The Red Star Stream

Deep flew refraction of ruddy light,
From the heart of the black-water stream,
Flashing, serenely mocking the stars,
Which coursed forever, cutting the earth.
Caps of whitened foam were beating across
Red silt and the shining of smooth-rounded rocks,
Polishing ever anew the fine grain,
Sending the sands above to engrave,
And feather the ancient faces of glass.
As blood over iron, so flew rivulets;
Black iron water and blood-red stones
Mingling, separate, together, alone,
Chanting of change, repeating the song,
For centuries’ incantation of washing clean wrong,
Purging anew the stones as they bled,
Sifting the silt and the slime as they fed
All trees which dipped fingers down to the cool,
The grasses a-resting upon the small pools,
Renewing, refreshing the freer of creatures
Singing of life, the unliving sang,
And ever in memory the symphony rang

Winter’s Triumph

One quavering note of winded horn,
Was forced aloft, brazen and high, 
Lifted and on winter winds borne,
Upwards through the frozen sky.

It silver echoed from the moon,
Resounded into darkening gloom,
Passed through forests far below,
Tired then swiftly through the snow,
And by such cold was forced to die.

Again the Hunter sounded his call,
Summoning ice from skies to fall,
To sweep the earth with iron death,
With one silent, frosty breath.

One stroke and winter would be his,
The sun could offer no true hope –
Then was triumph of the cold,
That in one night transformed the gold,
To paler light, more blinding, steel.

The forest froze, no creatures sang,
Only the horn of the Hunter rang,
Despairing, the moon watched the sun fall
As Winter came, and conquered all.

Cross of the Rock-shelter River

In a somber light a man passed by
The lonely path which carried him
Through shadow’d gloom within his heart
Without, it shone around him dark.

In day or night there was no change,
For dwelling alone, turned within
Naught to be seen but dull, unending
Living – man’s death with his sin.

So round ensnared by mind and thought
He traveled days and down the hills,
Turning ’round the mystery
Of our enslavement to our wills.

Until there found him forest green
And shaded hollow filled within
Near mottled flecks of violet shade
In feath’ry air, a misty sheen

Where stilled a hushed echo
And little creatures fled
Away from Man as man fled God
The trees clear bled, and green turned grey.

He halted, hearing a new wind
And with the sun’s break in the leaves –
Or was it leaves that broke the light? –
A shiv’ring slice of thought came twining
Through a door outside his mind.

You care for the tree which held Me,
And work with  tools that pierced Me,
But sadness finds you when you look,
At yourself and the faults and failings,
Of the souls I saved through these.


Don’t seal closed the open door,
I stand without a-waiting.
You snare your thoughts in circles,
Bruising your soul with sin,
But find escape, this prison break
When you just let Me in.

Escape not from yourself
Run never from your nature
If God became as one of thee,
You flee – you flee from me.


Find not disgrace in wandering
Deliberations deep,
If you will turn out from within
‘Tis My truth that you seek.

You think you fear Eternity –
But think of it as time,
You trap yourself in creation
Forgetting it is Mine.

While men fight bitter battles,
Rivers of blood red spills,
But the Man alive brings comfort
To the lost soul in the hills.


And as the moon arched high that night,
As sun fled playfully,
In a final jest the great light gave
The flare of the Trinity.

*The photo was taken on the bank of the Androscoggin River at sunset.
Its name comes from the Abenaki or Penobscot dialects, and means ‘River of rock shelters’.




The New Year

Ah, so 2020 is exiting and now everything will be fine – right?
My dear superstitious friends, 2020 happened to be the year in which humanity made a fumble. The name we place on a certain segment of time has nothing to do with what we do within it (proven by most children during ‘naptime’).
Of course we can always hope that this coming year will be ‘better’ than the past was, but maybe we ought to be hoping to be better in the year instead, and then Actually Being Better. If we wait around for humanity to perfect itself, we’ll die having done nothing for our souls

We live in a world where we are told simultaneously that we have to create ourselves, our futures, our world, and that we are helpless and despair is normal. That’s all true to some extent: We don’t make ourselves as we are in our body-soul-ness, but we do have some say in forming ourselves physically and spiritually; present actions necessarily have effect on the future and our neighbors; we are utterly helpless on our own; despair could be said to be ‘normal’ but that doesn’t necessitate ‘goodness’ or any moral excuse for doing so.

What we don’t hear much is that we have been given everything without deserving it, and should receive and give our Time, Bodies, Souls, with grateful humility and love, and exchange this short life for an unending one. We’re invited to do that by the Creator, always have been.
He gives something to us and asks for it back – perhaps that seems unfair but without Him we would have nothing to give. Love gives entirely of what is asked of it for the good of another and is consequently united to the Beloved. We are human and Small Fallen Ones at that, so we are given many opportunities to do just that.

It’s just another year, to Whom are we going to give it?
Who and What are you going to love primarily?
How are you going to write this next paragraph in your Eternity?

To See Over the Mountains III

278 days. 76.2% of the year.
It’s been that long since I sat in the Denver airport, waiting for my flight which would leave 7 hours later, writing the first of these three posts.
I like counting time – always have – and was doing so before I even left that day. Have been counting ever since, despite not knowing when I would return. Maybe I think of Time too much. Impatience thrives on Time, as do other things.

