Thursday, December 31, 2009

POEM: The Cave Drawings of Lascaux

Would the maid of Corinth have gazed at her painting often
After her lover’s ship had left?

The cave drawing – especially if mixed with fat
Or blood or egg – can last an ice age and through
Another ten thousand years of summer rains
And endless winter nights.

But as soon as people pay attention to the drawing
It begins to fade, as if it were the
Attention itself that rubbed the paintings dim.

Painted with ash, they return to dust
Just by the power of observation.

Fifteen thousand years ago, an artist
Touched these stony walls and by
Torchlight sketched this herd of bison
Thundering across a primal imagination.

The wonder it inspires has lasted
Deep in the caves that lie unexplored in all of us.

POEM: The Promise of The Return

(for Alphonse “Freddie” Calabrese, Dec 2009)

To you, I give the burden of justice.
I will provision a keen intellect
And the greatest love of books and learning.
I will grant you a great heart and love for family
I offer you the sacraments so you may know
That I have not abandoned you in faithless times.
I give you The Most Holy Mass, which you will revere –
And I will give to you my own body and blood
To nourish you along the way.

And when I call you home, there will be your
Mother, Josephine – and your father, Charles –
Waiting for the moment of your return.

For it is not just the glory of God
That we seek while we are here, but reunion.
We hope to regain all that we have lost
Along the way.

Your learning is not
Needed now, you may leave it behind.
What you will need is what you always thought
You would need: forgiveness and faith,
Love, and the soft heart that first I gave you.

I am the promise of the return that
Welcomes you home, back from where you never
Really strayed, back to where you always knew
You belonged, safe in the arms of the Love
That first sent you and claimed you as its very own.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

30 Poems in 30 Days: November

When we are forced to find inspiration, where do we find it? When we are allowed to let all the “floaters” (as I call them) – ideas that stream past us constantly - to get pulled into our field of vision, inspiration seems to come out of thin air. It’s nothing short of miraculous.

Perhaps “writers block” or the inability to be creative is nothing more than our inability to be fully present.

Someone once described the creative process as being like a transmitter, plucking out ideas like radio waves of thin air. This experience has reinforced this idea for me.

As to whether any of these poems are “worth” anything, that is not my job to perform. In fact, that was not really the intent of the exercise. The path is the process.

This exercise has shown me everything begins in observation and this must be done alone, and finally in silence. For this gift of silence, I am eternally grateful.