Willingness

If you’re willing to see it,
There’s a tree over there about to explode in a fiery green
cataclysm against the sundown sky.

If you’re willing to hear it,
The heartbeat of the universe is throbbing pink and white
in the primrose patch at our feet.

If you’re willing to taste it,
A sugar-laced kiss on lakeside winds
is caressing your lips, even now.

If you’re willing to touch it
(and I can tell by the warmth of your fingertips you are),

The grass will reveal where God has been dancing for you
every springtime of your life..

Showy Primrose

David Weber, 2007

The Memory of Yellow

One day

(we don’t know where

or when

only that it had to be)

One day

a leaf, high on a sky-reaching cane

bent away from the perfection of

green..

deep green…

ocean green churning Life,

the leaf bent away and was

yellow

in the Sun.

It was yellow and there was no yellow

but the sun

and the shine of dragonfly wings.

Now this yellow, this primal yellow

this yellow become flesh

in the world, and warm.

In ten thousand years there was a shoreline of cane stalks

full of yellow

buzzed on and loved by swarms seeking

the sun warmed sweetness of rain

in the yellow fleshy folds

and then

a million years after, there was a stalky but stunted

bush of cane

nestling in orange fiery fury,

insects up and down its tangled highways

bringing, taking life- orange life- that way

and that way and on the wind

and then two million and there was pink

ten million and there was red

forty million and there were fields

grassy leafy green fields filled with

blue, another blue, and a third blue

and purple, and white- so many whites!-

and

yellowyellowyellowyellowyellow

and there was no one to name the colors

no one to classify and organize the colors

and the shapes, the seeds, the fruits

nor the bees, the ants, the butterflies,

and dragonflies (smaller now)

no one.

Which is why today the yellow waits patiently

for that time again

when the names won’t matter

and orange will call to pink

and only green

or maybe an ant or a bee

will be in the way of that calling..

(the yellow remembers)

David Weber, 5/2010

There are times, like now, and more frequently, when I know we are in the way of the earth. We are in the way of what the earth was doing for billions of years without us, and I wonder if..if the others of the world- the flowers, the cane, the insects, monkeys, snakes and coyotes, trees and

the oceans

could vote..if they could vote up or down, yay or nay, how long do you think they would let us stay? I hear a blackball rolling down the centuries, getting nearer. growing louder.

Birdsong in Four Parts

I don’t know the name of that bird that speaks in repeated quatrain-

AABC again and again: four times, rest, then four times more.

Nor do I know the “whom-to” or the “where-when” of its soft low trill.

But there- over there to the west- is another responding in the

same verse, same tune,

and now another, to the east

and these two replies (plot them on graph paper if you must)

begin to reveal the “why:”

procreation?

discovery of food?

particular dried dried grasses of the correct nesting density and length?

or simply (and I kind of hope this is so)

companionship?

Do quatrain-speaking birds have dactyls they bird-giggle over?

Double dactyls that causes bird-guffaws?

Or cinquains they sing in quiet celebration?

Anything other than noting the four note melody is, of course,

mere human-bent conjecture;

worse, it is my mere personally-bent conjecture..

I would like to know on

intellectual, investigatory, inquistive

levels, what the quatrains mean.

But not-knowing is important, too:

In ignorance I have no opportunity to

judge myself separate

from the birdsong.

I can only- in Mystery- accept the calling out

as a prelude, or an echo

of my own..

4/17/10

the tears of revelation..

image

thanks to Hune MarguliesThe Martin Buber Institute For Dialogical Ecology , I have been enjoying Yiddish poetry. While I don’t speak Yiddish, I would love to hear it. I used to, as a boy, hear the various eastern European languages of immigrants to our town. I would envy them; it seemed that they could be happy or angry in more powerful ways than I had ever known people in my family to be.
Morris Rosenfeld, in about 1886, wrote of the Manhattan sweat shops he remembered:

O, kalt un finster iz di shap!
Ikh halt dem ayzn, shtey un klap!
Mayn herts iz shvakh, ikh krekhts un hust;
es heybt zikh koym mayn kranke brust.

Oh cold and dark is the shop!
I hold the iron, stand, and strike!
My heart is weak, I moan and cough,
my sick chest barely heaves.

(I won’t write any more Yiddish here, but I included this first verse so others could see the relationship with German written and Hebrew spoken. Try reading it out loud. It’s cool.)

a theme for the rest of the poem begins now in verse two and continues:

I moan and cough and press and think,
my eye dampens, a tear falls,
the iron glows; my little tear
it boils and boils and does not evaporate.

I have no more strength, it’s all been used;
the iron falls from my hand,
and still the tear, the hot tear
the tear, the tear, boils more and more.

