If you are patient and do not look for it, there is a still moment in each day when nothing at all happens, when the silence without demands a silence within, when thoughts evaporate like the mist of an early morning dew, when you have precisely enough and cannot imagine needing more, when where you are is where you must be, when the past and future float off and their gravitational pull on you breaks, and you simply are in the only moment there is.
Today is my 15th wedding anniversary, and that merits a special posting to the person who has completed me in ways I never imagined possible.
The sheer inadequacy of words
is made painfully manifest today.
I grasp at words: love, passion, joy
and each still falls short of its intended mark.
There is a moment each morning,
each night as the lights go out,
and every moment in between
when I am love, hope and joy,
but separate me from you
and I am none of those things fully.
Fifteen years ago I said to all gathered
that I do, and ever since I say
to myself, I am so lucky that I did.
What do you say to those who turn their backs on those broken in battle, or broken at the sight of battle, who were left to clean up the collateral damage, or who were collateral damage, were pierced by IED’s, or shaped charges, who had inadequate armor, or no armor at all, who were left in moldy rooms, were dropped on the street, who don’t want to go back again, and still again, who see clearly with their eyes closed, who cannot find shelter in a maelstrom of thoughts, who did what was asked and wish they hadn’t, who asked for leaders and found only followers, who asked why and were told “just because,” who never came back, or who were left here.
Previously appeared in SNReview, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2007 and in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press (2008).
Early this morning as I drove through the mist that clings to Portland in March like a child’s yellow slicker, I thought of you, home, asleep on our bed, my side tidy, no faint indentation of life, and I thought of the thousands who have died to date in Iraq, who never again will leave a faint indentation in any bed. It is far easier thinking of you, of regretting the miles between us at this moment, but knowing that I will shortly bridge those miles and we will tonight indent our bed, that two thousand miles is little more than an inconvenience, while many of them are no more that a dozen miles outside of countless towns; but the effect of that short distance is infinite and they can only indent the thawing earth beneath the granite stones.
For a while, I will be using Thursday’s posts to feature poems I previously had published. Today’s, Early Morning previously appeared in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008).
There was a time not all that long ago, he reminds me, when the event of an eclipse was a certain sign the world was ending. Prayers were offered in profusion, and the event proceeded and passed, so faith in prayer was restored, if not in astronomy. Today eclipses are viewed as just other celestial events, like meteor showers and solar flares, something to see, something to experience, but always with the knowledge that tomorrow will always be right around the corner. But the eclipse of our freedoms is something we have never seen, and many now believe the world is ending, but we should, he says, realize that like the slow passage of the earth across the face of the moon, we will emerge into the light again in due time, our prayers having been answered.
Cain slew Abel in a moment of anger, a crime of passion would be his defense today. We can only imagine what Isaac might have done to Ishmael, had Hagar not been sent off by Abraham, after all he was a child who saw the knife first hand and helped sacrifice the thicketed ram. Joseph tasted the pit at his brothers’ hands mourned by his father only to emerge and forgive. It is little wonder we Semites can’t get along, Jew and Jew, Israeli and Palestinian, we’ve been rehearsing this act for millennia.
First published in Children,Churches & Daddies vol. 141 (2004) and later in The Right To Depart (Plain View Press, 2008).