Excepts from the book
Autobiographical Poems from Childhood, to Searching Youth, to Maturity
POCKET OF PURE BEING
One finds hints of a calling
in guarded silent corners of one’s being.
One would not call it “mind” at the early age.
Neither would a lad in the cinders call it Soul.
The Pocket of Pure Being grows
not quite like limbs, not like the common sort of knowing—
the stuff that grown-ups make such a fuss about.
Grown-ups or grown-downs—the child begins to wonder,
though not exactly in those terms.
Teachers go a-striding the playground like some prehistoric raptors.
History and fairy tales start to come alive.
Secret pockets, magnifying glasses, shells, pretty stones,
maps of buried treasure, pieces of twine.
Whether such treasures actually still exist is beside the point,
just as Santa Claus requires no analysis.
The proof is in the presents and the season.
It all makes wonder-filled sense.
All collectibles in the child’s secret pockets,
which one either grows into, making it larger still,
or grows out of, becoming a pedestrian little fellow.
To be in the Pocket of Pure Being
is to be at any age in the Age of Something beyond reason.
All the seasons come and go
yet something remains to have and to hold,
remembering the child who was no child
and the adult who has not grown old.
A DOOR MOMENTARILY AJAR
Legends, fairytales, and myths
sneak under the watchful teacher’s eye.
Indeed, there was once-upon-a-time
a door held momentarily ajar—
Children ignite a gaze to the afar
seeing wizards, fairies, dragons with wings
while grown-ups think there are no such things—
Frogs that talk, trees that sigh,
bridges to cross when trolls comply.
I too can be the hero who is—
a playground game, a page in a book,
then it’s down to the office with teacher’s look.
But who’s to say who rules this space—
a lonely child in a sterile place.
The good and bad is subtle to see
for windows opaque manage to squeeze
too much magic out of each day’s breeze.
But magic still happens, it’s not that far
when a door is held momentarily ajar.
EVERY MISSION’S ON A THREAD
Every Mission’s on a thread— No risk, no gist, one might say.
One has to have luck
when the thread’s extended to No Man’s Land—
and where sheep find nothing to graze.
Clues are few. Favored by the gods
was heard somewhere along the way.
Not the recitation of the parrots, to be sure.
“Steady as she goes,” the Captain shouts
“The edge of the world!” fears the crowd
waving tearfully from the rocks.
Indeed, time to wave goodbye. Time to be alone in the crowd.
Time to be just a wee bit crazy.No time to nod in unison
with the tired, the elite, and the lazy.
Knowing sometimes follows upon seeing
the vertical in the horizon.
The ninety degree angle frictions into little polarized sparks.
There goes another in deep consternation,
or kicking and screaming as if Fate had brought ill luck.
But on occasion the whelk-like cosmic spiral
can be seen whirling into the commonplace.
After all, where there is no vertical
there is extension—mile upon maze.
Here, if you chalk your way with coded glyph,
you might finally recognize a certain familiarity,
although scenes change.
A moment quivering—not exactly a déjà vu,
and then either the familiar return of maze circling
or the courage to take one of the filtering onion-like peels
and will it free—seeing then in that much of a less mirrored way.
MIRROR ON THE WALL
Platitudes sufficing not,
mirror on the wall finds anxious thought
revealing something never seen before.
Surface blemish makes no difference now.
It’s the Eye and the Soul of the eye that sees.
Rain in the night with sounds of heels
click-clacking across dripping grates,
and laughs—with heart pounding far too loud.
No part of this. Not here. Not now—the Mirror says.
Too island-like to know where sweetest youth
will step and go and walk out on some frozen lake,
finding mirror in the ice—and not the soul.
Aloneness creeps and becomes a friend.
The comfort Word then settles down and in
dove-like presence both filling and winged.
Oh, Mirror, on this not uncommon wall,
tell Youth the EYE in eyes can surely see
far beyond the not-real ways and wiles.
Small, not grand, begins the mirrored step.
Self, not they, is peeled back and searched.
Hope and Luck await intent.
Mirror, indeed, both Love and Truth—
the twinkle in the eye of searching Youth.
