Tag Archive | nature

Rock of Ages

winter rockancient rock in my back yard

Silent she greets me every

morning as I open up the house;

collects my smiles, hears my sighs;

my rock of ages—past and yet to come.

*

Silent she listened once to autumn sighs of

Lenape maid who watched her warrior man

dance and whoop in my back yard, then

fade into the forest trees to fight the strangers

threatening to change the only world she knew.

Listened again as Lenape lament turned into summer

songs of Dutch haus-frau beating her rugs on

clothes-lines strung between my ancient oaks. 

Later heard the wintry roar of guns as

tattered soldiers tramped across this ground,

weary, cold, but ever hopeful that their revolutionary

hopes would usher in a spring of independence peace. 

*

But long before the Lenape or any other humans made their

mark upon this land, my rock had rested eons in her

spot, remembering her journey from those distant rocky

tors, the ache of glacial ice that scraped and pushed and

prodded her through ages and ages of time, until a warming earth

took off her frozen coat, and left my rock alone,

abandoned here; her sisters, cousins scattered far and wide.

*

Perhaps her scrabbled trek from home so far away;

perhaps her lonely vigil through time beyond

imagining; perhaps her silent witness to the

history of this space; perhaps all these have given her the

graces that she gives to me each day,

sitting there beneath my bordering trees;

solid, firm, and still—she anchors me in

here and now; reminds me of how tiny is my

life, yet how immensely prized each moment

given me to live and love and hope.

New Eyes for a New Year

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I ask this year for eyes—new eyes to see, to really see—

the shimmer of a winter sun dappled through the emptiness of trees;

the cosmic black of tiny titmouse eye—the sense of awe, the touch of

fear, the gravity so far beyond his tiny self;

for eyes to see the anxious twitch of squirrel tail, paws scrabbling

desperate through snow to find his hidden cache—how can I not forgive his

intermittent thieving from the feeders for the birds?

For eyes to read the poems of the wind, lines ragged,

harsh at times, but often soft and rhythmic, even kind; for eyes to

fathom something of the hallowedness in all this vibrant

life that breathes and dances just beyond my door.

*

I ask this year for eyes—new eyes to see, to really see—

the dazzle of imago dei just behind the masks that

greet me in the store or on the street;

to see the loneliness that hunches gray beside the

widower who sits near me in church;

to see the hope that glimmers in the hand of a child reaching

up and up and up.

*

I ask this year for eyes, new eyes—

that reach beyond my narrow life to vision

mother huddled in the soundless cold, her

children’s hollow eyes the only paintings on her

walls, confined now to a tent among the

rows and rows of tents that shelter

other refugees; for eyes that reach to

frame so many lives that ache with yearning for the

simplest things—food and water, schools, and freedom from

hostility and war that has defined, consumed all

they have ever known.

*

This year—no resolutions; just the

wish, the hope, the prayer, for new, unshuttered

eyes that open up my soul and

let the world come in.

Bare Tree

bare tree

(I pass this tree each day on my afternoon walks.  She has become a friend.)

***

Alone she stands, my silent friend,

stark, but stately as a queen;

bare arms splayed across a bright blue sky,

fingers caress the clouds by day, the 

distant stars by night.

*

She didn’t want to lose her leaves—

who willingly gives up life’s greens?—

but knowing dormant winter strength could not

sustain all that their lively work and play demand,

my friend insisted that they leave.  They were not

happy either; shouted protest, faces flaming red and

orange and brown; but in the end, each beloved

whooshed or glided to the earth, heaping one

atop the other, sloshing in the wild winds; a

macabre, playful dance of death.

*

She seems forlorn.  Of course forlorn.

How could she not be so?  Those leaves were not

mere finery she donned, but part of her, her

poetry, her songs, her prayers.

But heeding the primeval call to let them go,

she gives herself to winter rest, enclosed in roughened

bark that shelters, holds her inner strength against the

icy blasts, against the weight of snows that

sure will swirl and settle on her empty limbs.   

