Out in the Open

comments 20
Christ / Poetry

This writing has undone me,
peeled away my knowing
and my nonsense,
and led me way out

way out

from the edge
to where there are no shadows,
to where the clear light
is visible in every direction,
to where the wind is always scented
by the horizon–
in hues of timber and sunlight,
in copal, cedar, and jasmine.
Some days flowers fall from the sky,
but no matter.
What would it matter?
I remember there was a shoreline,
somewhere we moved in circles once–
little spiders crawling all over
and around each other
underneath the sun,
always dragging lines of silk
from here to there,
trying all day to politely
undo the knot.

Now it’s like this:
nothing but a line of weathered faces
with soft black eyes
set into the wind,
all of us walking this trail
towards the…

(I don’t know…)

The shape of the human shoulder–
it could be enough for one day,
could lead to weeping.
Like the taste of a single, shriveled berry
drawn out from the pouch.
Out here it becomes obvious:
the ones who mean the most
are everywhere.
Sometimes we can hear
each other’s silence,
and when we rest,
we know to sit in a circle.

You think sometimes…
while you still can…
(before it fades entirely…)
of what was…
of going back…
to the shoreline…
to the boxes and glass…
It’s a thought…
Just that.
Like putting on a really old sneaker.
Crusty and awkward.
Stars half-way burned
sometimes tremble
at their own given audacity,
and ponder returning to the darkness,
but also realize:
the only route remaining
involves giving everything away.

The first steps are always tentative.
You start out alone, excited maybe–
frightened, purposeful.
You have an idea of it.
Eventually none of that matters.

You’re pulled out into the open.
You’re starving, wounded as the light itself.
You find footsteps, others…
You know to form a circle,
to keep your faces into the wind,
to walk in a line.

At first, Jesus was just on my bookshelf.
Hafiz was like a buoy,
on the border,
bobbing in the waves,
an invitation…
Love dropped on a wire
down from the sky,
crawled all around me,
weaving in silk.
When I was bound,
they hid inside my tears
so I could taste them.
One drop at a time.
Never too much at once.

This writing isn’t writing at all.
It’s just what brought me out here,
where we pass through one another,
far beyond
the possibility
of ever


    • Thanks, Brad! The point is not to be hard to grasp, certainly not intentionally, but to circle around what I have no words to describe, dictating what lies along its boundary as truthfully as I am able…

      Blessings, my friend–

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Not with such light, or such clarity, but moments of both frequent enough, I know I too am ‘far beyond the possibility of ever going back’. I know one day, when the time is right, the apparent belief in a separate self will fall away, and I will live the truth I’ve always known from the beginning of the illusion of time.
    Thank you for this beautiful poem.
    Alison ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh, Hansel, your breadcrumb words turn to shiny stones in the moonlight, tonight. The witch is wintering in Belize, and all manner of things are well (especially through such salty and sweet tears)!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am needing to follow those stones forward through this place, too, M. My brain has felt like a cloud chamber the past couple of days, and my body like a dish rag (minor cold, nearly gone). I can hardly remember where we stopped for water, so I thank you for the reminder that we can pick up the path through grace from any point in our lives…


      Liked by 2 people

  3. Genie says

    Perhaps you’re the kitten that Haziz fed so lovingly when it was orphaned — and now you’re that cat… who having learned from his feet, gives us milk of human kindness and the milk of cosmic consiousness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved this note, Genie, because the image struck me as being valid for all of us really. Love has treated us all this way, and each on our own time, in our own ways, we are remembering the Ones who set out milk for us in the back alleys of our suffering. It is a beautiful story for us to share in…


      Liked by 1 person

      • Genie says

        You Were Brave in that Holy War

        You have done well
        In the contest of madness.

        You were brave in that holy war.

        You have all the honorable wounds
        Of one who has tried to find love
        Where the Beautiful Bird
        Does not drink.

        May I speak to you
        Like we are close
        And locked away together?
        Once I found a stray kitten
        And I used to soak my fingers
        In warm milk;

        It came to think I was five mothers
        On one hand.

        Why not rest your tired body?
        Lean back and close your eyes.

        Come morning
        I will kneel by your side and feed you.
        I will so gently
        Spread open your mouth
        And let you taste something of my
        Sacred mind and life.

        There is something wrong
        With your ideas of

        O, surely there is something wrong
        With your ideas of

        If you think
        Our Beloved would not be so

        —The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the great Sufi Master
        translated by Daniel Ladinsky

        Liked by 1 person

        • So sweet and perfect! I’m grateful to be reminded of this, Genie! The Gift is one of my favorite books, and I flip through it from time to time, but sometimes it is years between discovering these perfect compositions… Like revisiting an album you haven’t listened to in a long time, and re-finding it with fresh eyes…


          Liked by 1 person

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