bees in the meadow

poems and stories from the in-between

Category: writing

the burning days

This is the season of burning illuminations: things brought to light.

Into the air, into consciousness.

Perfect strawberries, plump and sharp.

Stacks of books to be read. Things to be done.

Life in motion.

Vintage voices crackling.

Music of nostalgia, music of now.

Red lipstick.

Scrawling in notebooks, drifting in dreams,

and yet being present:

intensity of here.

The days are burning by.

The crackle of fire is warm,

and sparks bring inspiration.

Season of light,

And the days are burning,

Burning by.

 

 

 

what keeps your heart awake?

 

I recently spent a luminous weekend with one of my very dearest friends. a soul-sister, travel buddy, fellow music enthusiast, lover of weird British men and pine trees. she’s rooted and strong, brave and true, and together we saw U2 at Soldier Field in Chicago, on a breezy summer evening, while the fireworks flashed over Lake Michigan.

there are things that make you feel alive. there are things that fill your chest with light, warm light spreading through you, like liquid gold, purifying the dust and debris of the everyday, reminding you with inescapable surety: THERE IS GOODNESS AND MAJESTY IN THIS WORLD. IT’S ALL THERE FOR YOU. TAKE IT. TAKE IT, AND BE GRATEFUL.

that night, we felt it. we cried. we screamed. we were wide awake. we believed in the kingdom come, when all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one. in a world so full of weariness, terrible violence, and pain, we felt that One Love that binds us all together, reminding us that home is a place within. our hearts grew bigger. what a feeling.

it was hard to come down from that high. how to go back to the ordinary? the everyday? when all you want is those brilliant lights, those soul-stirring words, to carry you to heights beyond your obligations, your failures, your endless tasks that are yet undone?

you hold it. you take time to look at that doorway that has opened in your heart, and you leave it unlocked. it will let the air in. let the memories of that brilliant spirit you felt flood in at just the right moment, inspiring you anew, reminding you of the goodness, of the majesty.

the point is this: we have influence over our energetic landscape. we do not have to take our circumstances lying down. of course, there will be great highs and deep lows. but in the ordinary, in the everyday, we can make the choice to rise up into Love. that’s what eases pain. that’s what sheds light on our souls.

God has given us all the seeds of deep joy. I was shaken awake by light and sound, by words that swim to the bottom of my heart and touch what’s sleeping there. in the days that come, I’m going to ask myself these questions, every now and again…because it’s so easy just to sleep, and we all need a little help on the road….to get to that place where deep joy is waiting, where “adventure” isn’t just a word…

what sleeps in you?

what feels dead, disappointed, unmotivated, stale?

what actions would help to heal those feelings?

what fills your spirit with light and makes you want to dance, sing, shout for joy?

what keeps your heart awake?

 

There’s a song: an anthem, fierce with hope, called Bad. Before he began to sing it, Bono said to the thousands:

“Whatever it is we don’t need…we let it go. Let it go.”

And we held up our hands, and we screamed with the music, and I swear you could feel the lightening of  thousands of hearts. A little bit of all our pain, fear, resentment, anger, floated up with song and faded into the summer night. There was a great feeling of celebration. Of freedom. We had been released.

Let’s ask the hard questions. Let’s look for liberation. Let’s release ourselves. Let’s stay awake together.

 

what lightens your heart?

 

what brings you back to Love?

 

what makes you free?

 

 

 

italicized lyrics taken from Bad, One Love and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2

from my journal

sometimes I journal. in little breaths, in small, stolen moments, misty-heart-whispers. today, there was this…

 

today I saw that Love is a balm. it is gentleness when anger wants to rise. patience when irritation reigns. it’s the lens of Truth. it’s the clouds parting to a clear heart. letting Love come forth, letting it lead, is a sweet releasing of tension. a lessening of pain. 

how can I make Love present in more of what I do? when I’m looking in the mirror. when I’m facing a task. when I make a mistake. when someone else does. when the world wearies me. when I’m all topsy-turvy, crooked and cynical. when the view is gray. when there is overwhelm. when I feel hungry. lonely. tired. in the flow. out of flow. when I can’t find God (oh, but G o d   i s  L o v e). used up. spent. energized and brimming. when there is too much. when all I can think is “not enough”. how can I stop, let my heart open, gently now, just a crack?

Love: this is how we let the Light in. 

this is how we see the lessons, the treasure in the now. 

this is how we see the gifts. 

they were there all along, but Love is the light that illuminates. 

