the dream breaks down

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the dream breaks down

in this interminable uncertainty
comes the melting of belief and structure
so little remains to hold on to
I have often said and secretly feared
the prayer of letting go, of shedding
it is sometimes impossible to discern
the useless or even broken
the shapes form like pillows around my head
I am too sleepy to think
that even one of them
is unnecessary, or even harmful
it all feels so soft

and then I remember the feather I found today
a slip of white among the green blades
perhaps to remind me that I am sheltered
by a wreath of angels
or maybe that I would be fine
if I were to throw away
the whole downy collection under my head
I would be fine
after the long night
of tossing in discomfort

because in that night a light
will cross the waters of anxiety
to wherever I am in my mind,
such as now, on a rock beside a midnight lake
beside a shadowed mountain
that is kissing the orange moon
nothing with me, no pen
and at this age my brain
can no longer make copies of itself
if I were to write a poem in the air
it would surely be lost

and that is what the feather meant:
write poems without pillows
or pens, under the arc of the moon,
sheltered always, whether your brain
remembers or not

 

 

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an angel and a dog: an interim blessing

angel-and-dog

I’ve been in a creative cocoon, a lot going on inside, but not much to see from the outside. While hoping for a poem to emerge, I got this spontaneous sketch instead. It came from nowhere, like a blessing, and it made me smile.  I started with an arc which became the angel’s face, and I finished with a dog. It’s a simple drawing, but I hope you like it. And maybe you’ll be inspired to set your own pen down on a piece of spare paper and without thought or plan, follow the ink until the lines create a message and blessing just for yourself.

Prayer for Getting in the Clear

Golgotha by ALFRED HRDLICKA

A Prayer for Getting in the Clear

When you dwell in the dark quadrant of despair
and the book of your life
has become some jumbled hieroglyphics
on a gray, windowless wall,
I stand for you.

I stand on the Green Lawn of a Better Day.
Barefoot, in tadasana, I stand for you
like a mountain, grounded deeply in the earth
and I breathe into my core your garbled chapter.
A violent wind
circles my head like a black wreath.
I remember my own tempest,
how unsure I was of my ability to endure,
how lost I was when my map of Right and Fair
burnt up.

I stand for you at the Crossroads of Change,
my feet firm, the howling wind of shared pain
crossing my head in every direction.
My hands lock over my heart.
Inside a prayer grows wings
and takes flight,
hooks the maelstrom by the tail and trails away
until you and I are both once again
in the clear.

Golgotha -2  by ALFRED HRDLICKA
Both photos:
GOLGATHA, 1963 by ALFRED HRDLICKA
Installed at Storm King Arts Center, New York
 

As I wandered the Storm King grounds, I was drawn to this somewhat remote figure in the woods. It had a presence that I couldn’t name. I didn’t identify the title or artist until after I’d left the park. Golgotha was the site of the crucifixion of Jesus. As I studied the photos I’d taken, layers of meaning revealed themselves slowly in my mind. The splash of sunlight at the heart of this figure solidifies my sense of belonging in front of that sculpture at that exact moment.

Find Water, and You Will Find Freedom

Water on flower 8

Find Water, and You Will Find Freedom

Find water, and see beauty.
See beauty, and make art.
Make art, and feel joy.
Feel joy, and find freedom.

 

This poem is simple to read. But, if you choose to wade in, you might discover the poem as a body of water, coming in waves, one line at a time, each line becoming a contemplation or an assignment. Follow one, and see where you end up.

Water on flower 10

“The most powerful presence in every poem is what is left out… {A poem} is about creating a sequence of words which work through suggestion and leave space for you to envisage, evoke, or incarnate that which is exactly suggested.” ~~John O’Donohue, From the recorded lecture, “Divine Imagination.”

Water on flower 11

Monday Morning Mary: Remembrance

Picnic Bench on a Perfect Day

Remembrance

Today I would rather not make art
My brain feels like a deflated soccer ball
The trees are perfect
The sunlight is also perfect
as are the crickets, the white butterfly that rises
in a zippity pattern like a kite string,
and the dog sleeping under the picnic table.
The breeze, when it decides to stir,
is perfect.
The deer, the groundhog,
and all the silent creatures in the brush,
perfect, perfect, perfect.

Nothing I could write
could improve the scene
one iota.

Better to take a nap
and wake later
to a clap of thunder,
to an acorn falling,
or to the remembrance
of a book I forgot I was reading,
or perhaps a book I was supposed to write

Mary at Dusk Remembrance

Prayer to St. Brigid of Ireland

 

St Brigid

St. Brigid

A patron saint of Ireland, Saint Brigid is also a patron saint of poets. Although today is the feast of St. Patrick, I’m posting this prayer to St. Brigid in honor of all things Irish in me and around me. Wishing you many blessings.

 

Prayer to St. Brigid for Creativity

Just as you led the Celtic mind
out to the meadow of transfiguring light,
lead also my hopeful imagination
out into a new meadow this day

Just as you shed physical beauty for the gifts of spirit,
quell also my accumulating nature
so that the gifts of the grassy fields
may come gently into focus

Just as you wove reeds into a tale of conversion
May I also weave available stalks into an artful message

May I be in your vein brave and creative.