a buzzard.

                         It takes twisted roots

                         running down from the head

                         into the thick earth

                         of the loins.

                         I've seen men:

                         an old fisherman in Greece

                         whose hands were like burnt flapjacks;

                         a bean farmer in Mexico

                         who, by candlelight every night,

                         played guitar with thick calloused fingers

                         and sang in falsetto like a bird

                         for his children;

                         a shepherd in southern France

                         who smoked his worn pipe

                         and tapped stones with his staff

                         as he walked calmly before a hundred sheep,

                         not looking back.

                         Earth had etched gullies

                         in their faces;

                         the open sky had opened their eyes.

                         Having passed naked

                         through a thousand squalls

                         had birthed in them

                         the right to soar and dream...

                         I swear, only women

                         and horses

                         can match the beauty

                         of God

                         shining through

                         the rough, earthen face

                         of a peasant man.

 

 

 

 

                        

 

                        

                        

 

 

 

          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 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         TO A CERTAIN, UNKNOWN LADY

 

                         There is a delicate transparency

                         (like certain gossamer places

                         on white feathers)

                         that only rare, honest souls acquire;

                         through which the spirit shines

                         spontaneously and without

                         self reference.

                         Who can cast pearls in the street;

                         who shall find sapphires

                         shining everywhere in the park?:

                         a blameless heart;

                         a forgiven soul.   

                         Amidst a million people

                         there is but one

                         from which peace flows

                         effortlessly

                         for eyes to drink.

 

 

 

 

 

                         LILLY'S SHADOW

 

                         Lilly's shadow

                         rolled out of my heart

                         like a black pearl

                         into my hands.

                         It was the ache

                         of her not being here.

                         It was all my need

                         to pour love into love

                         for love,

                         and God,

                         and my beloved's blessedness.

                         It was the tight, personal pain

                         of being unknown, uncherished

                         by a woman's full, spiritually

                         sexual love.

                         It was the ache of a great love

                         hovering above me

                         in need of pouring forth love

                         from the Other

                         to the other.

                         It was a small,

                         dark essence

                         of grief.

                         My Lord of shining clouds

                         came and bid me roll

                         the pearl carefully

                         off my fingertips

                         into His palms.

                         And so, this grief too

                         shall bind me

                         to His light:

                         another sacrifice

                         amidst the mysteries

                         of love.

 

 

 

 

                         HER ABSENCE

 

                         This shadow of grief

                         is someone's shadow--

                         someone who isn't here!

                         Her absence is the palatable

                         darkness of my grief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         MISSING HER

 

                         God only knows

                         who has cast her shadow

                         for so long

                         upon my soul.

 

 

 

 

 

                         PASSING THOUGHTS AND PEOPLE

                         

                         She floated in a soft cloud,

                         soft as the ice cream cone

                         in her hand

                         which she slowly,

                         carefully,

                         licked...

                         She was all pink and gold,

                         like early dawn

                         easing down the street.

                         I had everything

                         to give her

                         she ever really wanted,

                         but my pockets were empty,

                         and how was she to know?

                         Such is the audacious

                         presumption

                         of a man such as I,

                         a poor, poet of love.

                         She got into her 4 wheel drive

                         aristocratic carriage car

                         parked in front

                         of my peasant VW cart.

                         She had everything to give me,

                         I ever really wanted...

                         but her pockets were full,

                         and how was I to know?

                        

 

 

 

 

 

                         IT TAKES COURAGE TO GROW

 

                         I am deciding something

                         of great importance.

                         Matters of the heart are fearful

                         like lion's eyes,

                         like wild flowers underfoot.

                         Passions spilled out

                         make flames,

                         weld soul to living soul

                         if they are alive.

                         When pools are clear

                         colored stones may be tossed into them

                         and retrieved at will...

                                    *

                         A young girl must break black mirrors

                         to see the sun.

                         Yet, there is always the danger of blood

                         in flying glass.

                         A broken boy must fall away:

                         a thick limbed man alone

                         can climb these mountains.

                         Yet, there are always dangers of avalanche

                         up where the sky is huge

                         and vision unobscured.

