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Seed-Hymn

Lay me down beneath the earth,

And I won’t care if I’m buried

Or sown,

So long as your hands hold the shovel.

 

Pour the rain down on me,

And I won’t care if I’m baptized

Or drowned,

So long as your hands hold me under.

 

Cut me down when harvest comes,

Be it for the burning

Or the barn,

So long as your hands gather me.


Canis Familiaris

Come on, wolf, and let us play

Though all my days you’ve stalked me

Through every hour of my life

Down every hall and highway.

 

Come let us race and chase and

Roll and tumble intertwined

I cannot escape you, and

You cannot devour me.

 

Come on, wolf, and chase me home

To where the lion and the lamb,

Mental illness and the man

Lie down in peace together.


Casa Padre

I hear the children of the earth
Call out for their Father
For the fathers of the earth
Are not what they should be.

Come back to your Father
Oh you fathers of the earth
Let Him teach you once again
What it means to be a child.


Red Stuff

Down by the river, my little son

Is snapping twigs and tossing them

To see the runoff carry them away.

I watch until my mind goes wandering.

 

“What’s that red stuff?” I hear him say.

I look down, absently, to see

His white star-fingers staining red

With a thing he has no word for.

 

He is not afraid to touch and taste it.

The pain has not yet arrived.

But I see the moment when it does

And I watch it change his face.

 

When tears are dried and wound is bound

I teach him the word for it –

But the meaning of the word is half

The meaning of the world

 

And I won’t teach him that today.


Age of Anawim

Princess Anawim, four years old

You were born to overthrow me

Terrible in all your beauty

And endless in your energies.

 

Made of music and sharp white teeth

Hair that streams like banners behind

Blazing eyes fixed on tyranny

That you very nearly deserve.

 

Princess Anawim I’d throw down

The crown of my paternity

If I thought I could bear to see

My daughter rise a tyrant-queen.

 

But your prostrate future subjects

Would burn my bones and curse my name

As he who brought their doom to pass

The endless age of Anawim.

 

So I’ll hold the throne against you

And keep your glory in its place

Just long enough for you to learn

A crown is for the casting down.


Donkey-Work

Walk the path a thousand times

From the kitchen to the well.

Sweep until the dirt is gone

Clean until the chaos flees.

 

Tear down the old corrupted things

Raise up the new creations.

Repair the bent and broken things

If and when it can be done.

 

Put the values in their places

Make the numbers tell the truth

Make a right accounting

Of what was gained, and lost.

 

Cause the little things to grow

And keep the great from tyranny

Make a garden in the wilderness

And a city in the wastes.

 

Feed the humans in your care

Keep their bodies clean

Let them see the world and know

They are the best part of it.

 

Cast the spells you have been given

The songs into the silences

The pictures on to empty space

The names unto the nameless things.

 

And they may call it donkey-work,

The body moving through the day

But we do nothing  on the earth

That is not grace, and magic.


Daylight Savings Time

I thought that time was on my side

The ticking progress of the clock

The westward passage of the sun

Every minute brought me closer

 

To naptime, bus time

Screen time, bedtime

When my time

Would be mine again.

 

But there are things that I forget:

That time goes one way only

That ticking clocks are counting down

And after day comes night, and endings.

 

The end of play for its own sake

The end of eyes-wide wonder

Of when my arms could carry them

Of when they called me Daddy.

 

And one day I will watch the clock

In the twilight of a silent house

When all my time is mine alone

Though I’d give it all to share it.