The Alchemy of Living 5.17.

2010 The cascade of our lives slithers down the wall Water over rock, all ripples and sheens, the oversplash Of time rippling in wavelets against hard smooth stone Seen in a thousand blinks of ancestral eyes. I look out the window Sometimes feeling I am not the only participant In what I am. Sometimes missing the other players. It takes a whole village they say, but we sometimes think We are an island, lashed by waves, And we sometimes think we are a hermit, receiving holy scriptures. Sometimes what we see out the pane If we would not blink Would be hovering angels In the corners of a cloaking shadow, Their flitting of wings not a fairy thing. In the days of our making we were high, Really high, weren’t we? Our ziggurats rising brick by slaved brick so we could face god, Be face to face, finger to DaVinci’s finger With the eternal face moving over the waters, And bring the word in the universal language to all. But we were scattered and given different tongues. Now, today, in a broken brick building In the hard wooden chair, bare carpet Under bare unwashed feet, A long-hair leans over his guitar, Shaking his head slowly This way And that To the way of the beat as a soulful scream Is pulled from the instrument in his hands. He looks up, a glowing smile flashing teeth that glint Like the still northern woods lake Under the eye of the silver moon, baleful silver streak A beacon in the night on the face of the waters, Releasing Viking jesters to speed through the woods. He nods and thanks a teacher, long dead.

We were not left alone to evolve from our amphibian crawl Out of the firmament of creation, the soup of protein Struck by Zeus’ lightning bolt to stir an amino acid into action. Yet the many voices clash like out of rhythm cymbals And our fate is strung cat-gut by cat-gut by three hags Singing the night away. Paradise on the wing flies owl-silent To the window through which we watch All that spins outside. When we turn away we must make the things That bring us together, to make poetry, Make love, make music, make science, All to play with the base metals of our lives in the long night, And spin them into the gold Of Rapunzel’s hair To let out from the tower window To be ready for some prince in the morning Whom we trust must come. Then we can In the pooling of the golden dawn, Be hierophants, calling all To the change that is in our lives, The possible that allows us to enjoy One clear morning The nuthatch on the limb outside our window, Her avian shake of bemusement Spinning a feather loose and Making us wonder why We did not enjoy this before, Making us wonder why We did not bend down to pick up the dropped feather resting on the ground And use it to tickle our children Under their chin To squealing delight. To the quivering eye seeing this nuthatch for the first time From within the lidded isolation A tear drop falls Like spring rains after the winter Calling forth the alchemy of new life And each life.