"Perhaps you are a messenger,
telling me that more tears are coming?
I would like to know, tell me:
When will this great sorrow end?"

I would have liked to ask more and more,
of the unrest, of the wild tear,
and then a stream came forth
of tears, an unlimited amount of tears
and I quickly understood
that the river of tears is deep.

In another poem, written several years later, Rosenfeld wrote:

They pay with tears for a tear,
that is all they can afford:
I am a tear millionaire
and I lament the millions.

~~
The tear that will not boil away is like the bush that will not burn, discovered by Moses. Both the tear and the fire are the word of God and revelatory..
I went back to these poems earlier today because I was experiencing the tears of others, spoken occasionally in actual tears, yes, but communicated more often in anger, stereotyping, belittling. Our tears so often have little to do with the points of view we stub our minds against, or in response to the names we might be called by someone who is projecting their own shame onto us. We are most often reacting to ancient hurts, childhood pains, adolescent misunderstandings, or adult questions that never received the answers that would satisfy our intellect or emotions. Our tears are always, it seems. tears-in-waiting, dammed up behind bravado or pretense but let loose when a particular word or thought acts like an opened handle on the riverworks.

The Yiddish factory worker was surrounded in the tears of faraway sadness- faraway from homeland, family, and childhood friends, and very far, it felt, away from hope. The Manhattan factory worker face 14 hour days on wooden floors in an always too hot or too cold factory and then a few hours in a noisy fifth floor walkup where- maybe- a few hours of sleep after a bowl of soup with some bread could be had.

His tears, her tears were of the same substance as our tears, even though formed of different pain. Taste his pain, taste her pain on your tongue as his tear her tears flow down your cheeks. Long ago, your tears, too, were tasted then wiped away with a dusty cloth. But they never ever really went away; they are the same tears still..the river of tears is deep.

Your Love, This Love, A Silent Prayer

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place  in the family of things.

© Mary Oliver

And one day, when we expect it least, or when we need it most, we see. We see beyond the confines of our imaginations, we see past the accumulated knowledge that has blocked our seeing before this day, these moments.  We see, and we know. We know that Our Name and Your Name are are without end or beginning. We reach for the edges of our understanding and there are none; nor, we know now, will there ever be the need for them again.

We are without words and so we look beseechingly to the sky, the geese, the summer winds for syntax and syllable, for punctuation and paragraph, and we hear instead the trees laughing and the clouds remembering when they, too, sought to reduce love, This Love, to language.

© David Weber

Little Tree, by e.e.cummings

imageimageimage

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

 image image image

Words of Love..

 

“When genuine friends of God..repeat words they have heard in secret amidst the silence of the union of love, and these words are in disagreement with the teaching of the Church, it is simply that the language of the marketplace is not that of the nuptial chamber.” (Simone Weil, Waiting for God)

This is important. Because the Great Sausage Grinder that carries so much weight in the American Church doesn’t allow much gristle to make it into the morning’s meat patties. Or any fat whatsoever, or any extra spices. Or much taste. Bland is the standard; that way, aberrations are easily discerned.

Screw it. Pass the pepper, and the sage. Throw on some onions, and add some fat- some chicken fat- fried!-  greasy and crackling. Grind it all down again, one more time with fresh basil, and garlic and cilantro, and a spoonful of sugar..just because. Now grill that sausage over hot-fired mesquite, sprinkled with Jack Daniels, and slathered with a puree of sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and oregano.

Good.

God.

Now, eat:

“I was afraid it

would screw up my art

and I would end up

writing sermons

instead of songs.”

(James McMurtry)

“Humankind has not woven the
web of life. We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”
(Chief Seattle)

Even after all

this time

the sun never

says to the

earth

“You owe me.”

Look what happens

with a love like that.

It lights the

whole sky.

(Hafiz)

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.
(Rumi)

Everything Is… (a poem by Candy Shue)

Everything Is – by Candy Shue

(from The Rambler)

autobiographical.

The newspaper

you read this morning.

The coffee you drank

while you were reading it.

The article about the couple

getting married at McDonald’s.

The toast you buttered

to eat with your coffee.

The knife you used

to butter it.

The truck that was double-parked

in your driveway.

The guy with the hand truck

who parked it there.

The smell of the cigarette

stuck in his mouth.

The music on the car radio

playing “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

It is all a part of you,

inextricable.

Even the strangers

standing next to you

at the post office

as you imagine what

you’re going to do

with your life

someday.

You’re alive, right here,

right now.

Aren’t you?

You’re here.

And here, right here.

Thoughts on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day

Thoughts on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day
(to Ike, written 2004))

I wish they had talked more, And I wish we’d have asked more.
They were our fathers, uncles, teachers, and neighbors,
And that one guy who sat at the park by himself.
They were men, then, and we couldn’t imagine they had been soldiers.

