Tuesday, April 18, 2017


                                DARKER CRIMSON

a short piece   single cello   with keening violins
it opens my heart's wound so tenderly   achingly

a stroke of darker crimson as the sun slides down
the last longing glance from a dying lover's eyes...

to be a deathless soul   burning in a needy animal
any words   even this music   can only hint at that

all comedy   all tragedy   rocks and rolls around it
a kiss and bite   a laugh and howl   fused into one

if you encounter me here   my strip-searched self
explore with humility   from your own nakedness

then maybe I can bear to be touched   even loved
knowing you shiver to the same bittersweet music

a short piece   single cello   with keening violins
do you feel it?  does it break open your heart too?


     Is there any way to escape the pain, the grief, the dark side of being human? If so, I've not discovered it--nor has anyone else, as far as I know. Our living and our dying are ultimately shrouded in mystery. Of all the arts, for me music comes closest to expressing this--and when it does, the heart's wound I always carry does indeed open so tenderly...achingly. Yet I'm grateful for this pain, because it breaks me open, as nothing else could, to my solidarity and empathy with my brothers and sisters everywhere, and with all living things. There's no path to the mountaintop which does not first pass through the valley of the shadow...

                 THE WOUND

I'm trying to plumb it to the source
the lone spelunker rappelling down
a bottomless abyss   the deeper I go
the further I sink from air and light

I know it was ripped open by deaths
a sister's cancer   her mother's grief
my father's heart attack   other loves
suffered   lost   abandoned   betrayed

I know a scared child cowers inside it
who runs away and hides   who rages
at heaven   hell   this asylum between
whose trust in love itself was zapped

but it's huger darker colder than these
I plunge back in time   beyond one life
to where all Creation's agonies tunnel
my taproot drinks from primal pain

pain that's mine   yours   each being's
Earth's ravaging pain and every star's
pain of any soul spawned by Eternity
pain born in the outrageous cry "I AM!"


    The key to this poem is the last stanza, the revelation that beyond all "the slings and arrows" I've experienced in my life, there's a "huger darker colder" anguish which can be traced all the way back to the primal wound of birth trauma. I think this is true for more of us than we realize; it's the unintended impact of overly intrusive modern obstetrical technology upon newborns who were much more conscious, sensitive and vulnerable in utero than we're willing to admit. Writing this poem proved to be a personal catharsis, since after I completed it, that deep, underlying pain was finally transformed through creative insight.


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