The just-lit fire snaps and dances a sprightly dance,
while from the kitchen, a dissonant chorus of voices
reverberates into the last hesitant corners of quiet and calm.
Soon the festivity will all come together by the fresh pine
dressed in her holiday finest, here, next to the hearth.
But for the moment I am sumptuously alone. I settle,
coffee in hand, into a compliant, generous chair,
and smile a satisfied smile at the wooden soldiers
guarding the cascading pile of holiday spoils.
My eyes drift to the mantle, where candles, holly,
and pine cones intersperse with the latest of the grandkids’
frozen poses and smiles. How they have changed: newly
pierced ears; baby teeth multiplying; that recently assumed,
In a minute or two, I will surrender solitude and reverie,
but not without the passionate sigh, not without the begrudging
nod to the transience of time turning the warm fires of our lives
into wisps of smoke escaping into some vaporous beyond.
God of all generations,
in silence I hear your voice
echoing forth from deepest recesses
where flesh dances with spirit
and is suckled by mysteries divine.
It awakens in me a familiar longing–
a hunger for rest and peace
and refuge from angry, counter winds
that shake and rattle an aging heart
still struggling to be free.
And in night’s pause, yet I am courted
by promise of fire and light,
by treasure eager to be discovered
as gift for those who seek your love,
as love you gift to all.
It is the season, now, for deepest truths;
for surrendering fancy and fad;
for transcending hurts that bind and smother;
and listening carefully above the din
for the song that leads me home,
the timeless song of home.
May your faith
wake from its dull repose
that you may walk again
with wonder and awe
in witness to the Spirit
spilling itself out
lavishly in every direction–
royal rose and creeping thistle,
majestic eagle and miniscule mite,
sturdy oak, delicate fern,
stars, galaxies, oceans,
deserts and domains
unseen under the ground
where you light.
Yes, let yourself be sated
with the splendor and spectacle,
praise and gratitude bubbling
up in your breast.
But finally,…come to rest
in stillness and in silence
until moved with tears
at Love’s unrestrained
excess, you recognize
again for the first time,
the miracle you are.
As far back
as anyone could remember,
the people of the town
built houses for each other,
sheds, truth be told, crafted
with the hammer of judgement
and the nails of assumed
superiority; houses too small
for a full breath, too cold
for the precociousness of hope,
secured with heavy bolts
of dark warning and fear.
Yet in this town, as in
countless towns everywhere,
lives continue to be lived,
families formed, futures built,
histories made and recorded.
Yes, but wait, you may say.
What about love?
What about compassion?
Do not lose heart, my friend,
for love, in all its guises,
gratefully knows forever,
the trick to pick our locks
and let herself in.
Yes, I can still laugh
though pain sometimes
grinds me into the ground.
Yes, I can still celebrate
though tableaus of misery
everywhere abound. Yes, I can
still feel a rush of warm regard
though a winter of severity sometimes
threatens to freeze this heart.
But this life, oh this life, my friend!
To have lived, to have loved,
to have laughed and cried
copious tears of sorrow and joy!
Oh my! I salute
with wonder and awe,