We always move around and so fittingly our Christmas is mobile, each returning to their homes, like Joseph and a heavily expectant Mary, carrying the hope of the world in her womb.
We depart carrying gifts in shopping bags or catch up on forgotten things at airport stores. And when we arrive: reunion, but no birth, Messiah forgotten where we left Him and hope still swirling at the baggage carousels.
No flights to Damascus
and if there were
Safety would fly in the face of Intention.
Where knowledge is danger, is ignorance bliss?
I cannot walk Straight Street and know the vision
that blinded Saul, or see the home
where scales fell from well-meaning eyes.
That much is past; no flights can take me
where not even the locals go.
And would I even know, if by
some sudden wind, I found myself
on cobbled stones of Sunni blood,
and if I saw where churches fell
and watched the flight of history –
what could I know? What Qantas knows
is where the terminals make way,
not who lost home or who lost hope
or where the life is found.
the twinge of bone:
the now-ness of temporal agony.
Skeletal complexities fan – now in, now
out, now soar: old age flaps, youth,
to cloud, to wind, to heights
of grace floating
It is a little over a year since a family friend – only a few years older than me – took his life by jumping in front of a train. I wrote the poem “Silent Screams” in response to his death, and also dedicated my collection of poems, “Imperceptible Arms”, to his memory. It has been a while since my writing here has dealt with issues of mental health, but the memory of my friend’s death and my own ongoing struggles with mental illness have prompted me to revisit these ideas. May God’s presence and grace be with everyone who knows these same struggles.
The Meaning of Flight
In dreams I am encumbered,
like legs have lost their firmness and
cannot move of their own accord,
as though I must
along the ground
with arms ill-equipped for this purpose.
On ground, awake, I
bound only by time,
gravity, injury, the
limits of body and strength –
only shackled by
the weight of mind
lap, each step a
motion further sometimes
into the ground.
dreams of flight, my
unbound state terrifies; I
soar too quick across
the tops of trees
into the air where
contain my motion.
Bound, I am weighed down,
but free – I am without weight, without –
what? The anchor
needed to give meaning to my flight?
sunken wings that atrophy beneath
a sunken gaze –
look up to where
the sun dances
in starshower and
the fraught geometry of time
are rendered nothing in
your living, endless,