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                      THE ROSE BREATH OF THE WESTERN WORLD

                         File opened 9/4/95

 

                         A...

                         ANOTHER POEM ON THE LAMB OF GOD

                         ANOTHER WORM POEM

                         ART AS A MEANS AND AN END

                         A SONG FROM THE PEOPLE OF CHIAPAS

 

                         B...

                         BACKWARD MOVEMENTS

 

                         D...

                         DAY AND NIGHT IN CHRIST

                         DIVINE MEASUREMENTS

                         DON'T BLAME ME: ST. PAUL SAID IT

 

                         E...

                         ECSTATIC SUBSTITUTIONS

 

                         F...

                         FALL BACK, YES! DROP IN

 

                         G...

                         GOD IS CREATIVE GENIUS

                         GOD SEEKS THE LOVE

                         GOOD COMPANY ON THE WAY

 

                         H...

                         HAVING NO NEED, USING NO ONE

                         HOLY CONSCIOUSNESS                        

 

                         I...

                         I'M HIDDEN IN THIS OPENESS

                         IN THIS POETRY I KNOW GOD

                         I REST IN A DREAM AND THE DREAM MOVES ME

                         ISN'T IT ENOUGH TO LOVE?

                         I THINK JESUS WOULD APPROVE

                         I WRITE THESE POEMS

 

                         L...

                         LOVING WISDOM

 

                         M...

                         MANY ARE CALLED, FEW CHOSEN

                         MEDITATION UPON THE COLORADO STREET BRIDGE

 

                         O....

                         ON A DAY OF BIRTHING

                         ON SEXUALITY IN CHRIST

                         ON THE FREE MOVEMENT OF CREATIVE WISDOM

                         OUR DELICATE WARS

                         OUR IDENTITY

 

                         R...

                         REMAINING TRUE

                         ROSE BREATH OF THE WEST

 

                         S...

                         SELF IS A WEB WOVEN BY ANXIETIES

                         SUNDAY OBSERVATIONS

 

                         T....

                         THE IDEALIST

                         THE FLUID MIND OF CHRIST

                         THE LILLY LOOK

                         THE MASK OF SELF

                         THE OLD ONES OF LOVE

                         (A Communion)

                         THE SOUL'S BLESSED ESSENCE

                         THIS WORK OF REMEMBERING

 

                         U...

                         UPON THE GREAT ADVENTURE

 

                         W...

                         WAITING IN THE WORK

                         WE ARE ECSTATIC ESSENCE

                         WE HAVE WAYS WE MOVE UPON

                                       AND WITHIN EACH OTHER

                         WE MUST WALK IN REED SHOES

                         WE MUST WRITE POEMS TO BE HERE

                         WISE BLAMELESSNESS

                         WRONG IMAGES?

 

                         Y...

                         YOUNG WISDOM

                         YOUR SUNSHINE IN MY CLAY

 

                         Last Poem in the File:

                         THE OLD ONES OF LOVE

                         (A Communion)

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              THE POEMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         I WRITE THESE POEMS THAT I MIGHT LOVE YOU

 

                         "I write these poems

                         because you are so precious,"

                         says the pearl to the sea

                         with round white words

                         upon its round white body.

 

                         The sea smiles blue smiles

                         and swims a song and a sigh

                         of little silver fishes by.

 

                         "I write these poems

                         that I might know you,"

                         says a cloud to the naked sky,

                         as it melts away its sadness

                         in a long, slow die...

 

                         "I write these poems

                         to be known,"

                         says the ancient wind

                         to the lime green leaves

                         on a spring-sprung tree.

                         The tree's leaves rustle

                         with a mindless glee.

                         

                         "I write this poem

                         to love you,"

                         says a poet to the crowd,

                         but who shall dare to sing it

 

                         out loud?

 

 

 

 

 

                         THE SOUL'S BLESSED ESSENCE

 

                         What is the soul?

                         The soul is clear glass

                         full of flowing, fleeting images;

                         the soul is a vase

                         created to contain

                         the unfolding

                         rose bud of God.

                         That is its essence

                         in repose,

                         in a divine rest

                         from which the unquiet mind

                         is driven mad

                         with longing

                         for the blessed beauty

                         it feels

                         and sees.

