Poetry Archives Index




by Blake Steele

Starting mid Oct. 1991







                    ABOUT GRACE

                    ABOUT A CERTAIN PARABLE


                    A FEATHERED METAPHOR


                    AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD IS A SEED

                    A SHORT LETTER TO THE FUTURE



                    BECOMING AMBER













                    HE SHE AND WE



                    I HAVE A RED HAIRED DAUGHTER

                    I HEARD EVERY HOPE SINGING


                    IT IS MY HEART'S DESIRE







                    MANY THERE BE WHO SEEK POWER...

                    MISS JEAN




                    ON CHRISTMAS EVE - 1991

                         (For Hal Gillespie)

                    ON CONFIRMATION

                    ON THE DEATH OF AN ANGRY GOD

                    ON THE SACK OF A SOUL



                    POETRY IS THAT FLOWING THING

                    PRAYER CAN ALSO BE







                    SHE IS A GRACIOUS LADY

                    SHE, ROSY DANCES INTO THE DAWN



                    THE KINGDOM FORTASTED


                    THIS IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT









                    WATER AND FIRE



                    WISDOM PLAYS


                    LAST POEM...ON CHRISTMAS EVE - 1991

                         (For Hal Gillespie)











                         POETRY IS THAT FLOWING THING


                         Poetry is that flowing thing


                         down where the real hurts lie,

                         down with the intimate joys.

                         It comes as a flash,

                         a glimmer of something huge

                         that makes you feel

                         like you really could

                         take your hand

                         and spread stars

                         out across the sky

                         in a gleaming trail—

                         the tails of the stars

                         streaming back

                         over the shadows of the moon.

                         It sounds kind of hokey,

                         you must admit it,

                         in this scientific age

                         when we understand everything—

                         except the human heart...










                         Beautiful books.

                         Songs of the human heart.

                         Songs of the soul.

                         Songs of spirit and life!


                         Illustrated books.

                         Books of beauty silently working

                         in the intimate night:

                         joined one to one—

                         the book to the heart;

                         going out into the world

                         bearing their own life.

                         Sparks of the spirit

                         enkindle secret oils

                         and fill eyes with light.

                         Tools in God's hands:

                         healing, building, relieving, releasing,

                         making souls courageous

                         to be gentle

                         and beautiful—without masks!

                         Books: my work.

                         Books: my dreams.

                         Books: my heritage.

                         Books: my legacy.









                         REPENTANCE AGAIN AFTER ANGER

                         ALMOST BLEW UP MY MIND


                         Holy Father

                         whose hand passes before my eyes

                         to bring a certain luminescence

                         to the eyes which have long

                         gazed upon the moon

                         and its shadows,

                         take some lamb's blood

                         in your golden cup

                         and wash with huge red swaths

                         the pages

                         of that open book in your hand

                         wherein is imprinted that evil

                         witched me into uttering vile things

                         and curses against your name.


                         And upon those wet, red pages

                         write this—"I have loved you

                         with the love you have given me

                         to love you by!"


                         Oh, let your name roll out of heaven

                         upon me in a sudden fall of fire

                         that burns through me

                         till my name and your name are one

                         in complete forgiveness, Father!







                         THIS IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT


                         This is not entertainment.

                         Some poets, I imagine,

                         are entertainers.

                         I have been a clown:

                         Only a clown or an insane man

                         would take off his masks

                         and pour his vulnerable soul out

                         to the people.

                         No, I am not a dancing bear

                         nor a monkey on a string.

                         Some music is forged alone

                         and should be sung alone:

                         or between intimates

                         in love, in naked life.

                         If I have erred,

                         God help me, I hope

                         I have erred out of love

                         for the people.






                         TWO SONGS UNTO THE FUTURE


                         I. A SHORT LETTER TO THE FUTURE


                         What is it like

                         now that God has come

                         and flooded the world?

                         Is it as beautiful

                         as we who sojourned in many shadows

                         dreamt it would be?

                         Or has God been less than our pain

                         made us wish Him to be?

                         My heart cries no! But infinitely more!

                         What surprises! What unleashed joy!

