Integer of Creation

I.Moon

The moon hung, a bittersweet glow
cupped against midnight blue behind
boney arms of our grande dame maple,
whose leaves never turn red in fall,
only yellow then brown on fallow grass.

As I watched,
just past a new day’s first hour,
I could almost see her luminous
crescent rock back and forth drawing
my eye upward, higher, a need to tilt
my head back and forth to discern
Your gift through lacy silhouette
branches standing guard between
me and Eternity.

But she pointed me to it,
to a god always present,
maybe in a conflicting place
from one night to the next,
but always there, Jupiter,
a thunderbolt-bright comfort
knowing once and again
he would meet me.

I am created no more
or less perfect than these.
I hold within myself the same
wonder of stars and moon
and trees rooted deeply into earth.
I grow and change, not staying
in one place, although I have lived
in this same place all my life.

II.

When the world groans
under sorrow made
by hands of stone…

Not stone that changes
the course of rivers.
Not stone that greets
a wanderer along her craggy pass.
These stones are as Spirit filled
as every heart that beats…

But when the world groans
from counterfeit hands
made of false stone that cannot see
within themselves the utter sweetness
of the Beloved, nor the Beloved’s
consummate sweetness in souls
they stone, I feel pieces explode until
all that is left is blackness, a dark hole
so profound not even Jupiter
could spark a flame.

From where I stand
I must be what I am first made,
gentle light, devoted lover,
precious consecration of You.

My hands, made of Your passion,
must open
to each integer of Creation.

I cry out like thunder in the desert,
groan and writhe,
but know You will hear my prayer
and open our eyes
to our manmade
stone hands of annihilation.

May our prayers transfigure
our false hands
back into cupped hands
ready to receive Your timber.

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If you would like more on this poem, please join my weekly reflection at Journey/lex. It is a weekly newsletter that arrives in your e-mail in-box usually on Saturdays.

Thank you,
Lexanne

A Prayer for Paris

Today is the day, the moment, the now,
12243580_10206976435363662_5343385536768881250_nextinguish the flame of fear.

Smother embers of hatred beneath
steps taken in compassion.

Let smoke of bitterness rise,
dissipate into wide ocean sky.

May clemency shine through us to
quell the bleakness of terror.

May our hands join to bear our Oneness.

May our voices lift above the madness
to sing a song of accord.

Guide us to be strong in You.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

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Author’s Note:

For more about the poem and photo, please visit my page: Journey/lex.

Night Owl

Cara turned left into the back entrance of the subdivision. Her usual route home after meditation class allowed her to slip almost unnoticed among the neighbors who didn’t understand the need for silence.

It was late March and the sun was setting just a bit later, leaving the sky draped in a deep violet gauze that didn’t allow for clean outlines or crystal colors. Just muted hues and suggestions of shapes filled her vision.

The full moon would rise later in the evening and would clear everything up. She would lay in her bed bathed in the glow through the clear arch above her curtained bedroom windows. It was yet still too cold to crack them open welcoming the sounds of the night circus. Cara would have to be satisfied with only Luna setting her halo first on her face. Then moving down her arms and over her husband’s hips, finally slipping over the edge of the bed and onto the floor.

But that was for later. Cara took a deep breath. She did crack open the window of her car on her way home. After meditation it seemed as though she couldn’t breathe deeply enough to fill her lungs. It was as if her body relaxed and opened so wide there was enough room to inhale all the air ever allowed for all living beings.

It caught her eye immediately, but as quickly as her brain asked why a bird with such a large wingspan would be flying so late into the evening, it answered immediately, “Owl, silly.”

Cara watch the wings blur across her windshield then swoop down to the sidewalk almost landing. Almost. Then immediately arching up and away from her.

Drawing her eyes back to the road in front of her, she made a cursory stop at the sign. A right turn would take her home to the mouth of her suburban castle. Gliding inside safely, the portal door would roll down to protect her from unknown beasts of the night. But she didn’t turn right.

She turned left. Moving away from the streetlight, her eyes adjusted to the hazy browns and tans of the late winter. A small tree, leafless, guarded the shape. Cara smiled. The shape bloomed as she moved past. With it’s back turned towards her, the image took its form.

Two pointy ears topped a body perched on the edge of a wooden fence. The great horned ignored the lights of Cara’s car. She understood his pretense. He ignored her demanding even more attention from her.

Cara continued down the street until there was room for a u-turn. Pickup trucks and SUVs lined both sides of the road. It always surprised her how many vehicles were needed for each family in her neighborhood. Every teen demanded his or her own. Mom needed one and Dad, too. Then weekend projects called for something big enough for hauling. And soon, with the summer exodus, the boats and RVs would make their appearances. Revving motors and country music blaring from open car doors was the neighborhood concert series to which Cara never bought tickets.

The neighbors shook their heads at her hybrid when they saw her passing. It made her feel good that they never heard her coming.

Just as Cara returned to the scene, the owl lifted off the fence and made a graceful but accelerated curve directly towards her. Again, a swoop down to the ground and then up over her car and into the now blackened night.

