the languid currents
of an empty breeze
and the count continues
Although it is where we live,
we are not our thoughts.
Think about it.
Across the distance,
streaks of white.
Green hills and pigeons
Awareness of the first
comes with the falling of the second,
to the floor of my heart.
With the sharp shock of recognition
of denial—all that presents itself
presents the way.
We slip into the airport without a hitch,
only to find our flight delayed--
the cheek-to-cheek dance
of successive connections
bringing us face-to-face
Recalling, along the canal
this morning, the rising tide
of Buddha’s name
pushing past my lips.
We are our response
to the world.
Up close and personal,
Jet-lag overtakes us
as Amsterdam takes us in,
hovering, just outside
closed curtains, glistening
about the edges.
The sun multiplied by bees equals honey.
Perception cleared is Wisdom,
the pure feeling of living appreciation,
the world in us, we in it, and it of itself
one continuous moment in movement…
These days the canals are murky,
but along with time
carry the beauty of human purpose
for the morning walker
and the sky revealing its plan
to anyone happening
Of canals, and of water
The city begins
in a single circle, and
like a stone in a pond,
says our guide,
expands in sweeps of liquid ingenuity.
Morning gulls glide
the empty quiet
drunken young men
seem intent to fill.
I’ve walked this stretch of canal before,
but not like this, after night rains,
the calmed surface collecting light
from the cloud-broken sky
to hold the shining faces
of surrounding buildings
over its edge.
Holland is in the Netherlands
From the downside slope of the dike,
we listen to the waters of the River Lek
flowing above our heads.
The Church of the Beguinage, Brugge
Originally widows of the Crusades, the Beguinage gathered in small, walled communities
to live in silent devotion. Neither taking vows, nor joining orders, they made good, simply, their intentions to create cities of peace, islands of inclusive kindness
within the greater ocean.
The hushed center compound is shaded by tall, high-crowned trees that watch over
the chapel and its almost invisible, white-clad Benedictines. Any who would come
in silence, are received in silence. A place of warmth that spreads throughout the limbs,
a place made to be so.
And the world is not such a strange place
after all, light begets light, warmth absorbs cold
and leaves of every color fall
in their time.
The important work is to befriend the mystery,
for the distance perceived
is of our own making, our own
The city bustles with modern high-rises, business centers, ancient central squares
and narrow cobblestone streets, where statues of little boys pee
into fountains, for photo ops.
And Spring arrives full blaze, burning the skies into blue, as the sun
draws aside the chill, to lay down its work, without so much
as a wrinkle’s difference.
Brussels to Paris
Large with rivers, this land sings
all the varied songs of water,
and then some.
Joseph Stroud speaks of Earth as Language.
And answers, in a breath, the essential question
of poetry, of poets,
of all mankind.
And about you and me…
if counting, and if not
a life-time, and even then,
tonight in Paris.