                         What unbounded life!

                         What soul-birthed order! What freedom!

                         How great must be the communal singing

                         of all light-flooded creatures!

                         What is it like to now embody

                         love's growing dream,

                         to live in a spiritual society

                         of compassionate, creative freedom?

                         What is it like to now use all human resources

                         to make a beautiful and just world?

                         See what faith I have!

                         Suddenly I wonder,

                         is it presumptuous of me to write to you,

                         blessed children of our future?

                         you who live in the light of a thousand suns,

                         a million moons,

                         for I live in the shadows of one moon

                         and seek the warmth of one distant sun.

                         Yet, I beg of you, for courtesy's sake,

                         and for the mystery

                         of listening to your own past speak,

                         allow me to speak over the years to you,

                         anxious that you forever recall

                         the sorrows of your father's sins

                         and so do not now betray

                         the beauty which molds you!

                         Take no thing for granted,

                         as your ancestors had grievously done!

                         Fight for gratitude. It is the breath of life!

                         Is not living together in peace

                         the greatest gift to be cherished?

                         Revere the giver of the giftedness of all being:

                         Adore, and be adored!

                         And finally... always,

                         STAY AWAKE! I implore you, STAY AWAKE!

                         lest your children and their children

                         slip back into the madness of the soul's sleep

                         and all clear sanity

                         is undone.






                         II. TO YOU WHO READ THIS BOOK IN FUTURE AGES


                         You read this book

                         because you too

                         long to lap light up

                         from the brimming river of the world.

                         It has flowed through all

                         the tumultuous and shadowy ages.

                         It has humbly sung

                         its own glories

                         into its glories—

                         the songs of God and of Creation.

                         Many have sung the politic song.

                         It was their duty

                         to reflect the uncountable harsh injustices.

                         While others,

                         whether by the hand of pain

                         or Love upon their shoulder,

                         were made to kneel down

                         upon verdant banks

                         to press their lips into life's liquor

                         —and taste Light.

                         I know now

                         I am writing for you,

                         rebuilders of the world,

                         makers of Love's final kingdom.

                         Read this book unto the birds for me;

                         sing it to the gallant wolves;

                         recite its songs

                         to children in firelight;

                         whisper it into the hearts of trees.

                         And please know,

                         you who live now in what was once

                         only our distant, dreamt of future;

                         that you have made your ancestors rich

                         —beyond all earthly riches—

                         with your wisdom,

                         by your passionate love.










                         WATER AND FIRE


                         How can a river flow

                         from out of a spark?

                         Gently revere!

                         Gently revere

                         all things for what

                         they hold and hide!

                         And the river shall wash

                         clear and clean

                         until river mingles with river—

                         and spark tastes spark!

                         In truth, Life is much more robust

                         than can be sung or said—

                         being clothed with souls.










                         I love you God flowing in

                         and I love you God

                         flowing out.








                         HE SHE AND WE


                         He is the hidden sun,

                         we, the unfolding flowers.

                         She is the holy hidden water,

                         and we, trees of life.

                         They are the unfelt, moving wind,

                         and we to be—singing birds on the wing!






                         WISDOM PLAYS


                         Wisdom plays

                         within the boundaries

                         of the holy;

                         solely a child at heart

                         and free

                         —as God is free—

                         in wise spontaneity:

                         To dream, to believe,

                         to become through deeds,

                         to be a Maker

                         of Love's beauty.





                         I HEARD EVERY HOPE SINGING


                         I heard all the hopes

                         of all the suffering peoples

                         of a thousand years

                         speak once.

                         It was the voice

                         of a bird

                         singing over the portal

                         of Heaven's door.











                    ON CONFIRMATION


                    A bird sings

                    and the trees say, "Come to our treeness

                    for you are a bird!"

                    And the wind says,

                    "Stretch your wings now upon my free breath,

                    for you are certainly a bird

                    in bone and feather!"


                    I sing a song

                    and say, "I am a poet,

                    am I?"

                    And the peoples say,

                    "Who cares?" and, "We don't know

                    if you don't," and,

                    "What is a poet?"


