Along The Shoreline

our pillars nest in tides suggesting endless plays of light
and long they sit in sight of eternity
resting hard against the sand – a story
posing fortitude and feasts along the shoreline,
our grief forgotten in the winds,
our hope perpetual, the slats on which we stand
and then the fall into sea,
our lines living
somewhere beyond the moon…

photo by j. ruth kelly, 2018, all rights reserved

All Of This

all the answers washed away
swirling in the undertow,
the work of tides beyond me
circling, engulfing my feet
fully covering every inch
and stitch (undone)
pulled for wily moon’s musing.
and all that remains, the earth
tides, and sighs,
new wrinkles and aches
the ancient quake rumbles
but shakes this form less wildly.

do I have my sea legs, finally?

or am I becoming the woman
white haired
at the shop on the seashore
open-air fabric market
ocean behind me, encroaching
as the bolt of fabric
mocks my bloomers?

or am I the husband hiding?
seemingly afraid?

or the woman standing
reeling there with feet wet,
the shock of life melt
disintegrating in the shoreline
of all that has been
and is still becoming the mystery?

does it matter?
we are, I am
all of this…

 

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2018, All Rights Reserved

 

Earth’s Redress

and these lines lay me down deep inside
in that place where all the untamed bits fret,
caged by the dis-ease of a civilized refinement
and some notions of felling faerie spirits for the greater good.
so i stand here in awe, aware of the coming home
as all that stands guard against the onslaught of chains
bows slightly to the season’s turning
singing golden whispers to carpet earth’s redress.
deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths…
nature won’t be bought or otherwise programmed to forget

 

photo by j. ruth kelly, 2017, all rights reserved

Night Drenched

The night dripped fat wet drops of rain down from fluttering leaves overhead…down, splat…smacking down on my clothes. The top of my head, sending prickling sensation waves drifting through my skin. A pat here, a splotch there. Silence rustling through the trees, bushes whispering wordless meaning richer than that last inspiration blast from the latest booming voice. To sit there was meaning itself…inhaling great gulping breaths of air heavy with life, with all the purpose bees know and flowers grow without so much as a word of wisdom or motivation to guide them or trip them up on notions of fancy living, quietly unfolding this song no one can fathom beyond the moment, intensely singing out their color ministrations oblivious of their purpose. Yet, so fat with it. My feet thanked the earth’s hum, an hour gone into my skin, my bones, my blood a pounding thank you to the pulse now sounding me to sleep ‘neath covers revolutionized by the feel of earth-laden body. The song of trees, flowers, dirt and rain coursing through my veins, reminding me no great mission, no mighty aspiration compares to the fullness of a now spent and spending stories in my skin, night’s breeze wiping away strife, drowning out all the clutter.

Not Your Business…

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

“It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”

Quote by biographer Agnes de Mille in “Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham”

The world experienced a unique expression of vitality in the active life of someone I loved from a young age. And sometimes I circle ’round and ’round the conundrum in my mind created by the somewhat immature conflict over why it is I can be so very glad he did what he did when I don’t share in the basic premise of his beliefs, that we have all sinned and fallen short. But I land on this quote and find the conundrum is only in my mind.

The soul makes sense no rational thought can fully comprehend.

The one who had such a profound effect on many, and died this past Friday, was very much a “Christ-in-you,” highly religious person but oftentimes with an undercurrent of Zen flow. John was more like a highly believing inspiration. And it was a challenge to fathom that combination of Zen Christ-likeness. And in retrospect, I cannot fathom except through this quote.

“There is a vitality. A life force. A quickening.”

And in this one man, it was contagious. It came through and was received by many as a call to Christ. And when I walked away from what I had embraced of the semi-fundie world I formerly resided, that which came through was not completely lost. Love remained. Acceptance remained. The same soulful transaction took place but my “receptors” had changed. This is not true of everyone I’ve encountered from my past life. Their channels are clogged with judgement and fear. His were not.

We often, if not always, translate who we are by the sometimes ancient, sometimes recent code of dependency, particularly dependency on beliefs or thoughts we are either intentionally or unintentionally embracing. And in that translation, the world either rejects or embraces us. Or is ambivalent. John mostly experienced hearty acceptance and he embodied what is best known of Christ, beyond the ultimate sacrifice. He loved regardless of ________.

I have no stomach for sin-fixation or a basic premise of need for a savior. But in the celebration of John’s life, the undeniable reality shines through all the confusing mental riddles. He translated the life force we all partake of and that translation imparted hope, strength, a desire to live outside of fear and in love. Both in and out of the realms of semi-fundie confusion. He said often “You are the Your Name Here expression of Jesus.” And many were blown away by it. It set aside the “WWJD” fixation and required a personal expression of Christ. In my view, both in and out of that particular flavor of Christianity, it is the purest form of Christian practice, evoking the highest possible walk of integrity within the structure of that religion and it has my high regard.

And so today I came across this quote again from a source supreme. And I found peace in the words not because they solved the riddle as much as because they pointed me to the reality of soul, of life force and of how it is we can receive the best from those we may not totally agree with and we can receive because there is that life force nourishing us within and beyond all belief systems.

“Keep the channel open.” He was able to keep the channel open through his faith in Christ. And not many, in and out of Christianity, have found a way to keep that channel open. His life and passing into the next grand adventure reminds me that we don’t know what we think we know. “Christianity is bad because it…” The truth is, when we are sick within, whatever we embrace will be corrupted by that sickness until we face it, heal it and translate life anew. Whether we’re heavy into our atheism or our religion or…

Keep the channel open…accept who you are without denying how you’ve fallen short (we all do, whether we believe there’s this thing called “sin” or not) and…

stay in love.