Entering the stream

Give up your path
and lay down
on the ground
and offer up
all you might
lay claim to.

Hold no secrets
and let yourself
be seen by
all who come
and be grateful
that you can.

Open your heart
in welcome
to those you meet
and ask for what you need.

And if you get it
use it
to give yourself
more fully
to the world.

Refuge (I)

We sit together
and
you ask for nothing.

I close my eyes
and
it feels like I’m lying
on a bed of moss
in soft, warm woodlands
and
the rain is pouring
through me.

I offer no resistance
and
let it take everything
and
wash every piece of me
away.

I open my eyes
and
ask you for nothing
and
the rain washes you
away.

I, you

I want you to know, that
when I say you, I mean me,
I say, as I write to myself.

Also, when I say I, I mean you -
for if this were not a story
for you to try on,
why would I tell it to you?

So every I is a you.
And every you is an I.

And - here - in this empty space between us, 
we fall into each other.

Twenty-one minutes

Under white sun
I turned my mind inward.
Early morning field,
a lane between two hedges.

Twenty-one minutes.
My mind called to peace
by a mantra of compassion
ringing in my heart.

I opened my eyes
to a forgotten scene
of grass and path and wind
calling me back to the world

when - as if called to mark
a successful journey -
two horses walked out
from morning sunlight.

Untethered from field to path
their hot breath on my hand
the most peaceful greeting
before they set on their way.

One trailed a rope
caught on a briar bush
back and forth until
the rope broke free.

Then - with nothing left to keep them
both turned from that open path
past me, in silence,
to the morning field that held them.

Patience builds a fire

I cover myself in a cloak.

Crouching down, head bowed,
my world becomes a cave.
I turn inside and light a fire
in the darkness -

a seed of a flame
sheltered from the world’s winds
as I close every door
and feed it.

The offer of this inner fire -
the heat of passion
and the light of clarity.
But both are spent easily.

Throw open the doors
and the fire burns bright
and the fire burns out.
Leaving only ashes.

But protect the spark and
nurture the first flames,
build it well and feed it well
through rush and crack
to slow burn embers that
hold their own against
the ice of winter’s night.

Patience builds a fire.
Patience and devotion
and quiet attention.
To be seduced by the first flash
of a fire’s power is to lose it.
Don’t sit back. Don’t try to use it.
But remember the power
of a warm hearth that
does not succumb
to a cold, dark world
but endures and, what’s more,
radiates warmth to all.

Hold me like a wave

When I’m crashing
then I need you
to hold me

like a wave
holds a rider 

lifting me
on the thundering rise
to show me the horizon

that I might vanish
in the gift
of great distance

and then
when I surrender
to this open, wide awareness
give way and let me go
and show me
I don’t need
to be carried

I need to be thrown
to be shown
I can stand up
and fall down

on my own. 

The path

The path from here to there
is the path from there to here.
It just depends which way you look at it.
When you are ready - 
turn round and look the other way.

I am ready. 
I turn around. 
I look the other way. 

Butterfly heart

Too light
To carry
Anything

I am the sky
And my heart
Is a white wing

Floating
Holding
Nothing

How to catch fire

The only way to catch it
is to hold it. 
The only way to hold it
is to become it. 
The only way to become it
is to love it. 
The only way to love it
is to say - I am it. 

I am a fire. 
I am the fire. 
I am fire. 

I am a fire. 
I am the fire. 
I am fire. 

I am Prometheus
and I am burning. 

I am a phoenix
and I am dying to be alive. 

I am on fire. 
I am the fire. 
I am the fire. 