 

 

 

 

                         ANOTHER WORM POEM

 

                         There is a worm that can never enter

                         the pure stream of God

                         for the worm is restless

                         and the stream is rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         GOD SEEKS THE LOVE

 

                         God loves the love

                         that loves the Love

                         that longs

                         for Love in me:

                         and rest in Love

                         is all the fruit

                         of wild eternity.

                         Love is the relentless power

                         that brings a soul to rest

                         so beauty, joy

                         and Love's delight

                         may tumble through its breast.

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         ANOTHER POEM ON THE LAMB OF GOD

 

                         There is a tender,

                         shy-eyed wisdom

                         that seeks to pour

                         her silver waters

                         of ecstatic rest

                         into the open, glass vase

                         of an empty soul.

                         There is a velvet flower

                         that only unfolds

                         in the effervescence

                         of these waters.

                         There is a drop of dew

                         on the lip of that flower

                         mirroring angels

                         in all the earth and sky.

                         There is a shy-eyed face

                         hidden in everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         ON THE FREE MOVEMENT OF CREATIVE WISDOM

 

                         There is an ecstasy

                         in open-hearted rest:

                         the blue breezes of day

                         sweep through unhindered

                         by stones;

                         the silver waters of wisdom

                         flood through

                         quietly, wetting everything--

                         or come as a flash and spurt

                         shivering the belly

                         and the bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         ROSE BREATH OF THE WEST

 

                         Why not live every day

                         in ecstatic emptiness,

                         in Eshoo's flowing fullness?

                         This sweet gentleness

                         of rose breath

                         is God's rest:

                         It is the mitzvah of the Hebrews,

                         the flowering grace

                         in Francis's holy bosom--

                         it is the fragrant, unwavering flame

                         around which Rumi twirled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         GOD IS CREATIVE GENIUS

 

                         God is pure, creative genius:

                         what else can I say about this One

                         but that?

                         When God wells up,

                         floods down,

                         envelopes in silk,

                         trickles through the naked core,

                         the images flow:

                         seeking to express

                         the transparency of the shiver,

                         the soft blow of rose breath

                         in blood and warm bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         FALL BACK, YES! DROP IN

 

                         We can always keep accepting,

                         always keep emptying,

                         always let the rose breath blow.

                         If a rat builds an muddled nest

                         in the mind, in the tight belly,

                         let the wind carry it away.

                         If a cold stone drops,

                         let it tumble in a warm river.

                         If a worm eats into your apple,

                         throw the apple in God's press:

                         its golden juices will flow.

                         It is Eshoo who ever

                         keeps blowing...

                         O freedom!

                         O velvet delicacy!

                         His white wind,

                         (this movement

                         of unmoving light...),

                         is everywhere and always!

                         So open up soul

                         and fall back,

                         Yes!

                         drop in.

 

 

 

 

 

                         WISE BLAMELESSNESS

 

                         When innocence comes again,

                         it is called wise blamelessness:

                         it is the melting away of anxiety,

                         the flowing openness of God.

                         It is the sprinkling

                         of Christ's grace-blood

                         all over the head and hands,

                         the throat, the breasts,

                         the belly, the loins.

                         It is bare feet in wet grasses

                         and a yellow flame glistening

                         in your hair.

 

 

 

 

 

                         DAY AND NIGHT IN CHRIST

 

                         The clear mind opens.

                         Stars pour in;

                         a glitter of moon light.

                         The sun arises,

                         coloring the mind golden and blue.

                         A silent ecstasy is felt

                         in light amongst the leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         THE MASK OF SELF

 

                         The mask of self

                         is woven of anxiety.

                         In the cool stream of God

                         anxiety eases into release.

                         A white flame on the inside

                         melts the mask away.

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         DIVINE MEASUREMENTS

 

                         It is a hand's breadth

                         from the portal of God

                         unto the windows of wind,

                         a hand's breadth

                         from the windows of wind

                         to the golden voice,

                         a hand's breadth

                         from the golden voice

                         to the white flame of love,

                         a hand's breadth

                         from the white flame of love

to the yellow joy shining,

a hand’s breath from the yellow joy shining

                         to the blue rivers of belly,

                         a hand's breadth

                         from the blue rivers of belly

                         to ecstatic rose pedals,

                         a hand's breadth

                         from ecstatic rose pedals

                         to the lily of dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              WE ARE ECSTATIC ESSENCE

 

                              What we call ecstasy

                              is simply life.

