Saturday, December 11, 2010

Through the Layers

Remembering Janine
December 16, 1950 - December 11, 2005

A torrential storm is forecast today. A river of tropical memories is headed for our coast. A surge of the sun's heavy lifting will be brought down to earth. Today's storm is a reminder to breathe between the long and silky streams of history.

Five years ago, heavy snow was tumbling past my city window. The world has melted since then. Five years now. And two hundred miles north your shining star was flickering, swirling in your final breaths, surrounded by your family... except me.

We shared the same
winter waves though.
A white crystal field awaited
your smoky eyes.
Now the smoke
of Pele's dreams rains
down on my field.

I feel you, Anam Cara,
between the raindrops,
here in the winter wandering.

Do you hear the same streaming
storm above your head too?
Or are you living somewhere else?

between these words,
the white and bleached opening
of a thousand memories,
of woodland and glade and
island songs, made into the vellum
in layers like snow.

I miss you.
I breathe deeper than before.
Life moves on through the layers.
I know deep love.
I still remember.

Thank you for teaching me how to find the poems that live everywhere.
Thank you for teaching me the joy, healing and finally the grief of love.

I will make my life a "YES!" today because of you.


(c) Rick Sievers 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Together in the Tunnel

The Tunnel to the Sea at Oceanside, Oregon

"Always from a child's hand the sword
should be removed."
Francis of Assisi

I just sat there.

I heard the hateful talk, the jokes about "the others", the generalizations about sexual orientation and even race. I heard how America is founded on free speech and that people should do and say as they please... as long as the topic is not outside the norm of the shopping mall and the flickering trance of the television. I sat stunned with a grimace in the fainting form of a grin on my face. A knot in my stomach. I just let the dark words pass into me. I had little external reaction that was fierce, contrary or even reflective.

I was a pacifist in the in worst manner of the term. Me, the man who claims to be for inclusion, peace and respect. I was mute to the strains of hate that are in the spirit of our society. The worst part is that this talk was in my own home, at my dinner table. I sat there with a plastic face.

This isn't just a confessional. It is an object lesson on just how easy it is to confuse resignation and being nice with a true fierce kindness. It's also a lesson about how unloving ideas live and breed behind the most passive of facades.

Besides disappointment with myself I am left with questions.

Where does kindness and respect come into
the privilege of free speech?

What is my role in the coarseness of our society?

How do I behave as a free person
when I feel afraid much of the time?
Afraid to be visible.
Afraid to rock the boat.
Afraid to be myself.

Can silence also be a form of violence?

I have a soul sister and friend, who listened to my confession and pondering today. She talked about how we are all moving as a river, together, ineffable, and whole to the sea of the Great Spirit. We talked about the challenges and the gifts and teachings of simply being alive in such a dynamic time.

There were no conclusions made. But talking with her allowed me to not be dispirited. I felt a companion's hand in my hand as we moved through the dark tunnel of grief together.

I have many friends, of many colors and stripes. And I will stand up again and try to remind my little world how beautiful and important they are to me.

A closing quote from St. Francis:

"Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and eyes
unless we know we too are capable of
any act?"

(c) Rick Sievers, 2010

Both quotes from Daniel Ladinsky's book:
Love Poems From God
Penguin Putnam, NY. 2002