Monday, September 7, 2015

Saving Grace

                                STORM'S EYE

     We dance round in a ring and suppose,
     The Secret sits in the middle and knows.
                                           -- Robert Frost

my mind's not dancing in a ring but drastically
blundering through sleepless centuries tonight

I plead   whine   pray   try desperate bargaining
anything to sabotage the feedback loop of fear

I think I might cartwheel forever into the abyss
stalking my obsessions   being stalked by them

but then   out of nowhere    the Inconceivable
blooms open!   envelops me   gathers me home

released from the hurricane's wrangle   I pass
through a gauntlet of thunder to its radiant eye

I don't know what I said or did to invoke it--
this wormhole of grace enwrapping my soul

impossibly    I'm breathing "not this/not that"
furled deep in a Nothingness nothing can harm


     Who has not experienced them--those agonizing sleepless nights, these concentrated Dark Nights of the Soul? Gerard Manley Hopkins described one this way: "I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day./ What hours, O what black hours we have spent/ This night! what sights you, heart, saw; what ways you went!/ And more must, in yet longer light's delay." Yet there are times when our desperate prayers are answered, beyond our wildest hopes, and this poem evokes one such instance. At the eye of every storm, if we come there, if we're brought there, there is this pure, luminous calm, this saving grace.

                      THERE WAS A BOY

there was a boy who could hide in the sound
rain makes falling on a dented garbage can lid
or slowly disappear with the dwindling drone
of an airplane's propellers   when leaves spoke
to the wind he was listening   and as the seeds
woke secretly underground he heard that too

there was a boy who could see invisible things
like a root groping downward year after year
or the faces of the dead forming inside stones
he was born half turned to some other world
and could never cease watching for its signals
even after The Thought Police arrested his soul

there was a boy who stayed alive in the man
who learned how to resist The Thought Police
and fight off the cannibal vampires and spurn
any scoffer who said  "Grow up and get real!"
this boy knows what he knows    he'll never
surrender    he'll always be part of the Infinite


     I think the saving grace I experienced in the midst of a seemingly endless night of insomnia was possible because, against all odds, that Infinite Child inside me never surrendered.  R.D. Laing wrote: "We live in a secular world. In order to adapt to this world, the child learns to abdicate its ecstasy." What a terrible thought! And yet how often it's true.

        But my Infinite Child never will abdicate his ecstasy. May this be the same for you!



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