Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Sailor's Warning:























At dawn the moving
Undertufts of the cloud ceiling
Pushing in from the northwest
Are grazed by the red shafts of the sun
And become something beautiful
If the firey glow is seen as
Beauty, but it’s a sign, also
That rain soon will follow.

By the chimney there’s a leak
That I should fix. After a long space
I can hear a tick when a drop
Hits the linoleum floor, louder than
The quiet roar of thousands on the roof.
It’s another clock, but the time it tells
Is too complex to count upon a watch –
The works would need odd-numbered gears
And something to allow
For how the rainfall swells and slackens.
It’s hard to recognize the pattern
Because the devil

Is in the details. Why can’t God
Remember things without repeating? Whoever
Said what repeats is pleasant would
Have loved this place. The way it’s been created
Can compel you to go sailing over and over,
Even when the sky is plainly warning
What the sea has in store, unceasing rows of waves
Swelling with danger
And underneath, the unsounded dark
Cruised by sharks and squids.
So you watch the sky
But know you must adjust. Your luck
Will be better, I say, praying for beauty
Than mercy. We’re supposed to learn
From our mistakes, but with so many
What we learn is anybody’s guess.

The past returns to teach us; is
That it? The graveyard repeats over
And over that space and time are
Limited, or not, depending on how you look at it,
And the sky suggests infinity, with clouds
like flocks of sanguine sheep, headed toward
the sea cliffs ignoring their own warning
to plunge down and drown
in the very place they were born in. How’s
that for mixing metaphors? Oh poetry, writ
on a computer, are your lights lusters
of a new day dawning? Remind me, as
I’m herding words; the siren’s
Song precedes the storm.

5 comments:

Cathy said...

Beautiful, beautiful.

Nancy said...

I saw that beautiful morning sky. I did not write a poem, but I am glad you did. Thanks.

Mary Beth said...

Your work forever challenges me! Thank you for forever shaking me up, for forcing me to remember the nearly forgotten, and for daring me to change my perspective.

Today you will have me weighing the merits of praying for mercy (how long does one remain a recovering Catholic?) vs. the thanksgiving prayers whispered in the recognition of beauty.

Your photograph has me thinking of "House made of Dawn" the Navajo prayer/poem and how long it has been since I had the freedom of standing on the roof top or at fireside as the sun broke over the mountains. I was still a college student then. 25 years? Closer to 30? There were no ties or demands then. Every morning began with the sunrise, cedar, pepperwood, tobacco, and prayer.

Now I am on the highway as the first light transforms black to living blue. Still, it is a time I pray. And not just because of the California drivers!

"In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully will I possess again
Beautiful birds
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk...."


PS
Tonight is supposed to be the "biggest" moon of 2009. Don't forget to go watch her rise!

Dan Dutton said...

Those times of facing the dawn & being surrounded by beauty stick with you.

If you've never heard my friend Delphinne Tsinnijine sing the beginning of the Beauty Way chant, you really should hunt it down. It's on a CD called "Mother's Gift".

We're having what the Dine' call "female rain" - that is soft, continual, steady, soaking rain - the red clouds were herald of it - so I doubt I'll get to see the moon. I DID see it last night tho! I was raised to be a moon watcher. Cebah would set chairs out in the yard at the best spot to watch the moon rise every full moon in warm weather. I didn't know this was odd behavior until my jr. high girlfriend told me it was very.

Dan Dutton said...

That should be "Mother's Word"....

http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-Word-Delphine-Tsinajinnie/dp/B00004TRRT