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

Memory

green eyes old bones

 

 

 

 

Memory

 

didn’t we kiss for the first time

yesterday, on this too brief passage

through the invisible gardens

of time? the dogwoods

 

by the old dutch church drop all

of their flowers at once, blanketing

 

the ancient graves with white

for a single day each year. memory

 

is all the immortality we’re offered.

this, at least, we must promise one another –

me, I vow never to forget your eyes,

and you, you my love

must always remember my hands.

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

visitor

how strange it feels to return as a guest

to this city where my children were born

to sit above this frozen lake, barely a block

from where she squeezed them into the world.

chicago ice is harder than ice in the mountains

 

all blocks and harsh geometries, the cold indifference

of the city. there’s so much they don’t tell you

about raising a child, like how warm they are

when you hold them as they sleep

how they arrive complete with their own destinies

 

committed to making their own mistakes;

how you’ll touch them less and less as they age

as if you’re both slowly fading into a story

how you’ll watch, helpless, as they suffer

the crushing pains of this embodied human life.

 

beneath the ice, the waves still come, lifting and cracking

the heavy gray plates. one day, they say, spring

will return, but tonight, it’s just the slow rolling

of unseen waters, the lifting and settling of the frozen lake

the slow and brutal grinding of ice upon the shore.

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

Spring in the Wasatch

Two untitled pieces from a spring afternoon in the mountains

 

(after dogen…)

 

one day while out

walking, the mountain may turn

and hand you your heart –

here

this is your heart, don’t lose it

near here lies the road

home

 

Image

 

a cloudless blue sky holding the mountain

countless

 

winged fairies

from the cottonwoods

 

dancing, swirling, the profound

wealth

 

of immeasurable

blossoms on the old crab apple

 

all the small birds have returned

bringing a smooth

 

southerly breeze, well being

beyond words

Ascension

spring in these mountains

is a fibrous season — winter’s

age-hardened fingers gripping the land

like the hand of a dying man.

after every warming day,

while the streams run full

with the blood of the melt, the moon

climbs a constellated sky,

and the cold deep of space

drops again to harden these hills –

how reluctant to open is this

human heart?

how many times must we hear

the quiet voice- we are each of us

crucified, all resurrected

none immune, none denied.

think of the dreams

of those who came before,

the great projects and empires

of the dust we stand upon.

the kingdoms of the ancients

amount to nothing

beside a single open and bleeding

heart – look to your hands

they were built for nails—

look to your heart

it was built for heaven –

this morning there was snow

on the trees again, and only now

do the birds begin to sing,

starting to rise between the branches

drawing back their wings, exposing

their hearts to this bright

and warming day, like dozens

of feathered crosses

ascending

J.A. FinkImage