Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When time closed your heart to me
You passed right through
Dance partners on different planes
Unable to hold each other
Invisible at close distance
No way to push the water
Back up this river

The river was fun
And the rapids were
Just bumps and dodges
Sitting in the raft
Where only pant legs got wet
And life seemed real enough

In a moment of neglect
Our raft overturned
At a standing wave
You and I torn apart
By the current
At once wishing differently
But knowing the truth
Searching for children
Tossed from the raft
Where we all felt safe

Agitating freely
In the belly of the river
This old sweater
To heavy in the water
The uncertain balance
Of over and under
Water then air
Not knowing
What will come
Who is safe
Fragile and precious
Each found breath

Eyes opening
Under water
Glimpse a new truth
That couldn't be seen
From the raft
Now lodged in me
As deep and as strong
As the river itself
The will to survive
Bobbing loose in the rapids
Surendering to the current
Finding its own strength

When my children are saved
When we are past this narrow gorge
I will find a bright new dream
Painted over that canyon of shade
Where we passed
Across the threshold
Into this bigger world
To find our deep
And quiet breath
Arriving again

Waking to the truth
Dust is blowing off the stone
Where we drew our dreams

Monday, December 8, 2008

Summer Nights

Summer Nights 1

I remember summer nights
When as a child
I lay in bed drifting
With the ocean
Listening to its waves
Hearing confident adult voices
In a different room
Summarize the adventures of their day
I often thought before I slept
That I understood how the sun
Matched my fading light
Near the end of a busy day
My skin so suntanned and salted
By summer days
Of swimming in the ocean
I felt safe in that place
And comfortable
In the bed where I slept
On gray flannel sheets
That were as soft
As the summer's night
The ocean happily played
Its own perfect music all night long
With only the moon that seemed to listen
While it passed in peace
Across the sky

I listened through my window
To the thousand songs
Of my very own ocean
As it played joyfully
Through the nighttime
Never tiring of stirring
Rounded granite gravel
Along the bay's upper beach
Each wave that crested
Broke and withdrew
Would shuffle and turn
Every bright stone it could find
Later as the ocean withdrew
With the falling tide
Its waves would only find
The sandbars
Where just a few rocks
Lived scattered among the shells
Or sat between clam siphons in the sand
Where they rested stuck
Nature's jewels set in her crown

The stones out there
Had wiggled down through water
After splash-landing into the ocean
Where we threw them
As high and as far as we could
Those stones
Made no crackles in the surf
But slowly disappeared
Into the sand a little more
With each visit of the tide
I never found the
Carefully chosen
Flat skipping stones out there
They were probably swallowed
By shifting sand right away

Summer Nights 2

I remember summer nights
That comforted me
When I was tired from pushing
Logs out to sea
Toward every boundary
And never quite managing
To fly as a bird or swim
As a fish or stand as a tree
Or to move with the purpose
Of an army of ants
Or a pollinating bee
Then, at the end of the day
Lying there waiting for sleep
To safely and quietly carry me home
I sometimes found
An unbroken thread of music
Fastened by the silver moon
That drew each wave
Onto the gravel beach
In front of our cottage
Sending its song
Across the sandy grass
Of our side yard
And through an open window
Of my magic dreams
Straight into my soul
In this simple way
The moon attached me to the ocean
For an entire lifetime

Even now when I sleep
Distant from the ocean
My hands find you
And move along your body
Pushing and drawing
A wave exploring its shore
After traveling in silence for so long
Finally free to celebrate the nature
Of the distant disturbance
That brought it to life
Tracing your shorelines
With my fingertips
I gently draw the silver threads
Of the ocean's music
Across your skin
To any one of
A thousand ocean rhythms
That has played in me
Since I slept a child

Now that I am older
I still sleep to the rhythm of a sea
Gentle snores ride the crests of breaking waves
As relaxed bodies drift
In the foam of a gentle surf
This place is somewhere close
To where we met for the first time
The music is loud and clear
When the ocean
Is near the height of its tide
Then fades to softer
And quieter tones
As the tide withdraws
To its solitary practice
Of sculpting patterns
In the shifting sands
Of isolated sandbars
Their designs perfectly refashioned
With every falling tide

Sometimes in the early morning
The ocean seems so gentle
And looks as if at rest
Then at other times
Smiling behind clenched white teeth
It just dares us
To give it a bare foot
Its undertow charged with heavy gravel
Set to bruise and batter shins and ankles
At each withdrawing wave

Now that I see
The ocean’s pattern on me
I remember the endless waves
Inviting me to express
My own deep and ever-healing love
Bathing me in the cadence of their rhythms
That has lived like a light in my hands
Since I played a child
The ocean as a teacher
Just as much as a friend
Offers its rising tide of love
To the silver light of the moon
Drawing us closer to the music
Of our own ocean waves