And when parents kneel, bow low and pray,
Sons and Daughters see the most precious way.
GOD IS LOVE
GOD IS LOVE in large gold letters
behind the lectern, basement of the church.
Made perfect sense to the boy in Sunday school.
Axiomatic, he might have said
had he known the word, although he wasn’t
perfectly clear how it all played out.
For struggling humans it seemed
a hopeful affirmation, he might have thought,
though oft forgotten and seldom applied,
was his obvious observation.
Nevertheless, Sunday school came close.
People were kind and he felt good.
GOD IS LOVE—just exactly how does that play out?
He prayed to the Moon one night, so large and mighty in the sky,
silly as he knew that was.
He sure wasn’t going to tell mom or dad—
Sun and Moon worshipers were they not.
God is Love, no doubt, made a lot more sense.
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES—that was a real hard pill to swallow.
He didn’t see anybody doing that.
Except maybe one person at the church,
the one people paid so that he would pray for them.
Even though the economics of it all didn’t quite make sense,
people were healed, there was no doubt about that.
But not always. God works in mysterious ways,
explained most of the unresolved cases.
Yet everyone had at least one miracle.
Everyone who survived this long had at least one.
When the little boy grew up, he could count a dozen,
probably more. GOD IS LOVE—
There’s absolutely no doubt about it.
Action is in the doing. Thought is in the thinking.
Warmth is in the loving. But the Will—the Will—
Is the acorn lying on the ground.
The Seed is in the rearing. Mother’s tears are in the watering
Father’s love is in the shining. But the Will—the Will—
Is the sapling hardly to be found.
The Tree is in the standing. The View is in the blessing.
The Life is in the spreading. But the Will—the Will—
Is squirrel burying acorns by the pound.
BUDDHA WASN’T THE ONLY ONE
Buddha wasn’t the only one who sat under a tree
refusing to move till seeing eternity.
A lad strolled through town—
Life or death, he wondered? Signs were not good.
Animated shapes, to be sure, but strangely threatening to dissolve.
Out of town he watched a farmer
load then unload his wagon with sand—Too heavy for his horses to pull.
Sisyphus signs were not good—A straw to break a fragile mind.
Best to go the Buddha route. What matters if there’s no tree.
Sand will suffice and the endless sky.Not hard to get outside of time.
He sat, looked out and up. And there it was,
sure as any Orpheus bringing up the sun.
The lad died to his own death. The soul quickened all anew.
Buddha wasn’t the only one who sat under a tree
paying homage to what is, what was, and what wills ever to be.
The Bull of God moves as cyclic as the sea
turning all pain into deep serenity.
LEARN TO LOVE A WOMAN
Every man should learn to love a woman,
for she deserves what she so freely gives
while holding back the universal secret
that love is God’s most ardent wish.
It’s special for a man to love a woman,
for to man it is his heart and soul.
Have we not seen anger in abundance
when conceit thinks love to him is owed.
Every man should learn to love a woman
for she can say then Peace at last.
Spring will come and settle into lilies.
Birds will sing and build their nests.
A MOMENT WHEN THE WORLD STOOD STILL
The Big Questions have always been my cup of tea,
my friend said, taking a sip to punctuate the pause.
The forest and the trees circumnavigate the corner of every land.
Lost is easy to get—Path hard to find.
Beauty’s everywhere in the formless signs.
The Big Questions, he said, are turned
and spoiled in the ego-mix of who’s on first,
whose woods are these, who leads the charge.
He often mentioned Socrates and how then is now.
Big stuff, not small, though small is big when the termites crawl.
Small is sweet as flowers and bees and gifts the children find and are.
Weighty are the Big Questions.
Life or death for Socrates—no terrorist, this quiet one
who scared the mighty little ones.
Accuse me? Socrates simply walked truth.
They ran and hid just long enough to plan
the bitter pill for anyone who delves too deep.
Same now as then. But Socrates took it all in stride.
Not surprised was he by those who have a momentary place in the sun.
When Socrates passed the whole world stood still.
My friend glanced up to the sky.
Big Questions hang around and linger on.
