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

 

 

Isolation

IMG_9561

 

Isolation

(a partial inventory of things for which I grieve

in this time of pandemic)

 

Hugs and hands and friendly kisses.

A bar of soap in the dish, unremarkable and dry.

Going out to breakfast, pancakes and eggs, bacon

chatting with the waitress while waiting for you.

Driving to a meeting in town, boring, endless,

ordinary. College basketball. Baseball season.

Missing easy shots in tennis and losing my cool,

as if it mattered. Golden mornings passed

in silent meditation, my feet cold

on retreat, loving and being loved,

the soft sound of all of us breathing together,

as if it mattered. Being cold, being hot, wind,

rain, snow and sunburn. Sacred places,

Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, Dolomiti skies.

Cinque Torri at sunset, then again at dawn.

Parisian museums. Parisian meals. Parisian coffee.

Paris.

Venice in the morning. Eating gelato in Rome.

Eating more gelato in Rome.

Aging simply but still feeling young.

Not being classified as vulnerable.

Not being classified.

Not needing to sanitize the keys in order to loan the car

to my son. Seeing my sons. Holding them.

Seeing my infant granddaughter. Holding her

even if it still makes her cry.

The illusion of safety.

The familiar smell of my personal cocoon.

Never having to consider case counts, respirators

or exponential curves.

Believing myself to be harmless to others (or mainly so.)

Belief in a particular future.

The future.

The freedom to ignore a simple cough.

Taking a single breath for granted.

Believing that time is continuous, endless and free.

Ignorance of the gray man stalking the streets

counting breaths.

A committed belief in Death

as an abstraction.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

leave the way you came

I’ve come to feel that we’re not truly isolated as long as we’re in the company of trees

IMG_5925

 

leave the way you came

 

early sun on old snow, the wind

speaking in the high trees — welcome

 

move slowly in stillness — listen

completely.  carry only respect

 

and reverence.  leave

the way you came

 

FullSizeRender 4

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

one last chance

IMG_5906

 

walking empty streets

in a late season snow, alone — where

have we all gone? what in heaven’s name

have we done?

 

this unnatural natural

silence, the distant cry of geese

returning, desperate for a place

to land

 

a single light in a room at the back

goes dark, while the herd comes down

from the mountains, begins to reclaim

its place. fitfully

 

we sleep and dream of morning

breathing our wordless prayers

 

for warmth

for the resurrection of spring

for a second new covenant

for one last chance

 

to do better

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com