We played in the dirt with our plastic soldiers
and mimicked machine guns in the woods:
Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh…
then spun to the ground in death throes we knew nothing of.
They didn’t tell us how to play, or how men really died…screaming sometimes.
They kept those thoughts to themselves,
sitting on them in a silence which their children did not need to hear about,
because nothing could be that terrible.
Ever again.

Maybe it was a matter of time:
A time when tears did not signal doors opening to what really mattered;
A time when it was best to be busy with the yard, the car, the other thousand tasks which mattered to them but have never mattered to me.
A time when sitting next to others at Rotary or Kiwanis who shared those memories was enough.
Even when we wanted them, so we could compare my dad and your dad, to talk,
they would answer questions, without elaboration, a sentence or two,
then back to the yard or car.

Al hid in a haystack in France for months. Then left for the garage.
Fred’s brother died in a tree, shot while he parachuted. But he’s gotta change the oil today.
Dick was in a POW camp for a year. He ate mice. That damn yard’s getting out of hand.
Dad saw Japanese skulls bobbing in the water but didn’t know what to do about them. And he had to go down to the cellar.

We didn’t know how to ask; and they didn’t know how to tell us, anyway.
So we all got older together during quiet baseball games in the back yard.

When we came back, they’d gotten very old. Dad did, too.
Sometimes he would just sit. I remember him the summer before he died, sitting by the back porch crushing sweat bees with the handle of a hoe.
Maybe I should have asked him then.

The guy in the park shot himself years before he’d gotten old.
And now the rest, all of them that I knew while they worked on their cars or in their yards, or who sat at Rotary meetings each week, and who needed stuff from the cellar, the barn, town… they’ve joined that first one.

Maybe they had all died back then and gone to hell on the shores of France, or on some jungle island, or behind the barbed wire of a camp somewhere in Germany.
Maybe these new lives had so little to do with where they’d been that the silence had to be.
Maybe they simply could not go back there while their kids were playing war in the woods,
because they might have had to die all over again.

Requiescat in pace.
We just didn’t know. .

by David Weber, 2004

The Problem, Whatever It Is..

It really is true, but I needed to elaborate on it- for myself. Feel free to read over my shoulder. Tell yourself, as often as is necessary, whatever this, at the moment, is:

This, too, shall pass..

And indeed it shall:

~from the immediate corners of consciousness where- now- it jostles jaggedly, by the moment, by the half-moment, seeking a position but finding only juxtaposition.

~from the aching, angry forefront of lobotomical lamentations and synaptical sorrows.

~from the emotional heat which causes embers thought to be cold to flare again in the white and searing heat of memory, and memory of memory.

This, too, shall pass..

And indeed it shall:

~as unexpected crises are confronted, and what is imperative right now becomes an afterthought to what the newest right now is clamoring.

~as the sharp and focused particulars- each letter, each syllable, each raised eyebrow- of these moments in time become the faded pastel memories of yesterday, last month, and several years ago (no one remembers exactly when..)

~as the persons involved are ripped, or fade, from our stories, and as their circumstances, as their reactivity and proactivity waxes, and wains, and is washed away by new calendar pages, new ticking-tocking of the world’s clocks, and new birthdays, seasons, before there are..no more.

This, too, shall pass..

And indeed it shall:

~when, over a millennium, not too many millennia away, glacial sheets like geographical snow plows push down and across whole continents and Stockholm, then London, then Madrid; and Montreal, then New York, then Washington are scrapped from their rebar and concrete moorings before the great cliffs of ice.

~ when the shards of the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, Parliament, Windsor Castle, and the Louvre are piled deeply beneath the former shores and sand of the one-time Great Lakes, the no-longer-there North Sea, and the gravel that once laid at the bottom of the English Channel.

~when that ice, in epochal time, begins to melt and frozen swamps give rise to the bacterial surge of New Life, and the hundred thousand year movement toward new geological eras begins, and where new ice will again appear and new swamps, new mountain ranges, new continents, new volcanic islands, new life forms- slimes and swarms- birthing and dying, become themselves 100 million year old fossils, never to be found, catalogued, or contemplated.

~ when the Sun, explosively benign and vital through all that has been, begins its final interior burn and expands as the last stores of helium flare through ten billion years of pressure and the Sun, larger and larger, encompasses one by one the orbits of its planets, and the blue and green of Earth becomes a desert, then a smoldering coal, then a hot ember, then an ash, then smoke, then nothing but the chaotic then coalescing atoms which, in this tiny portion of the Universe, will begin again to end and begin again and again, and then- indeed-

This, too, shall have passed..