                    And then one little child

                    turns to me and says,

                    "I loved that song."












                     SHE, ROSY DANCES INTO THE DAWN

                     (For my daughter Beka)


                     A young red-haired lady

                     comes to the banquet feast.

                     Uncertain and shy, she sits down

                     and sips some soup.

                     It is a soup of flowing light.

                     All essential things are loving her.

                     Suddenly, her heart is full and free

                     to begin its dancing.

                     Her feet are dancing.

                     Her body moves within the currents

                     of a silent music.

                     She has become a radiant word

                     of the Wedding Master's song.

                     She too has become the Bridegroom's invitation.

                     All the wedding guests

                     explode with sudden joy

                     into the dance.







                         BECOMING AMBER


                         Horses, words, music,

                         ideas, discipline:

                         she is a wild young woman


                         and growing rich

                         at a still tender age.

                         "Yield, yield"

                         —the Host beckons

                         to her deeper opening.

                         All the stars and colors

                         of this warm wedding feast

                         flood down through her heart:

                         and her mind makes

                         its own kind of music.

                         We call it: warm, red love...

                         becoming Amber.







                         A FEATHERED METAPHOR


                         Birds both keep and sing

                         the law of their being:

                         that’s why they can fly.







                         ABOUT GRACE


                         A loving gift

                         may not be earned

                         —but it may

                         be celebrated!









                         WHEN EVERY OCCASION IS SUBLIME


                         Just keep trusting. Just keep yielding.

                         Just keep opening.

                         God has hidden these things from the wise

                         and intelligent

                         and revealed them to the believing babes:

                         the babes who long for milk,

                         the babes who trust,

                         the babes who suckle at their mother's

                         soft, breathing breasts.

                         Just keep trusting. Just keep yielding.

                         Just keep opening.

                         Just keep tasting—

                         and suckle that white, laughing milk

                         of Life itself

                         out of the warm, brimming breast

                         of El Shaddai.












                         Poetry does not spring forth

                         from intellect

                         or even from imaginative emotion

                         —poetry wells forth from essences:

                         through intellect, through imagination,

                         through emotion.

                         Art is tasting...

                         One tastes poetry

                         and those spiritual flavors

                         seek out words

                         which best embody them:

                         sound symbols for the ear,

                         visual symbols for the inner eyes

                         to convey

                         the essences of life...

                         and death.









                         ABOUT A CERTAIN PARABLE


                         When one enters the wedding feast

                         one's spirit flows out

                         to taste and savior

                         all holy creatures and things.










                        IT IS GOD I LOVE,

                        POURING THROUGH OPENING THINGS


                         It is God I love

                         pouring though

                         opening things.

                         God is the essence

                         of the soul.

                         God the glory pouring


                         gushing up,

                         flooding out.

                         When all people

                         let God through,

                         it shall be

                         a revolution

                         of truth's beauty.









                         ON A FIVE MINUTE BREAK

                         FROM HANGING WALLPAPER


                         I opened the door

                         and walked out into the wind.

                         All the trees where shimmering

                         like torches

                         burning in the night,


                         with solid treeness

                         and old tree light.











                         When the images of thought become too full

                         to remain within the soul,

                         beauty drops like dew drops

                         out of a lonely solitude

                         into word symbols of a dream

                         which has dreamt souls

                         and stars and all things.

                         Suckled on light,

                         certain images dance out

                         with their own kindled life

                         to seek another seeking heart

                         and shatter that lonely solitude

                         crying, "Kindred soul of mine

                         in which life sings—

                         as lovers know it sings—

                         turn out now to seek the world

                         until beauty drops like dew drops

                         out of your lonely solitude,

                         into the shape of souls."








                         MISS JEAN


                         She traveled in the night

                         under many stars

                         until she—too weary—

                         lit the candle of her mind

                         and saw light everywhere in the dark.

                         Then she gathered herself to her labors

                         and grew a beautiful heart

                         which molded her body

                         from within her body.

                         And with time,

                         thought became a splendor

                         radiant from beyond the world:

                         and so her latter end

                         grew to a glory which welcomed her in.

