We are living is shocking times. On a personal level, Cecilie, a long time friend, and teacher for many readers of this post, is journeying in unknown territory in an intensive care unit, as she slowly reassembles her body/being after a major car accident. On a collective level, we are filled with the images of suffering in the Philippines after the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall, tore a path of unimaginable destruction through the lives of millions of beings. Life is surely mysterious. None of us know what the morrow will bring.
Here are two poems from a new collection “A Sheaf of Poems 2010 – Onward” which is now posted on GDT. They are not about tragedy. They are about life, and life links us all. So precious. So delicate and fragile. So tenacious and strong. I’d like to dedicate these two poems with love and caring to Cecilie and to the people of the Philippines. May your healing be deep, profound and speedy. May the rest of us never take life for granted but learn the path of reverence, wonderment and well grounded intelligence for the benefit of everyone.
Maps and Terrain
As a child, I wanted to be a map maker.
I gathered pencils and paper and sticks tied
together with strings to sight along
And I began to map our street and neighborhood.
At that time, we subscribed to National Geographic magazine
and I collected the maps and kept them
flat between thin sheets of plywood
and I dreamed of travel and adventure.
I drew a grid on a map of the world and a grid on the wall beside my bed
and I enlarged the world map so that it filled the entire wall and painted
in all the oceans and major rivers,
the hot and cold currents;
sweeping curves of blue and red.
And I lay on my bed, for hours,
dreaming of traveling the world by water;
Sailing here and canoeing there,
with short portages to cross the Andes and other inch long gaps.
For come unknown reason I left the land unpainted – vacant of national boundaries.
They didn’t seem real like the sea and the great rivers.
I moved on from this year of passion, yet later in life
found myself again collecting maps.
Maps of the body and maps of vegetation and weather trends.
Maps of family dynamics and social change,
of historic swings and eons of geologic and life evolving journeyings.
And I thought that by learning these maps, I would know the
terrain and would be able to find my way, and this obsession deepened
until one day, walking in unknown land with steep hills
and tumbling streams and golden autumn leaves and the first hints of winter,
it dawned on me that I was mapping the land with my body,
step by step,
breath by breath,
the tilt of the hip and the slide of the shale,
the smell of flowers and the flush of memory,
the buzzing of bees and pleasure of energy’s song.
And as I mapped the land,
the land was mapping me;
traces of our lives, mingling and flowing,
shaping and being shaped,
mapping each other in flesh and heartbeat and kidney function,
in shifting metabolisms and felt sense respondings.
And as we map
a knowing blossoms clear and fine
that the map IS the terrain
the map makers that we are.
Moving through fields of minds of beings
moving as a being of care-filled minding stillness,
movement as a play of mystery unfolding . . .
This flowering here of nowfulness.
rippling with zephyred thought and feeling,
photons of star parents,
touchings of brother,
scentings of sister,
a buzzing inter-pollination in every direction;
and we flow
as one river;
streams of magic
forging paths of openness,
tracks of transient creatureness,
weavings of life-lines lacing the open sky,
Birthing an old forest of worlds.