Here is a vessel with a prayer inside it.

The prayer is a thing of beauty and terror.
It was born in the heart, the house of all desire.

When Pandora cut the knot and threw wide
the box of woes, it must have been her own
heart she slashed, its human gristle and
red mystery laid open –

prayers like flame rushing forth

to streak across the night (the dark,

unknowable, and ponderous body of god).

This vessel has a heart.
Its blood tides are freighted with prayers
that flow from room to thunderous room.
The doors slam after them, drumming
the rhythm of life.

The doors of the heart work by an arrangement of pulleys,
the chordae, a word like celestial song
that is merely the word for strings –
the strings of the marionette, of the instrument, of bondage –

the prayers pluck them,

causing tremors, or music, or pain.

In the heart of this vessel there have been
prayers of love, prayers of fear,
prayers like ancient curses,
and others of sweet gratitude.
They have really all been the same prayer,
which is why there is now only one.

I am, I am.

Know me, know me.

It whispers out of the depth of the vessel,
from the glowing coal of its origin –
the single hot weld that fixes it, like a star
on the volcanic heavens, to the dreaming
heart of the universe.

It is a closed system of ravenous yearning.
There is no way to open it.



A Poet in Love

In the spring, when the tree frogs began their serenades and the first ruby knuckles of the rhubarb thrust aside the mulch, I sat among the dry remains of last year’s thyme and pruned away the witchy hair of it while the wind that still whispered of winter lifted my own bright locks.  The sun that day was a thin wash of lemon, touching pale skin with tentative wooing fingers.  Everything was a love letter, from the high clear blue of the sky to the sleepy earth stirring in its own moist pelt.  Open to me, it said.  And I wanted to.  I wanted to fling myself down in its embrace and fill my heart with it.  The urge to roll against the still aromatic ghost of old lavender, to thrust my fingers deep in the good dark secret of the soil, to peel away my layers and stand naked beneath the shy sun…my love was the love of innocence and sensual awakening.

In the summer, my lover was more insistent.  With indolence and heavy scents it came to me, stretching like a cat contented and predatory.  The heat caressed me, slipped knowing fingers along slick skin, built from within like the rising of an inner sun.  There was salt upon my tongue, and sweetness, too.  The fruits of summer hung heavy and lovely to the hand, round and firm, begging the adoration of lips and teeth.  Now the sunlight was like thick honey, the grass a fragrant bed calling for the press of flesh, limbs fainting against the broad body of the earth.  The scent of basil and mint maddened the bees, who rose vibrating around me in a cloud of desire.  My love was an animal love, bred in the blood.

Now autumn comes to me, a lover calm and sure.  There is strength in its gold and scarlet clasping, wisdom as it rolls against my curves, cool in its appraisal and ready to please.  The wind presses against me, hard enough to support me, to hold me.  I am ready for this wild competence, the glorious blooming of a bold palette of delight.  The last fruits of the season are still sweet, but now are spiced with the accretion of sun and rain that has come before.  They are certain in the mouth, the tongue lingers upon them with swooning trust.  The body yearns for completion of the vital circuit.  My love is the love of deep knowledge.

Winter waits ahead in its silver finery.  Slower, more contemplative, perhaps.  The snow is a dreamy fall of silence over a landscape pregnant with sleeping energy.  Always, there are the evergreens, sentinels of the green blaze where the circle meets.  Beneath the white glitter, things are stirring in their slumber.  Each tender shoot, each dreaming bee, each hot thread of life like a vessel wed to the one great heart – everything is a love letter waiting to be written.  My love will be  innocent, and burning, and deep.  Forever.