Tea with Tumnus

with great appreciation to Yeats and Berninger

My love we will go, we will go, you and I
Away into the dismantled cedar woods,
The reconstructed closet where the Mother
Of the House boxes and stores memory.
We can push through the hanging coats hiding
The best secret, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

Some didn’t believe in Lucy when she returned
The same moment she left, even with Tumnus’
Tea stain on her collar, but broken windows
Build solidarity in the quickest way, Innocents.
We can push through moth-eaten coats hiding
The best secret, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

I believe enough to craft a memory of snow
Whisper so feint I do not know from where we came
Nor know to where we will go, only a quiet so clear
We hear a solitary bird sing, longing for his love, we
Discover warmth that melts coldness in our hearts
Uncovering the best secrets, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

You and I, we’ll set out into the shimmering world
Blood flushing our cheeks, red like roses
Our footsteps a new Kingdom’s first definition
Snow a down coat softening all life’s sharp edges
Tonight, come be my Tumnus, serve me
The best secret, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

Image: Meeting Mr. Tumnus by noctillucca

This Cup

I offer this cup to you
refill it with the blood
of imagination and immortality
offered like a gift from the gods.

I let it slip from my fingers
into the desert of adulthood.

She offers this cup to me
filled with blood shed
to resurrect the gift of love
piercing the limits of imagination.

In her hands it throbs
with a longing for childhood.

We offer this cup
a dry vessel filled with blood
to rediscover life in red
more vivid than imagined.

In our arms lips shiver
and restores our innocence.

We fill this cup
with truths lost in the desert,
the blood of mortal life
and love immortal.

Your gentle hand
fills my cup.

Image: Breakfast Still Life with Chalice by Willem Claesz Heda 1634

stolen from the wind

this quiet voice heard
stolen from the wind
wanting to take it away
to wherever wind goes
when it whispers to the dark

captured in a heart
in the beat of its four chambers,
tender, throbbing
kept safe,
given blood, given life

its echo led to a hole
sand dug by a child
with plastic shovels
in plastic pails
until deep enough to climb in

the surf filled it up
one gentle wave after another
until buried into a whisper
it began to cry out
“hear me… hear me… hear me…”

now heard
this quiet voice
surrounded by others
dug up from the sand
begins to sing

as it always has
to the gulls and dolphins
to the otters and sandpipers
to the crabs and mussels
who have been here all along

So Close to Losing You

Today, thought I just about made it
When the sand felt so soft under foot.
Surf as gentle as she has ever been
Kind, she tasted my toes, an offering.
The Bay as still as she has ever been
Called my heart ready, an offering.

So I swam, free style, each stroke
Reaching as far as it could, elbows high,
Until there was nothing left to reach for.
Stories tell of the peace felt the moment
Water rushes inside remaining voids
Releasing oxygen others need more.

Today, just about made it across the bay
When the bottom, littered with rocks
Called me its offering, gentle and kind.
So I swam until there was nothing left
Water rushed in like a baby yet born,
I closed my eyes, close enough to losing.

“Son,
Are you awake?
I’m right here.
Hey,
Are you awake?
I’ll watch you.

Today, swim with me,
Son, so close…
Your
Eyes:
I am not losing you
Not today.“

My voice:

This week’s song of the week finishes The National back-catalog with a response to the stunning melancholy of “About Today” formally released on the EP Cherry Tree, made more powerful in its live version on the Virginia EP. A conventional reading of the lyrics tell of a man next to his wife realizing he is losing her. An unconventional reading of the lyrics is more self-reflective, a man looking at himself so close to losing everything. Today, the 25th of May, both readings speak to me. My response, however, ends with the hopeful, yet pained voice of a Father, perhaps The Father, who watches over his Son, not yet ready to lose him. This cathartic poem has been brewing for some time, now, and at last finds its voice.

The Song:

Original version, a powerful part of the film The Warrior:

This live version, however, rips my heart out every time:

The Lyrics:

About Today
Songwriters: Aaron Dessner / Matthew Berninger

Today
You were far away
And I
Didn’t ask you why
What could I say
I was far away
You just walked away
And I just watched you
What could I say

How close am I
To losing you

Tonight
You just close your eyes
And I just watch you
Slip away

How close am I
To losing you

Hey, are you awake
Yeah I’m right here
Well can I ask you
About today

How close am I
To losing you

How close am I
To losing

About Today lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

220px-cherry_tree_28ep29 220px-the_virginia_ep_cover

Up, Up, Up Into His Sky

I wake, having forgotten to look up
To see how god shapes his story for us
If only we had the cypher to the clouds.

