shining, brilliant, bright and free

we lost a friend this week, Wendy Chioji, who died after a long battle with cancer. She modeled how to approach the end with humor, courage and grace. This was written on the morning I heard of her passing.  For Wendy….

sunset yosemite valley 1840-2

 

shining, brilliant, bright and free

 

she died last night, which of course

is impossible, her eyes, that laugh

and, of course, her smile.

there’s a shadow-shaped hole

in the sun this morning – I close my eyes

and imagine her nearing the end

growing smaller as the tumors

tip the balance. can see her drawing

each difficult breath, shallowing, thinning

into shadow. can see her turning

to face a light only she can see.

can see her smile, of course, see her draw

one long unfettered breath, see her

shimmering now into light, becoming wind

rising through the bright leaves of autumn

like a star, like a smile, like a season

unto herself — shining, brilliant, bright

and free.

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

 

New Collection on jfinkimages.com- Grand Canyon 2019

Sunset South Rim

Just posted a new collection on jfinkimages.com: Grand Canyon 2019. These are images from a recent backpacking trip into the heart of the Canyon, a truly sacred space…

Here’s the link to the blog page describing the collection:

https://www.jfinkimages.com/blog

And here’s t link to the collection itself-

play the slideshow with your sound turned on (and your browser set to allow automatic music to play…)

https://www.jfinkimages.com/p972974019#hcad4e71b

 

 

winter’s end

 

in these mountains, winter tends to linger, teasing us with spring followed by a new layer of snow…

trees.1262

 

winter’s end

 

each snow covered branch

is  like a phrase in the erratic final chapter

 

of winter, punctuated

by small dark birds, confused

 

by the storyline of the season.

while overhead, three geese

 

skim the treetops, crying out,

lost in this featureless white world,

 

desperately searching, like so many of us,

for a safe place to land

 

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

the women tell me

Crab

 

 

the women tell me

there is soon to be a baby.

 

I remember calling my brother

upon the birth of my oldest son.

both of our parents were dead,

and I needed to tell someone — he,

however, seemed unimpressed.

 

I see this son now grown, bearded

and strong, busy planning their lives together,

as if such a thing were possible.

 

I can almost feel the life force drifting

like pollen from our branches to theirs,

calling forth small, green buds, the sap

beginning to rise.

 

the flowering crab in the yard

holds dark, withered fruit fermenting slowly

under a weak winter sun, when a solitary robin,

who should have gone south months ago,

brushes the snow from the branches

and gorges himself on the hard, bitter fruit.

 

eventually, he grows drunk, drops into flight,

and spinning once in midair, flies straight

into the darkened glass of the window,

then drops to the ground like a stone.

 

so many deaths

caused by mistaking reflections

for truth, by confusing images

with the unyielding surfaces of life.

 

the women tell me

there is soon to be a baby.

and we shall welcome her

with indescribable joy. we

will surely be impressed.

 

we will do our best

to hold her safe, to teach her to see.

we will stand with her by the window

and watch the comings and goings of birds.

 

perhaps, she will smile and laugh with the birds.

perhaps, with time, she will come to love

these hollow-boned, fragile,

exquisitely mortal, impossible birds.

 

perhaps, with time,

she might even be the one

who teaches us all how to fly.

 

lift with the legs and throw

blackdog

 

lift with the legs and throw

 

it feels like it’s been snowing forever

shifting sheets of white and grey

covering what I knew of the sun

smudging the margins of day

 

into endless hours of night.

three days in, the city plows

have fallen behind, and all the routes out

are lethal. twice today

 

they’ve come to scrape our road

packing dense piles of dirty snow

into the mouth of the drive.

and twice today I’ve booted up

 

to attack that pile, my old dog

mad for the snow, leaping at the shovel

with every throw — lift with the legs

and throw. lift with the legs and throw.

 

just like my dead father commanded

when he passed the shovel to me.

lift with the legs and throw —

but he somehow forgot to tell me

 

that shoveling never ends

there’s always another storm

another plow in the night

coming to choke to drive.

 

this is men’s work –

dark, cold, heavy and wet.

so back out we go —

lift with the legs and throw

 

the black dog leaping

biting at the snow.

lift with the legs and throw. again.

lift with the legs and throw.

 

what choice do we have

but lean into the darkness

and throw?  study the dog –

swallow the storm

 

leap at the sky –

bite at the snow.

 

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

perfectly framed

 

perfectly framed

 

this largely unconscious brain

forever striving to filter

the tsunami of perceptions–

 

wave upon wave of sight,

sound, taste, touch and smell—

the editor, driven to impose

 

some measure of order. everything

is continually arising, always

until you stop, as if someone

 

is whispering your true name —

the rope snaps and you plummet

headlong into the space at the heart

 

of all of this – and suddenly,

its right there –the essence

perfectly framed, the very picture

 

of grace

 

 

photo- summit of Solitude Mountain Resort, December 7, 2018

 

© 2018 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

New Collection of Images on Jfinkimages.com – Croatia 2018

abandoned village mill 5617 bnwJust posted a new collection of images from Croatia. Best viewed on a laptop, begin the slideshow with the sound on, and it will be accompanied by a traditional Croatian Hymn performed by a quintet that sings for donations in Diocletian’s Palace in Split. About 3.5 minutes long, enjoy!

https://www.jfinkimages.com/p237693923#hb343a8fd

 

birdsong

we recently lost a friend to cancer, a death that prompted a number of close-to-the-bone poems for me. some so close that I don’t feel like I can share them without causing pain to her family. perhaps this, about a dinner we shared with her husband along the way, might touch on it without going too far…

 

raptor

 

he should get out some, she said, but how?

out of what? into what? knowing as we do

 

that her disease

is consuming their lives together.

 

that she’s at home slowly dying

while we sit here, sharing a meal.

 

we spend the evening speaking of birds

of the intelligence of crows.

 

of how she would watch the eagles

over the lake hunting the ducks.

 

of how she always sided with the ducks

though they rarely survived the attack.

 

of how birdsong at morning

differs profoundly from the songs of evening.

 

of how darkness seems to swoop down

and swallow the final notes.

 

of how in the deepest dark of night

countless birds are said to pass overhead

 

through the highest of heavens,

following the ancient ways north, and then south

 

and then north again. of how this migration

of souls passes completely unseen.

 

of how, in the end, there is so very much

that each of us must ultimately take on faith.

 

 

© 2018 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com