Monday, March 30, 2009



for April, when she’s crying

Cataracts in the eye,

flowers in the sky.

Or is it

cataracts in the sky,

flowers in your eye?

Either way,

painting your window

won’t clarify the view.

Just leave things as they are

without any more worry

and let the starmud settle in the pond

so the sky can get on with its clouds.

You can understand everything at a glance

if you touch it lightly with your eyes and heart.

But the moment you start to stare

deeply into the well

to see if anyone’s there, kerplunk,

you’re a lost penny

looking for something to wish for

or you break off like a key in your own door.

And you’re free

to consider your life a mistake

or even more mistakenly,

successful and correct,

but the trees don’t know

what you’re talking about

when they’re busy burning their leaves,

and water isn’t a failure of snow

when the crocuses begin to break through.

The winners do their crying out loud in crowds;

The losers cry alone at home in their rooms.

They both get wet.

They both ruin their makeup.

You keep advising yourself

like the Summa Theologica

to reconcile reason with God

who never wears the same church twice

in a world whose only holy cornerstone is change.

You can’t factor yourself out of the truth

and turn your philosophy into a formula

for self-advancement

when you are the truth

of what you’re looking for.

Everything seeks itself in this life

like the continuity of flowing water

that is everywhere at home

in all its forms like the moon

but the rain isn’t looking for flowers

when it falls

and the wounded apple-tree in the sunlight

isn’t making mystic amends

by bleeding from all of its boughs.

Is it fair to be you; is it unfair?

Have you been weeding a mirage for years

and wondered why no one,

not even the wind,

ever stops by for a drink?

Seeing your reflection

on the surface of a delusion

might be what you look like

but it isn’t what you think

no matter how long you wait

for high tide in the mirror

to unscroll you like a sail.

The earth isn’t a planet,

it’s an eye that’s as blue by day

as the sea

and as black by night

as the sky

and it’s never seen its own likeness

except as stars and trees,

and the darkness in between,

irises by the river

and robes of snow on the mountaintops.

Is your eye bad

when it looks upon the obscene

or good

when it spots a beauty queen?

Bad meat down the well

or fireflies

clowning with stars,

there’s no sour or sweet to your eyes

just as water and space

aren’t maimed or enhanced

by what they embrace

because your mind

is not conditioned by form

anymore than the nature

of water or blood is

by the rut it runs in.

Your seeing can be a sin.

Your seeing can be a blessing.

You can grow large and mercurial

or small and focussed

at both ends of the telescope

and witness the abundance of despair

in a famine of hope

and like empty words

eat the air,

or dancing on the eye of a lense

like a gnat above the water

agitate the fish to jump for the moon.

So which eye’s the winner;

which eye’s the loser

crossing the finish line of your nose

when they both run backwards

in opposite directions

as you so blithely suppose?

You can be a big beginning with a small end,

or a big end with a small beginning.

The first is what you will turn out to be.

The second is what you are.

Make a road of your own walking one night

through an open field,

then stop and look up

and ask any star.