                              The leaves tremble with it

                              in a warm caress of sunlight,

                              in cool currents of wind.

                              It is pain that dulls us

                              to life's naked shimmer.

                              Pour out pain

                              until your soul is empty.

                              You will sink in silver shivers;

                              you will tremble in flame.

                             

                         

                             

                         

 

 

                         GOOD COMPANY ON THE WAY

 

                         This silver shiver of life

                         that passes through me now

                         burnt as flame in Moses's bones,

                         and moved as wind through Isaiah's voice;

                         it softly shimmered as a pale bird

                         above Jesus' wet hair;

                         it betrothed barefoot Francis

                         and became liquid light in Rumi's pen;

                         it was a rose bud in the breast

                         of Joan of Arc

                         and the flame which consumed her flesh.

                         And there are countless unnamed ones

                         who yielded open and learned to love--

                         common folks now famous in Heaven,

                         who let the gentle ecstasy pour through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         SELF IS A WEB WOVEN BY ANXIETIES

 

                         I yield the anxious web of me

                         to the pure flame

                         which melts open an expanding portal

                         to the careless, naked sky.

                         And the sky pours out

                         a silver refreshing dew

                         upon those wrestling in webs.

 

 

 

 

 

                         UPON THE GREAT ADVENTURE

 

                         What is life?

                         It's an ecstatic wind of light

                         blowing in the dark;

                         an everywhere emanation

                         of God.

                         Streaming forth from God

                         it is God

                         silently flooding through

                         every brain, every bud,

                         every leaf, every stone,

                         every star.

                         And who shall say otherwise?

                         It is the dark that denies life,

                         that twists it and colors it dimly,

                         that projects its own severance

                         from God on God.

                         But, as the old wisdom says,

                         "In Him is life,

                         and life is the light of men.

                         The light shines in the dark

                         and the dark cannot comprehend it."

                         Brother, Sister, drinkers from one fountain,

                         beloved pain-numbed bathers

                         in shimmering effervescence--

                         love life! Let us practice it!

                         We can wake up saying "Thank you!"

                         for seeing, for hearing, for breathing,

                         for speaking, for singing,

                         for eating, for excreting,

                         for feeling, for thinking, for dreaming,

                         for the little flapping fish

                         and silky rosebuds, for the adventure of it,

                         for the wonder of it... O to be in awe!

                         it will lead us to God.

                         And in finding God, "Closer than breathing,

                         nearer than hands or feet,"

                         we shall find

                         the heights and depths

                         of the silver shiver and rose breath,

                         with white wings crowding

                         a pour of blue skies

                         in the supreme beauty

                         of the transformative love

                         for which we were meticulously designed

                         and joyously created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  A SONG FROM THE PEOPLE OF CHIAPAS

 

                  The rose of the western world

                  grows amidst dark pain

                  the life hungry, the true lovers suffer

                  for want of rose breath.

                  Our children need to play

                  amidst fish in flashing rivers.

                  Big-souled women need to sing

                  spirit songs together.

                  holding our sassy babies in their laps

                  as they weave their heart's beauty

                  into cloths of justice

                  --lamb's wool and yellow reeds;

                  into clothes for all our seasons.

                  Men need to love earth again:

                  to turn her, to knead her,

                  plunge their hands and naked feet into her,

                  pour sweet mash into her dry loins,

                  whisper poems to her beauty:

                  make her silky, make her moist

                  for white seeds of pearls, gold seed of corn,

                  black seeds of beautiful melons.

                  Father's need to love the sea with their sons again:

                  the white whirl of it, the taste of brine on lips

                  will be a liquor to make them drunk together

                  with life. Then silver waters will shiver

                  the people's bones day and night, and in each

                  other's arms--chest to breast,

                  arm entwining arm,

                  hands tenderly on bodies--

                  will rise amongst us the odor of bread,

                  the color of carnations,

                  the secret fragrance

                  of the rose

                  of the western world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              SUNDAY OBSERVATIONS

 

                              When the spirit is naked and open

                              so life can course through it,

                              then the flash of a woman's thin thigh

                              is as beautiful

                              as a quiet discussion of recent history,

                              or the homily of an old priest,

                              or the raucous caw of a blue jay

                              or the sight of birds drifting through trees,

                              or a dog's restrained, wary speech,

                              or the splash of river water on a stone,

                              or the taste of blueberries,

                              or the writing of poems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              REMAINING TRUE

 

                              The truth of it

                              is this open,

                              naked, flow of life

                              from God.