                         When two souls give love's gifts

                         that breadth of chest might expand

                         and gold hair grow soft and long,

                         something smiles on them

                         from the shadows of stones,

                         and the light of streams.

                         It takes the courage of trust

                         to grow.

 

 

 

                        

 

 

                         AFTER A BRIEF, LOVING ENCOUNTER

                         (and a sudden reversal)

                        

                         I have witnessed tenderness incarnate

                         in a feather soft, forest-eyed woman

                         who moves like silk in a breeze...

                         Her eyes open

                         to let God's youth flow through

                         as love's freshness.

                         Before today

                         I never knew green eyes

                         could hold such brightness,

                         (sun light and dew amongst the leaves).

                         Her smile is both shy

                         and welcoming.

                         There is a hint of gray about her,

                         like a fall morning's mist...

                         I have glimpsed sunshine in her foot prints.

                         She seems like some country's Princess

                         waiting to hear she is Christopher Columbus

                         and that there are new worlds.

                         I would say

                         she has both known

                         the rose breath of the holy,

                         and night-pain

                         of a confused and misguided

                         world.

                         I would say

                         her heart has been waiting

                         to love someone

                         to its greatest depths,

                         and be loved

                         as flowers love the bees

                         ...always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         TO PASSIONATELY LOVE A WOMAN

 

                         To passionately love a woman,

                         --body, soul, and spirit--

                         as a poet, as a spiritual man...

                         as a man.

                         To love her until mercury light

                         spills like the moon

                         out of her eyes:

                         to love her until that joyous child

                         in the core of her

                         breaks all bonds and is free!

                         To love her and lap her up

                         without shame

                         and thus enlarge her being

                         as light eats dark,

                         and dark licks up light.

                         And as her freedom

                         wrestles free

                         --breaking hard, heart-husks

                         until a wise child sings--

                         liquid gold

                         will spill sunlight

                         through her soul,

                         out her eyes,

                         upon a man:

                         a singer of wind-song,

                         a writer of water-words,

                         who body, soul and spirit

                         passionately loves

                         this woman.

 

 

 

 

                         HOLDING ME YOUNG

                        

                         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.

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         GOD GOES WHISTLING

 

                         God is always whispering

                         words of promise

                         upon the boundless rivers

                         of His breath.

                         New things,

                         honey-dew sweet things,

                         cold wind in the pines

                         fresh things:

                         but we have forgotten

                         about listening!

                         As children,

                         our whole bodies listened.

                         We were like sunflowers

                         hearing sunlight

                         seep with gold laughter

                         into every black seed.

                         In imagination

                         we stood between two worlds,

                         and listened with four ears.

                         Now we have business

                         that leads us far from His light.

                         And in the marketplace of grief

                         we are selling our ears,

                         trading them for empty

                         shells of things,

                         while God goes whistling

                         through the kernel.

                                   *

                         Now mindless monkeys chatter

                         into our captive ears:

                         "Where are your shells?

                         Hold tight to the shell

                         or you might be naked and seen!"

                                   *

                         An old prophet once said

                         that bad spells can only be broken

                         by deep listening.

                         Listen! Listen...

                         until monkey chatter wearies

                         and monkeys scamper up

                         invisible trees

                         to melt into silence

                         amidst silver leaves.

                         Then we shall hear

                         a whisper of dreams...

                         and glimpse

                         the golden astonishments

                         of God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         MORTAL AND CARED FOR

                         (A Song For Pio's Hat)

 

                         Stars live in the fierce law of their own fire.

                         No one can eat fire

                         or crown themselves with star light.

                         But stars fill the heads of grain with gold

                         and make straw which also dimly shines

                         when woven into hats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         FREEDOM IS A CHOICE WE MAKE

                         TO LIVE INTO THE FREE ONE

 

                         I want a freedom that is so great

                         there are no more painful longings.

                         What can a candle which slowly

                         eats its own scalding wax

                         add to the sun?

                         How can a person

                         add to or take from my being

                         the light that shines

                         freely?

                         By assent alone!

                         Blessed are those light-born beings

                         who shine light upon light

                         through eyes.

                         And blessed are the holy deeds

                         of mitzvah.

