Monday, December 13, 2010

"We Loved As Best We Could"....and other pearls

I think of poetry as the soul's "pearl of great price." Pearls are beautiful, yet they were not created to be beautiful. They were made by the oyster to protect itself from a painful foreign substance, like a grain of sand or grit. Slowly and painfully, the soft innards of the oyster transforms the irritant until it becomes a thing of beauty, a lustrous pearl.

I find that poetry is the soul's way of transforming the pain of love and life into something lustrous and beautiful. It is a slow, inward process--a miracle of tranformation.

Over the last few months, as my heart opened up like an oyster opening its shell, I found myself writing a series of poems, some of which I have shared on the blog. This week I was pleased that "The Western Friend" published this poem I wrote two months ago, just as I met a new friend who entered my life like Blake's grain of sand:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour....

At an art gallery in Bergamot Station

with the curiosity of a scientist
and the searching eye of an artist
you puzzled how
these boulder-sized stainless steel cubes
were crumpled like boxes of Kleenex
with such amazing artistry they seemed alive
gathered in a circle to worshipor just breathing

the answer was simple: a vacuum pump
sucked all the air from these perfect cubes
and the weight of the atmospherewe take for granted crushed them
into living forms

is it not so with us
when we let ourselves be emptied
and let the Unseen have its way
nature abhors a vacuum
but the Spirit loves and needs our emptiness
so we can be crushed and molded
into perplexing beauty

Over the next two months our relationship unfolded, and many beautiful pearls were created:

Vesper Light

meditating with the scent of sage
filling the room with a sense of peace
i think of You
night-blooming jasmine,
pulsing with fragrance too sweet,
too potent to put into words

i think of You walking on streets
transmuted by the cool of the evening
and wisps of vesper clouds
floating in the western sky
with their underbellies soft and pink
and a belt of cobalt blue
darkening and deepening beneath them
and masses of wine-dark clouds
like mountains, islands, forests rising from an unseen sea
as if daring a painter to paint them or a poet to describe them

i think of You when words fail and the heart is at peace
what else is there to think of but You?

closing circle at pendle hill
at close of day, just before bedtime,
a circle of Friends sits and reflects
on a bowl of autumn leaves
so vibrantly colored they don't seem real,
and listens to poems we have known for years
read by an aging English couple
slowly, deeply like the echoes in a well
the mournful choir of gnats....the wild swans of Coole....

familiar words, yet able to surprise us still
to charm into stillness with their old magic

but then a deeper magic
surprisingly appears
amidst these gray heads and fallen leaves
i think with gratitude
of You, a flower
unfolding its pale pink petals
against the endless blue
horizon of your eyes
in the warm, throbbing
springtime of my astonished heart

Counting the days

As the train pulled out of the station,
another day of traveling,
another day without you
movies starring us
recur in my mind,
some reruns
that make my heart smile,
some still in the storyboard stage
with the same recurring questions:
is she the one, the one for me,
am i the one, the one for her?'
am i? is she? what next?
what next? what next?

all aboard! the next stop is....
the train moves on and on and on
all I know is
i count the days
until i see you again

An exchange of dreams

She: i sink into the dark, the place
where the dark one sometimes comes
my panther, my spirit guide
when i hit rock bottom
the floor was luminescent green
and i sat and waited
sometimes he comes and carries me away
in his great paws
sometimes he eats me, crunches my bones
but i don't mind
i don't feel any pain, just surprise
and once he ate my arms
and i was glad---out of the bloody sockets
four arms grew
four new arms with which to create new art!

now i am sitting and waiting
on the green luminous floor
and he appears,
only he is not black but silver gray
like your hair--
he crouches and waits, watching me
and i sit and watch him watching me
and feel at peace

He: i rose out of my bed
and glided towards the front door
opened the doorknob and flew away
into the clear blue sky
and looked down at the beautiful vistas
mountains and valleys and endless blue seas
and i was not afraid
i was being held by the loving hand
of My Beloved

Then suddenly and unexpectedly, the dream ended, with this pearl of a poem emerging after a week of pain:

“We loved as best we could”

One morning you suddenly left
on my doorstep
a package of memories--
all the gifts I'd ever given you--
with a note labelled "returned to sender,"
and I recoiled in shock...

It was as if you burned down
our lovely hanging bridge,
a bridge constructed lovingly
of bits of wood and straws and
lollipop stems and paper flowers glued on,
and ropes of candy necklaces--

a bridge of dreams
over a gorge thick with mist.

For days the smoke and mist were so thick
it was impossible to see
and the sound of water
thundered so resoundingly
we couldn't hear a thing
but the echoes of our own words
of explanation,

Sick at heart,
we watched the fragments of our lovely bridge
caught in whirlpools
spinning helplessly round and round
until carried away downstream

Then a paper airplane glided to the shore
with a simple message
"we loved as best we could"

And the smoke and mist cleared
just enough to see
on the far, far distant shore
a tiny figure waving her hand
whether to say 'goodbye' or 'hello'
I couldn't tell

Beloved Friend, Source of All That Is, I give thanks for the "perplexing beauty" of life and love, with all its pain, and joy.

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