Cara smiled, again. She had once been advised by an owl during a difficult situation in a forested area to leave those woods, and the people, and never return. She took its presage and left. It was a good thing.

As she readied for bed later in the evening, she examined her past days. It was a suggestion made in a quick text message from her friend. C.J., a wise woman who lived in Bellingham, WA and prescribed herbs and totems for cures, said silence was the key. The wisdom of the owl was to sit and to discover the dishonesty of someone near. Many in the south see death in the calling of the owl. Others take it a step further and say an owl is a sign of rebirth.

Cara pulled on her satin pjs. She loved that she could slide and turn over without a fuss under the covers. She relaxed in the softness and silky wrapping around her body and waited.

Luna peeked above the arch. A thin veil of clouds moved across the face of the moon as if a hag racing home had dropped her shawl swirling it across the sky. Within minutes the clouds fell away and Cara closed her eyes to the glare. Her husband once burned his iris looking too long through his telescope at a new moon. She heeded that warning, too. She could still see the bright light through her eyelids. Soon it moved from her face, just like she knew it would. Down her arms making the satin shimmer. Aware of Jake’s rhythmic breathing, she held her breath.

Would she hear them, too, this night? It would be perfect.

Cara grew up in the city. The suburban life called when her father became too old to care for himself and the need to be close to work and home demanded a move. In the old city house, and even in her childhood home, Cara could lay awake at night and hear the trains. It was a soothing sound. As a child she was close enough to hear the clicking on the tracks. Later, when she and Jake slept in the basement of the tiny 1920’s bungalow with the rich soil and three sister’s garden, she could hear the drone of the coal cars. It would lull her to sleep.

But here in the burbs she never found the night sounds as satisfying. They lessened as the cars returned from the movies or basketball games. The late night skateboarder rolling and clicking down the middle of the street and the pick up roaring to a stop blocks away punctuated the night as lights clicked off and bedroom windows closed their eyes.

Cara listened. The first time she heard them, she was alone in the bedroom, Jake being away at a rehearsal. The windows were wide open, so it must have been summer. Dogs were barking and she could hear muted laughter coming from a backyard party somewhere close.

When the first sound came it was solitary. She thought it was a young child crying, or maybe a cat in heat. But the dogs stopped barking. Soon she heard it again. One. Then two. And a chorus. She would later describe it to Jake as a sort of a chortle. “Coyotes,” was his reply.

The coyotes visited all summer long that year. Many times she heard a screeching of a cat and wondered if they could be that close and that hungry. Cara would wait in bed with the windows wide open, again holding her breath, when she heard them. It made her sad to think of the bunnies, and maybe the cats, that would be the evening’s repast. But there was a wildness in Cara that longed to join the coyotes.

Cara’s eyes closed as Luna rose and curved out of view. The room darkened and she couldn’t stay awake any longer. If the coyotes did come, they would be silent visitors to Cara. But she knew they would. Someday. Just not tonight.

As her mantram floated into her head, she pushed the image of the owl out. It was time for the deep night to pass. Cara knew that before her alarm would call out a new day’s business, even with the widows closed, she would soon be gently nudged by the first birdsong of the day as the sun glowed apricot and creamsicle kissing the horizon.

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Author’s Note:

It was almost a year ago to the day I wrote this. I’m not sure why I never posted it.

This month I am taking part in a project on Facebook. It is called
Earth Magic – Creativity Challenges 2015- The Owl. I collect owls.

The group uses Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way and delves into one chapter each month. This is my first month with the group and the chapter title is Recovering A Sense of Identity.

Again, as my recent journey has shown me, I find myself being handed exactly what I need. My sense of creativity and who I am is exploding this year. With my chosen word of “release” for the year, I am finding a richness and passionate creativity in myself I have never known. Or, rather should I say, have never acknowledged in myself.

I am preparing a monologue called The Magdalene to perform at the end of April based on work I’ve done studying the Gospels of John and Mary. I am learning to create prayer collages through a course taught by Joanna Powell Colbert. I am beginning to take piano lessons. I continue my Passage Meditation practice. I am collaborating with my pastor, Fr. Scott Jenkins from A Church of the Holy Family ECC, in designing space and writing liturgy for our monthly Celtic Mass celebrations. Even though I’ve never considered myself a singer, I recently recorded with Stefan Andre Waligur and Marcy Baruch a new CD of Celtic Kirtan chants that will be available very soon.  And I hope to have my first book of poetry out at the end of this year.

Did I mention I will be turning 59 in May? My ninety-five year old father just passed through the veil a month ago. He lived with us these last nine years. I am an only child and am finding a new freedom and joy and passion in living. Sometimes it takes longer for some of us to land here.

And the shift began with an owl on my way home from my mediation class almost a year ago.