                         Yet, apart from all people,

                         the light always spills

                         upon a clear mirror

                         for my inner eyes to see

                         when they see.

                        

 

 

 

 

                         I PRAY FOR THIS WOMAN

 

                         I pray for this woman

                         that her beauty

                         may return to You,

                         a drop of clean rain water

                         falling into a clear pool;

                         a fragrant rose

                         falling unto

                         the fragrant earth.

                         May she think of You

                         as lover thinks always

                         of lover

                         and whisper, "My Beloved,"

                         in the garden of her heart

                         which is Yours:

                         and You her sunshine;

                         You her rain and wind.

                         So shall the sun

                         turn twofold and green

                         and arise in her overflowing

                         eyes.

                         So shall the white moon

                         shine serenely in her

                         slow and sensitive smile.

 

 

 

                        

 

                         WHILE ENJOYING THE SENSE OF HER

 

                         Why is it that I see

                         the ancient forests

                         of France

                         in her eyes,

                         and all the round green world

                         unfolding?

                         Why is it that a hunting party

                         rides with hounds invisibly

                         around her

                         and I feel she always walks

                         where ladies

                         dip their bodies

                         in peaceful green rivers?

                         And why do I know

                         her as a brother

                         knows his little sister,

                         and feel her smile

                         like familiar light

                         in a sweet eternal

                         remembrance within...

                         though she has

                         forgotten me?

 

 

 

 

 

                    SINGING FROM YOUR PRESENCE TO YOUR UNSEEN BODY

 

                    You hide from me in a certain place

                    between my soul and its shadow.

                    You have fooled me a thousand times,

                    flashing your flares out of the eyes

                    of woman who did not contain the free mind

                    that you alone hold in your body

                    like a beautiful vase contains

                    a liquidity of sun beams.

                    (It's your rainbow that illusively spills out

                    upon my white table.)

                                      *

                    You visit me like wind visits a forest grove

                    of young aspens.

                    My heart shivers... as in my mind a soft sea foam

                    splashes.

                    Your light enters my succulent core

                    and I feel a slow ecstasy of sky

                    drawn through me.

                    Why do you taunt me so, and why wait?

                    Are you so busy in high meadows

                    teaching bees how to love flowers

                    with their bodies

                    that you can not come? Or is the way too far?

                    Then why not ride the beams

                    of my prayers for you

                    back through the heart of a dark star

                    that you might spill out

                    through the fabric of the Universe,

                    before me,

                    panting in flesh?

                   

 

 

 

 

 

                              A SONG ACROSS TIME

 

                              You wash your ribbons

                              in a cold stream.

                              The water flowers out

                              your white shift

                              like a cloud of milk.

                              Red and yellow birds

                              sing in trees

                              above your head...

                              up near the wind.

                              I speak softly to you

                              in the voice of waters.

                              "I would give you one

                              carnation

                              if you would give unto me

                              your three roses."

                              You hear, and remember me,

                              though you have

                              never seen my face.

                              From your heart

                              light arises unto your lips.

                              You sing a prayer of love

                              and loose it upon the sky

                              hoping I am listening

                              to the wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              THIS MISUNDERSTOOD LONGING

 

                              Like the red beginnings

                              of a day,

                              like the soft bed of roses

                              the sun rests down into over the blue sea,

                              so love for you

                              unfolded, grew,

                              arose within me,

                              made my hands shine

                              with a certain ruddiness

                              none could see

                              but only you

                              in your loving dreams.

                              I call out your name

                              every day into prayer's winds.

                              You hear my voice

                              like a distant birth pang,

                              like a loneliness,

                              unfathomable and dark,

                              like a deep coal mine

                              in your belly.

                                     *

                              We love each other,

                              you and I,

                              as truly

                              as we don't know

                              each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              THE HISTORY OF THAT PARABLE COIN

                              THAT HAS CONFOUNDED MANY       

 

                              Christ took a golden coin

                              out of a fish's mouth

                              and held it in His hand

                              for nearly 2,000 years

                              so that He might

                              place it boldly

                              into the center of my heart

                              when the time

                              was ripe for it.

