There is the ancient story of a shepherd boy
whose king outfitted him with armor
to ready him for the challenges of the day
and the boy could not walk
so he threw off the armor
picked up his sling
and tended his father’s flock
with peace and joy freely erupting in song.
My armor is not wealth or wit
I cannot make myself fit
into the current conventions and hype
trying to conform to the normal type
stops up the energies that yearn to flow
freely and gleefully and urge me to go
to the dawn, darkness, clouds and sun
to wrap myself in words that run
like sparkling streams
and windswept dreams.
Poetry is my armor for each day
where worries and problem allay
where I search my feelings and mind
for the word elixir loosening knots that bind.
This armor does not weigh me down
but frees me to my triggering town
where I find and create the poet me
and the landscape of my soul’s poetry.
My favorite book about writing poetry is one by Richard Hugo, Triggering Town where he says, “Your triggering subjects are those that ignite your need for words. When you are honest to your feel¬ings, that triggering town chooses you. Your words used your way will generate your meanings. Your obsessions lead you to your vocabulary. Your way of writing locates, even creates, your inner life. The relation of you to your language gains power. The relation of you to the triggering subject weakens.”
Here I am in the middle of your days
before the summer has said goodbye
and the brown beauty of fall has arrived.
It is easy to forget to notice your
persistent pink exuberance of crepe myrtle
to escape the warmth of your winds
for the coolness of the den.
There is still time to grow
before autumn ushers in the first snow.
Being in your midst makes me mellow
slows me and gives me time to re-member
those I’ve loved in the midst of you, September,
time to listen to you in the songs of birds
hear the wisdom of your words
on the peaceful cusp of Libra and Virgo.
Speak to me September
blow your breath upon the ember
of this era in my journey
let not the sparks still remaining
be lost in the cross fires
and anxiety of these days.
In your haste to bid farewell to summer
forget not my moments of wonder
let me hear your thunder
and please before you leave me
speak to me in your deep warm voice
and resurrect me from the wasteland
of this languorous slumber.
Hold me in your arms
fold me into your heart
touch me and let me feel your softness
take me away from me
help me to see
through your big brown eyes
drench me in your light
for I am down
and in the dark
remind me to laugh
and lift me with your wings of hope
smile me that last mile
before I am too tired.
Back in the corner of the closet
they rest covered in layers of dust
so thick I can barely see their color
but I remember the days of trust
I placed in them on ladders
dragging the hose through mud
standing before the radial saw
cutting with fear of drawing blood
Yes they are quite ****
scuffed and parting at seams
soles worn and getting holey
walked through broken dreams
But I’ve got more work to do
I shake off the past with their dust
put on these old shoes cozy and true
and step into another future with trust.
I open the big glossy book
full of beautiful illustrations
galaxies, nebulae, moons and stars
cross into my view
as I travel its pages
In the black background
clusters of color and light
this page-turning cosmic flight
a tiny speck
in the expanding universe.
dot this inner space
in scattered remnants
undetectable by astronomy
or particle physics
in this collapsing sun.
Thank God for the stars
in my universe
who need no telescope
or cosmic observatory
to enter the inner space
to trace and find the heart
in this still expanding speck.
Written after again paging through a wonderful book I got several years ago: Voyage Across the Cosmos, A Journey to the Edge of Space and Time by Giles Sparrow. Also after watching an episode of Nova on PBS entitled A Black Hole Universe.
Writing is like jumping into a deep mountain lake
to find some tiny piece of my soul
submerged and floating there
an immersive brooding wistful prayer
or a flight into the blue thin air.
It is a cinematic journey
recording the fruits of noticing
what is right in front of the eyes
and finding what is deeper
Writing is looking into an old man’s eyes
and discovering the person there
just as much a spiritual venture
digging toward his center
as a physical sensation.
It is a magical mystery tour
taking the visible threads
in hand and feeling my way
to the roots
or pausing and squeezing the fruit
for its juice.
It is fun
it is a morning run
or an evening rest
pain, joy, and dreams expressed.
Writing is moving, grooving, including
taking a moment in time
exploding it in rhythm and rhyme
finding in the ordinary the sublime.
I roam the roads of this land
hop the hills, read the script,
listen to the sounds of logic and consequence
feel the wind on my skin
smell the flowers and grass
in this familiar landscape.
But I yearn for another place
an unexplored, exotic, even eerie space
I approach and tiptoe into a foggy
twilight border devoid of signs
nobody, no memory, no lines
I try to surrender to the fog.
But soon I’m back in the charted
remembered current waters
picking up the day’s packets bracelets and bobbles
but my legs soon start to wobble
in this state of awake
and again I search for a crossing
through the foggy realm
into the sweet lost land
Written after a bout with insomnia.