Offering

for Ms. Oliver

____________________

What am I doing
when you look over and catch me
staring,
and a scrap of laughter finds its way out
as you ask me
“What”?

This isn’t exactly rhetorical.
And I know I usually answer
“Just thinking.”

But what happens is
we fall for someone,
and even if we don’t admit it,
we notice

when they read a book
and the morning sun filtering in through the blinds
gathers in their hair
like light illuminating a marble sculpture
as their eyes drift away from the pages;

and they have their own little sounds of contentment
that exit and dance in the air
as they spread butter or twirl spaghetti;

or there’s that thing they do with their face;

or whether they talk or remain quiet in the woods-
whether they know of wisdom or of reverence;

the way they say exactly;

and their endless ocean of silence
made up of every word they never say,
and the why;

and islands, as well-
those secret islands we might bring each other to,
and the maps only each the other holds,
will ever hold…

Consider:

the bird’s feet run, stop, run, stop, run across the sand.
The bird is looking for something,
and the spray and flowing crawl of the sea
whispers the tracks away.

The dog lopes along the snowbanks,
breaks into a run, cuts to the side, stops, turns,
runs back and tackles you.
You have forgotten that he loves you
and so now must be reminded.
It’s not your fault. The dog knows you’re only human.

The horse is stretched out
and running freely into the wind,
which does not slow her.
The fields are deep in green
and the thunderheads are dark of blue,
and she kicks at the striking lightning.
The horse loves the storm, you see,
as the storm loves her back.

Consider

that I have buried many dead things,
yet have unearthed my own heart every time.
Consider all the times we’ve each done so.

So in all honesty, when you catch me,
I’m not “just thinking”
(even though that may sound better).

As you’ve noticed, I like to pay attention.
Must pay it, in fact.

If I could offer a thing more precious,
then please,
tell me.

That’s all I’m doing, my dear.

I’m just paying attention.

Grace Note

It is a simple thing,
really,

but I have decided
that I miss your voice;
or perhaps
the presence of your voice;
or, I think,
simply the suggestion
of the possibility
that your voice
might be spoken.

I think I miss you,
in fact,
as one might miss a piano
that used to sit
in the living room
near the highest window-

waiting to sing the old songs

as sunlight slips softly
through the glass,

or snow piles silently
upon the pane.

Winterlight

Out of the valley of shadow
and into the arms
of fire and of ice-
see now the horizon line
burning
over the frozen teeth
of the mountains.

See now breath
coalescing into fog,
See now ice start to drip
off of branch and rock;
and listen to the wind…
only listen.

What do you hear?

Such it is with emergence,
with voyage,
with survival
and with salvation.

Such it is
with winter and sunlight.

Note From Your Future Child

Listen,
you’ll try to get everything else right-
and by gods, you probably will;
but
if you would tell me a story,
then tell me a proper story-

one of the fire and the bone,

of the way the dust of the road
kicks up behind boots in the dry season;

tell me of scentsongs of rains on the field,
tell me of the planting and of the reaping;

tell me of where eternities sleep
beyond the edge of mountains made of thunder;

tell me of how a cold wind
fills the bellies of snapping sails;

tell me of the weaving of wave and rock,
and of the hushed embrace of the deep forest;

tell me what lies beyond;

tell me what they used to sing,
and why;

tell me of music;
wait, tell me why people dance;

tell me of love found
and lost
and found
and lost again;

tell me how he falls,
tell me how she keeps on;

tell me of long waiting,
of small courage,
of great vengeance,
of deep mercy;

tell me of the reaching horizon;

tell me how they made the map,
tell me of the thirst for new stars;

tell me of what hungers in darkness,
tell me of the death of hope;

and tell me
in the right hands
and in the right heart
what may rise from the ashes.

By gods, this world likes to hang its head and say,
“Those were the days.”

So,
do what you will with the easy parts,
but tell me a proper story.

epic_adventure_by_jjpeabody-d7vj0gr
artist: https://deviantart.com/jjpeabody

Weathered Sign at the Mouth of the River Cave

_______________
WEARY TRAVELER

If you’re reading this,
then please,
sit
and rest awhile.

Before entering,
be aware that

in spite of
[__________]
you’re actually
a very good individual,

regardless of
[__________]
you are forgiven
and are loved by numerous people,

and that even
[__________]
will not defeat you;
though it will try.

If anyone or anything tries to
[__________]
you, or
[__________]
for you,
recall the following:
– you are forged from stars
– you are made from oceans
– you are composed from music.

If you ever get lost,
refer to your map;
in time you will attain
[__________]
and
[__________].

So sit,
and rest awhile-
ye have come already so far
and into the dark beyond
ye must now go.

Listen- can you hear it calling?

Remember now, Traveler-
blade sharp,
torch dry,
eyes up.

faa08d0f8e0fa1ead7584444d22f6f0b
artist credit requested

Entanglement

The chords of sunset fall to the earth
and drift ever lightly,
flowing through warmth of a summer
to fade down low-key in the electric descent of the night,

where your touch
is the ghost of the last solstice;
your voice,
the thunder of the preceding equinox,
and the kinetic energy
of angels all fallen to perfection;
where your soul
is a roaring and territorial
song of the solar aurescent…

and your heart-

your heart, seeking in the wilds of humanity
a home that was here, ever-present.

Staring down the slowly-racing horizon,
breathing in the dusklight,
lungs filling deep with the dust of dead suns,

one silent prayer,
one lone evocation into the dark defiant, my dear:

may, one day,
you deny your god
before the crowing of the next sunrise

by daring to look up as you once did-
to watch the stars.

falling_star_by_snatti89-dc392e7
artist: https://deviantart.com/snatti89

Waves III

Listen, now;
this is where the story gets really good.

Once conscripts
in the fleet of fate violent,
now only inheritors
of the mark of mystery;

once free to stay bound in irons
and to sleep in chains;
now there are temple paths
and distant cities of gold come a-calling.

So who now will rise up and strike forth
into the heart of dawn?

If you will it so,
then you must journey through the soul of night.

For footprints, once trailing a path through the wreckage
lead to a bottle, open on the ground-

(as lightning let down its hair,
shunting
and stabbing

thunderblack

over the reaches to the mountains beyond,
in between the scent of salt and the sound of the shore,
into the drunken sinking sundown-

sliding off naked stars
into the blankets of ocean waves
where sand slips into surf)

-a bottle lay open on the ground,

where scraps of memory tumbled out,
where scraps of sacred words
combusted into flames of feast and famine,

where scraps of scripts of saints
of time, signature, and distance
immolated under the grace notes of the open heart,

and a full measure of passions improvised
fancied itself the fire, and danced in the sparkening
under the veil of the night;

where, no longer bound by letters of the heartless bedestined,

they both hauled up and raised the black.

For love is a weightless anchor of light,
and an open rebellion against the agents of death.

Behold the horizon laughing in the sinking sundown.
Behold the gift of the wind.
Behold the map and the music.
Behold the sound of laughter unfurled in the kiss.

If you find a bottle like that, one day
(and I hope you do),
hold it to your ear.

You may hear the sound of magic.

For in the space
where hands like theirs meet,
the storm itself envies.

Capitola Beach - Jean Guillet
artist: https://chateaugrief.deviantart.com