                         Then she arose like a shimmering white

                         butterfly from a rough cocoon

                         and laughed to think

                         about the dear wrinkles

                         which had so recently grown

                         to thickly cover her old house.







                         THE KINGDOM FORETASTED


                         When the little child is clear-eyed

                         and dancing free within;

                         and pain has taught the soul enough wisdom

                         to care for the child;

                         and the heart yields naturally to love's

                         subtle touches

                         and opens so deeply

                         that eyes look liquid,

                         like little lakes of life—

                         then the spirit flows out to taste everything

                         for the celebrative Kingdom has come.

                         Then the Bridegroom's eyes

                         smile out of all things upon His bride

                         and his voice speaks

                         in a thousand ways,

                         "Go forth now, my beautiful bride,

                         and bear your overflowing cup

                         unto my love-thirsty miracle of a world.”













                         Little child, born big-eyed

                         and full of wonder

                         because you were created—above all things—

                         to trust and dream:

                         believe! and stir up your dreams.

                         Go out and gaze at the infinite ocean of stars

                         and see what a dream can do!

                         And when you see a rainbow

                         or look at the light in a dog's eye

                         laugh at the hardness of the world

                         and remember to keep dreaming

                         your beautiful dreams.

                         Life shall teach you many things,

                         even if you stir your heart just half awake.

                         Look! many delicate snowflakes

                         can bind together

                         to be an earth-shaking avalanche.

                         Listen, soft water and wind

                         shall in time wear away stone.

                         And your dreams,

                         though they be as insubstantial as wind,

                         if you give your green life

                         to birth them—shall live!

                         And they shall grow their own life

                         and slowly bring a fire down upon you!

                         But never be afraid 

                         of that dream-born fire that burns

                         to make your dreams brighter

                         and to melt your heart

                         until it flows as soft as your dreams:

                         just grow on,

                         and suckle long on that vision

                         which made

                         the Earth, and sea, and stars...

                         And your dreams,

                         —when they stand as true as the sun—

                         shall gain the power of a miracle

                         to entwine with other dreamer’s dreams

                         and slowly move the whole

                         world out into beauty's light.









                         ON THE DEATH OF AN ANGRY GOD


                         A blind child led a wounded swan

                         which hissed and pecked at his heels.

                         "You wouldn't cruelly drive me on,

                         if you knew how your fury feels."

                         So said the child and yanked on the reign

                         bound to the swan's collar and chain.


                         With an angry fury the swan pulled back

                         and beat its wings upon the neck

                         of the frightened child who thrust in the dark

                         with a stick in his hand, which struck its mark—

                         and that so further enraged the swan

                         that it beat on the child until the dawn.


                         And then the sun rose up to see

                         the child and the swan too weary of fight,

                         and so the blind child set it free

                         and the swan swam away in a lake of the light.

                         Then all its beauty and grace came back,

                         so it swam to the child and kissed his neck.


                         Then scales fell from the blind child's eyes

                         and it hugged the swan and fell in its feathers;

                         then the swan and the child sailed off to the skies

                         —both free from the other's tethers.







                         AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD IS A SEED


                         An encounter with God is a seed:

                         nurture it and increasingly

                         life will flood through that

                         holy moment of light!

                         Remembrance is a journey

                         back into the eternal immediacy

                         of that holy, deathless moment.












                         THE TIME HAS COME FOR A HOLY REVOLUTION


                         Immobilized in wonder

                         at the majestic grandeur

                         of the sublime, moving, breath of God;

                         then, enkindled by that innocent fire

                         to let go and flood out

                         His flaming river

                         until the old world burns down

                         with blameless love.











                         MANY THERE BE WHO SEEK POWER...


                         Many there be who seek power

                         or wealth as a security

                         to gird them up when old age

                         takes them down.

                         But, contrarily, I wish to be

                         an old man singing with God,

                         who feels the starlight on his upturned

                         face at night,

                         who touches the souls of trees

                         with his mind

                         and knows that the ancient wind

                         still plays and is young.

                         An old man, I say,

                         who ponders well these things:

                         a woman's opening eyes and bird wings

                         while sitting on a stone unmoved

                         by any power but that of love.