                              To explain it any other way

                              the possibility of self deception

                              is great.

                              As the pure-hearted,

                              artesian one said,

                              "He who seeks the glory

                              of the One who sends him

                              remains true."

 

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

                              OUR DELICATE WARS

 

                              With our delicate weapons

                              of rose breath,

                              children's songs,

                              and pearl-light aglow

                              in the dark waters of secret wells,

                              we destroy our hateful ones:

                              the little Hitlers of the heart

                              yearning to make our bodies ovens,

                              longing to make our many petaled souls

                              6 million helpless Jews.

                              We are learning the silver laughter

                              of water songs,

                              the golden stories of sunlight...

                              And how shall they stand against us?

 

                         

 

 

                              

 

                              THE IDEALIST

 

                              There was a poet

                              who once found

                              two silvery pearls

                              in a leather sack.

                              He kept them in secrecy

                              until he found

                              a perfect rose.

                              Then he sold his shoes

                              and his songs

                              and bought the rose

                              that he might marry

                              pearls to rose petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              ON A DAY OF BIRTHING

 

                              When the thin black sack

                              of selfhood breaks

                              to let its waters out

                              and birth the royal baby,

                              then ecstasy cries,

                              "O sweet sea of silver waters,

                              O divine origins,

                              flow out,

                              flow out forever!:

                              You revolution

                              of bright blessing,

                              You floodtide

                              of countless birthings!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              HOLY CONSCIOUSNESS

 

                              Life

                              is a pure, transparent,

                              essence of consciousness

                              welling up freely.

                              Through this clear, fluid glass

                              is continually poured

                              fragrances, colors,

                              sounds, tastes,

                              ecstasies, pains, silver flashes

                              golden glows, aches

                              and other sensations

                              of the inexplicable miracle

                              we call life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              YOUNG WISDOM

 

                              What could be more intoxicating

                              than young wisdom?

                              It is a holy child

                              lighting up

                              the face of an old man;

                              softening the spirit

                              of a decrepit woman;

                              it is that rare treasure

                              in a young man's earnest eyes;

                              in the soul-passions

                              and whimsical smiles

                              of a sprightly woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              THE LILLY LOOK

 

                              I have noticed

                              that there is a certain

                              whimsical look

                              in the eyes of those

                              whose spirits

                              have remained

                              close to Heaven:

                              even in the midst

                              of grievous soul-pain

                              the joy is always there,

                              like warm, clear water

                              flowing out from under

                              a blanket of snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

 

                              ART AS A MEANS AND AN END

 

                              This writing is not the work,

                              nor is singing,

                              preaching a sermon,

                              painting a picture,

                              photographing wonder and beauty:

                              none of this is the work!

                              The work is birthing

                              countless free-spirited,

                              compassionate souls

                              into the world,

                              to do the work

                              of birthing and beauty-making

                              which births and makes beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              MANY ARE CALLED, FEW CHOSEN

 

                              How many actually desire joy

                              and freedom of spirit

                              enough to forsake all dissipation

                              and commit their whole being

                              unto the journey into Life?

                              How few truly gather their souls

                              back to the fountain of their lives;

                              yet, this is merely the first step of Christ.

                              Who hungers for beauty daily

                              coursing through them like scented waters

                              flowing in sunlit streams?

                              Who thirsts for naked shivers

                              of silver water spilling freely down

      the core of their wide-open being?

                              Who yearns to complete the ecstatic circle

                              in nakedness,

                              that they might see a radiance of God

                              pouring through all things?

                            

 

 

 

                              THE FLUID MIND OF CHRIST

 

                              Through the simple,

                              love-opened core

                              streams contemplation

                              of beauty

                              into action.

                              Through the simple,

                              love-opened core

                              flows a new rationale.

 

 

 

 

  

I'M HIDDEN IN THIS OPENNESS

 

I'm walking with God in the world—

hidden in this openness

because of the simple flow

of ancient wisdom that creates galaxies,

the gossamer film of a fish's fin,

the sheen in a wolf's eye.

