The Murmurings of Roots

redwood tree by a stream

Will your cravings ever leave you,

lifting like a startled flock

from your naked limbs?

Will your mind finally come to rest,

one ordinary morning?

What might you hear in the sheer silence?

Your heartbeat –

and the squirrel’s,

the secret language of the garden,

what the earthworms say to the roots.

You were waiting for the voice of God,

and here in the cave of your heart

is the alleluia of the blackberry

at the moment it plumps into perfect ripeness

and the Deo gratias of the squirrel

as it plucks the berry from the vine.

 

Attune your breath to the cedar’s sigh

and rise from your cushion now

before the diamond dewdrops

on the sourgrass dry.

The Channel

mountain spring

Hidden in the hills,

a spring spills its secrets –

milk and honey from the womb of the earth.

Seeking its course through forest and vale,

water calls the banks of the river into being –

Find me!

 

Listen,

within you plays the song of the stream.

You are the banks of the river

and its bed

that give the water a place to go.

Unbraid your hair now, and

let the oncoming tide dissolve

your holding back.

Where the moon marries salt to sweet,

may your gathering waters

flow out to the sea.

Vernal Equinox

pond at Keukenhof gardens

Before work I sit beside a pond

where frogs sleep and dragonflies play.

Winter is tipping into spring,

and already French lavender sends out faint tendrils of scent;

purple blossoms flutter up rosemary branches.

This is what we’ve been waiting for,

my hibernating muse and I.

 

Sun just peeking over a roof touches my forehead

and dapples the rust-red algae

covering the little pond like a velvet coat.

The monarchs are departing, winging their gentle way northward.

Now the sun kisses the page of my notebook,

and daffodils praise the morning light.

A Holy Fire

 

angel candle

 

What if you were pregnant with a holy fire?

Would you be lit from within?

Might your warm skin and glowing eyes hint at the mystery to the outside world?

 

How would you nurture this fire?

When my friend was pregnant,

she gave up caffeine and alcohol,

ate fresh organic food,

and slept as much as she could.

She practiced breathing

to prepare for labor pains

and listened to beautiful music

so her babe’s delicate developing ears

would hear sweet sounds in the womb.

 

Rest your hand on your belly

as you long to gaze into the eyes

of the being within

and hold her  in your arms.

Imagine the names that might suit her.

 

You are pregnant with a holy fire.

Purify yourself.

Rest.

Dream.

Now is the time of waiting,

now is the long night.

Breathe in

the darkness,

and breathe out

your fear.

 

You are tinder for the fire,

and it will burn in your bones.

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