                              Now I shall never want

                              for any form

                              of riches,

                              being the heir

                              of Christ

                              and His

                              magical

                              fish.

 

 

 

 

 

                              IF I SHOULD FIND MY CRYSTAL LADY

 

                              If I should find my love,

                              my lady,

                              we would jump on a little

                              hand painted boat,

                              (all blue and white,

                              its wood shallaced to a shine),

                              and sail to distant land

                              of peasant kings

                              and barefooted children

                              who walk as lords

                              with wide eyes

                              over wild savannas.

                              And there, we would love

                              the fluid Spirit

                              moving through each other

                                              to open our hearts

                              until we felt the leaves

                              drinking sunlight,

                              while our water songs

                              and poems of starlight

                              cheered the sad face

                              of the moon.

                              And when love impelled us,

                              we would return

                              to the darkness of this land

                              balancing mirrors

                              on our fingertips--

                              the radiant reflections

                              of our dreams.

                              And the crystal mirror

                              of my lady

                              (in which she sees angels

                              and the luminous faces

                              hidden within faces...)

                              I would never

                              be afraid of darkening

                              or breaking--

                              for a thousand times

                              her love has broken it

                              that her feet might feel

                              rough earth and thorns,

                              her hands run over

                              the sad eyes

                              of brain-damaged boys.

 

 

 

 

 

                              THE GROWING WAY DIMINISHED

 

                              Sometimes,

                              Christ's road shines

                              as if it were made of ribbons

                              of the moon,

                              or a river of sun.

                              But when a cloud

                              of old heart-matter

                              drifts in, gray

                              and angry,

                              the road

                              might dim

                              into

                              black words

                              scattered around

                              old church

                              buildings.

                             

 

 

 

 

                              DAY WATCH

                              (The fourth of July)

                              

                              The vibrant web of life

                              is full of cold dreams

                              and rancorous noise.

                              I see death

                              dulling too many faces

                              as I watch for your face:

                              the passionate dream

                              of your eyes,

                              the delicate fragrances

                              of cherries and apples

                              upon your lips.

                              Your shadow passing over me

                              is my ache.

                              Your feminine substance

                              my fuller liberation.

                              Silver rain, splashing through

                              the vibrant web of life,

                              carries black silt

                              into my heart,

                              and seeds pour down

                              in a grace of gold sunshine:

                              Dust, sand, wandering streams,

                              the vagrant, gypsy winds.

                              You will come one day

                              with melons in your arms

                              and prance with bare feet

                              through the young flowers

                              of my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              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 canvass

                              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.

 

 

 

                                

 

                              I WANT TO WALK WITH YOU

                              WHERE I WAS A CHILD

 

                              I want to walk with you

                              in an autumnal mist

                              along the sea,

                              on the shores

                              of my childhood

                              where I played in innocence

                              amongst opali filled pools.

                              I dreampt of you then

                              with an unnamable ache,

                              being too young to define

                              my deeper sorrows

                              or heart-destiny

                              of dreams.

                              As rain passes through

                              thick clouds that birth it,

                              so I pass again

                              the beach inlets and breakers

                              that birthed me

                              with you...

                              and love not only

                              your eyes, your wet hair,

                              your skin,

                              but the slick seaweed

                              and foam

                              that flows down the rocks

                              of La Jolla

                              in the tides.

 

 

 

 

 

                              MY SILKIE

 

                              In moonless night

                              a black seal

                              swims the shadowed sea.

                              Its huge black eyes

                              burn like dark flame.

                              It is the fire of your shadow

                              swimming through my heart.

                              I, the seal hunter

                              by day, seek your image

                              in light-filled pools,

                              empty of all but slim,

                              silver fish.

                              My hunger drives me

                              to lay out my bewildering nets.

                              The fish dart through.

                              Only an occasional

                              muddled turtle

                              is snared.

                              By night I mend my nets

                              with threads spun

                              of old poems

                              and dream of you

                              in the smoke of my fire.

                              You watch me with your black eyes

                              from the dark sea

                              waiting for me

                              to break the spell of the hunt

                              so that rough, barnacled seal skin

                              might at last

                              slip away

                              from your pale, 

                              silky skin.

                             

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