A Place Full of Love

Photo: Timeless ITimeless I

Great friendship leads to kindling of a kind

Unknown to lovers who have never spent

Nights they devoted purely to content

Intimate intercourse strictly of mind—

Love is expansion, at its best, of souls’

Learned connectivity in friendship first,

And then the cultivating of the thirst,

Pursuing stronger wine, and then the coals—

Embers long banked as friendship had begun—

Light into fire new brilliance from a spark

Lifting great stars from the eternal dark,

Exquisite as a newly blazing sun—

Rich is the love that from such friendship springs,

Kisses of wine—and of more stellar things.Photo: Timeless II

Timeless II

In morning light, the palest leafy shade

Of birches’ green is cast upon the wall

Where portraits hang, ancestral friends who all

Keep silent watch on what the years have made

Of their descendants and their memories;

The secretary, small and staunch, remains,

And in its graceful curving shape contains

What documents can speak these histories;

Oft, in this room, the whisper of that sense

Of timeless care embracing present love

Reaches so gently from its great remove

That love fills up the room itself, immense.

When I am here, I know love so begun

Will flourish to the final setting sun.Photo: Timeless III

Another Totentanz

digital illustrationTo Rest in Peace

Alas! for shadows carve my collarbones

and misery is lapping at my heels;

Death’s machinations turn, wheels within wheels,

and grind me for its grist between cold stones–

And yet, as dust-dry as I turn, breath blooms

persistently, a torture to my soul

when I had rather be devoured whole

and go on into Peace’s empty rooms–

Still, here I stay, lie atomized, forlorn,

forgotten on the fringes of what life

and loves I knew once, when my days were rife

with possibility as a new morn–

Let me die now, not live without a chance

of altering this endless Totentanz.

Lest you think me suffering myself, or pessimistic, I assure you I am alive and well. It’s just that I have seen many others struggle with prolonged and pitiful end-of-life dramas and was reminded this June when I saw the beautiful antique gravestones in Boston of how different things are now, when we have such nearly unbelievable powers to keep ourselves alive for tremendously long lives but have lost touch with when it’s acceptable or even desirable not to do so. If our skills for ensuring or encouraging genuine quality of life are far outstripped by our skills for lengthening it, what does that say about us? Generations removed from our forebears, whether in Boston or elsewhere, who knew much more primitive medicine, greater physical dangers, irreparable injuries and the concomitant shorter lifespans we have apparently long since forgotten, do we know how to accept death as a natural end to life and treat dying as a passage to be eased to the fullest extent instead of forbidden?

Meditations

digital collageStillness at the Edges
I
We stood along the shore at break of day,
The water lapping gently at our heels,
And heard the distant crying of the seals
At gulls for stealing all their fish away–

The dawn was chill and misty, palely blue,
Our hearts in morning shadow just as cold,
And bone and sinew feeling early old
As soul and body waiting day will do–

The sea was restless, slowing at the last
To push up foam as streaky as the clouds
And gather shells and pebbles in those shrouds
Around our feet, we statues standing fast–

All this, because our spirits captive are
Until revived by sun, our morning star.
digital collageII
So lifeless, silent, still and cold are we
When gold has yet to tinge the morning sky,
So empty is the world but for the cry
The seals and gulls raise up in minor key–

So heartless is the morning chill ashore
We stand like stone and cannot take a breath
Until the sun releases us from death
And brings the flame of sentience once more–

At last the light of day draws us to wake,
And we’ll bestir ourselves to act and thrive,
Rejoicing to discover we’re alive
Until the world’s foundations start to shake–

We know the night will come again, and fast,
And so must live each day as if our last.digital collage