5 – Ruth’s Bell

Note: This poem is dedicated to Ruth Denison.  I invite you to learn more about her thru these links.  She has been traveling from her center, Dhamma Dena, in the high desert of California to Insight Meditation Society in central Mass for 40 years to teach a retreat that begins on Labor Day.  This is and has been the last year…

RUTH’S BELL

This Bell, Ruth’s Bell, is ringing
For you and I
To come
To the meditation hall
Now

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

The bell ringer touches
The brass bell
With the gong
In awareness
Or not…

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

You and I
Must now walk worn stone paths
One foot in front of the other
Repeating it
Until we arrive

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

One last time at 89
She speaks to us
Forty years she has come here
Offering only awareness
And you?

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

The Lioness now in Winter
Strong in all Seasons
She is unaverse
To the coming
Cold darkness

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

A fierce protector
Of the Dharma
She roars with conviction
Comes fanged with insight
Wears a mane of time tested truths

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

A nurturing mother
To young lion cubs
Now come to her side
For tender instruction
This one last time

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

4 – Harvests of Autumn

The Harvests of Autumn
Start with September’s sad apples
The trees are now weary
From months in gestation
Their branches like bellies
Hang swollen and low
Not able to pick themselves
Up any longer
They wait for delivery
Their moment of grace

While there for the blossoms
And the time of conception
You missed their long season
Went elsewhere to play
But you’ll arrive eager for delivery
Fruit from their birthing held in your hands
And a mouth full of something
That you’d like to say

3 – Here Again

Here Again
This place, these people
Why did I return?
Again
To a page already colored
No matter how poorly
By my experiences
Then
No matter how vaguely recalled
Or inadequately lived
Then

But I am here again
Left to my own devices
But I have no directions or answers
Only questions and broken devices

What about now?
What about this time…
This day and weekend
This morning, this hour
What about this moment?
How can I touch it and touch you
More lightly
Allow it to be more real
Have myself be more present in it
And live it like new
Not life reviewed
Not grasping and held onto
Not granite to be cleft in two

But I am here again
Left to my own devices
But I have no directions or answers
Only questions and broken devices

I am in love
With my thoughts
That poor compass of self
From their sharp, jagged continual judgments
That only head south
To the soft-spoken, wistful wishes and wants
That swing wildly as if I had no True North
I follow them along
Like Hansel and Gretel
With no crumbs for a trail
Providing only convincing arrogance
They know where they are headed
Now I have ended up
Deep in the forest of uncertainty
Of who I am and
Where I am going

But I am here again
Left to my own devices
But I have no directions or answers
Only questions and broken devices

2 – The Aspen Leaves

The Aspen Leaves
Heart shaped
Lying flat, still in the sky
For so long – all Summer
Hung perfectly, so evenly spaced last Spring For this moment

They now have changed their calm
Even minds
Flutter madly
Scarecrows
Their shine now flickering
Flashing at us like pie plates
Shooing and frightening away the flocks
Of visitors and vacationers
From this place

Why don’t they want us here –
Have we harmed them?
Why don’t they want us any longer –
Have we not been conscious of them?
What do they know –
That we do not?

I join in the parade
Among the countless players
In the endless line of bands
Who pass in front of the grandstand
That is the end of Summer
We move off Island, off Cape
Off cottage and camp

We think we are leaving
Ahead of high winds and hard rains
Season of hurricanes
An orderly evacuation
Following the route
… We are not
We are being sent away
Before being swept away

Our one leaf
In a mighty wind
This season or next
This day or another
We think we are saying our good-byes
But we are being told
In so many ways
It has ended

1 – The Crows

The Crows
Still call you awake
But further off today
Not so intensely nagging
In your ear
You can listen peacefully to them
As if the trouble was no longer in your house
But safely down the street

Relief

You lay there listening
For the first time
In a long time
Something touches your skin
Lightly, new tender coolness
Fresh against you
Can you let this, allow this
This Autumn to be
To become
Your next Lover?

Release

Calling All Readers!!!

Would you do a project with me?
Have some fun, do something seasonal, accomplish something together with only a little effort?
And help me out… I can sure use it

Here’s the basic idea:
I want to do something this month I’ve thought about for years
I don’t know about you, but for me September is not only a month, but a season, a passage.
I start this one again with a guided meditation retreat and end it with a memorial service to my father, my first teacher, dead now 20 years.

Do you feel September too?
Feel it enter you with that same but sure realization as when you walk in a dew covered field…
Notice the grass wet and covered
Your shoes shiny with the drops and moisture and wonder, ‘how long?’
Sense they are no longer shedding and think, ‘yes…”
Wetness throughout, socks wet, too late
Then acceptance, walking on, undistracted

Would you walk with me?
Here’s what happens:
September has 30 days
I write 3o poems
One per day

Next we add talent!
We start with Monica Rodgers adding in photography.

Then we add You!
You are invited each daily poetry post to do some or all of the following right along with us:
* Read
* Comment
* Edit
* Critique
* Pass along to friends and family for their comments
* Add your own thoughts that get stirred
* Add more to the poem or add more Poetry
* Send your Photos or other art

At the end… we  make it a Collection, actually we make it all into a book.
It’s called something like “September’s Impermanences”

What do you think???

Don’t delay, write me today!
Let me know what you think of the idea…

I Don’t Know You

I don’t know you
I know you
Live across the street
I don’t know women
They live in some other heart

I don’t know myself
I often live in another place
Across some desert
For now
I don’t know love
Since it was stolen
Along with things of less importance

And now you’ve crossed the street
Standing at the door
Offering your hand
But I don’t know you
Wouldn’t know open from closed
Because I can’t see
These saucer eyes are surprise
And fear

I might as well be my little nephew Shaw
Stuck between the desire to stand
Six feet away
And right up close
On tip toes
Drawn like a moth
To see the light coming from your palm
So new a thing
Undefined
No words

If you come closer
To sit nearby
I will have to pretend
I know
That across the street is not that far
That I have a sense of what beats in a woman’s heart
That I live here in this present place
That love is right over there in the Lost and Found
Along with other things of less importance

JLGrady
8.11

It’s Been Raining

Skin

Skin works both ways
Some days
Rain falls
Rolls right off my back
As if a duck
Floating on your lake

Other days skin
Keeps in
All there is
Beneath the surface
Of this pond

Rain spatters
Surfaces
Disturbing calm, smooth
Reflectiveness
Noisily

But no tears seem to fall
Onto me
Rippling the exterior
Roiling
Or raising a motion

They seem instead to fill from below
Silently seeping
Flooding all beneath the surface
Never spilling spontaneously over

Just filling
Filling this skin
With the weight
Of water

JLGrady
8.11

Why Waste This Moon

Why waste this moon

… There won’t always be moonlight
When the softness of a zillion white photons
Drifts down on you like snow with no touch, no sound, no feel, no cold
Filtered thru branches and trees, windows and blinds
To settle all around
Making even romance seem possible in this stillness
Lasting for hours
As you breathe under the night’s warm liquidity

Until the dream is disturbed and broken
By the singular call of this first bird
Willing to go into a new day 

Alone

JLGrady