At the Edge of Devil’s Lake

This lake is called “Devil’s” but
at this moment it is a gateway to heaven.
Its sentinels are a stalwart frog,
a water snake who has perfected s’s,
guppies nibbling at my toes, and
a butterfly in buttery yellow so
stunning that it melts my heart.

I spent a good bit of time tonight
taking in this lake by light of fireflies.

My hope is that it has settled in
my soul so that when the time
comes to step through the
pearly gates, I’ll find them within.

Speak to me, Poem

Speak to me, Poem. You
are intimate with the
Muse, and I not. What is
her story? Does she desire
to scratch my surface? Is she
tracking me, like I her? Or
does she roll over in the morning
and find satisfaction enough in
breeze, mountain, crevice?

I weary of my own rhyme and so pine
for her tongue since mine is tired.

Poem, talk to the Muse and
tell her I sit now in silence – my
pen aching to scratch her surface,
while I – well, I itch.

Stern Words

I sit at the stern of my sailboat.
Ducks float here and there. I
speak to them, and they to me, but
in duck tongue. So, no luck there
but still the night is magical.
Masts tick-tock like metronomes,
and the lap of water
against the hull whispers “satis est…

Night lights are so soft and the
sounds are scrumptious. The
rock of the boat is hypnotic.
Here at the stern I am
speechless, and
the word heard for those
with ears to hear is:
“Listen.”

Turtles in Pink

The water is glacier green in this lake called Pink.
Three turtles graced our field of vision as we
traced its circumference. This lake
tells the tale of a day when sea
covered what is now
trees and rocks and the history
that followed that flood.

I look around and see mystery:
people smiling at vistas,
fish at water’s edge,
sun blessing faces – and
joy arrives. It just does.

We work so hard to keep
death and sorrow at bay
that some days I wonder
whether we miss joy in
our striving… but joy
comes to us unawares: in
an unexpected call,
a smile that knows more,
an offer to help and
a willingness to be helped.

Joy comes in green and blue and turquoise.
Joy comes in the leisurely roll of a turtle,
turning my world round.

Reflesh Me

Today I heard a leaf sing, seeing
green grow lips as the earth
took voice in our garden.
It sang to me that no matter
my state of mind, I can always
lay down in the grass, where
ants would take care of my cares; where
grass would loosen my knot in life; where
the sky would bend down and stroke
my cheek – blue on my ever evolving
summer colour; and the wind, the wind
would refresh and reflesh me with memories of
cool, and sail, and a silent flight by grace
of a glider so many years ago. As I looked up
my time in the sky came again to mind
there on the ground, surrounded by a voice
that sang to me: “Never enough, never enough –
of Creator, creation, creativity! Do not quit,
but do pause, and breathe…”

Differently Wet

I look into my glass and
see the hue of sun-soaked rye.
I put my nose to its edge
and smell soil,
discern dirt,
learn of land.

The liquid on my tongue is full,
global in note. I can taste
more than I can name.

This drink is cool on my tongue,
warm in my throat,
hot to my heart.

I learned the other day that “whiskey” is
from Gaelic for ‘water of life.’ Of course,
such water is used to
slake and drown;
dream and destroy;
commemorate and obliterate.

Water is life.
Water is death. And
this sweet on my tongue slips
down the same throat that
channels breath, which will
one day end in death – to
begin a life
differently wet.

Mother Maple

These little maple leaves,
now breaking forth from bud
stretching their arms with
first cry will
soon toddle on tree, will
soon be schooled in photosynthesis, will
soon branch out and then
then settle down; life
made in their shade until at end
they blaze in glory and fall to fate:
fodder for humus; toil for humans.

What is tree to leaf?
Is she mother? Is the end of
each branch to womb? Does tree
portend leaf’s coming, being, going?
Or is tree like God? Or do the two merge?

I put my hand to trunk
and feel earth, intuit strength, know
life flowing to me like energy incognito;
life from womb in whom is
caring, Kraft, creation.

The Greatest of These

Friends, a poem I wrote for chapel at Luther this last week…

Faith, and hope, and love abide but which of
these charisms do you prize, deep
in this time of COVID, this time of
hoping for a cure for social paralysis, this time of
putting our faith in the science, even while
others despair of besting this tiniest of beasts?

All the while that spiky protein spins – it
mutates, and revolves, and rolls with the punches.
Don’t you just hate it? Or, perhaps you prefer to
hate something, or someone seen – like maybe
an incompetent politician, or your next door neighbour, or say
a racialized person, or perhaps someone
hating racialized people…

It seems hatred seeks something or someone
concrete to sink its teeth into,
aching to slake its thirst. And we know
so well the power of hate;
its grip in our belly,
its throttle at our throats
its sweet-bitter taste on our tongues as we
take down this one,
rake that one over the coals.

But love, love brooks no business with
hate – never sated by seeing
my sworn enemy put in her place,
but grace-fully love questions the place of
putting in place in our economy;
our oiko-nomos; our oikos; our house.
Love is a house-holder, setting the table instead
of settling the score – always finding a spot in the
ever-widening circle that is finally eternity, where
hatred is seen for what it is: abject fear – fear
cast out by love, by
… embracing those I fear, by
… embracing those afraid of me, by
… embracing the fears inside of me.

The disciples were locked in by fear but
Love walked through the door. Beloved
Thomas feared the truth but love exposed
its wound and wound its way around Thomas –
around me, until I found and now still find
me and you and those I hate in the
very same circle, in the same herd, shepherded
there by Love.

Faith, and hope, and love abide, these three beside
one another but the greatest of these is love and
the greatest of these is…
it really is.

Silently, Resurrection

I like to think that the resurrection
was silent, and unseen too, like
the rising of a stalk from a seed
deep in ground; like
the birth of thought while attending
a tree.

I like the idea of
resurrection as a
surreptitious inversion upending
trumpets, and triumph, and spectacle –
life sneaking out of death, a tiptoe
no-one knows is there… until
they do and then it disappears like
a shiver down your back, like
a déjà vu arresting you, like
dawn’s glow, spring grass’s green, comet crossing sky:
my eye sees, and then it doesn’t, and then it sees differently.

I like to think that the resurrection is everywhere
because it was first there, silently.

Holy Rain

The rain is soft outside my
window this late night, this early morning,
this liminal time. And sleep? It
sits at the edge of the room. It
hovers over my head. It
is phantasmal, appearing dimly, still
beyond reach, mirroring my failed grasp of
You – You, slipping through my fingers as if my
digits were made of space, as they are.
You will not be held, even while
You hold me, mold me, move me in
Your gaze: piercing, precise, and so
painfully close but never close
enough. I melt into desire and become
one with the rain outside my window:
falling on You,
through You,
with You.