Like Water Through Cloth

The earth ripples with it,

under all it runs like water –

slips like drops unnoticed.

At that first touch we shiver,

our skin unused to the shock of cold.

 

We are cloth, rough and swiftly woven,

we blow in the breeze,

dancing in the air above the tides,

fighting the gravity pulling us

into weight, a frozen drowning

of the free will we defend so mercilessly

(as if it could be taken away).

We see in water only an end to flight,

in surrender only oppression.

 

But water as it runs through cloth

is water delighting itself,

and in its tender passage

cloth is transformed.

Altered, loosened,

the weight in its spun fibres

lets it stretch and open

and pinpricks of sun reach through

till the ground below

is a mass of stars in midday.

Promising Emptiness

Lost in the empty noise of my desperate mind,

I close my eyes and suddenly You reappear.

I want to cry, to cling to You,

to fold myself into the space

between Your arms and I do –

Your loving hands bend and mold me

into driftwood, a sailboat,

white swathes of fabric floating

above me and You release me –

floating downstream.

 

Then the boat pitches off the water’s edge,

an end unnoticed, disappearing.

Shiva, ever gentle,

You hold Your hands over my eyes.

 

What have I not yet learned about surrender?

Why do I see time like a jailer,

above me rattling his keys?

when every day You pry open bars

and invite me with Your patient smile,

Come out, come out into the sun.

Let me care for you 

as the most doting of parents.

Why do I, so many days, choose

to stay in familiar darkness?

The Taste of Peace

It’s the empty bliss between heartbreaks.

The second your clinging fingers let it slip

over the cliff and in your lightened grasp

colour floods back to your hand,

red rivulets rushing to warm

your desperate flesh.

It’s the golden pulse around you

when at last you reach the surface

and seize your first grasp of air.

Where straining ceases,

the casement flies open

and all that’s ever been floods in

– more than you could ever dream –

till the tears run

at the kaleidoscopic freedom

that was waiting all along.

Lost in the Night

A thousand and one nights without You, my darling,

I collect thoughts like shards of glass from the street

and clutch them to my desperate heart.

But they all stab and cut in the end,

and the red dewdrops that appear

twin the tears in my eyes

at my own misunderstanding.

It’s not that You drift from me, but I from You,

slipping from our bed in a hypnotized passion,

to roam midnight calling for You by all the wrong names.

Why do I never remember what You told me?

To find a quiet place and think of You,

and You are there, constant as I am wavering.

I wonder why You permit my weakness,

my turning from our sacred love over and over

till I forget what Your touch feels like,

till the sight of myself in Your eyes

becomes a dim and painful memory –

peace too often veiled in darkness.

Oh my Most Beloved,

forgive once again Your inconstant lover,

teach this fickle heart to be true to You,

to know joy in Your certain embrace.

Fog Into Buckets

Love is buried under fear,

oceans of drops aching for

salt water –

how can I explain it to them?

even as my own mind refuses the truth.

I cast spells with my breath

that clear my sight for a movement,

but it’s like trying to shove fog into buckets,

or run water uphill:

all the forces I’ve been told are natural

course against my will.

Yet I keep hauling thickened air

and tipping it overboard,

sketching dams and dragging logs

to direct creeks,

and even as people shake their heads

and mutter its hopelessness,

I feel the strength in my arms

from lugging buckets and wood,

the quickness with which my brain

picks out alternate routes,

the thickness of hope I’ve built up.

I glance at the rivers

streaming wild and rapid,

and the grey forgiving wall of mist,

and smile at what the world has made of me –

wild and forgiving strength.

It was me that was built for change.

 

Strong as the Sea

I will grow my hair to my waist

so people see me as a mermaid.

They’ll see the soft strength of my body

fluid as water, but swimming against the tide

with a fierceness you might mistake for anger.

They will watch the curve of my waist,

full lips and hooded eyes

and know I have explored an ocean of pleasure

under my own gentle fingers,

that I hold the deed to this landscape I live in,

and visitors are rarely granted entry,

as my rules are strict.

They will notice the way my hands slip

like satin over rocks and shells,

and see how swept away I am

by the beauty this world contains,

how I lean to kiss every skipping fish,

every strand of seaweed,

seeing in it my Beloved.

They will observe my unsteady feet,

and know I’m unused to walking

on the surface of this life;

I am the one who plunges,

who flows every day with

waves of passion,

who dives and seeks to understand.

They will watch how hard I laugh,

how I lick the food from my lips,

how I twist into my bed at night

and allow my back to arch,

my shape to pronounce me woman,

and they will know without a doubt

I am not ashamed of the pleasures of this world.

I will continue to love and swim

and feel and moan and touch and eat –

and never glance to your eyes,

to see if I’ve had enough.

Angels’ Request

I’ve got angels at my elbows

tapping on my shoulder

with such reserved delicacy

it’s no surprise I almost never know they’re there.

There’s an ache in the chambers

of the seraphim,

an urgency in their auras –

they have no fingers to reach out

with the tenderness of heaven,

no lips to kiss bruised and confused faces,

no voices to encourage others

to speak, and to listen.

They’re asking all day long,

with nervous benevolence,

if we’d please be alright with holding

messengers in our fingertips?

If, perhaps, it’d be possible

for us to crack open our souls

to let love run like honey over them?

Whether, provided we’re not too busy,

we’d allow Connection’s emissaries

to treat our flesh and bone

as a boarding house for the jolts

and pulsing waves of unbridled compassion

that push out into the sunshine,

where we’ve all been looking for it

so desperately.