I ask the trees, having watched Him longer,
If they have a code, they say, “no man,
Made up our own, more fun that way.”

I smile and move along to speak with birds
They all laugh together, “silly man, always
Thinking God does everything for you.”

I smile and look past them at the blue
Wanting to unlock the dictionary, and name
Every corner of the sky in between clouds.

Just then the birds’ silence stills me
To these pieces of universe we surmise
Are ours to discover and name.

Names that will be forgotten
Once their meaning dies and with us,
Drift up, up, up into His sky.

Image: Sky 2, Creator’s Celebration by Roxanne Dyer
https://roxannedyer.com/sky-oil-painting-art-gallery/

Standing Inside the Continents’ Drift

This morning, the rains practice their rhythms on the skylights
That had let the day inside all night long, but somehow a dream
Found me.  Now with the rains I practice my craft of singing
Words over emotions and memories as they fall down to earth
Looking for a puddle to gather and be stomped in by a child
Who wants to see what mud splatters will say, dried on the wall.

The dream that found me had been sitting like a solitary soul
Somewhere on the broken landscape inside Thingvellir Rift
When the playful child god inhabited my solemn grey frame
And taught me how to play again with my children. Hiding
In a cave that stank of piss, lurking like a tiny monster to scare
The first youth who dared walk past my home, unsuspecting.

Too late, they had become suspecting of their playful father
Recalled from Tiger Wrestles and indoor basement camping
And out-seeked the hider. Before they became aware of fatigue
Sitting alone inside the stench of my own piss, I walked out.
This was not the dream. From behind the rift wall, a tectonic
Movement occurred inside, pulled apart 2 centimeters a year.

In the gap the ocean had filled, glacial melt so clear yet so cold
You could see the bottom 46 feet down, it looked like a hand
Could reach inside to pick the lucky coins now a part of earth’s
Slow history. Someday, tell the story of how God’s patient rip
Tore open the flesh so called perfect gods hid behind, aware
The fissures in the facade were cracking like broken porcelain.

In seconds, though, God wrapped his hand around my heart
Began to squeeze so hard to make me stop and listen to Him.
Look out across my broken landscapes, Son, and see beauty:
Each crack in the earth, the sharp uneven rocks, every weed
Awaits your naked feet. Be brave. I unbuttoned the costume
Seeing in front of me the first rock that looked stable enough.  

‘He introduced me to the Sun, forgetting we’d already met’

He introduced me to the Sun, forgetting we’d already met
Year ago when we’d lie together on the hill our front.
We’d dance in the rain, we’d grab hold of the rope swing
Toss ourselves into the river, tumbling down, laughing.

Now he acts like I haven’t been waiting in the back
Loosening my grip on him, raised on the promise he’d
Bring me back out into the light before I wasted away
Like an illusion, now I am under the pressure, cracking.

I wade into the water trying to baptize my new day
He said to me, “You were the only one. I was going to waste
Without you. If we do not runaway, straight into nothing,
Stand in the wake of our pain, it will all break down.”

With respect to The War on Drugs’ Under the Pressure written by Adam Granduciel

Robin-bird Hopped

We await You in flannel and fleece
The wind cutting through the crying sun
To remind us and Her that winter,
The warlock of our discontent wins.

Robin-bird hopped just yesterday to eat
Thawed earthworms that emerged from dirt
Like us, sun-smiling, believing in its moment:
Arrived! But the warlock cackled a whisper.

“No! Not yet, Smile, not yet.”

We await You in flannel and fleece
A smile cutting through our crying heart
To remind us of our beat we knew worthy,
Its moment, our content, at last, comes.

Image: American Robin, Audubon

God Giggles

Finally,
They begin speaking the words they had been collecting from their stories.
Words that no longer have any real meaning, because,
Perfection cannot know everything.

I pause to ask God, “Choose one or the other:
Omniscience or Perfection.”

He says, “One or the other, Friend?
For you, I chose to be a man;
Though it was a woman you wanted, right?
So perfection seems to be too much,
But I do know what you really need.
This broken conversation that you knew would
Hurt…
Does.
Have it, though,
Like a debt that needs paying.
Someday you will know everything, too
And agree that nobody’s perfect.
Something so obvious,
Those who know nothing at all
Will chuckle.”

God giggles as he meanders away.
Then they continue the conversation
Looking for meaning in their story,
Finally.

Image: Saturday Evening Post
http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2017/04/11/post-fiction/classic-fiction/faithful-lovers-margaret-drabble.html