Monthly Archives: December 2002


There is a balm that soothes the troubled mind,
a cool blanket of fog that brings relief
anesthetizing what pain it can find;
a warm embrace that you can hide beneath.

It liberates the ear from hurtful noise,
dulls the sense of touch and blurs tired eyes –
slowing the walk and lightening the voice
so your words escape slowly, in small sighs.

And each inch of skin and bone is mellow,
relaxed, as if soaked in an ether bath,
tensions dissipated in a cool haze.

In this state, your mind is soft, like jello;
each creeping moment is cause for a laugh –
nothing much gets done on one of these days.

27 DEC 2002

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On such a tenuous and fragile thread,
the tender stuff with which mad dreams are sewn,
are woven all the notions of the head;
their pattern held by faith and will alone.

Each gentle tendril attached by a whim
and balanced with the slightest sense of touch,
upon a silver string so pale and slim,
’tis more a wisp of nothing – nothing much.

Yet with these flimsy strands the world is made,
and fastened surely to the breath of life,
connected to the source of each new day;

and in the folds are found both light and shade,
in equal parts are hidden joy and strife –
the gossamer thin fabric of today.

26 DEC 2002

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Waking Early

In the early hours of morning, the dawn
barely come upon the still sleeping world,
there is a quiet peace that lays upon
the earth; and before its axis has hurled

the sleeping planet into warm sunlight,
when the last remnants of night still linger,
its cold darkened grip of frost grasping tight
(you can see the mark left by its fingers)

before even the first sparrows arise
to greet the new day with their voices in song,
the balance of things shows itself to me.

Filled yet with sleep, I look with tired eyes
and see each thing in its place; I belong
in this space, and I can hear harmony.

25 DEC 2002

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Sunday, about two in the afternoon, I was walking out of the bedroom after assisting Star with some of the Yule dinner preparations, and I was struck with a strange pain from the middle of my lower back to just above my knees. It was as if my spine and hips had been put in traction – I was unable to bend, turn at the waist, or stand completely upright. I was in severe pain whenever I tried to sit in a chair (and even moreso in the fifteen minutes it took me to get OUT of a chair. I convinced Star that I didn’t need to go to the hospital, and told her to go on and do the shopping/visiting/present deliveries she needed to do. While she was gone, I proceeded to cook the Yule feast, interrupted by watching TV and being in and out of pain. As the evening progressed, the immobilization got progressively worse – I was having to walk up and down the porch steps sideways, one hand on the wall, and finally I decided to lay down. After the first attempt to get out of bed later that took me twenty minutes, things got progressively worse. Still, I assumed that the situation would improve if I just relaxed, took some aspirin and slept. To no avail. So yesterday we went to the emergency room, me still in pain, and after waiting 4-1/2 hours there were told it was a muscle spasm. They gave me a pain-killer shot and prescriptions for painkillers and muscle relaxers. Things have definitely improved – where the pain was about the size of two basketballs it is now about the size of a softball after the meds kick in.

If I lay still, and try not to breathe deep,
let go of any thought of jig dancing
and do not dwell on bending at the waist,
the situation is not all that bad.

But a lingering fear plays fast and loose
with my calmness, jacks up my blood pressure
and tends to greatly exacerbate things:
like a recurring dream of Osiris,

laid stiff and motionless in his coffin,
I see myself immobile, able to speak
only with the subtle shift of my eyes.

And that limited vocabulary
cannot express the soft Music I hear
in each frozen moment of longing dance.

24 DEC 2002

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Visiting California

Even when I was living there, entrenched
in the bustle of its chaotic skirts,
finding not much hope – mostly evidence
that the entire world had gone mad, or worse –

the west coast seemed a little bit surreal;
And the dreams I held so tight as a child
never seemed to once gel or congeal
there. Like a desert, it was strange and wild.

Now, the prospect of a long visit out there
fills my soul with vexing trepidation;
I am not of that place now – I have grown.

And the things from my youth I used to care
about – old friends and past situations?
From that arid clime, my heart has long flown.

22 DEC 2002

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The Vessel

Sometimes it seems that the brittle clay
vessel used to carry the clear water
from inspiration’s well is so fragile,
flawed and useless, such an ill-suited thing;
the priceless, sacred fluid it transports
accents each error, highlights weaknesses
that the shadows hide; in its clarified
light, such a carrier seems unworthy.

Such is the poet – from strands of nothing
weaving a tenuous basket of thought
to hold the spirit of the universe;
and once the spark of creation is freed,
they return, bitter and worn, to plain lives,
that seem so uninspiring and normal.

Sometimes it seems that the poet should
be able to fashion the world they see
(in flashing dreams and moments of vision)
from their own lulling, ordinary life,
and at times, when the morning light is good,
to wake and find the universe alive,
vibrant to the touch, pulsing with meaning
in every small flicker of dawn breeze.

For me, that does happen now and again.
But more regularly, it takes a lot
of looking to see what is really there,
of seeking beyond old and broken pots,
where the language of whole universe
hides. And there I find a poem, sometimes.
Most of the time, however, it finds me;
and I try to not spill too much of it.

21 DEC 2002

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Song for Today

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour
— William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

I sing a song for the day that is,
that is, the day today;
although the hours and minutes fly
and quickly slip away,

approaching and departing with
the constant speed of now,
the day that is remains, it stays
always right here, somehow.

I sing a song for the world that is,
that is, the world right here;
although the tides and times roll in
and out, I have no fear.

There is no other place for me,
no farther shore I seek –
for this world is a part of me
and I can hear it speak.

I sing a song for the ones I love
who live their lives with mine,
and through their constant and true natures
grow, like root and vine

to fill the world with hope and grace
and my heart with their song,
and give to me the greatest gift –
the chance to sing along.

I sing a song for the day that is,
that is, the day today;
and all my thoughts of past and future
start to pass away.

For I have seen eternity
in just a moment’s span,
and held the entire universe
inside a grateful hand.

21 DEC 2002

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