Return From Vacation

I breathe the truth in the dust
that lingers in the air from 
years of patient longing.

A daughter asks me to carry her
raising her arms as she turns to me
saying, Uppy.

The ordinary resumes after a vacation
trip that took us to the edge of delight, 
playing in the waters of life.

Unpacked, we ride our bikes to the fountain
where the girls walk circles counting bricks
and the cascades spray mist upon us.

The simple pleasures adorn themselves
still finding refuge from the complex 
which waits patiently for the following day.

Earlier, the flight path of our return
took us over where we now stand 
and we looked down upon the roof 

of our house and the woods
and this tiny circle of water which now  
becomes our daily destination.

A Summer Afternoon

Fascinating images from long ago glitter in the grass.
A daughter runs through a sprinkler across the wet  lawn.
Another turns the page while sitting on the driveway reading.
Still another calls for me to give her a push on the swing.

I ignore the silent roaring of time feeling my very bones become old.
The neighbor makes himself known with a call and a wave.
A dead man out of mind, a forgotten ancestor, rises to play.
Buckets and toy shovels wait in the sandbox where some grass grows.

The soundlessness cannot last all the bright day long, can it?
I look around for my hiding place we built the previous winter in the snow.
All I see is the length of reflected light stretching toward my eyes.
In the water the nightscapes dance as a promise after the sun goes down.

A Room

During dinner I said, "My feet
are too large for my room."

She said, "Any room means riotous
wealth upon which you can walk."

I said, "But cramped living leads to small
bitternesses and resentments."

She added, "And also for cozy living
arrangements that call for lots of snuggling."

I smiled. "I welcome those small delights
which can be found when space is at a premium."

She said, "All of creation is one large room."

Time for Some More Questions

Why is there always enough space after dinner
and before bedtime to ask one more question?

What makes a two hour sail in the burning sun
too long for any questions to be asked?

How does my gaze fall upon the one book I have wanted 
for a so long stacked in the midst of questions?

And, as the Psalmist asks, "What profit is there 
in my blood, when I go down to the pit?"

“I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” – Exodus 3:3

God Who Burns and Does Not Destroy,
who whirls in the wind by day
and dances in fire before us by night,
beguile us with visions in the corners of our eyes,
beautiful enough if beauty will do,
interesting enough if we are bored,
satisfying enough if we hunger,
but just enough and no more,
for we are already sated on enough of us
and more will make our feet too heavy
to turn and be amazed that the bush burns
and is not burned up.
Amen.

Mask-making

Whose are these,
these fingers,
that tamp gently 
upon my face?

Layer after layer
of plaster strips
softened, gently pressed 
then smoothed
upon the ridges and folds
of my cheeks, nose and chin.

I hear the quiet comments
of one daughter to another
saying, Here, and, There,
and I relax into another year
of camp where the years 
themselves layer, 
each upon the other,
creating one memory from 
many memories that I will
take to the gates on my death
and say, These days, these moments,
were the finest of my life.

what stretches to be found

redemption through creation
bending without breaking

a clay figure enlivens
to be examined
as reins slowly drape
upon body and soul
played by those who
believe beauty lies
in the beholden

the push of desire
mirrors the pull of the same

sacrifices of being lifted
along the safest journey 
to the temple where curtains
of many colors hang covering
the path in rich likelihood
and voices divide the fires
making all searches sense
what stretches to be found

Behind Us

Today, the hummingbird whirs, meandering 
from one branch of the river birch to another.

The Psalmist writes, "The soul shall dwell at ease,"
and I almost feel it, biblical in my repose.

Though, nobody knows why such stillness fades
from a moment at ease to the scraping of knees
dragging today's load of our belongings behind us.

Maintenance Required

I cannot imagine a soul apart from the body.
And, I understand the dynamics
of soul-attachment are not meant for me to know.

But if I, my soul, am to float away up into the heavens
upon whatever breeze that blows when I die,
I would like to enjoy the ride with the body 
that I leave behind.

There are those, perhaps many, who look forward
to that day of detachment from disease, paralysis
and fear that inhabits the corporeal.

Yet, what is this the Psalmist writes, God keeps
alive and restores souls?  Does this not change 
the yearning for moving along after death 
if maintenance is still required?