for Eli and Ananda
“Charles, the past must have its say but not its way.” Nana
After supper we sit on concrete steps
where our names are written in colored chalk
to watch lightning shoot sideways across the sky.
Eli is in my lap, my arm over his shoulder.
Ananda leaning on my right side, her hand touching my knee
before the rain began.
Above and around us thunder! Lightning!
Surrounded by so much power, we laugh and sing a song about Jesus
finally come with tongues of fire and trumpets blown!
Now my children are asleep.
I listen to trains blow through Fairfield carrying soybeans and seed corn
to silos in Ottumwa.
Hail scratches at my window panes with the fingernails of children
lost in a town without power and light.
Trees jump out of the dark in left over lightning
streets filling with rain.
So much light is in the sweet gum tree.
As if everyone I have ever loved is standing in her branches.
A wind has come up
and they are waving and waving.
Freddie and the lights!
We lean against walls together, believing they are solid.
Find ourselves falling through them
find that we are flying!
For the little white dog
every smell is a door opening to a room
with ceiling so high
it has its own atmosphere, its own sun and moon.
He enters, following lights through an inner door
into other and other rooms.
I who drink rain water from the hoof print of a white calf
choose to follow.
Shivabalayogi Maharaj 1935-1994
In this world
we have to do our best
to keep our core humanity alive.
If we can see light
we must see it.
If we can catch sight of joy, we must see it
point to it.
Yes it is dark. This is undeniable.
Everyone feels that darkness
but not everyone can feel the joy
see the light rising and moving along the tree line.
That is my duty now.
I will do my best not to be fooled
my own or any other persons’.
Just to feel, see, taste, touch, if I can, the life itself
what we are.
There is an emptiness I know well
that asks for and gives no mercy.
There is a joy that sings for no reason
through the green hollow.
Having made nothing of myself
I sit on my bed in dusk
listening to wood doves along the fence line
of my neighbor’s pasture.
…I brought him to my Mother’s house
to the bedchamber of the one who conceived me.
Song of Soloman 3:4
GO TO HER
Leave the flesh waving behind
as you would an acre of maize.
Float out to Her
your voice like a morning glory opening
in the throat
a name forming on your tongue
one thousand syllables of falling water
drawn from our Mother’s well
fed by Her spring
hidden until sung for
in the folds of Her.
A raven’s shadow, large as a red tailed hawk
follows me on the road to the White Salmon.
There is no need of meaning in this world
unless I choose it.
I choose light and dark moving together
under a canopy of maples
and walk along God’s forearm into palm
of his hand.
There is a way through earth known only to water
and to the water witch with a pliant branch of willow in his hands.
I am a ghost of water
whispering into my own good ear
all I need to know
how I live and move and have my being in a Gulf
how all of us are bathing in our selves
the light we see by
streaming from our own eyes.
for my friends and family
April 24, 2014
I notice hair receded from my forehead.
When I look back for what has disappeared
for what is left of me
I see the wide face abandoned in its mirror.
I see inside emptiness a fire, inside fire
a smile common as a breath of air.