laughter and tears

oldbones

 

laughter and tears

 

we were once shiny, undented.

had baby after baby with limitless

perfect futures. we had answers, speed

and never enough time. we

were accelerating. last night

fall came to this mountain,

the face of the grey man

peering through the glass. this morning

we sit beneath a weakening sun

the leaves blowing about our feet

like so many small broken things.

your hand is warm in mine, and just so

am I blessed — so little survives

beyond laughter and tears.

darkness falls.

the trees across the river

draw down their blood in silence,

brace themselves for winter.

 

© 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

 

 

 

Let Us Come Together

This Spring and early Summer, I’ve been struck by the richness of community, the simplicity. With heartfelt gratitude for family and friends…

letuscome

let us come together

 

let us come together here

on the rocky spine of this world

 

let us suspend all judgment

of ourselves and of those

we would hold as friends

 

let us watch the shadows

of the clouds as they race

across this darkening land

 

let us hold this hour

in the companionable silence

of those collected here

 

let us ask for nothing more

 

than the warmth of these hands

than this breath

than the tender, fragile heart of this day

 

let us cherish one another

and in this,

 

let us be glad

 

 

© 2017 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com/jfinkimages.com

 

 

Wild is

frost

Wild is

(on the last flocks of November)

wild is small sharp sounds
rising through black, bare-limbed trees

wild is the weak
slant-light of morning

wild is uninvited, intrusive
discordant

wild is sudden

wild is imperative, urgent

wild is now and now
and now again

wild is a restlessness
a knowing
a coming together

wild is long fluid lines
spilling across an azure sky

wild is ragged and unstable

wild is perpetually adapting

wild is a fathomless
round eye

wild is feathers and fat,
muscle and hollow bones

wild is the cry of the straggler
desperate to catch up

wild is the cold hard fate
of those left behind

wild is thousands of wings

wild is the flock rising as one
over stubbled fields

wild is the wind

wild is the coming storm

wild is the snow
falling now in silence

to sanctify this precious

darkening world

 

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

The Secret Ingredient

Yesterday, I really felt a need to get up into the mountains, so I took my dog and headed up to the Uintah National Forest. As always, I stuck a camera in my pack, but unusually for me, I set out with intention of NOT taking pictures. Rather, I just wanted to walk, throw a stick for Jack, and look.

About halfway through the hike, we came to a deep alpine lake at about 10,500 ft. In the shallows, the grasses were curling, undulating with the small waves.

The whole time I shot, I thought “I can’t believe this is being given to me…”

Recently, a Shambhala teacher told me “I’m going to give you the secret ingredient.”

“Patience,” he said.

Amen.

 

 

Red Stone

Note- some poems are prompted by a word or a phrase, perhaps an experience. This was suggested by an impossibly beautiful tree deep at the head of the unfortunately named “Negro Bill Canyon” off of the Colorado Rive near Moab Utah.  

red stone

by the time we reach the top of the canyon

we’ve walked through most of our words

this trail of sand and stone, the solitary blooms

of tattered desert flowers. this deep in the canyon

all light is reflected, shattered light,

passed from rim to rim until it settles like mist

luminous dust, a dry and brilliant rain.

we never know what we’ll find in the deepest canyons

of our lives like these incandescent leaves,

such improbable green, or this stone, the rich red

of freshly oxygenated blood, the red of iron and of time,

of pressure and erosion, the true red of benediction, the hard,

hard red of redemption.

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com