pray for rain

drivingtoWhales.iphone-2

 

pray for rain

 

we had no rain

 

for the month of May, weeks on end

of the warming winds of spring

drying the trees, the grasses, the earth

into tinder just waiting for a spark

 

these mountains

rounded by time, looming

over the cities, each one burning

scattered across the darkened land

like dying stars

 

the poets are overmatched –

so many viruses sweeping the world

 

at once

 

the breadth and scale of human stupidity

cruelty, burning and burning

 

we look to the eyes of the children

and see the depth of our failures

all of our fine words turning to ash

on our tongues – how

will it ever end?

 

listen deeply

 

beg forgiveness

 

lift a shovel

 

pray for rain

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

it means we made promises

I embraced her as we left the church forty years ago today, and she has not released my heart ever since…

edit wedding.5309

 

it means we made promises

 

it means we made promises

on the last day of may

both still clean still possible.

 

it means we made plans and babies

and sent them both

to bang against the world.

 

it means we learned to cut

and leave no trace

no blood trail for evidence.

 

it means we gave up on wonderful

and wove a nest

out of ordinary.

 

it means we rattle now toward evening

in our dark compartment

as the engine enters the tunnel’s mouth.

 

it means I can still catch your breath

between my fingers.

 

it means you

can still close my eyes with your lips.

 

it means the fire burns

until the last dry wood is gone.

 

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

such a fool

 

after all these years, you’d think I might have learned a thing or two…

 

ball

 

such a fool

 

what becomes of our memories

when we die? do they simply vanish

with the last flickering spark?

 

so many years of careful assembly

and rearrangement – why would the gods

invest so much in something so frail?

 

maybe instead we pass a kind of key

to those we leave behind

so that as long as they remember us,

 

our life’s collection

of learning and stories, heartbreak and joy,

remains connected, alive, flowing

 

in waves of what we call wisdom,

what we call beauty, accessible to any and all

with a beating human heart.

 

as I wander, hands in my pockets,

I absently jingle my enormous ring of keys,

and across the heavens the ancestors

 

and all of those who went before me,

rejoice at this music, beginning to dance and sing

at the warm pleasure of still being known.

 

then one by one, they look down at me

and start to laugh, shaking their celestial heads

in wonder, that despite a lifetime afloat

 

in this ancestral sea of wisdom

I insist on remaining

a complete and utter fool.

 

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

rising

Jafamfjaf

 

rising

 

either there are no angels

or we are all of us angels, rising

by degree. when I left you,

 

you were supported by pillows

billowing like clouds. now,

sitting on the plane

 

watching rain glaze the runway,

I wonder if you’re awake, your eyes

searching for familiar faces

you can no longer see; I wonder

 

if I will ever see you again.

 

gathering speed, we begin to climb,

both of us passengers, rising

alone, separately, together,

 

rising

on differently feathered wings,

rising

into radically different heavens.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

that i would do better

mrfhschool

hand colored high school photo, circa 1933-34.

Margaret Ruth  (Draper) Fink, 1917-2004

 

 

that I would do better

 

how much of my life

would I look to retrace?

not the thousand small decisions

that built to a course

I may have mistaken for true,

nor the loves and the lost loves

and shouldn’t have loved’s,

 

but you whose ears

have now passed beyond hearing,

who made the milk that fed me –

 

that I would do better.

 

if you could only come here and die again,

 

here, where this time I would hold you

as you once held me,

here, where we’d cry over parting

and joy at the end of pain.

here, where I would hold your gaze

as the light sifts from your lovely eyes,

 

and then close your brown eyes

with kisses.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

 

 

enough

 

my only brother, Joe, died the day after I wrote this, at age 78. perhaps this is why so many of my poems recently have concerned death. voyage well my brother…

siblings 7.22.19 2904

 

enough

 

a poem arrived last night

so heavy with death I couldn’t lift it

and I couldn’t in good conscience

drop it on anybody else.

so for now, there’s just this –

an unseasonably warm spring day

robins building a nest on the porch

the constant quiet joy

of the good woman I married

nearly forty years ago. And for now

 

this is enough.

 

enough to hold me warm at night,

enough to allow me to ignore,

for a time, the pulsing sadness

that flows beneath the surface

of this happiness,

like blood beneath the skin

carrying its own form of richness

throughout this aging body,

even though I know that one day

this blood will stop, and with it must end

all of the sadness, all of the joy,

leaving only a space,

a sharp inhalation,

then a long vanishing sigh.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caught

IMG_4866 Sunrays

 

if fishing is what lifts up your heart, then fishing is your prayer

            — Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

caught

 

between these mountains

we are held by the sky

the way fish are held by the river

 

this morning, the sun

broke the surface of the clouds

casting extravagant rainbows into space

 

it was all I could do to keep from leaping

for the simple joy of it, tail-dancing

across the valley floor, gills flapping

 

striking up and out toward heaven

taking the bait completely, caught

by this implausibly beautiful world

 

hook, line and sinker

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

beyond reason

IMG_7193-2

 

beyond reason

 

the arthritic fingers of winter are relentless,

crushing into ice in the dark

all that had dared to soften

in the light of lengthening day.

 

pain and release, punishment

and care — each

are necessary.

 

we could never have designed this,

these alternating forces shaping the hands

that sculpt this world

 

into a beauty beyond intellect

 

into a heaven beyond reason.

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

alone in the dark

DSCF5100-Edit

 

alone in the dark

 

alone in the dark, waiting for the moon.

tonight, she leans in close

carefully parting the clouds, and says here,

hold this, I’ve brought you a small piece

of the sun as comfort against the night.

 

trust the light, she says, trust this moon

and these transcendent stars.

trust the return of the sun and the coming of dawn.

trust in the eventual dissolution of despair,

and the inevitable reawakening

of your own vast and radiant human heart.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com