They’ve always been my cup of tea,
he said, as he took a sip and waited for me
to see to hear to ask, and then to take the plunge.
ALL OTHERS TOWED
Seeing him all at once—White Toad looked so funny!
I look quickly for the warning sign: “All Others Towed Away!”
Gradually he turned the other way, yet seeing him all at once—
White Toad, red shirt, purple-yellow buttons.
Tow this Toad away, I think.
Small town wrapped round someone’s finger.
Brazen red shirt and beady eyes, sunglasses like a thin disguise—
how to escape before getting fried? Swallow hard and reverse the drive.
“Hey, Boy, why you parked there? Contemplating suicide?”
“No Sir, your Honor, just taking a drive,
Grandmother’s house, apple pie—the natural way of getting high!”
Of course he knew it was a downright lie.
But when they interpret law with a funny hook
and towing cousins have that hard-up look,
you roll up the window and say no more.
Smile and wave, keep the metal off the floor.
Suddenly old prayers are recalled with ease.
Small town cops just love to tease.
Pull in the bank, try to stay long,
tell the teller there’s a fire out of town.
She makes a call, the cop’s then gone.
Or was that fire yesterday?
When there’s so much beauty, memory’s blind.
She giggles and smiles, I wave goodbye.
See you tomorrow—a toad-like lie.
But like-cures-like, as a reptile rises
and Buzzard tell one how to dodge surprises.
QUEEN OF HEARTS
If one is favored by the gods,
it behooves one to draw no attention.
Let others wonder long and hard.
When the GAME is nearly over,
it’s time to lay down ALL one’s cards.
If you’ve been dealt the Queen, it’s more than luck.
Appear a bit displeased by all means,
but take this Beauty to your heart of hearts.
Watch those chasing Kings and Aces.
See thou not the royal flush
of those in the tiresome me-first rush?
Endless patience has the Queen.
And in a strange sort of way that’s all one needs to know
favored as one might appear to be
losing battles winning wars.
Shredding old ways and worn
She moves quietly in Her Light,
visiting heart-to-heart, lending ear to ear
in middle of sparkling cosmic night.
SQUIRREL’S ON A MISSION
Some squirrels gather nuts and hoard their store.
Others bury acorns and forget where they are.
Trees emerge, Squirrel starts to think,
Did I do this, or is natural selection at work?
Squirrel is on a Mission—any child can see.
Is the man in the lab that deaf to the breeze
of the Hand Divine so easily traced
from flower to bee, from stitch to lace?
Such Designs occur not by chance.
Don’t get carried off by army of ants.
Go forth, little squirrel, or hide in the bush
while lab rats look for new bars to push.
The stride of spirit’s softer side
slips and slides, and lifts and glides.
Woman’s grace says replicate—
while fluids fill her closing eyes.
No longer hiding her healing song—
Cresting flow of the cosmic tide—
it’s Time, her time for one and all
and man’s bad luck to be swept aside.
Woman stirs some deep blue sighs,
subtle weaves while shadows move—
the martial art of the heart-to-heart
softens blows and clips the rose
of life’s unpleasant thorn-to-thorn.
One learns her art of feel and pluck
while beauty sparks and seasons grow
with nature’s gifts too long ignored
we wait and see what she restores
while humming moods and making dolls
whispered from above the clouds.
Gather round, smile, make way, we say,
and pound the staff upon the floor.
The Queen of blues and wooden spoons
has come to rule the nest and more—
the Nation nest, the World, no less!
Come, Lovely One, old and young,
soothe and heal the many wrongs.
Oh Angel of the secret arts,
your day is on the cosmic rise.
Be strong as you already are
that men may know and see or cry.
A soul mate is one who is able to carry love higher and higher.
No easy feat, the incremental step
from sweets to festive dance,
from dark clouds to waiting in the wings.
Through thick or thicker still the soul within
is cradled—a seeing beyond what others see,
hearing subtler than a snowflake alighting on a rose,
or a bat whipping in the wind.
Soul love carries the mate through all kinds of storms.
Come abreast, one wants to say, hold tight till tomorrow.
This too will be but a winding mountain pass
to the very magic carpet upon which I sat
when the two of us bowed before the Master.
