Friday, 8 June 2012

Striding Into The Wind

"Mad with poetry
I stride like Chikusai
Into the wind." -Basho

When I imagine freedom, I picture myself with nothing. Every meaningless thing left behind me. Every useless bond broken.

I would gladly turn my back on all that I am supposed to want, supposed to spend my life working for and trying to achieve. What about not wanting more? What about not defining ourselves or attempting to define others? What about smashing the boxes we try to put each other in? Letting go of our need to neatly label people? What about seeking God with all of our hearts and all of our souls? I picture standing on the top of some great hill and waving good bye. Good bye with a light heart. No, I won't be a part of your world. No, matching dishes and matching towels and a life that is a shadow of what it should be just doesn't interest me. I will have no part of it.

I want to be where there is nothing but sky and land and the wind in my face and blood pulsing in my veins.

Where all around me is vital and drunk on pure freedom. Where my love, my family, my faith find their true home. Anywhere. Everywhere. That the heart is. Where nature sings in my ears and God whispers to my heart. Where the first white crocus of spring is a miracle. And the air I breathe is a miracle. And the heart that beats with life within me is a miracle. And the sharp blue of the sky. And the cat lying lazy and content in the sunshine. If these things are miracles then how much more so are the gifts of my husband, my son, my family, of life? Why would I ever choose the shadow of existence over the vibrancy of love? The cynicism of the world over the joy of the Lord? Anxiety and fear over trust, peace, and a smiling face? Drowning in a sea of materialism over the freedom of giving, grace, and needing little? It all comes down to this, to freedom, in the end.

I would also cast off the expectations, opinions, words of others. The disapproval. The heavy burdens that people try to place on another's shoulders through their own fears and limitations. Yes I would gladly say good bye to caring whether somebody thought the way I lived my life met with their approval or not. It isn't up for discussion. This life of mine. My way of living. My life is a gift. A journey. I have no one to answer to but my Creator.

No matter what the circumstances of my life, it is freedom I live and breathe. It is in knowing success and failure and the way I measure the two.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Suicide of the Young

Carefully fitting small, uneven pieces together,
A mosaic that whispers of raw secret beauty stretches in scarlet and shadow
Across the soul of the sky.
Fading into paleness, disappearing into the unacknowledged
Without so much as a hint of complaint or a cry.

You have caught the light.
Taken my laughter, peace, certainty.
All that was rightfully mine.
All I would have given you willingly,
If you had only given me time.

You have caught the light, and still, appear unmoved.
Lost in a silence so deep and resonating.
Standing draped in solitude.
But you can not be unmoved.
I can not believe you are.
Because I see the changing depth of color
Pouring from infinite skies.
I see the way it floods over you,
Seeps into you,
Then spills out of your clear eyes.

I count the passing moments.
As I will count each coming, quiet hour
Until I am able to admit to myself
That all I would die to make better for you will always be beyond my power.

How certain things become treasures -
When etched in the brilliance of loss and pain.
My heart fills and shatters with the knowledge of smiles that will never be directed my way again.

And trust.
And loyalty.
That always simply were,
Only that the words so rarely passed my lips
That no clear echoes remain.
No tangible proof they existed
Therefore, nowhere to place any blame.

You must not have seen…
You’re beautiful.
You must not have seen…
You’re precious…

But that is because this world lacks in love and in grace.
I wish we could have protected you
Linked arms and gathered around you,
Somehow kept you in this place. 

(Written April 2005)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Village of No Bells

Village of no bells
Spring evenings
What's to listen for? -Basho

Last night I lay with wide eyes. Staring out into the darkness of my bedroom. I wrap my arms around myself and I remember.

When my friends and I backpacked, months in the freedom and sheer confident joy of journeying without ever really arriving, they used to laugh at me, tease me like only good friends really can. Sleeping on trains, in bus stops, anywhere, clutching my pen and paper. Suddenly waking with the urge to write so pressing...words tumbling out of my sleepy brain through my fingers onto lined school paper. Done. Throw the secret night thoughts on the floor with my glasses and fall back asleep to the clatter and bang of old train wheels turning. This is what they laughed at. That the writing couldn't wait. It was okay with me, I liked that they laughed at my night writing. It showed their intimate knowledge of me. Their acceptance.

I still wake up at night, my mind alive with words and ideas. Poetry dreams that I quickly forget. Words surge through me. Demanding. Entreating. My mind alive with life. Teeming in my head and heart and I have no choice but to get up and do night writing. With a keyboard and a computer screen. Pen and paper long abandoned. The curly haired, hungry-for-life girl on the train, not quite abandoned yet. It is my hope she never will be.

I am not writing now for anyone. So there is no need for any pretense. Nor even humor if I don't feel like it. No need to impress or explain. There is just me. And I am going to write like there's no one reading. Like I did when I scribbled words into notebooks, madly, not always on the lines. Sometimes the words swirled around the page in a circle. No one could have made sense of them but me. Word artist. In love with language.

Last night I lay with wide eyes, staring out into the darkness of my bedroom. I thought about my friends. A sliver of soft pain raced through me. Regret. I don't usually allow myself to miss them. I just don't. But it isn't hardness and it isn't coldness. It's just life.

My more-than-friends. My sisters. The ones with whom it's all honesty and acceptance. I couldn't pretend with them if I tried. They've set the bar high. I've set the bar high too.

I live in a foreign country so I accept that I won't be fifty years old laughing with my best girl friend with whom I've been through everything together because we simply won't have been through everything together. That's okay with me.

I will have to have different sorts of friendships. Maybe I'll be fifty years old and laughing with my "best friends", not because we have been through it all together but because there a depth and an honesty between us, because the friendship isn't based on the transient or superficial or pretense but on something unchangeable.

My spirit knows yours. I would recognize you anywhere. I will recognize you anywhere. In the meantime, I am at peace with this.