                         Old, I say... but still in thought—wild!

                         and innocent in the youth

                         of his inward child.







                          FROM PROLOGUE TO LET US GO A GIFTING


                          To you who read, read until

                          your heart burns

                          or toss this aside

                          and do not waste your time or eyes.


                          But for children who long to sing...

                          come, let us open up our hearts

                          and go a gifting!











                         Upon the holy mountain

                         Lilly waited for the voice

                         of fire, the voice of swords,

                         the voice of stars upon her hands.

                         Her poverty had long been her wealth

                         until the crackling sky

                         in sudden terror struck the idols down:

                         the mice, the golden lice,

                         the 100 foot alloyed man.


                         One shall construct fine things,

                         like mirrors of his own soul,

                         and wear them out with love

                         in the hands of his grandchildren

                         and his grandchildren's children

                         in that day when all the world comes to know

                         that no one ever really knows

                         the craftsman's name,

                         nor the name

                         of she who had long waited

                         and now carries white stones

                         into his bed.


                         Ah, the holy day comes

                         when Lilly shall hold

                         melodious love

                         like light in her hands

                         and feed some little red sugar berries

                         unto that roly-poly bear

                         who plays in her garden:

                         her brown, brother bear

                         who has come out of the singing woods

                         morning by morning

                         to gaze into her eyes

                         and be held in her warm human arms.

                         And they shall sit, morning by morning,

                         to rock each other,

                         singing lullabies and bear songs,

                         until lions come from the holy hills,

                         leaping down to break boards out

                         of old barn walls

                         and let some beautiful sky shimmer though,

                         casting daylight all over the faces

                         of little penned lambs.






                         SHE IS A GRACIOUS LADY


                         She is a gracious lady

                         whose childhood fears

                         have made her fierce

                         with love.

                         She bends, gently, to the flowers of the earth,

                         for gardens are in her heart.


                         A country garden

                         is like a family,

                         and she is a family within herself,

                         full of the verdantcy and colors of those she loves.

                         She keeps all she loves warm with prayers

                         and waters them with a flashing belief

                         that they too shall grow strong

                         and succulent with life.

                         If a friend has needs:

                         flowers are there

                         in her gracious face

                         beside their bed of grief.

                         Her words

                         carry the luxuriance of roses,

                         the simplicity of lilies;

                         and her wise old eyes

                         —still young with scampish joy—

                         glitter happily, like some little white children

                         of the daisies.                               






                         A WOMAN READS IN THE DISTANT FUTURE


                         Now, years from this past,

                         some woman opens a small book

                         and the warm and yellow flows,

                         soaking her dark soul rich.

                         She feels a warm body

                         turn inside her skin.

                         Someone is wrestling beautiful within her,

                         hungry to understand vision.

                         A golden spark lifts off pages into her eyes,

                         igniting oil with flashes of passion

                         in songs which have forgiven death.

                         In brightening flame she moves.

                         Her face is peace. She slows time

                         and burns.

                         A book drops from her hands,

                         (the sun's radiance in bones).

                         Her heart wakes gratitude

                         and life cascades.

                         Lips smile. Eyes smile.

                         Hands rise like birds

                         —releasing the world!

                         Beholding wonder, she is home!

                         brewing up for the ages

                         her own soup that tastes of radishes and honey.

                         She ladles it out,

                         barefoot in the streets,

                         humming love's whimsy in tunes,

                         letting everything sip

                         her communal cup.

                         Children laugh when they see her;

                         old men smile

                         with glistening eyes.








                         PRAYER CAN ALSO BE


                         Prayer can also be

                         a waking dream

                         passing before

                         the heart's eyes,

                         a living, specific fragment

                         broken off the infinite

                         wholeness of God's dream

                         and offered up to Him

                         full of human hope

                         and radiant

                         with love.







                         I HAVE A RED HAIRED DAUGHTER


                         Some people can talk with their hands.

                         I have a red haired daughter

                         who can talk with her wild feet.

                         She says, joy...

                         and... hope...