I'm becoming a child

because I've spent thousands of hours

learning to kill one worm

so I might speak God's nonsense in rhymes,

and sing love songs to those

who have no money in their pockets:

songs sunlight sings amongst the trees

sung to melodies old men murmur

in the presence of young women;

song of wild songs winging over wild seas;

songs of an adventurous future

to those at death's doors...

and that I might be so blessed

as to feel the wind

scrawl upon my soul

stories of its love affair

with the sky.

                                          *

                              Sometimes I'm just on my own,

                              writing echoes of worm breath,

                              eating earth,

                              defecating a small, brown, cloud.

                              It is God who has created me

                              out of thick shadow,

                              out of red loam and bone marrow,

                              and has flowed through me as words,

                              to form a soul. It is His soul,

                              a child born of compassions,

                              a messy, miraculous work

      crafted by grace.

                              God passionately loves me,

                              as He loves you.

                              Happiness is knowing this

                              with a child-like heart.

 

 

 

 

                              ON SEXUALITY IN CHRIST

 

                              There is a woman

                              who holds a rose bud

                              in one hand,

                              a pearl in the other.

                              She has big eyes, open,

                              joyous, luminous like her soul.

                              She sits in front of a radiant

                              white wall

                              which has been veiled with black

                              by God's hands.

                              When ever she puts her two hands together

                              and laughs,

                              the black drape falls.

 

 

                             

 

 

 

   

 

 

                         WRONG IMAGES?

 

                         I took a walk in the art gallery of God

                         and observed His sculpture of the trees;

                         the exquisite lines and intricate textures

                         of a dead branch amidst reeds;

                         the phenomenal form of a river stone.

                         And I sat before His flowing painting

                         of a river falling,

                         (I believe it was done in watercolor),

                         and listened to Him play

                         a soothing, intricate

                         little passage of music in the wind.

                         That afternoon He filled the sky

                         with classical clouds,

                         and by evening put on a surrealistic show,

                         delicately coloring with the tint of peach

                         wind-whipped smooth shapes

                         --like women's soft, cloudy breasts--

                         and then, with a sudden shift of the wind,

                         ragged shapes, like torn linen,

                         all flushed with the color of blood,

                         the iridescent sheen of mallard wings.

                                    *

                         Not a bad job for a judge

                         whose hobby is art.

 

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         HAVING NO NEED, USING NO ONE

 

                         This sensuousness comes from deep inside me,

                         down near the liquid core,

                         down near the place of passion's

                         yellow surge of sunlight,

                         down near the gray moon of sorrow.

                         The mercury mirror of my soul,

                         flows in metallic dribbles

                         from my mind to my loins,

                         then shimmers out through my limbs--

                         wetting all the clay.

                         I'm an open-lipped well

                         holding moon light;

                         I'm an empty pot

                         full of sky.

                         How can the light of the sun

                         feel so old upon tired leaves,

                         yet taste young

                         when it shimmers the silver waters in me

                         and makes them tremble?

                         How can the ancient, sad moon

                         become that silky light

                         in a young lover's eyes?

                         I am convinced that God is a sensualist,

                         luxuriating in the full feast of His senses--

                         having no need,

                         using no one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         LOVING WISDOM

 

                         May God kiss me with the kisses

                         of His mouth:

                         the young Shekinah

                         springing out of God's side

                         while He slept

                         in religion's dark.

                         She alone is His kiss.

                         She comes to me

                         in the morning winds:

                         Her innocent, passionate eyes;

                         Her high breasts wet

                         with the milk of wild wisdom,

                         a free compassion.

                         She is Shekinah, God's beauty,

                         open and delicate;

                         so pure she pervades all things

                         --tainted by nothing.

                         Her name keeps flowing like bright oils

                         from bowls of glass

                         into rough, clay pots.

                         I would run with you...

                         I would make you my Bride

                         --breath, rising spume,

                         ecstasy of God making us young again!--

                         if You would help me cast off

                         these heavy garments,

                         if you would teach me

                         holy nakedness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         YOUR SUNSHINE IN MY CLAY

 

                         Your sunshine

                         in my silver waters

                         --help me remember!

                         Your sunshine

                         in my silver waters;

                         Your wind blowing clear my eyes;

                         Your rose growing in the gutter,

                         sweetening desolate streets.

 

                         Your silver waters

                         in my clay

                         --help me remember!

                         trickling from head to toes

                         down the core of the soul.

