Stumble from unknown heights
Into a dark pit devoured by the hunger for light
Continue reading Fire – by Meena Chopra
What would it mean to unlock the mysteries of both the visible and invisible dark night skies? In Matthew Bothwell’s article Monsters in the Dark, the Cambridge astronomer eloquently and patiently explains the invisible monster galaxies uncovered by the Hubble Space Craft’s long-exposure images. Relying on infrared light exposures, the new imagery penetrates the cosmic dust barriers to reveal in his words: a “vibrant cosmic powerhouses in the distant Universe” engaged in active star-making.
Bothwell admits that we don’t know why these massive galaxies even exist. The spiritual-cosmological questions that follow could sound like these: “What forces bring them into existence?” “Why do they die?” and most profoundly, “Why, or what purpose do they serve?” This busy star-nursery also fosters questions about our own existence back here on Earth and to what degree are we alone in the universe.
Your echoes linger on the edges in the Smoky Mountain fog
In petal red, or blue? The poet’s everywhere-tint
Infiltrates insidiously, glancing, gliding under my skin.
Move on, you whisper, No more time for love.
Love grown out of Tennessee barn oak
Floated on Scottish dry docks,
Love grown out of three-thousand miles of red, white, and blue.
Now we walk past the Cherokee land until we spy
The seagulls’ wings; sail east, then up the River Clyde
To Dunoon, where sailors and war brides married
Where mother met father, and I met you.
But these mountains have been deceiving me for years.
Hurry now! the mantra grows, Move on…move on
Past your foothills ghost, past the shipbuilders’ loch,
On past a struggle’s end.
Red, only in the mountains’ falling leaves
Blue, only in my eyes
And the holy color dying.
The Pond in Winter
After Henry David Thoreau
The winter of ’19, it rained nearly every day,
water gushed from sky, no windshield wiper
equal to it. A slough swelled in the low spot
of the yard, lapped the steps, like a wolf
at the door. It was the wolf supermoon that
reflected off the surface one rare, naked night—
quicksilver eerie and lovely as icy solitude,
consoling, clear. A sorrow-voiced owl cried
in the pre-dawn, foreshadowing death,
as owls can. Loss spilled over the wall
of my soul and into the crevices where I hid
my treasures, floated them out of their deep
secret places onto the banks from underearth
where bluets and bloodroots drank to the dregs
as I would after I saw the land open its mouth
and swallow my love whole, leaving me to choke
on the hemlock of grief. I’ll carry the disfigurement
of this flood, a high-water scar the rest of my days.
Not everything, nor everyone survives. Winter
cannot last forever.
Silently passing through Fargo…
the indiscriminate Fargo of my mind,
I am cruising up the Lena.
I leave the city limits of my head
for what is…now…here…
flowing once before the windows of my eyes.
Morning, she appears,
changeling today, soft and cloudy
where the river flows.
As the clouds thicken
I become confused and ask,
“Will sunlight return?”
Endless flow of green,
sandy shore, then white birch trees,
life without landmarks.
Then houses, a church,
its onion dome an anchor,
faith in solitude.
I peek at a map,
explore the territory,
mind at home again.
Tell me what I am,
where I am, I have forgot
Tell me how, how, how…
A very serious thing, this matter of prayer,
asking him for help to cope in such a miserable place—
I wish for one much better.
I could ask him to take me out, out of this rat race
to a better place, but I’m not ready to come to my end
just yet. But surely this home could be one of peace
where I can celebrate with family and friends,
but also with my enemies, who, for a moment
would not see me as their foe, not one whom I’d offend.
Let us pray for ceasefire from self-destructing bombardment;
including the hurtful words we hurl at each other. Let us pray more
to quell the road rage epithets when tailgated; for a patient
tongue when being cut-off in long cashier lines; or even before
entering that grocery’s parking lot, looking for “your” own
spot that’s snatched from you after circling the store.
Be thankful while you’re pulling hair and screaming. Don’t
lose your head, Christian, and take his name in vain,
while others literally lose theirs because they won’t.
We are much too smug, even as we speak, the ISIS blame
us. They, who are many, have desire to exterminating
us as if we are cockroaches—the infidel-insane.
Their insecticide so toxic it even burns the devil’s skin.
We don’t want the hatred that they carry, only love for one another.
Let us be guilty of that one infectious thing.
Cry out “Help us, O Lord” to look past the color
of a person’s skin, especially those among our pews.
A sad truth still: Sunday has the most segregated hour.
And no matter what denomination, there are way too few
churches not sitting mostly empty during the rest of the week.
I pray that they will all be filled to overflowing and renewed
with unity one day. Paul spoke of it: we should seek
to build one church, one faith, one baptism, worship one God above all.
What the devil are we doing? Why don’t we speak
out against it? Instead, we rush to preach good news to all
in distant worlds. Shouldn’t we ourselves revel in that news first,
here in this now-depraved country about to fall?
A country founded on the principles of God that once had thirst
for him. Perhaps this National Day of Prayer should be relabeled
as the Day for National Prayer. We, as a nation, for better or worse,
should be calling out his name for forgiveness. I am willing. And able
to thank him for my family of God, for his adopting me (a child only lost
in his love), for the way his love moves, for his stable
arms lifting me up. Even as I write these words, he fills, without cost
to me, my prevailing emptiness with his spirit and I see
how he lightens my lingering darkness, before it must flee, the most.
When I raise my eyes, I see the sky spill its bloody
ink of morning. I marvel at the glittering smiles of stars,
and hear the whole host of heaven in sacred melody
intone, Holy, holy, holy is the Lamb of God, the attar
of prayers incensing the throne. I say, How can my soul not praise You?
I am a nightingale and I will sound my sugar-throated song afar!
Even when the clouds bring tears, they wash me anew.
Rainbows splay their colors after the rains stopped pouring.
Every blade of grass catches the hope of sunlight with drops of dew.
Rumi once said that we, the seekers of truth, are searching
for the sun with a candle. All around us, His truth spills
yet we are blinded by our own light, our own discouraging.
All we have to do is look up, open our eyes, even as we swirl
in His dazzle. Let the wax melt from our eyes to see delight
—the light of stars, the light of heaven—to see the world
in a new refreshing. Look up to Him! See the bright
and morning star, with a prayer on your lips. Look, and feel the Light.
and my blood ached, burned,
I was never into conspiracy theories
Until they began stealing powerful black beings
With real voices, and real dreams
uplifting communities, doing positive things
Muted by sudden deaths, shootings and accidents
Spirits too broken to notice this is no
Promoting ownership of talent and property
Securing future generations with the
promise of the same opportunities
as the “privileged” majority
Somewhere in the City was a hoop of steel
With a tattered net of strings;
On a battered board weathered by time
Where young boys flirted with visions of rings.
An old ball, weathered and smooth,
Cover scuffed by the concrete street;
Yet pumped up for a lively bounce,
Teases those who dare to compete.