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destroyer 2
Wooden Sculpture by Dan Webb

A block of hard wood,
Dense,
Unable to fit in,
Toe stubbing and dull,
A heavy reminder,
A loathsome remainder –
No longer welcome and
Cast out on an unknown sea.

Adrift on the cold, dark water
Obtuse, deadwood turned stupidly with the earth.

Then,

S e r e n d i p i t o u s l y,
Pulled in by a mothering tide.
Rolled playfully in a salty, green-gray swell and
Rocked in a lustrous, silky emerald ocean.
Water thinned celadon lapped
The straight-grained, reddish-brown timber,
Washed it smooth,
Gently persuaded, and perfected its inherent qualities,
Its hard and sturdy truth.
Turning hardship into a handsome beauty,
A dark mahogany heart buoyant with love.

Moonbeams cast a light and pulled the trusting heart to shore.
At dawn, the sun took the moon’s place.
Shone brightly, the polished, red mahogany heart glistened,
Beating in the gentle lap of a warm turquoise pool,
Lulled in a lullaby of
Shishh hhhaaaa,
Shishh hhhaaaa
And dutifully prepared to be treasured.

September 2013

lightening storm

There was a deliberate vibration,
A shift,
A turn taken.
The Aspen trees trembled
And the tall Pines bowed in reverence.
The grasses supplicated to the great change.
The sky, gray-green, beseeched the sun and rolled over her,
Ushered her out and tucked her behind soft clouds,
Whispered, “This is not for you.”
And without light, the world became a glass half empty.

God bowled a mighty strike,
The earth shuddered
And the sky illuminated
A barbed reckoning.
Our attention,
Demanded and instantly obliged.
Mendicant servants,
Our muddied heads cleared with confessions,
“Hallowed God,
Lead us not into temptation.”

Focused and without hesitation
It reigned down a heavy decree.
Without compromise,
Leveling the scales and dismissing justice,
Willing It’s way.
The river rose up to meet its maker
And in one sweeping correction,
The hand of a God,
Flooded the subastral gap between Heaven and Hell,
Making life a watery underworld.

We were placed on notice.
Our mendacious plottings,
Pompous rantings,
Audacious exploitations,
All called out.
The makings of a human.
Humbled
By the recollection
of our sea monkey beginnings,
We softened our backbones.

And it was all forgotten,
This humility,
When the Hand lifted the tempest
And the gray-green sky shifted softer and lighter.
That fast,
We ventured out.
Expected nothing,
But everything.
The Sun
And the Moon.

June 30, 2013

Oliver in a Winter Wonderland

“I love that old man,” he said
And hunched over swinging his arms and picking up his feet,
Looking like an elephant muppet.
Flippity flop, flippity flop,
He showed me how you moved across the floor and out the door.
Like a puppet in a curly white coat,
Feet made of mops,
Off you went.

We calculated you were nearly 98 years old
When you didn’t come back.
We called and called for you
And we called others
To call and call for you.
Searching the yard, the road, the woods;
making a wide berth around the river,
Your favorite morning drink.

From the street I heard
The great moan of a tree just before it lays down.
I ran, knowing
Before I ever descended down that hill.
The earth quaked up out of me.
The trees picked it up and the early January sky filled
As the river valley echoed it back to me.
This drowning wake I came to know as ours.

And the other,
Dressed for handling papers and pens,
Squatted on the muddy bank and
Agreed to be keeper of time, witness of grief,
Pulled us from what was becoming our own etheric, watery world
And helped lift you from the gentle drink you rested in.
So peaceful looking.
I couldn’t help but notice.

Your beautiful tendrils of hair afloat like that of a mermaid.
Your body relaxed in the cold, clear Gunpowder River
And for a moment it all made sense.
You, that lovely, graceful creature.
In the flow of life.
Setting off.
Floating away.
F l o a t i n g o n b y.

By the tree, where you had minded over a decade of laughing kids,
Barking and nipping at their untucked shirts as they defied gravity from a tire swing.
And the boy, who is now a man,
Came flying through the field of beasts of burden.
Still and wide-eyed, they watched, bearing witness to our drama.
And down that hill
He fell to his knees and cried “No!” at seeing you so still.
And I heard her cat cries as they broke into sobs of sorrow from miles away.

I imagine
That everyone in the river valley felt our grief that morning
Vibrate through their kitchens
As they poured coffee.
For a moment and in a moment,
They paused,
“Did you feel that? What was that?”
Hymns of the Greek Chorus.

He carried you up to the garden where all before you lie.
And the earth was kind and opened easily for you.
We placed you in a bed of forgiving dirt.
Forgiving us
For our human tangle of doubt and fear.
Our clumsy words,
Flippity flopped, flippity flopped,
Absorbed into the soft clay hole of our hearts.

And like the earth,
And the river that morning,
The night sky opened to the Heavens.
A sailor’s paradise.
Jupiter sat right above your grave.
Stars and planets shivered in revery as you passed,
Curtseying and bowing to your greatness.
And he and she and he and I stood on this earth and waved goodbye.