                         klap, klap,

                         tittle dat...


                         And then she says,

                         "I love you life."

                         chit, chit, chit, chit,















    I wrote up the scrapings of the very bottom of the sky

    and sent little whirling wind-devils dancing.

    (All properly religious folks know that only the devils dance,

    angles being too somber and sanctimonious.)

    A heated blasphemy melts the cool controlled spirit

    of the proud silver setting on white spotless linen.

    Look! This heated blasphemy is seditious truth!

    Who can dance wilder than He who holds seven stars in His hand?

    Who can spit and shout and laugh like He who wears

    a golden girdle across His breast?

    Who can beat down money-changers off the altars of God better

    than He whose feet are burnished brass?

    Who can seize lightning? Whose voice is the voice

    of a billion lost souls crying? It's He whose eyes are flames of fire!

    Who sits weeping, drinking dirty wine on a railroad track?

    It’s He who holds the keys of death.

    But you must, please, forgive me, for I am only writing up the scrapings

    of the very low bottom of the sky.








                    IT IS MY HEART'S DESIRE


                    It is my heart's desire

                    to sing the flowing light of God!

                    It is a birthing light

                    of a growing God;

                    a green and flourishing God.

                    And the song is like a plague of joy

                    infecting my heart's desire.












                    I woke up this morning.

                    God had created a beautiful breakfast for me.

                    It was a feast!

                    He always makes feasts...

                    In the blue bowl of the morning sky

                    He had dropped a shimmering yellow peach for me.

                    It shown up brightly

                    into my sleepy eyes.

                    And then, over all

                    that fruit of His light,

                    He poured a sweet white milk of His clouds.

                    I ate heartily

                    and the meal made me sing, real loud!—

                    as those who feast with God

                    always sing.

                    And so I made this little song

                    of words,

                    and it says:


                    and..."Thank you!"












                    When sky born thoughts come down

                    (like rain comes down

                    to break seed shells,

                    to loose the life),

                    the shell of the mind cracks

                    and Creation feels light stream through.

                    A little hill quakes.

                    A tree claps one leafy hand

                    against the wind. 








                         ON THE SACK OF A SOUL


                         A man needs a little sack

                         (whether green, or red, or gray,

                         no matter),

                         a man needs a little sack,

                         a poet’s pack

                         to carry his soul in.

                         And one might find there

                         a pinch of tobacco

                         and a well worn pipe;

                         a book of holy words

                         to prompt thoughts;

                         a little paper

                         and pencil to record a few

                         which might be worth

                         passing on.

                         And a man needs a friend

                         to accompany

                         times of observation—

                         to help him discover things

                         marked for his soul:

                         a pine cone;

                         a stone well shaped

                         to the fingers;

                         long thin grasses,

                         sea shells!

                         A man needs a little sack

                         to gather memories in...

                         a lock of a woman's hair,

                         a feather,

                         a perfumed ribbon,

                         and something that smells of horses.

                         An unobtrusive little pack

                         full of mementos and

                         mysteries of the heart

                         with the meaning of love.

                         A man needs a little sack

                         to carry his soul in.









                         ON CHRISTMAS EVE - 1991

                         (For Hal Gillespie)


                         He shrouded the chalice

                         on his last Christmas feast

                         and foretold his year to come

                         as the holy shroud of death

                         shall come upon

                         his silver, shining spirit—

                         laid there by God's trembling hands.

                         The service was over,

                         and we, full of Christmas beauty

                         waited for the final word.

                         And it was he who spread forth

                         his frail arms

                         in the full power of the cross

                         and spoke as a bird would speak

                         whose wings were dipped deep

                         in an unearthly wind,

                         "Let us go forth

                         in the name of Christ!"

                         He spoke as a warrior,

                         and his unsteady limbs

                         suddenly coursed with awful strength.

                         And his Doctor knew,

                         (I could see some of the pain in his eyes),

                         and the woman prophet knew

                         as she tasted him with her loving heart,

                         that it was he,

                         the Lord's deacon,

                         whose shell would soon open

                         to show us how

                         we shall all, "Go forth

                         in the name of Christ."



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