The Descending

At times like this time
now I feel you here.
The air is you. The floor and walls.
Sound vibrations. The hum of background.
The song in my head.
Each word a pocket photo.
Or a ring. A baseball. A wink.
They are suddenly, eternally you.
And you are here with me.
The stately Oak itself
bends down to you and me
and to a lasting love
because of the Holiness
that bends us all
to bowing not to breaking.
And the river sighs. Flows ever on.
I’m crying. I’m praying.
I’m gone.

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Lament on a Moonlit Eve

When the moon lies low on the southern hills
and the wind is scented pine,
in the midnight calling of whippoorwills 
sings the voice of Madeleine.

With the falling mist on her fairy face
and her footprints in the dew,
Madeleine met dawn with angelic grace
and a blessing, ever new.

Walking in the wood near her village lands
with a rev’rence deep and still,
she transformed her heart into praying hands,
her desire into God’s will.

Now the hills and the hollows graced before
by the singing of her soul
keep an all night vigil in her lore,
their own grieving to console.

Dearest Madeleine of the moonlit eve
met the Master, kind and good,
and each mourner now yearning to believe
walks a fairer, deeper wood.


Nature’s At-Onement

When alone in nature, I can feel, at times, an emerging awareness of deep connection, a sense of belonging, coupled with a sweeping experience of awe and wonder.

This most often awakens an acute inner awareness through the interplay of light and shade with waltzing shapes of leaf and limb, when tilted sunlight and its breeze waft through a forest sub-canopy in early morning or twilight’s verge.

Following this may come an enveloping, uplifting sense of embodiment within another realm, a shimmering new presence within the inhabited world; or perhaps, imbuing this world with presence.

And I am a member of this new world–this Heaven on earth, as it might be described–fitting in as a thread in a rich tapestry of many colors and patterns. Everything is enfolded in light, and emanates, from itself, the self-same light.

Peace pervades, and a thinning of all space that lies between.  There is, at once, not only a sense of my own uniqueness and authenticity, but also a sense of the presence of many different “others.” This experience of the “other” is completely devoid of judgment, comparison, or assignment of hierarchy, and is framed with unbidden compassion.

Only authenticity, vulnerability, honesty, acceptance, life and love remain after the last leaf has fallen.

All of this is recognized as gift, pure and undeserved, drawing forth well-springs of gratitude.

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He Taught Us How to Listen

In the paper yesterday I read of the passing of a good man whom I was fortunate to know.

He was well-respected and accomplished and had done a lifetime of good work. When some friends and I knew him, he had developed Alzheimer’s, and it affected his language prominently. But he still had much to say.

One day, while we were near him and listening, he managed to get out a story that was very important to him — something he needed us to hear. It was a story about a meaningful time in his life when he had done a selfless act for his colleagues. It took several minutes for him get the story out, piecemeal, but the more words and thoughts expressed, the richer and deeper the impact of the story on all of us.

That day, he taught us how to listen — intently, mindfully, compassionately — and he taught us about the rewards to be found if we do.

He showed so much courage in sharing his story, when many may have chosen to be silent out of frustration, fear or shame.

What he shared was the content of his character. And Alzheimer’s hadn’t taken that.

Could not. Cannot, in fact.

So thank you, brave and storied soul, for venturing out with your Self.

Rest in peace, R –

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Incarnate Moments

Life fully lived strings 

from thin space to thin space, 

each moment of authentic self realization 

and intense relationality blending into the next. 

Looking back, these are the times of enrichment,

of transcendence; pillars of immovable, illimitable time, 

standing forever in what must be the Divine awareness. 

In these silent spaces, walls break down and connections are made, 

or rather, are discovered, as they must pre-exist in the gaze of God. 

The illusionary separation between what is defined as “me” 

and what is defined as “other” melts away like morning fog, 

and the space between glows with the fiery breath of God 

like a cloud of innumerable particles in endless daylight dance. 

The nature of this experience draws out and twines together 

everything that is true and lasting in me and in the other, 

like together with like. Water that clears increasingly 

as the welling depths are tapped, the cores mined 

to their purest elements, coming together 

with the richness and strength of One.

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Take Us Down To The River

Many are hurting. Many are alone. Hearts ache. Let’s go down to the river and pray…
Take us down to the river,
to a churchyard of Oak and Beech,
where the singing shoal of an ancient Soul
wraps each heart within its reach.
Bend our knees to the water
by the weight of a world forlorn,
that in bowing low in its healing flow
we may rise as ones reborn.
There’s a spark inside each eddy,
dancing fire within each wave,
and this flaming flood lights our living blood
like a fountain from a grave.
This world needs us to come here,
to be silent, still, and stay
as we take a hand and we understand
and our spirits join to pray.
Raise us up in the river
with a hope that will never die,
as we look above to the Face of Love
found forever in the sky.

Living River

The Cahaba River at Living River Camp and Conference Center near West Blocton, AL

What Will Be

What is happens to be what is.
What has been, what has been.
Why do we deny this?
Cut out the disliked pages?
Change the unblended colors?”
Scratch out faces that don’t resemble ours?
Try to smear the dried ink storylines?
Snip the cut corners? Blot out the misprints?
Is it for want of power? Control?
The deep longing for unblemished days?
Is it out of fear — fear of facing imperfections?
Little dead spots hidden in life’s immortal egg?
Are we ashamed of unnamed sins?
What if, instead, we write a new chapter?
Claim the strength birthed from struggle.
Let the lifeblood find new veins.
Watch the river take a turn.
See authenticity claim perfection’s prize.
Hold the tensions ’til they heal us, inside out.
Bricks made stronger by the straw.
Knotty Post Oaks on a hard clay hill.
That’ll stand the test of time.
What is happens to be what is.
What has been, what has been.
But what of what will be?

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