prowling heaven’s alleyways
with unexpected grace
you take your ease on Saturn’s stoop
then roam again the darkness,
an elegant, celestial stray hungry for attention.
Prone beneath your pathway,
curbstone-pillowed, concrete bound,
I squint and ponder
tracing your silent route through time
until I feel a tug
and hear the tiny, worried voice.
An earthbound stray has found her friend,
her source of food
no longer rising tall against the sky but flattened to the ground,
eyes turned upward,
head bent back as though the victim of a fall.
Green eyes wide,
she nudges hard against my pillowed head,
pushes back dismissive hands.
she bites and tugs my hair as though to pull me upright,
rescuing her realm
from a universe gone mad.
I leave the comet to its flight
and offer consolation to this nearer, living world.
“Look up,” I murmur,
running hands through fur that sparks
and shines like starlight in her eyes.
“A thousand years are passing.
A thousand years have passed.”
This older poem was substantially re-written after I became intrigued by A Milkweed Comet on Steve Schwartzman’s “Portraits of Wildflowers” blog. Comments always are welcome. To leave a comment or respond, please click below.
The sky lowers and the land disappears. A turning wind blankets the moon with sea-born fog, shrouding the contours of its glittering face. Harsh and brilliant above the fog, riding high behind fast-scudding clouds, it lights the transition between old and new, between one year and the next.
As the hours pass toward midnight, a lingering few stand silent, shrouded in a fog of thought, tangled in life’s web, caught between the Land-of-No-Longer and the Land-of-Yet-to-Be. Perhaps they glimpse a moonlit shard of truth hidden to revelers in the street – this is the way of life. What has been passes away into forgetfulness, even as the yet-to-be stirs toward vitality. Armies rise. Nations fall. Children squall into existence, wailing for the grandparents who sigh away into death. Across the farthest reaches of the galaxies, even the least star explodes with pulsating light while on our own shy, spinning globe, rotting leaves and the stench of mud evoke a season’s final turn. (more…)
Now that we have baked our cookies and trimmed our trees,
now that we have wrapped our gifts and planned our dinners,
now that we have hung stockings, sent greetings and set tables,
assembled toys, trimmed wicks, written Santa and hung wreaths,
the time has come to abandon it all,
if only for a moment.
Even as we anticipate our day of celebration,
Wisdom turns to extinguish the colorful strings of lights and dim the gleaming star.
Pinching out her candles
Wisdom sighs the music away, then brushes laughter off to rest in deepening drifts of silence.
Standing in stillness before her window,
Wisdom gazes toward the mystery of Christmas
And smiles at this truth – Christmas needs us not at all. (more…)
Woodworker and carver, sailor, musician, rememberer – Gordon Bok is an American treasure. You may know his work. Two years ago I’d not heard his name and might have missed his music forever, were it not for the graciousness of a reader.
The topic under discussion had been music, and in an emailed post-script he added, “I can’t think of a better song than Turning Towards the Morning.” Pointing me toward WAMC in Albany and their Saturday night broadcasts of the “Hudson River Sampler” he said, “I can almost guarantee you’ll hear something by Bok, if not this Saturday, then next Saturday for sure. And something by Stan Rogers as well. But you’ll also hear songs you’ve never heard before and will want to hear again.”
He was right. Since my introduction to Bok, to his fellow musicians Ed Trickett and Ann Mayo Muir and to their rich repertoire from an entirely different sea-faring culture, I’ve not stopped wanting to hear more. I’ve learned net-hauling songs and ballads of the Maine coast. I’ve marveled at Bok’s original work and delighted in his preservation of folk tales rooted in world-wide cultures. I’ve wondered at Bok’s pathway through life and been touched by his simplicity and kindness. I’ve even laughed at certain similarities between us. “I didn’t understand what my father did because he worked in an office,” Bok says, “and there was nothing that came out of it that I could feel – you couldn’t put a coat of varnish on it.” (more…)