                         Your wind blowing through my eyes;

                         Your thorns on mountainside roses

                         pricking the skin of dreamy lovers.

                         Help me remember.

 

                         Your sunshine

                         in my silver waters;

                         Your silver waters in my clay;

                         Your wind blowing clear my eyes;

                         Your rose growing in the gutter.

                         Help me remember...

                         You.

 

 

 

 

                         YOUR SUNSHINE IN MY CLAY

 

                         Your sunshine

                         in my silver waters

                         --help me remember!

                         Your silver waters in my clay

                         trickling from head to toes

                         down the core of the soul.

                         Your wind blowing clear my eyes;

                         Help me remember...

                         You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         DON'T BLAME ME: ST. PAUL SAID IT

 

                         We must leave the Word

                         chiseled in stone

                         to find the Word

                         written with warm blood

                         upon cool waters.

                         We must stand upon the stone

                         and inscribe words

                         with a flute

                         in flowing air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         MEDITATION UPON THE COLORADO STREET BRIDGE

 

                         When the great, huge, placid

 reserves of God

                         well up, artesian,

                         through an opened soul:

                         Oh! the burbling power,

                         the free flowing flashing,

                         the silver streaking,

                         twirling, twisting, exuberance

                         emanating from the pressures

                         of the universal movement

                         of the mystery as silent force!

                         All this to create a child,

                         a tree, a stone,

                         a cat, a star.

 

 

 

 

 

                         WAITING IN THE WORK

 

                         The soul is to be realized

                         amongst the elements of God.

                         The first love of the Creator

                         is Creation:

                         Fire, wind, stone, water,

                         passionate stars and patient trees,

                         the fox in the hedgewood bush,

                         the herring of the wild seas.

                         A man's passion must be loosed

                         in the coarse of his will

                         to will God's will:

                         to see the work to its finish,

                         to flame with desire

                         --to walk in controlled fire--

                         amongst God-loved beings,

                         waiting for the woman

                         who shall realize her soul

                         in matters far greater

                         then she now safely dreams.

                         She'll live one day

                         in a free-born way

                         amidst the flames of passionate things!

                         Therefore, the man must burn

                         as he waits, 'till his work

                         awakens her yearnings

                         unto her sorrow

                         and ecstasy,

                         when fire sings!

 

 

 

                          

 

 

                         BACKWARD MOVEMENTS

 

                         When I tried to return to young

                         light-filled seas

                         my peers told me who I am.

                         The ancient rocks and rivers, the sand

                         and holy sky told me who I am.

                         And the trees, my old lovers,

                         whispered into my bones,

                         "Don't you remember,

                         the sea is also deep and old."

                         And so I grieved  

                         and grew to sing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         THIS WORK OF REMEMBERING

 

                         This work of remembering

                         who I am here in verse

                         is akin to the dream streams of night

                         that flood me out

                         into the lights and shadows

                         of a loving nowhere

                         full of everyone.

 

                        

 

 

 

 

 

                         WE MUST WRITE POEMS TO BE HERE

 

                         We must take off our clothes

                         and be clothed only

                         with blue robes

                         of the sky

                         before we can safely

                         put on the green leaves

                         of jasmine plants,

                         or slip our feet

                         into clay boots.

                         We must write poems

                         to be here,

                         to be known from the inside

                         before we can speak words

                         that mean something.

                         It's a dangerous thing

                         to speak words

                         that mean something

                         in a land

                         where folly is held so dear.

                         It's a dangerous thing

                         to grasp the darkness

                         when insanity is so feared.

                         We must be known

                         from the inside

                         before we are here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         WE HAVE WAYS WE MOVE UPON

                         AND WITHIN EACH OTHER

 

                         We have ways we move upon

                         and within each other

                         that are rarely said

                         by anyone.

                         But we can look through

                         another's eyes

                         into vast, spacious places

                         beyond the bounds of sense.

                         The passage there

                         is always open,

                         though we be a closed door.

                                    *

                         Do we know the mystery of anyone, anymore?

                                    *

                         Someone may suddenly run out there

                         naked, like a young child

                         happy in summer.

                         God flies his kites

                         in a boundless sky:

                         "Did I ever really know you?"

                         we say into an open coffin

                         and cry.

