If we were to hear
with the wisdom in the heart of Mary
we would find the cows explaining sacred mysteries
to cradles and stars.
Our ambitions would fall away like pieces of broken light
and in the wake, another light,
a petal, a verb, a single horn
would call us into remembering
the feast of fruit and wine
that takes no prisoners.
Who can bear love like this?
It turns out,
only some illiterate shepherds,
a certain breed of wise men with blistered feet
a few animals
a few stars.
might occasionally think of angels, saints and
the frenzy of light where they live, but be careful
pure fire is terribly inconvenient to mortals.
Their love has a habit
of bringing small economies to a standstill
not unlike a common terrorist.
How do we greet such rituals of undoing
as new year meets old, one moment to next,
bowing in confession of the manifold arrogance?
It isn’t clear, but don’t worry.
Something about this beating drum that collects
and disperses at once leaves pinholes through which
Wise men on clear nights can usually find Bethlehem. Look!
Look. They say that even we might find this kind of door
this kind of beginning.
A new year comes
The vessel of longing is cracked against the side of a new ship
like every moment, really
but this one we agree to call
Suppose for one moment
there are no more births
only this one cup,
this one unfolding
spinning like a lost planet burning itself into light.
This one present where the past
and the future
rushing together from opposite directions
forming the body and bone that is you.
Bring your full or broken cups
to this altar of creation
Sing your praises.
Newly minted snow
laid cold, still cold
and brackens of ice
reporting all we have of heaven
the ordinary miracles:
Windows still frost in old houses
Horses still stamp in stalls
Babies still cry in the night
Stars still bear witness in blackness
And what is important to know
There is still a place to return within
this makeshift temple
Barren limbs hanging in requiem
require something of us
Make free the lamb, you lambs
Bless the maker
Bless light, air, water
the lost grass
all that is made
even here in this
our cold and snowy night.
I am holding a small winged thing
a new dove
a baby wren
a shaking thing with newborn lamb’s legs
rivers of infant blood are running through it
Waiting for an annointment or a message
in my house I am surprised to find a different order
the order the heart brings to action
Small footsteps are new to me and
even in my husbands sighs
I hear love
My eyes are opening to graciousness
fallen like spring pollen
My ears are awake to the sound of thin glass straws
some whistling in this strange wind moving
through the hollow shafts of God’s hair
Start at the beginning
Start the slow climb to grace
wherever you find the smallest foothold
This moment’s beauty will do
So another birth happens
(and another death too
to die just a little before Christmas
in the silence of heart
so that the sacred pilgrimage can begin through snow
Bearing even this,
consider gazing at the cold, chanting stars
knowing that they are also fire
coming so far to reach you
as it all
You, voice of red
the siren of this night’s glimmer
with the blank stare of harmonies
you face the cold snow and ask for forgiveness
There is some kind of transgression
but really, we know the love of loves
shines from even you
voice of red,
siren of snow.
This Winter’s blessing stands
like a fence post (flag pole, a bromstick)
alight the grey morning
It gives peace to children of other planets.
Even our own deserve
the restles love of messiahs
who do not bear arms.
White snow falling, blessing cars and lawns,
blessing of innocence, blessing of sorrow
blessing of forgetfulness
And things then change forms, becoming white
Nothing, it turns out, is spared
Falling like wasted moments or dust
blessings and song are landing featherlikeon the pain that can’t be moved.
Bells of the season, songs of sirens.
This lonely season is a place of
Oh dear son, Oh dear son,
Oh dear husbandof so many years
May I love and release you
over and over and over and over.