OUR LADY OF THE PHILIPPINES
When the moon climbs the cloudless sky and stillness pours into valleys pooling waters of silence, I rise from sleep to dress, shuffling off loose dreams like a sack.
Stepping outside, I inhale brisk air like snuff—suddenly, I am a wakeful, a clock about to spring. I toss out bags of sand to rise more quickly.
In the early chill the mountains stand as guardian shadows and night gleams like dragonfly wings.
I am eager for the work of God beckoning at the end of a solitary path just beyond a row of trees bristling at wind snapping like a flag.
Bits of gravel bite at my soles as turning the corner, I lift up my heart at the sight of light spilling gently from the entrance to the church.
Stepping inside, I am greeted by the bright echo of kneelers knocking the stone floor, and softly rustling pages of stapled paper hymnals.
Gradually, ethereal plainchant rises like a river, gathers itself, solidly transforming into one long sonorous brilliant golden bell.
|Brown Madonna (1938) by Galo Ocampo|
HERMITS OF BETHLEHEM
Chester, New Jersey
Beyond the threshold is silence.
Stillness suffuses like light.
The world outside is spinning.
Summer flames at its height.
Solitude is a boon companion.
Self-knowledge climbs like a sloth.
The bed is spare, a thin beard.
The rocking chair is a moth.
Dig in a cave in darkness.
Toss out handfuls of soil.
Bake bread in your heart, an oven.
Bring steaming thirst to a boil.
Listen for the least word of power.
Pierce yourself with a sword.
Afternoon deepens day shadows.
The sun is a violent lord.
Dusk emanates blood-red rays.
All trials in an instant will pass.
Gaze upon woods colored jade.
Dream dreams of emerald grass.
|Bethlehem—when the trees say nothing|