Are You Free?

I’m not free,
She said,
I can’t fly free
Among the clouds.
Gravity is oppressing me
And holding me back.

I’m not free,
He said,
From the chain
Of causality
That stretches
From the Big Bang,
Throwing matter into motion,
To the motion of the air
From her lips
To my ear
Telling me its over.

The inevitability
Of cause and effect
Chain me down
Like a tiger in a cage.

I’m not free,
He said,
Because one day
I must die and
There’s not enough time
To do all the things;
Not enough money
To buy all the things.
I’m trapped,
Wings clipped,
By mortality.

But you are free,
Said Epictetus,
You cannot
Glide among the gulls
And cannot avoid
Inevitable endings,
But you are free
To choose
To accept the things
You have no control over
As they are.

You are free,
Said Siddhartha,
If you choose
Not to be a slave
To your desires.
Everything essential
Dwells within.
Let go of fear.
Let go of loss.

Do not expect more
Than the universe
Is willing
To give you

6/5-6/6/19

Are You Free? was originally published on Free Verse Revolution.

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Ravens and Crows

I saw one of Wodan’s ravens
— Or was it one of Badb’s crows? —
Through dirty bus windows,
Flying over hard and frozen snow.

Fly on, old friend, with your mission,
And the messages you wish to bestow,
While, across the rivers, through the mountains
To grandmother’s house I go.

But grandmother doesn’t live there
— Or anywhere —
anymore.
So, to grandfather’s
— my father’s —
house I go.

Rails ride into the night,
Past mountain, tree, and snow,
Darkened windows reflect back
Future fears I cannot know.

Ten full moons have passed
Since the Banshee gently wailed,
Calling me back to the valley
Before the light finally failed.

The last time I saw mother’s face,
So weak and fragile her body’d grown
Yet from her eyes, her loving smile,
That old fire still shone.

And now, across snow-capped Cascades
I am called back once more,
For duty, for love, for unpaid debts,
And a destiny I can no longer ignore.

Not the sorrowful Banshee cry,
But crow-caw; raven-whispers,
Wisdom from the One-Eyed Wanderer;
Warnings from the Crow-Queen’s sisters.

The tapestry the Weird Sisters weave
Is completed when the final knot is tied.
Prepared or not, the future will arrive
On schedule, never avoided, delayed, or denied.

And so, I descend into the valley,
The steel steed never slows.
Uneasy, uncertain, yet undeterred,
Ready to sail wherever this river flows.

The future lies in the past
In that half-empty haunted bungalow,
Watched over and silently guided
By brother Raven and sister Crow.

12/30/18 – 04/23/19

Running Away

You can run
Across dead leaves,
Through naked trees
In a dusk lit woodland
Off the trail,
Away from the crowd,
But you’ll never
Outrun your past
Without tripping
Over your destiny.

1-11-19

אליהו הנבי (Eliyahu HaNavi)

washington_allston_-_elijah_in_the_desert_-_google_art_project

Frightened, I flee
For my life,
Dismissing my manservant,
Escaping into the wilderness
Where our fathers wandered
In the presence of God.

Settling under a juniper bush
I pray the Lord take my life.
Am I a righteous Enoch
That I should ascend to Heaven
While I still breathe
And not join my fathers
As dust returns to dust?

I am Noah,
Blameless in my generation,
Though my generation
Is a vile pit of sin.
There will be no flood
To drown the wicked,
And no Ark
To rescue me.

In the night
My prayers are answered,
But its not the answer
I wished for.
A messenger gives me
A hot meal
And directions.

I journey into the past
In the time it takes
To drown a world,
I arrive at the plane
Where the golden idol
Was raised,
And holy blood was spilt.
I climb the mountain
Where the Law took form,
Sit in a cave and wait,
Alone,
Isolated by my faith.

In the morning,
Beckoned by my Liege,
I come into the daylight,
Feel the wind in my hair,
Feel the mountain move
Beneath my feet,
And feel the heat of fire
On my face.
A still small voice
Whispers in my ear.

I must return home.

7/9/03 – 11/5/18

Note:
אליהו הנבי (Eliyahu HaNavi) is pronounced “El-ee-yahoo Ha Na-Vee” and is usually translated into English as “Elijah, The Prophet”

Image is Elijah in the Desert by Washington Allston. Found at WikiMeia Commons.

Down the Tracks

Life is not a road
On which we walk.
Roads can be walked
In either direction.