*

I stop and bow in awe of who she is, of

what she lives; and stilled, I hear her sigh,

profoundly sad, but strong and tough as well, and I am

sure—my soul bones tell me so—that far beneath the wind

against her bark—and ours—her memory, deep-rooted, firm,

quiet hums for her—for all of us—a dream of warm

spring ecstasies of green.

Moon Songs

moon

(picture taken in my neighborhood in Nanuet, New York)

torch lake moon

(picture taken by Jane Cronkite at Torch Lake in Michigan)

*****

Moon Meditation

Milk white orb serene,

sculpted from primeval night by

Word that gave you light and life,

light now our deepest dark,

brighten all our paths of pain,

help us discern our

secret paths that often

lead to space too dark to name, and

halo our best selves.

*****

Moon Haiku

These verses probably wouldn’t qualify as “true” or “pure” haiku to those who know this ancient form well, but at least their structure is haiku, and my friend Jane Cronkite (my haiku mentor) and I had some fun writing them.

***

Huge round moon floats up.

Shimmering ripples in lake

Wash darkness away.

(JC)

***

Bright moon rises full.

Dark trees circle deep blue sky.

White light surrounds me.

(CW)

***

Round white moon appears,

Trees, birds, insects make no sound,

My breath is silent.

(JC)

***

Pearly, wispy clouds

Drift across a bright full moon.

Shadows fade away.

(CW)

***

White and round: the moon.

On my stick: a marshmallow.

Which one do I taste?

(JC)

***

Jeweled bright full moon,  

Softly veiled in mist of cloud,

Hushes, calms my world.

 (CW)

Tiny Strength

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A solitary summer eve;

my world is hushed as fading sun

tucks itself into a bed of lavish green;

alone, I feel the starkness of the

coming night, the sudden stab of

fear to be, perhaps, unseen,

unheard in depth of coming

dark; and then he calls, my tiny wren,

pensive atop his shadowed post;

he, too, alone in fading light, alone but

singing yet against his fear, his song so

clear and bright, his piping strong and

bold, an evensong to chase away the

murk of night; and as he sings, the

ghostly edge of dark begins to fade; the

air around me breathes more peacefully;

and so do I.

Queen for a Day

All night she regal waits beneath the

silent stars, the moon, the clouds;

caressed by whispers of the wind,

she watches for first blush of dawn to

call her name and open up her joy;

then stretching every muscle of her fragile

strength, she one by one uncoils her

tight-held petals to stand proud beneath the

sun, dance with the breeze, drink

moisture of the clouds, and happy glow in

majesty that rivals that of Solomon.  Yet

unlike him, and unlike most of us, she’s not

concerned with who may bow the knee or who

may not; does not lament the briefness of her

fleeting time.  She simply lives her truth and

hers alone, fulfilling ancient mandate hidden

deep within her root and stalk and bud; and

when the sun dips golden red behind the trees,

she turns her gaze to earth and gentle droops her

petals with a sigh, content to know her time is done,

her task complete.  Chirring insects sing farewell and

kindly murmur their esteem:  “well done, daylily queen.”

Silent, she has taught me much;

with Solomon, I bow the knee.

*****

“The True Self does not stand around waiting for you to like it before it can like itself.  It doesn’t wait for accolades or external successes before it can believe in itself.  It quietly knows.”

Richard Rohr, Hope Against Darkness

*****

day lily

Pentecost

Pentecost

I looked out my window this morning and saw this magnificent view.

This Pentecost poem followed.

Fiery tongues ablaze amidst

the green of springtime life,

deep-rooted in an ancient soil of

sagas tawdry, bold, triumphant, worn;

drooping, lifting, swaying with the

steady winds of change; ever

new though ever old; each leaf so

fragile in its shining, so feeble all

alone, but coupled, linked along the

branch with other bright red leaves,

a whispered shout of presence and of

power from beyond that shines through all our

broken limbs, blesses every greening of our lives,

infuses all monotonies.

Come Spirit Wind–eternal, tender, fierce.