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…

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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