HOW WOULD YOU KNOW LOVE
How would you know love
if mother’s heart followed you not across distant shore
to that non-revolving door where all doors shut tight
when you came knocking on those loveless nights?
Indeed, how would you know love
if silent night-screams on some city bridge
found no flower on the window ledge—
finding inside what was all around,
the hollow clapping of the no-love sound?
How would you know if this vital task
was not yours to bring to ducks in pond,
to shifting cats shunned by everyone
except one who knows how it feels
to love-seek in a love-sparse world?
Indeed, how would you know
the art of filling the love-dry cup
had you not seen the waterless holes
the dried up fountains that no longer flow?
Loveless, indeed, go and find the one sure gift—
the gift of the no-love space.
How else would you know exactly what it takes
to be stretched so thin, to value so much LOVE!
Feel it ooze now from every cellular sense.
Brick upon brick on this distant shore
recall now and be pleased by the Mother of it all.
Every knock therefore now a sacred knock—
every jaunt an egoless one to fill loveless with love.
How else would you know?
A PACKET OF WILDFLOWER SEEDS
To grow as a flower in a friendless harsh milieu—
miracle of Mother Nature’s hand and touch.
Now there’s the true magician’s trick!
To be a flower precisely there, to grow without complaint or favor,
to subsist against all odds, to ward off weeds and storms
harsh and cold, and then to have a colleague tap you on the shoulder:
Here, take these. No big deal.
A packet of wildflower seeds.
Just happened to think of you.
Wild, indeed, color among choking greens,
and now this—an honorary degree,
to pin to the board of things to do—
a true friend in a friendless milieu.
When the leader empowers not self but other,
other runs with the newly found find.
Little Guy morphs to some mighty GIANT—
proud with long stride, head held high.
Spark goes out like flame in sand.
Worm eats and fabric goes with time.
The simplest key, hand-joining-hand,
lost before Wee Giant’s mini-design.
“Take me to your leader.” There’s the door!
Who can stand among thistles and thorns?
Not a pretty sight, the non-friend chum
wishing to be before his time has come.
To lead is to be where few want to go—
Who knocks on heavy laden doors?
One might as well talk to trees and cats
and to the wind awakening an ancient lore.
When a few can move together as one
then brightly shines the inner sun.
Gone are the days when one was show
while all little giants were held in tow.
Nothing will save except quantum leaps,
for little giants spring up from little sheep
and see no mountain on which to climb
as they fall in love with narcissistic ride.
THE FINE ART OF LEARNING
The fine art of learning— Finding one who knows
for many have non-answers as non-issues flow,
waiting for shredding as bins start to grow.
The fine art of learning— Drawing a ring—
Alchemically cooking to the essence of things
till the magic just happens and kids start to sing.
The fine art of learning— Learning what it takes
to give and to salvage before saving’s too late
as the city on the hill sinks in hole by the lake.
Good Citizen—red tape hoops and loops
never bothered you as long as you could leave
walk free of any need to salute click heels
pledge oaths of smiling cheese, indeed,
one’s heart goes out and wonders
of files in cyber carts and bureaucrats
with benefits too good to lose to drop.
“Good Citizen,” the politician cries.
Now there’s the joke of party lines.
Ignorance itself is welcomed bliss
compared to subterfuge of tricks
thick enough to launch a fleet of ships
while stuffing full some well-heeled trips
for those who smugly tip the girls
who bring the drinks who wear the pearls.
Good Citizen, a mother once told
a wish and now a herd of rascals bold
enough to grab to hold to squeeze the life
of those who vote and pay each toll
sucked down the bottomless rabbit hole
when all the time their smug stale speech
is hardly worth the space to reach
across the aisle of painful breach.
Oh, Good Citizen—and mother—the one
who raised the boy who once shipped out
waved from deck to shore, smiling now
the grin that’s etched on heart and space
worth more than trip to flowered grave.
No life’s worth that worthless run,
as mother holds in thought her only son.
Good Citizen, you are not alone.
Your son in heaven hears heart’s note.
Your love sounds when all guns go out.