It’s been a long time. I think the top of the mountain is visible now. What the beginning looked like is forgotten in part, and there are more climbs to make after this – that’s not to be discouraging though. We are in eternity already, called to travel ever onward and upward, further up and in until we hit that Furthest Light.

To See Over the Mountains II

Oh but it’s been a time so long,
Since I was carried – flown –
With nothing ahead but a mountain, a cloud
If we could have only known
Of the trials and reasons, the Love
That stole a thickening shroud,
To steep every soul in a song.

But if we had known it then,
Where would the surrender be?
In what would a sacrifice stand, or Hope
With what Trust could any soul see,
If obedience were chasing desire
And want of the better known end,
All lacking in blindness of men?

‘Tis three sets of seven days now,
If God’s Will it truly be,
Creation and Trinity –
The mountains will rise again
With a prayer of an ancient nation –
Through a mighty strength
Of the Creator of Creation.

Seaside Battlefield

Oh tell, dark mud, stained and dyed in rivulets of blood,
Why scream harsh tones, the ravens and crows,
Amidst the ash and hellish cries, choking skies
Bone and flesh, metal-torn, bowing to the reaper’s horn?
 
What saw you fading to the years,
What said you against the deafened ears,
To still their hearts to cold hard death?
What wind you stole to take their breath,
How lie you silent, reeking mid-sun,
The first is finished, the war begun.
“Silence, mortal, I am but they
Who in late years have passed this way,
They died to fall and live in me,
Someday to fall into the sea,
Forever roaring battle song

Assaulting ships and wrecking wrong.

“I saw more blood than I can hold,
To them who fell as they faded I told,
Be now at peace, no war can find you
And with new fire their forms flew on,
Kindling stars with battle-song,
The body of old falls deep to me,
Each soul goes to where he would be.
No tempest shrieking moves them now,
Before no conqueror shall they bow.
I lie here famished, glutted in death,
Waiting the tide to cleanse me again,
To send the memory of these wretched men,
To the grave, to the fish, to the birds, to their rest.”
And their memory? is it to be lost
As changing to fog flies the frost?
 
“What matters it now, they know who they are!
Some are remembered for the deeds they achieved,
But remember this, you hot-hearted fool,
Not Achilles would be known if not for the thousands
Who perished before him and after his wake,
Though his victims be piled and burned in red mountains,
Pain and oblivion spurting black fountains,
Leaving behind them ten thousand to grieve!
Alone man is futile, in battle or peace,
Surely ’tis true that great men may come –
Not one, I tell you, not a single one,
Has lived but for the weak who first raised him,
And if dying in violence and heat of Hell’s hate
Is action held worthy of memory and song,
Then hold still in closer the hope of each tide,
The flow of life and peace and war,
Each birth and death, every drop of rain,
Which over history cleans and renews
The ill or good fortune all nations shall choose.”

 

Our Plight in a Cardinal

Yesterday I was out early, near the edge of the woods. A small fluttering chirp arrested my attention, directing it from a tree and towards the ground. In a small, open-faced woodshed there was a bird – a cardinal, half-grown – thrashing at the walls, jumping against them, chirping and flailing uselessly. It was too young to fly but had left the nest under unknown circumstances.
I watched it for a minute, hoping that perhaps it would turn around and walk out of the opening which was as wide as the wall it was facing. An attempt was made to chase it out. It retreated valiantly into a corner, hiding against the wood.
So I caught it. . . after the fourth attempt. A shrill scream burst from the shiny black beak, little legs and claws kicked, wings fluttered; then it bit me. Unknown to this frightened creature, it was fighting the person who was freeing it, biting and clawing to be let go and be lost again in the dark and open prison.
Despite it’s feeble (though somewhat painful) protesting, I carried it to the bird feeder and – the plan was to let it go near a food source. It jumped down prematurely however, scuttled beneath the porch and that was the last I saw of it.

A bit of frustration followed. After the (small) effort and time taken to bring the cardinal out of its self-imposed cage to the open air and food, it had hidden itself in a darker place and likely got lost, unable to be brought out.

Now this all is what we do to God all the time, isn’t it? Our angels spend the time we are given in doing what they can to let us out from the giant prisons of vice which are, admittedly, easy to get in to but difficult to turn about in.
Once blinded, a person remains blind until Christ touches the eyes of the soul, if we let Him touch us. We must be captured, lifted, carried, shown the sun and sky, brought to food and safety. If one acts with Humility, to permit God to raise him, feed him, show him the light and the way, that person will survive to fledge and fly with plumage, coloured with the Blood of Christ.

And now, dear Reader, which of you has not struck and fought against your Saviour?
Which of us has not thought or felt, at one time or another – even briefly –  that the yoke of freedom is more heavy than the chain, that the sight of sun is more stabbing than darkness, that our crippled wings of reason could challenge Faith and our bodies the Hand of God?

A Memory with You

In the darkening hours, with whispering wind,
All feathered flight alighting in trees,
Singing to the stars an evening song,
Watching the sun stretch shadows long,
And forested mountains black in the shade,
Shadowy clouds and evening breeze,
Looking down on the lights all man-made,
Awaiting the starlight and moon-shafts to fade,
Under clouds for a moment, and burst forth again,
Revealing the names of a thousand dead men,
And softly sitting, whispering there,
In the peacefulness of Somnolent Prayer