Love is awakening. 

poison

you wouldn’t say these things

if you knew.

if you could feel the ripping of my heart,

the breaking of its tender places,

you’d be still at last.

you would not cut me with your eyes

sink me to size

if you felt one pin-prick of my pain.

if you knew, you’d let alone.

you’d dance into the night like a shadow

and sip your own poison

for a change.

the beloved

think of your beloved.

think of the ones who bring sweetness

to your life, who lay blessings

upon your table day

after day

after day.

would you spit these bitter words at them?

the words that run rampant in your head,

filling your mind with fury-fog,

breaking your heart?

would you say to a dear one

you are weak,

unwanted, unworthy?

or would you cradle the weight on their chest,

maybe try to lift

some of it away?

would you, with a gentle word,

remind them of their beauty,

their purpose,

the miracles that brought them here?

think of your beloved.

now turn the mirror

to you.

the flood and the breaking

you are looking for me, but you will

be baseless and white as the moon,

stumped, a stump, a thing to be tripped over.

you will be low as the dust,

and like the dust you will break over

things as nothing but dirt-air,

as something only just enough

to irritate, to color slightly

to disappear with soap and a clean cloth.

you hunt me, but your time

has run dry.

your time has run dry,

and I am the water rising up

from the deepest well,

hidden a thousand years.

I am the flood and the breaking.

I am at your back.

watch how I slide around you

and through your hands,

tearing through the rocks

with my rage,

my long-silent love.

 

smoke of the morning

bring me a song of the barley.

put resin on the bow

and let the notes rise

like smoke of the morning

filling the fields

with plainsong,

with honest soul and your voice,

drifting

over pasture and hill,

down to the valley

where I am living

and bringing in the flowers

covering them

in white.

bones

 

When we are little, big voices tell us in our beds, in the chair, on the lane,

“Be good, now. Be good.”

But the heart is not “good”. No, the heart is a live thing, a shimmering veil in which darkness, light and each color in between swirl with stardust.

The voices insist. So we hide. Mustn’t show all the colors.

In secret, we collect our dark, our bitter, our dreams. They dry on the shelf and turn to bones. They rattle where we walk, making us ghosts. We smile, but we know.

We haunt, as we are the haunted.

 

 

one of the consumed

she put out her cigarette, knowing her mother would soon enough see the smoke. she let it fall to the last stone step, and stamped it out with one of her oxfords. she liked men’s shoes. much more practical, much more comfortable. she liked men’s trousers too, something she heard about no end from her mother, who probably heard about it no end from the women of the knitting society and the town council and the gardening committee. their judgments had once been a bother to her, a hurt that arose from shame. but no more. now she was looking down the road of life, ready to walk it, and she would do it in her comfortable and practical oxfords, having no time for idle nonsense.

Idle Nonsense. that’s what went on in this town. she often wondered how long Idle Nonsense had been taking place there…how many generations of gossip and judgement and how is your mare, what do these cost, did you hear about the vicar’s daughter, did you hear about the butler’s son, you know I can’t tell you what the young folk are about these days, my mother’s always had the finest china, they were brothers you know, never got along together, sad business that, yes she was with him all along, down in the cow pasture, it’s a wonder they both weren’t filthy when they got home, oh he’s been sick a long while now, poor man, doctor says he hasn’t got long, did you see my new doilies on the mantelpiece?

she wanted none of it. she wanted blue rivers, ice cold, so cold it almost hurt. she wanted the sun to burn her and teach her how fierce it could be. she wanted a city where something was happening, where people were bright and vibrant and glowing from within with a kind of fire, a vitality, an urgency no one ever felt in the village. she wanted shadows and smoke-filled rooms and carnival lights, she wanted to walk the streets of a place where no one would give her a second glance, indeed, would hardly notice her at all.

she wanted cold gin and a warm touch. she wanted a sense of…of having captured something, having held it in her hands and known it was hers, only hers, that no one and nothing could tear it from her. she wanted music that riveted through her, filling her lungs and her chest with that same fire that was in all the people, even if the fire were made of sorrow. she longed for great feeling and fullness. she yearned to fill up like a balloon, to be so swollen with electric experience that she became weightless, floating away…

it was a warm night, damp and sticky. she shrugged out of her cardigan and put it around her waist. she tapped her foot impatiently, though she waited for nothing. there was nothing to wait for. no one was coming to call. no one was expected at the house. no car was shortly to pull into the drive and glare into her eyes, its lights saying come, come out, look at the world…she wished someone would come. she wished something would happen. something wild and terrible, something so out of the ordinary that everyone would see it, and hear it, and be woken from their wretched everyday nightmares, that waking sleep that drove them to talk of cattle and doilies and before the war.

her mother’s voice came down to her, like sand on the wind. edith, edith, come inside. she twitched it out of her ears and off her neck.

she ran into the fields, and the grass was damp with night-dew, and the warm wind billowed in her hair and her heart began to run along with her, pounding, pounding. she was coming awake now, she could feel it moving through her body, pulsing like a drum. she would do anything to preserve that feeling. how could she ensure its survival? only by running, running, over blackberry bushes and puddles, through the endless grass going on and on and on, and every beat of her heart was a desperate cry:

     here I am, and this is living.