You stand now and you know this—
Those who pound podiums loud with fists
failing to see life’s sacred bliss
thinking of themselves in history books
will fade while your love lives and proves
who stands on hill who thrives who rules.
Oh, Good Citizen, be thou strong
enduring as hard as the day is long—
Chains of egos fashioned small
cowboy generals revolving doors
insider skills with money galore
like packrats with a secret hoard
recede now retreat, as silence falls
while mothers are now standing tall.
Mother’s heart is a funny thing
with its tiny small yet cosmic ring—
that knows so well the inside out
of hidden arks that float and soar
where wings brush gently on the door—
Welcome, Good Mother, strength of things,
Welcome, Good Citizen, the Chorus sings.
PLAY, ORPHEUS, PLAY
Two Horses—Lampus and Phaethon—
draw the Chariot of the Sun across the sky.
Torch and Shining are the meaning of their names.
Eros is Dawn announcing the coming of brother Helios.
The Goddess awakens us to Her Brother’s Light.
It is a warming splendid dawning day.
What more of a daily bread could one possibly ask?
The Sun moves across the clock-work sky.
And then there is your Sun and mine
trying to get up and out of bed
when the inner sun will hardly shine.
Orpheus played music that the Sun would rise.
Some laugh even to this day at quaint myths and tales.
But not you and I, for we’ve read between the lines.
If the Sun is going to rise on this day
best be quick to see how the day will play.
The note that tames wild beasts and disperses clouds
is not that easy to find.Each milieu creates its own weather.
Clouds, fog, rain—it’s never quite the same.
Oh, play, Orpheus, play. Find your lost love beyond the River.
Find where she lays asleep or dying from some poisonous snake.
Awaken her, Orpheus—awaken and heal.
Love never ceases to play in such a way
that this fine day could be the very day
that makes all the difference in somebody’s world.
The cat in the alley finds a friend on floor
as laboring souls pass by all day.
Spare change squeezed from God knows where,
dropped in the hat as he silently prays.
To die to the never was, he thinks,
with hand on heart and eye to sky
is to live, he hopes, in the sure to come.
Heart to heart opens Kingdom’s doors—
the quiet wish of each new day.
The cat in the alley knows much more
than ever a cat is inclined to say
for love in a look and love in a touch
is a priceless jewel from one thought stray.
A solid white stead is all he needs—
A true blessing as clouds recede.
What awaits when strange paths one sees—
Damsels distressed, peasants to please?
Upon what pendulum does he swing,
Getting the nod from unsavory fellows.
Melancholy Knight lost in the woods
Tarnished and wounded by wayward arrows.
Know the good in an all new way,
Hold the good in prolonged battle,
Be the good is alignment craved,
Do the good—Knight’s constant trial.
TREATY BROKEN, WHITE MAN PLEASED
Wanting to be accepted without accepting,
wanting to be liked without liking,
wanting to be trusted without trusting
Conditional terms, it seems to be.
A treaty is signed, Indians not pleased.
Nation to nation, man to man,
a piece of paper, a stretch of land.
Treaty broken, White Man pleased
wanting to be loved without loving,
wanting to know without knowing.
Reservation’s the land reserved for thee.
Grueling the march, White Man pleased.
But a man’s no man without a dream.
Dust bowls, swamps in the land of the free.
In God we trust! He can hardly see.
Yet all tribes are One Tribe—who will see?
Birdman Eagle flies over the seas
Red Man, Black Man, Yellow Man free
when White Man sees Great Spirit in Tree.
LIFT the YOKE and DRAG the STONE
I started with LIGHT—
That served well to lift things up
Topping off the half-filled cups.
But egos compete and run about.
Boiling points reached, lights go out.
Switched to LOVE—
Takers came, sang like lovely birds.
But give, not take, is the magic word.
No wings sprout and nothing flies.
Ideas come, sit, and then they die.
Resorted to WILL—
That carried the day long into night
Many full years brought endless light.
Fields were ploughed, seeds were sown.
Walls taken in stride, some torn down.
Angels and Horsemen galloping round.
Work was lonely but never alone.
Who’s to lift the yoke and drag the stone
When the back is bent and the young ones roam?