Fusion, A New Year Hymn

The 7th Day of Christmas10885571_10204524793351781_5679912215840861996_n

Leave behind all that served,
a heart burst with love
used up, as it should be,
open and ready to be
filled once more

Stay voices that called out
to raise and crush,
for you are a new hymn,
the wren will defer to
your chickadee winter song,
a hint of Phoebe spring

Let hardened blows
cover in snow, leave them
forgotten, iced under where
hurt cannot escape, your muscled
spirit secure in constancy

Abandon vacant pods, hewn branches,
exhausted beds, carry with you only
wisdom gleaned, germination
unfolding a newborn empathy

All you were has crumbled
into earthly marl, open the gate,
no fear in choosing, for within you burns
a light for any passage, a light to
blaze a new you

A simple deviation
one foot in front of the other
through a yawning threshold
into unimaginable Being,
a fusion into One

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Author’s Note:

Happy New Year!

And gratitude to all those who graced my past year and made it shine, especially Stefan Andre Waligur, Kathleen Gorman, Scott Jenkins, Marcy Baruch, Kathleen E. Moore, Steve Bross, Mary Lynn Greene, and Niki Kessinger, and of course, my boys, Leroy, Dad, and Bremen. Without you, my light would not shine and my heart would not be overflowing.

My Child, A Lament for Peace

My child,
Never forget you are
a child of the Beloved,
rocked in her gracious arms,
held safe under his gaze.
You are a child of the Beloved.
Not one of you turned away.
Not one of you held closer
than the other.

My child,
You are sisters and brothers of
one another, one family in the Beloved.
The earth does not belong to you,
its land and fruits, all gifts to be shared,
gifts to be tended,
just as the Beloved nurses you.

My child,
you are a child of the Beloved.
Not one of you more precious,
not one of you more cherished
than the other.
Mother and terrorist,
teacher and gunman,
oppressed and the oppressor,
rest in the lap of the Beloved
swathed in forgiveness,
all made whole.

My child,
do not forget you are a child
of the Beloved, compassion
and grace rain down upon you
with boundless, unselfish passion.

My child,
Child of the Beloved,
in gratitude,
be a mirror of your Beloved.

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Author’s Note:

I struggled for a long time with how to write this poem. What form it should take? What exactly did I want to say?

I am a first grade teacher. Sandy Hook.

I live in Aurora. The Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting.

I live in Colorado. Columbine.

I am a United States citizen. 911.

The rest of the world has experienced terrorism for millennia, much longer and more intimately than I have. These current killings – Gaza and Ukraine – brought me back to the empty page.

I don’t know if it is due to my recent study of the Gospel of John with Fr. Scott Jenkins at my church. If it is the Celtic kirtan chant project I am involved in, with Macushla introducing me to the Irish lament. My recent immersion into Mary Magadlene, giving voice to her story in a monologue I wrote and will be performing later this year. Or my satsang friend, a mother, with a daughter in Israel and another friend, a mother, whose mother and father live in Palestine. It must be combination of all of these events and people that kept me from sleep this evening, muses that finally led me to this poem.

The insanity of killing one another must stop. I don’t know how, but I think it is summed up in a quote I read earlier this night from an Israeli. In response to a call for prayer from the Book of Isaiah, he said rather eloquently and simply:

“AMEN to Shalom over ego.”

I wish you peace this night and a blessing of surrender of ego.

 

 

Here is one of Macushla’s songs, “We Are Beloved of God.”

 

Lament/Deluge

I sat in the rain. It was a pouring cold rain
that was much too cold for this June day.

I wanted to feel this June’s deluge so I lifted
my face and tears from the sky poured over

my despair. I wanted to feel the pouring cold
rain, June’s deluge washing me of my sin.

Thunder rolled by and over my bearing. It filled
my ears. I cried out in tandem. I released my pain

to the pouring cold deluge, much to cold for
this June day. My tears were diluted with fresh

new water as I sat on a step under trees bowing,
unable to balance, not one extra drop, no longer.

My breath almost drowned, flowed out and down
until the lawn could hold no more. So I walked with

the deluge along bulging gutters, feet submerged
in June’s cold rain. I kicked at rain waters and

stomped on the waves rushing into the deep black
gash. The day’s deluge gulped down by the sewers

took my crimes and washed them away on this
cold June day. The deluge slowed. Streams turned

into drops. Then droplets. Then nothing at all. I raised
my face up to June’s grey day in gratitude of its

cleansing. I know that from rain green grows lush
and glorious, blooms arise with colors to adorn.

The deluge always cleanses. Pouring cold rain,
much too cold for this June day.

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Author’s Note:

I was recently introduced to the lament. In a Celtic Spirituality retreat with Stefan Andre Waligur, I experienced the call and response of the lament. He spoke of how in our Western culture are afraid to let go of our emotions, especially in community.  And subsequently we do not heal. We have lost a togetherness that only this opening of oneself, this free flow of emotion can offer.

Today as I sat waiting for tornado sirens to silence, listening to the relentless rain, I felt as if the world was in lament. I know this rain, once the damage from the hail heals, will bring new life to my garden. Much like a lament.

Thank you, Stefan.

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Although this is not a lament, it is a lovely example of the kind of chanting we experienced at our retreat.