Attuning to Autumn

Autumn Trees

The leaves of the liquidamber tree flame into orange and red,
glowing in the hot light of Indian summer.
Even now a strong breeze can pull off
those that are ready to release their hold
or that the tree is prepared to relinquish.
Without pain or sorrow the leaf lets go
and floats into a current of air,
a wanderer now after a lifetime of vowed stability
with one tree in one place.
The new gypsy may know, but doesn’t care
that this grand adventure will end with a crumbling into mulch,
for the gift of the autumn wind is liberation,
and the songs of spring are just a sweet memory.

The bereft trees will stand naked
all winter,
and this is why they never forget who they really are.
The annual stripping of all finery
reduces each to its pure form,
and in this integrity
they offer their bare branches to the long winter night.

The Physics of Desire

Wednesday night I had the honor of sharing poems “in praise of the earth” with seven beautiful and talented Santa Cruz poets. Here’s one of the poems I read.


The Hunger That Crosses the Bridge Between

The physicist studies photons and particles,

while the seeker watches the sweet pea blossom

and waits at dawn for the hummingbird to sip its nectar.

What brings us to our knees before the altar of the holy?

In the darkness below ground,

what stirs inside the seed of the sweet pea?

In the moment when you strike the match,

what calls fire out of the sulfur tip?

It’s the physics of desire,

and God writes the equation for its fulfilling

in every place we might look.

(Title from Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)

In praise of the earth poets
In Praise of the Earth Poets

A Map to the Kingdom

Let me draw myself a map

out of my world of scarcity

into the kingdom

where everyone has enough.

The map I’m talking about

requires a subtle yet revolutionary algorithm

to rewrite the neuronal pathways of my brain.

Let my ears hear the soft call to prayer

from the cave of my heart

instead of the 21st-century symphonic blast

begging me to worship at the altar of the mall

and buy more apps for my iPhone.

The promise of productivity

and the buzz of news and games

want to trick me into believing

they can fill me up and give me purpose.

But no.

Rewire the neurons,

and let me rejoice in the gift of each moment

instead of fretting about what I don’t have time for.

Then I can find the cartographers

who will collaborate with me

in mapping our way to the kingdom of enough.

In that place time is the currency,

and relationships are all we want to buy.

 

Mary Camille Thomas