                                    *

                         We have ways we move upon

                         and within each other

                         that are rarely said

                         by anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         I THINK JESUS WOULD APPROVE

 

                         Sometimes,

                         when there is too much

                         wrangling

                         amongst the many owners

                         of God

                         it is time to wash

                         the face of love clean

                         of all its images.

                         Then there is only something

                         like a simple trickle

                         of silver waters,

                         or the warm breath

                         of a beloved.

                         Why argue about it?

                         Just drink

                         and kiss.

 

 

 

 

                         ISN'T IT ENOUGH TO LOVE?

 

                         Love, expecting

                         nothing in return.

                         Isn't it enough to love?

 

                         Oh, there is so much

                         that must burn away

                         so that the silent center

                         may speak, may sing

                         the Word that birthed all words,

                         the Meaning of all meaning.

 

                         The dreams we have long dreamt

                         and loved

                         will someday show

                         in the lines of our faces.

                         If your dream has

                         the subtle fragrances

                         of truth,

                         follow it.

                         It's slow burn will burn you up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         WE MUST WALK IN REED SHOES

 

                         We must walk in reed shoes

                         upon concrete

                         until, one day earth breaks through

                         all cold, gray things

                         and the smell of rosemary and roses

                         arises again

                         in the lavish love

                         of Life.

                         Until then,

                         let your heart be a tincture of rosemary;

                         be a rose.

 

 

 

 

 

                         OUR IDENTITY

 

                         There is a powerful identity

                         which grows

                         in our identity with the truth.

                         Let truth burn it up!

                         There is a purposeful work

                         of the Spirit that bears lush fruit.

                         Let others eat it

                         until not even scraps are left

                         to weigh or count.

                         There is a beauty

                         that links two worlds.

                         Work to remove the obstacles:

                         Let it be!

                         Love pours out

                         to create love.

                         Nothing more.

                         Nothing more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         IN THIS POETRY I KNOW GOD

 

                         It is in this poetry

                         I know God.

                         I cease to speak it--

                         and where is He?

                         Someone said,

                         "God is silent."

                         Could it be

                         it is because

                         they aren't speaking

                         for love?

                         Yet, sometimes love

                         is quiet-eyed,

                         when it disrobes

                         to dream of love.

                         I know for a fact

                         love bears a billion

                         images of deeds;

                         speaks trillions of words

                         a day.

                         Who among us can say

                         God is silent!

                        

 

 

 

 

 

                         I REST IN A DREAM AND THE DREAM MOVES ME

 

                         I rest in a dream

                         and the dream moves me.

                         Please don't despise the images I speak...

                         they may be truer

                         than you think.

                         A judge once said

                         that God is our Judge;

                         it was a king who said

                         that God is a great King;

                         and a Lover who sang

                         that God is love.

                         Perhaps God

                         was once

                         a slim young girl

                         who let her clothes slip from her

                         and wore only

                         a holy robe of sunlight

                         on the battlefield.

                         But this is a poet's dream

                         who longs for sexual innocence

                         and to say it, I feel shy.

                         Yet, I've heard God say,

                         "When the soul slips naked

                         from the body...

                         no one is shy."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         ECSTATIC SUBSTITUTIONS

 

                         If I should ask to kiss the sun

                         it would melt my lips to liquid;

                         if I should ask to kiss the moon,

                         it would freeze them like ice.

                         But I can kiss sunshine

                         in an apricot, or in your skin,

                         or by writing poems

                         about your eyes.

                         And I can kiss the moon

                         in a pearl,

                         or by touching your breasts,

                         or by slowly singing

                         a song of your face.

                        

 

 

 

 

                         THE OLD ONES OF LOVE

                         (A Communion)

 

                         There is a place

                         where the souls of old women meet--

                         those who spent their lives

                         cooking fabulous feasts:

                         it is the rich rest

                         of a gathering goodness,

                         it is the candle light

                         that bathes lover's bodies,

                         it is the scent

                         of rose petals

                         on bare skin.

 

                         And these old women

                         mutter prayers

                         in the form of recipes of love:

                         first take a pinch of star light

                         and sprinkle it into the shadow

                         of an aloe plant,

                         then add two shakes of cinnamon

                         across a slice of green apple,

                         toss it all into a cherry wood fire

                         and drink the flame.

 

                         The smiles of these old women

                         can make the whole desert glow

                         in a moonless midnight.

                         The smiles of these old women

                         give hope

                         even to a wild and destitute child.

 

 

 

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