The Last Place on Earth

digital collageIn Profundum Maris

Deep in the ocean, fathoms far,

Beyond the reach of the brightest star,

In the abyss of the secret sea—

Seemingly past where life could be

Sustained—lies a billowing bed of kelp

That waves in the dark, where sleep, where help,

Where mystical mending music calls

As the tides turn back and the current falls,

As the storms above relent, abate,

Becalm, bring peace—it is not too late

To dive in the depths with delight, embark

On the garden path of the ocean’s dark,

Miraculous beauty, unseen, immense,

Suffusing the soul in every sense,

To lie in the rush as the seas roll by

And think it a joy too fine,

To die…digital collage

The Longed-for Sound

digital illustrationAwakening

Whose is the voice that speaks my name, Aloud or silently, the same,

In gentle speech or radiant song, Unspoken care, forgiving wrong?

Whose is the loving, laughing voice That makes my waiting heart rejoice,

That wakes my hope and lights the sky With stars, to which my sole reply

Is humble gratitude, delight That such a voice breaks through the night

To search me out, my heart in two, And make it whole?

Your voice. Yes, you.

Sweets for the Sweet (& All Others, Too)

digital illustration

Remember this…

Long-Awaited Benison

The sweetest sound the human ear has heard
Was not a waterfall or splashing brook
To thirsty thoughts; nor thirsty mind, a book
Read out; nor singer’s voice, nor whistling bird

In spring’s cool song; it wasn’t kittens’ purr
Or baby’s comfortably cooing charms
When resting safely in his mother’s arms
—Though it might then seem wildly sweet to her

It wasn’t the “I love you” of romance,
Nor was the sweetest sound of clinking gold,
—Though to its owner, that cannot grow old—
But rather, barring mystic happenstance,

The miracle of sound most truly sweet
Was Mama’s voice announcing, “Come and eat!”

Lesser Lights

digital illustration

The major stars are always more visible than those around them. It’s demonstrably true not only in the galaxies but in the more modest constellations of humanity. Our attentions are naturally drawn toward those who shine most impressively and dramatically—for good or ill; those more modestly gifted or less showy mostly find their own lights muddled or even eclipsed by the intensity nearby, and as a result we seldom spot and take note of them.

Even those of us who are not only accustomed to, but also aware of, being humbled and diminished by comparison to others’ flashier character can easily forget how this applies to others. Just because I might feel neglected doesn’t necessarily mean I notice others being equally shortchanged; indeed, it’s more likely that if I’m feeling under-appreciated I get too preoccupied with my longing to be Special and resentful navel-gazing to think that I’m probably in the majority rather than otherwise.

Still, there’s hope. Just as a supernova will someday burn to nothingness, human stars tend mostly to flash into the general notice, burn however brightly for however long, and be dimmed by eventual inattention or death. They, too, will eventually be outshone and/or replaced by other stars whose time has come.

And if I, or any other, should in the meantime feel unreasonably hidden from sight, we are still free to seek our own bit of gleam. For some folk, that seeking comes in ambitions for accomplishment and fame. For the rest of us, the surest way to kindle the blazing fire that gives off sufficient heat and light to be noted by anyone else is to turn our focus outward. Devoting energy, attention and love to causes and works outside of our petty selves, and especially to other persons, is the spark that, when kindled in their spirits, creates the steadiest, most lasting kind of light. Even the smallest and weakest among us shines brightly in this tiny act of selfless will.digital illustration

A Couple More Things I Tell Myself

…since I seem to be in the mode of self-improvement. Or, more likely, just talking to myself as usual…photo + text

text

Here I am. Now.

Honey Badger is not alone. Dead people don’t care, either. Even if they’re going to be reincarnated, they couldn’t possibly care less, I assume, about what anybody thought of them in life. The past is a lock.

What matters, if anything does, to the dead as much as to the living is what’s yet possible (if that includes reincarnation). The only way to get to the future, furthermore, is to be present in the present. All of the yesterdays that ever were can only be altered—at least without a time machine, which, of course, must be built in the present or future since there isn’t one yet, other than the hard to find Vernean one or the wonderful TARDIS of course—by improving the outcomes of those yesterdays in the present and future. Funny how that all works.

But what it tells me is that while I can (I very much hope) learn from the past, there’s no benefit in dwelling on it. And I don’t even think there’s much to be gained from living exclusively for the future. I’m not guaranteed one, after all. I could be caught unawares by a fatal disease, slip on a blot of mud and fall off a cliff, or be eaten by aliens tomorrow. And I can’t be sitting around knitting my brow and fretting over whether anyone will express admiration and gratitude for the wonderfulness of me after that happens.

I’d like to be way too busy until tomorrow, or whenever that cutoff time arrives, to expend any real energy conjuring up what grand eulogies I’ll get and what perfect art will be applied to my tomb, when I’ll be much too dead to care. Not to mention that whether I’m cremated [post-mortem, thankyouverymuch!] as I intend or it’s because there’s nothing left of me but my socks and hat after the aliens ingest me, there won’t be any need for a tomb. In any case, joy and contentment should be usurping all of the space that any such thoughts would aim to occupy. I prefer to think that I’m living out my eulogy, and lest it be of any interest to anyone but me, the most fitting one I can imagine would be that I was too busy living to sit around for a funerary portrait.

I know that I am loved. That is the best of all possible epitaphs I could possibly desire. And it’s a cheering enough thought to keep me occupied for as long as I get to be in the Here and Now. I guess my job is to pass it along to those in my immediate vicinity, my small orbit, so that they might be able to make the same claim.photo

All Things in Due Season

digital illustrationBoon Companions

When shadow steals across my eyes, when chill sits in my soul, when cries

Of hopelessness and bitter cold would turn me hard, regretful, old,

I turn my memory to when I cradled happiness, and then

Remember that what shaped me so was love, the kind I came to know

From those great luminaries whose wisdom it was to seek and choose,

From the remotest needful place, pursuit of happiness and grace,

Who told in kindly, teaching voice that peace and joy are bought by choice,

That when the frozen dark descends, we’ll find our light

among our friends.digital illustration

Hope Lives in Unexpected Places

photoTo the Astonishment of Angels

Where in the wilderness of life an adumbration points the way

From our benighted place, our strife and sorrows, to the sun of day,

A banner flares out on the breath of some great strength to give reprieve

To wearied lung and heart, from death to lift us to where we believe

Once more that goodness lies within, that kindness is courageous love,

That generosity’s akin to calling stars down from above

And handing them to needy souls to light their way to higher ground,

And that small songs pierce blazing holes in prison walls with their mere sound—

Here in the bitter night and cold, when such a beacon lights a spark

To guide us forward, as of old, let us rise up and leave the dark

And carry all our fellows, too, to those bright, grand palatial places

Where in the wilderness the true angelic joy renews its graces.photo

Endless Sleep that Needs No Dreams

Cadence at Evening

Slow as the settling of the sun
Upon the western shore and lees
Where nightingales call from the trees,
Watching the honeyed daylight run—

Slow as the shifting motes of time
That sift and spin in lamp-lit rays,
Fall lazily to dust and haze
And love, ineffably sublime—

Slow as the sleeping breath when dreams
Have ceased, and thought receded to
The farthest corners, shaded blue
To inky black, to flow in streams—

Slow as the silently locked door
Was, to admit all at the last
Where wonder waits that, long held fast,
Now pulls us inward evermore—

Slow as the parting of that night
Which closes day with one last kiss,
Night languorous with hymns like this,
Draws us toward slowly growing light—photo

Ruined by Love—and That’s Not a Bad Thing

Image

digital illustration from a photomontage + text