One for you

A thought this morning
Out walking -
I thought
I ought
To love my body
As it was moving -
To allow and enjoy
The infinite intelligence
Of this living system
And its movement -
And in that moment
I said to myself
That I loved my body -
And then laughed
At the physical recognition
That the ‘I’ that I clung to dearly
Was clearly
Illusory.
My feet are here
My hands are here
But ‘I’ am nowhere to be found.
‘I’ love my body -
Such misplaced pomposity
Of an ‘I’ deigning to adopt
A position of affection
Towards a miraculous
Muscular constellation,
As if standing in authority
Above it and surmising
With some superior judgment
That this living moving thing
Is worthy of love.
And I laughed at this
Comedy of errors
Of this human propensity
To fall in love with a word
And hold it high
This ‘I’
And look through it
At the world
And see in every thing
Its own reflection
Without ever
For a moment
Stopping to detect
The lie that this ‘I’
Is invariable and real -
This shattered mirror.
This teardrop.
This empty line.
The promise is too tempting
To be broken by the offer
Of seeing clearly.
Better to hold to a wish
And make-believe
That it is true.
My ‘I’ comes with a promise
To stop time and sustain
A passing moment
By the power of possession -
Reaching into the river
And declaring it held
As empty fist clasps rushing water.
Oh, ‘I’.
My love is blind.
Better to invest my life
In every losing bet
Than face this empty space
Without the comforting return
Of your baseless vow.
‘I’ll define the undefinable,
Grasp the ungraspable,
Mask the unmaskable.’
The seduction of a crutch -
This ‘I’ stands up straight
In my place.
Imagine this.
A word to fall in love with.
An endlessly accommodating elision.
I will be anything you want me to be.
Put a pin in the world
And call it fixed.
Imagine this.
Design a word from scratch and say
This word can bring anything here
Make anything now
And take what’s ephemeral
And make it last.
Too busy looking at what the word
Is pointing at we forget to look
At how it works.
This magic word.
This simple spell
That posits certainty
In a universe of flux.
Say ‘I’ and feel it.
So charged with emotion
And power and weight -
And just a word.
Say ‘I am great’
And feel it
So convincing in the feeling -
This instantaneous invention.
‘I am lonely.’
‘I am broken.’
‘I am yet to be persuaded.’
An infinite array of adaptations.
‘I am happy.’
‘I am weary.’
‘I am delirious with envy.’
The possibilities are endless.
O little word
O simple trick
I think you’re me
But you’re really
Barely there
Not even quite a tick
A scratch, a mark, a stick -
Eloquent and defiant
This placeholder
Can be relied on only
To capture my attention
In a moment’s misdirection
This magician’s wand
This number one
This little lie
That turns my eye
Away from life
Into a fiction.

Storm

I think of a storm
Of raging ocean waves.
The kind that surfers dream of.
And us, out at sea, 
throwing ourselves into the swell.
Seeing the life in the water
but ill-equipped to ride it.
Crashing again and again,
churning in sand and foam — 
exhausted arms and legs
reach out for the shore.
Then land.
Surrendered to wet sand and stone,
look back and see the racing waves.
Reminder of what passed.
In humbling acceptance of limitations.

Salt-watered cheek and lip
the only reminder
of a strained adventure.
Of reaching for experience.
Of tracing the boundary
of the edge of possibility.

In this silence

I will bury my feet in clay.

Firmly planted
In the riverbed
I’ll count the stones
As they are washed
past my ankles
by the current

And I will lay down
On the damp earth
In a furrow in a field
And watch the stars,
Counting the feet
Of every tiny creature
That might walk
Across my skin

I will close my eyes
And listen for the morning
As every bird says its name.

And in this silence,
In this waiting,
My gift to you.

Glad i skogen

I could long for no greater master
Than the forest teacher
Who with wind and silence says
‘Be still’

No greater doctor than
The forest healer who
Holding life and death within her says
‘You belong. And are not lost’

No greater friend than
The forest priest who
In chorus with a thousand million leaves says
‘We are but visitors here. Let go.’

Flood

May your heart be a flood
And fill you with love
Unmooring every broken vessel
Drawing ocean anchors from their holding -
Offering no path but
To surrender to boundless powers
Of forces that know no fight
But are mighty
By their very nature.

Wild flowers

Wild flowers.
My heart.  
My wild heart flowers.