Life is a train
On which we ride,
Ever traveling forward
At faster
And faster speeds
Until we reach
Our destination.

4/21/18

My 19th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

napo2018button2

The Wick’d Day of Destiny

Do you recall that wick’d day of destiny
At Camlann when Arthur fell
Near the corpse of murderous Mordred,
Nephew, some say the rightful heir
By the reckoning of the old ways,
Through his mothers blood,
As still practiced by our Pictish cousins to the north,
His noble blood still staining Caliburn’s blade?

The great king outlasting his sister’s son
By mere hours.
Enough to ensure his enchanted elvish blade
Was returned from whence it came,
Flung into calm waters,
Or—perhapse–taken over water
To that other worldly island
where it was forged by fay hands.

The king is dead,
The kingdom lost, fractured beyond repair.
Though the crown passes to another
None could now hold back the tide
That Vortigern let loose:
The barbarian men
Pushing us west and north,
And naming the land for themselves.

Yet hope still persists
In the tales we tell,
That the king merely sleeps,
Recovering from deadly wounds,
Nursed by fay magics.
To return one day,
Grasp his mighty sword,
And set us free.

12-11-17

Paths

Paths cross in the woods
And merge into one.
World weary travelers
Share each other’s company,
Pool their resources,
And restore their strength.
The paths fork in two
Out on the plains.

Óðinn’s Wisdom

odin_der_gottervater

All my life, says Óðinn Alföðr,
I’ve sought wisdom and knowledge.
I’ve sacrificed, I’ve studied and endured.
And the only thing I am sure of
Is that twilight’s fall can not be averted,
Ragnarök will come, Asgard will burn,
Fenrir will slip his chains, Sköll will feast on Sól’s bones,
Darkness will fall, we will all die.

Its a fact that must be faced,
How its faced will define you.

12/12/16

Pronunciation guide:
ð = “th” as in “father”
Óðinn Alföðr = O-thin All-father
Ragnarök = Rag-na-rok
Fenrir = Fen-rear
Sköll = Skole (Rhymes with “toll”)
Sól = Sole

Image: Odin, der Göttervater. Odin enthroned with weapons, wolves and ravens” by Carl Emil Doepler (1824-1905). Found in WikiMedia Commons.

Holy Lotus Cradle

sacred_lotus_nelumbo_nucifera

Have I dreamed this dream before,
Or is this something new?
A psycho-chemical reaction of my brain,
Or a mystical case of deja-vu?

Your face doesn’t ring a bell,
I don’t recall your name,
But I know I know you from somewhere,
Your presence feels the same.

Is our karma a chain,
Holding us down against our will,
Or is it a holy lotus cradle
Lifting us above the swill?

Break the chains, crack them,
Snap them, set yourself free.
Nothing can keep you from
Being who you’re meant to be.

Let the flower grow.
Water, feed it, let it flourish,
In return for the effort,
Your very soul it will nourish.

In the Spring, a sight to behold,
A bloom rising most beautifully,
As we all need help sometimes
To arrive at our destiny.

November 2010

Image from WikiPedia

Ask and Embla

odin2c_lodur2c_hoenir_skabe_ask_og_embla_by_frc3b8lich

Carved by Dwarvish craftsman
From ash-wood of Oðinn’s gallows–

Yggdrasil , heart of the Nine Worlds,
Rooted in the deeps of the Earth,
Tended by the Weavers:
Was, Is and Will-be (Twined together in Destiny),
Watered from the weird well of Fate.
Top branches brushing Bifröst Bridge,
Tickling Heimdell’s feet on the front porch of the Æsir–

Gifted by the gods; made whole:
From Oðinn, Hœnir, and Lóðurr
Intellect, Self-Awareness and Sight
(Lóðurr lent them his good looks, to be nice)

A million generations removed,
When Ragnarök has Asgard burned;
Midgard is frozen like a tomb,
Granddaughter Líf and her lover,
Cling to life under the Gallows,
Seeking shelter and hope.

10/21-10/22/16

Pronunciation key for the ancient Norse names in the poem:
Oðinn = O-thin
Bifröst = Bye-frost
Yggdrasil = Eeg-drass-ill
Hœnir = Hoy-near
Lóðurr = Low-Thur
Ragnarök = Rag-na-rock
Líf = Leaf

Inspired by the Daily Post‘s daily prompt: Millions