Adventia, day 7

December 5th. The Second Sunday of Advent. Sometimes, in terms of prophetic Scriptures, the Sunday representing hope. The gravitas of a future better than our past, of something yet to come that outshines the gloom of dark days, uncertain and fear-filled.

I can’t say this is necessarily that, but it is a new one all the same. And, if it helps to birth hope, all the better.

Advent

Cup before the pour, cocoa, or tea.

Clouds, rain-swollen, before taking their moment.

Hearts before words, warm and rightly spoken.

Page before pen, story pushing out to meet its maker.

Inside, a child gazes out at virgin snow.

Child, new and eyes closed, before the first embrace.

Car, keys jangling in shaky hands, before first welcome.

Night, old and disheveled, before day-gates open.

Gravitas, bodies’ ache, release of first touch.

Eyes, leaden-lidded, before the thick of sleep.

Tired world, sore of woe, looks East.

Prayer

We press the world between pointed palms,

where the weary stretch for heaven’s notice.

Our best vision, through closed eyes – steps

weightless

on scabbed knees, waiting.

Wine-soaked, bread-fed words squeeze

themselves through parched lips to

arrange with dancing in mind. But first,

they must learn the art of walking naked, blindfolded

through haunted alleys,

danger-gripped, clammy with doubt.

We stretch out long necks, seeking only glimpses, emancipation.

But, the lecherous bully of shame spends all his time

butchering the still,

small voices of light that sneak

in through backdoors where hope still keeps

windows open.

Tragic, is it not, how shades pull tight against wayward shards

of sun, the down-payment for our breath?

Like running in snow, our legs just get heavier –

too much weight tossed about over time.

A leering fatigue replaces what’s left of inadequate strength –

thickness filling muscles too weak to move past their own demise.

Still, hope is what came, long after our tight-

cinched belt of faith lost its grip

and hungry shame gave way to

garden surrender.

Only then does our Amen make sense.

Viral Dailies, Day 4

Few poets have the ability to paint such big pictures economically and simply as does Pablo Neruda. My friend Nancy Kelly recently posted this to my Facebook wall and it was a reminder of the impact of well-conceived, well-sung verse to lift and illuminate and proclaim.

For today’s Viral Dailies in celebration of National Poetry Month in isolation, let’s read this together, and just…breathe.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Poetry

And it was at that age . . . poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, not silence,
but from a street it called me,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among raging fires
or returning alone,
there it was, without a face,
and it touched me.

I didn’t know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind.
Something knocked in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
the darkness perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire, and flowers,
the overpowering night, the universe.

And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind.

Pablo Neruda
(1904—1973)

Death’s death

Live! Live! Not one minute

more to solemnize the squaring truths

of the dark, exasperating. Exsanguinating.

The probing luminant, juggernaut

of dawn brought down as a quickening

shade of brilliance over the tar-black,

songless night – now gasping out

its own greying reminiscence.

Kicking against the goads, a denouement

of despair, decay’s quietus comes to mock.

But its voice is too dry now for anything more

than the androgynous whisper of a skeleton.

The bones rattle and try in vain to spark, to scare,

to survive the day, already here.

Death, this needy after-thought, this choking

wheeze of duskish, tight-lipp’d groaning –

it can no longer hunt, its legs are

broken, a dislocated shoulder no longer

suited to hefting hopelessness.

Spring! Spring! O antediluvian Spring! How

many are your salted children, lined up

outside your garden wall. Someone

has unchink’d the tangled gate and trodden new

footprints – fresh, ancient and deep – in the Virgin soil.

We come too, having hid ourselves in

the wisp of your blood-colour’d sleeves.

Droughted, now, a tomb and the perfect surprise:

breaths in lungs once shut, re-sighted eyes,

and in the first of all new hours,

Someone has made light work of death.

 

 

 

On the eve of memory

On the eve of a memory,

when the daylight streams through

old clouds, carried in the bucket

of yesterdays, there comes

a clarity. A bidding of dues

in clues from tiny feet,

now braking for beer and girls

and the particular geistlieb that

only says hello to newcomers.

Severed as one gets from

the possibility of possible, of eventual –

of always – it’s never really

too late to ensure what little time

remains to pour out the slop

from the bucket that once held

our best intentions.

These two, grasped from out of

hands held tighter still

to our deepest dreams.