Poems From:

the fretters of i



Love the child,
with all its faults and failings,
strident demands
and unarticulated needs.

Love the child
with unrestrained, unqualified acceptance,
not as reward or recompense
but as its right and heritage.
It must understand
that merely to be here
is to be worthy.

Love the child
as a manifestation of the one mind,
a spark of consciousness
in the network of living light
Love the child,
for only when the child
is acknowledged as divine
can the adult accept
unconditional love.


when I am warped
with cold and callousness,
when winter's cruel and icy winds
deform me
and I am twisted by indifference,
you wrap me in your heart
and warm me.

Sometimes my spirit,
fragmented by pain,
regards itself
too shattered and too tattered
ever to be whole
and then you come
and glean me with a poem
and bring me to the tears
that heal my soul.

I fear I have forgotten love,
have come so far
and grown so old
that it will never find me
and, with a song,
you lead me back to my essential self
and you remind me.

when I am foundering
upon the suffering I feel around me,
the loneliness and sorrow I am seeing,
you turn me to the truth
beyond despair
by showing me the beauty of your being.


"You are the ecstatic type," she says,
and I cannot disagree.

I was suckled on ecstasy and,
at any given moment,
I am but three mindful breaths
from bliss.
I cut my teeth on euphoria;
rapture lies at the base of my spine,
lurks in my nerve endings,
nests in my heart,
ready to fly forth unbidden
in the midst of my mundane undertakings.

I require no changes,
attach no conditions,
my happiness is not subject to circumstance.

Joy is my nature and my abiding,
my refuge and my emanation,
my shelter on the path
to the cessation of suffering.

The slightest recollection of grace,
       - a crimson feather,
          an emerald tendril,
              an audacious scilla,
              a kitten's kiss
arches me with glory,
strings me with praise,
draws me with devotion
to fling
volleys of gratitude
to the six realms
and the ten directions.


People ask what I do
and I say
I am a poet.
Ah, they say, you write poetry.
              And here I am,
              graced with an occupation,
                a raison d'etre,
                  a justification of existence.

I see my attachment
to this self-image,
but what if I am encountering
a dry spell, a writer's block?
What if I have written nothing
for a week, a month, a season?
At what point is poet forfeit?

How then do I identify myself?

The only other role
that springs to mind
is crone.

But how does one go about croning?
Surely one does not require
a pen and paper
and a computer program
to save and print the product.
What does a crone produce
to impress one's peers
and gratify one's ego?
And, if not crone,
what other epithet might I adopt
to give me some small purpose,
some scintilla of meaning?

I am not brave enough
to go naked and nameless
in the world
where one is known, adorned and situated
by the attribute of work.
Lacking that niche of name,
where, then, shall I bind the molecules
recruited by memory to the army of myself?

I have not the courage to respond
with Cordelia's nothing.

Nothing will come of nothing,
says the king,
and I am nothing
if not a poet.


Here I am, three score and ten,
and look at the shape I'm in;
while I was inside, taking a shower,
somebody stole my skin.
I left it on a hook beside my towel
to keep it warm and dry
and someone switched it for this old thing.
            I feel like I could cry.
They left me this, all lines and wrinkles
and blemishes, bumps and bags
and something's very wrong with the shape,
            where it doesn't bulge, it sags.

I would have given the skin off my nose,
or even the skin on my teeth,
but to make off with the whole of my hide
is cruel beyond belief.

I have no choice but to wear it,
            too long, too thick, too wide,
so please look harder than just skin deep,
it's really me inside.