FIRST SIGHT OF THE PLEIADES
First sight of the Pleiades fletching the bent arrow of Perseus.
Just below it.
The red eye of the Bull.
The Coming of the Judge if you believe it.
And after all these years of looking
my heart is still startled by the rising of Orion
as if I had never seen it before.
As if the one thing that never ages is wonder.
More tooth in these abandoned fields now than root.
The silence less expansive and more to the point.
Charged with anticipation
that anything could happen at any moment
like an owl to a mouse
my breath stays closer to home.
The silhouettes of the leafless treetops
map the full moon like rivers
that run down into lunar seas
that long like water in a locket of ice
to know the freedom of an atmosphere again
that isn’t holding its breath
waiting for a day that never comes.
All the shadows are either running away from home
like some adolescent dream
of striking out on their own
In this frozen landscape
they’re the only things that move.
Cool shadow-water in the summer
sitting under the burgeoning trees.
And even when the mind is iced over
and the light like now
can’t seem to overcome the distance
between one moment and the next
and all of space has turned to glass
and all things are rooted in the past like symbols
still their shadows flow across the snow
like wavelengths of life
from deep out in space
that have traversed their ancient darkness
like postcards of intelligence
addressed to anyone who’s out here on their own
trying to make contact with themselves
whatever kind of alien they might be
to prove they’re not alone in the universe.
Though chances are
meeting some other life form
this far from home
would only make me feel
twice as lonely as I am.
The veils and thought-streams
of the aurora borealis
flowing through my crystal skull
are a lot less beautiful than my breath upon the air
but ultimate beauty is without distinction
and the fire isn’t judged by its smoke
and long before anyone spoke of unity
it didn’t make much of a difference
so I let things advance and regress as they will
like lighthouses and fireflies that just can’t stand still.
Let all things express themselves perfectly in the way they change.
Deepen the listening
if you’re looking for answers
about who you might be talking to.
The sum of ignorance is everything you haven’t learned to trust.
Wisdom is taking no account of this.
I hear voices that are not my own
when I walk with myself through the snow
out into a clearing in the starfields above me
just to make sure that no stars are missing
and they haven’t forgotten me.
And when the abandoned heron’s nest
in the fork of the dead tree
in the frozen swamp in the deep woods
asks me a question
about what I’m still doing here
so late in the year on my own at night
I can’t answer for myself.
I let the wind make something up that’s possible.
Knowing it’s all the same voice anyway
whether it makes waves of light
or waves of water
waves of thought
or waves of words
or dances in a ice palace
barefoot on broken chandliers
that cut like honest mirrors.
It’s all just moonlight on the water
shedding her feathers like a swan
that’s flown well beyond here
like a summer constellation
that has no idea
of the absence in the eyes
of those who followed her down
into the western abyss of the mindscape
on the other side of the hills
like an unknown starmap
on the inside of their eyelids
that got lost asking itself for directions.
The lamp doesn’t ask the light where it’s going.
The stories that are told around the fires of earth
are warmer than those that are told
by the distant stars of heaven
however old they are.
And I’m as true
to the nameless voice that said that
as I am to my own.
It’s not a choice I make.
Its the path that takes me through the pathless snow
not as somewhere to go
but as the going
not as someone to know
but as the knowing.