Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016

The Church of May

You leap beyond all
despair and hopeless falling.
Fiery woman, live;

no spire reaches
past your own sacred lightning,
flaring out fierce love.

Stomp and squeal delight
against a night of constant
yearning. Your love’s dance

blurs us past façades,
awakens all our hoping
towards sun’s warm call.

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016

“May” is one of my daughter’s nicknames. On this day, pictured here as blurred trees and a church held steadfast against our movement, Marion drove us around to see some of the more lovely parts of Pittsburgh. Our trip to see her began with her trademark spontaneity and abandon when we drove up to her home. She leapt up and out the front door into the 1am cold night air and squealed with joy and then down the stairs, doing little run/skip/dance moves out into the street to reach into my car for a huge hug. And that is the best of the “Church of May.” She reveals, at her most fiercely loving moments, what we’re all made of and what we’re all here for … no matter how dark the time. We are the sacred, spiritual, divine-as-love.

 

 

Lines Bestowed

I love how all these leaves flutter and hover,
held fast by a moment in which the next moment
has already asserted the limitation of the time of holding,
of hovering aflutter as all that lies on ground cluttering earthsongs
once was held a few yards up ‘tween earth and sky
and how we are all right here uttering without much regard
for the brevity of the time or the lines bestowed on our minds…
the power to transform our bullshit and make meaning before we,
too,
fall to ground, joining an ancient chorus of ancestral rhyme,
a rhythm unrelenting, calling us all
to love,
to grow.

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, All Rights Reserved, 2016

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2015

With the Makers

I’m all done with notional condemnation,
nonsense posing salvation
suggesting pre-birth agendas and all the control
a robot might covet.

Take me to the truth, down to the bone of it.
Marry me to the wonder found in the midst of
all this chaos and randomness daring us all
to make meaning.

I see their meaning made in fear.
The meaning they make
spews the poison in their hearts,
the snare in their aid.

Take me far away from the righteous.
I want to live with the undone and undoing.
I want to dance with the makers and shake
every foundation lost to the mold of stagnation.

Deliver me to love, love in spite of it all,
love because of it all,
love morphing, rolling up sleeves
and shaping this mound of flesh into new and ancient songs.

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2015

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2015

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

Blossoms Unrelenting

we drink of depths in
resonating moonlight’s call,
unknowingly bound
to a love whose song
blossoms unrelenting in
the rise and fall of
our worst stumblings making us
more nimble, bruised but
tender, used for all the best
of thunder’s drumming.
some ancient humming
we refuses all the loss…
and rhythm, rhyme and meter disintegrate
in the flow of all this living undoing structure and hope
making something sturdier, something resonating to the past
to the future
into the now and
grabbing at my heartstrings, yours, plucking away,
strumming and fretting us along our days
with promise bigger than maybes or pinings away
for days yet to be,
just the being here now and
no matter how much I push you away,
refuse the heartache of what might never be,
nothing ever shatters, severs or shames
the feltness of your unfolding against my skin
these blossoms unrelenting pull me in, wrecking
all my walls meant for safety
flooding fields in sunlight, conjuring blooms
hid long from sight, stirred by
our moon’s wondering ministrations.

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

A Strange Feast

Spent petals fall to the ground…
closing in…
no more will you hear so much from heart.
Maybe then we can survive
this tide of blithe, unkind,
belittling,
begrudging find.
Maybe too much spills and roars
from depths long lost on those ears,
so…
here’s to days of still and silence.
Pass me the pin, the tag,
the warning sign that says
without saying:
“I’m in silence.”
Let it sound out a rhythm
and grin in the hush of my flow.
Maybe something new grows in the wake
of all the granted taken tokens
rarely really known and sown
far too profusely to be seen here.
So,
raze the fields’ constant yields
with daily ingratitude
and my burgeoning awareness…
and let’s sit in all we don’t say
as all the harvested silence holds sway
in the court of my alleged guilt.
Maybe then new words can bloom
when scales from eyes melt,
revealing a strange feast.

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

Set Fire to Heaven…

“I carry a torch in one hand
And a bucket of water in the other:
With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven
And put out the flames of Hell
So that no one worships God
for fear of hell or greed of heaven.”
Rabia, Eighth-century Sufi mystic poet

Photo Courtesy of Dave Grant, 2011, 2015

Photo Courtesy of Dave Grant, 2011, 2015

Honesty and Loss

At the risk of being “too serious,” I’m posting this somewhat intense documentary. I had an interesting conversation with my youngest son yesterday about seriousness. It reminds me how much we run from seriousness but also how much we need it in order to be able to be given more fully in our mirth, oddly enough. “Seriousness” is a big, vague word but it refers to taking life seriously, taking feelings seriously, taking experiences of loss seriously, and gain, seriously. Seriousness as a perspective of life or attitude towards one’s own existence juxtaposed against the alternative – humor, light-heartedness. What I find is this: Whatever we run from also holds a piece of our authentic self hostage. The imprisoned bits of self cannot genuinely participate in laughter and sometimes reach desperately out for any and every comedy to salve the haunting fear within, a sort of addictive process requiring perpetual doses of positive or funny or anything but the things we run from within ourselves…so…I’ve found that as I’m bankrupted by some of life’s crueler tides, I’m also opened up to deeper experiences of joy, an unreserved, unguarded unfolding of meaningful and light-hearted appreciation for all that life can be. I have precious little patience with positive mantras divorced from process, divorced from the organic work of finding a truly uplifting perspective via the deeper work of… honesty. I love Mark Pellington’s work as well as David Whyte’s wonderful exposition of so many layers of life’s more serious realities. So, this follows:

Mark Pellington has this to say of the documentary:

“This film was made by me as an exercise in process, to explore my own progress and personal feelings towards loss, grief, and healing. Via this text. My instinct was to be very simple and direct and to understand these words, via catharsis. The conduit was human, the face. The unlying veneer, the carrier of instinct. The face. It evokes the range of emotional expression and human truth of strangers. They all listened to it one time and brought their own inner stories to you the viewer. “

Found here.