My Stethoscope Palm

comments 64
Christ / Poetry

I walked out into a field
of grass and golden light
to place my hand upon the sky,
and spun the heart wheel.
The world blurred into songs–
the old ones, the ones that can fly–
then became the memory
of human heads
nodding in the darkness
as the truth was shared
one to one.
Knowledge poured out of me
to join with the Directions.
It told me that every tear
will be wiped away,
then became a rabbit
and dashed out of sight.
Eventually the wheel slowed,
and my life emerged again from it.
A wedge of sadness ticked past,
giving way to one of joy,
then hope,
and then the needle
settled on power.
The wheel was still.
The sky was a soft yellow,
and my hand was upon it
as I gave my testimony.

I could give up God
if you think that would help–
the version written down in books,
and the concepts we debate
until the gum has lost its flavor–
but I could never hand over
the memory of power.
Power that nobody owns.
Power that cannot be hidden.
Power that cannot be tamed.
Power that raises up.
How could I give you
the sound that emerges
from the point in my being
where my hand
touches the sky,
when there’s a root in me
that cannot be pulled?

Once, a relative was sick,
and we prayed in a good way.
In the darkness
the songs rose up,
and then the rattles,
and then the lightning–
in the room we had blackened
in the house we had blackened
on the land that had blackened.

Afterwards,
we passed our visions around
and drank from them,
nodding our heads slowly.

I don’t know why I’m saying this.

I guess I just wanted to say
that some things are in us,
whether we like them or not,
like the trembling nights
that cauterized the stones.

I guess I just wanted to say,
as gently as possible,
that if you tell me our holiness
isn’t enough, I won’t believe you.
Instead, I’ll touch the sky
with my stethoscope palm
and I’ll remember for both of us:
out heart is a drum,
and it’s flooding with song.

64 Comments

  1. Love. (On every level.) And though this may sound trite, it is anything but as I say, with all the genuine you’ve- reminded-and-spurred-me-on this very night and with all timeliness of what’s true and needed, thanks for this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Amy. I don’t think it’s trite when we encounter something that we connect with… Trying to explain the feeling that arises when we slip back into a connection with our own majesty can be challenging, indeed. That’s why I tend to take the long way around…! Try to explain it by saying it a thousand times in differing ways… Ha! Thank you for sharing, and I’m glad you found something here…

      Peace!
      Michael

      Like

      • Hmmm… “Our own majesty.” I’m not sure about that. Though I think I know what you mean, I’m certainly more comfortable in ascribing such designations to THE King of kings. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Words can be tricky sometimes, Amy, and I recognize that I do sometimes in my writing shift subtly in and out of the perspective of unity. There is no majesty in us that hasn’t been given, and none for which we can claim the credit of authorship. And yet to deny that it has been given limits its expression through us, no? So, in celebration of what we have been given, and make real by exchanging with one another, blessings!

          Michael

          Like

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    I love so many lines in this, Michael. I keep reading it over and over again, and another line captures me in thought and feeling for a while. Then the next time through, another.I will be back again to read and feel. You are exquisitely talented.
    You have such a beautiful heart, Michael. I loved the comment you left on O and Om’s blog offering your genuine support. I would have “liked” it, but that option wasn’t there.
    Peace,
    Mary

    Liked by 4 people

    • That sounds about right, Mary! You read poems the way you encounter the stones and the lizardry, and all are honored in the process. Thank you for the kind words, and the care you take in reading into these felt spaces of the heart. We’re all here in this circle of giving…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, JoAnne… There have been so many times when someone had to remember for me once, and they held the door open… It is the least we can do, for when we realize what is happening, there is nothing quite so joyful as acknowledging that yes–! it is so

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  3. footloosedon says

    ‘I’ll touch the sky with my stethoscope palm’ That line alone is worth the price of admission, and all the others are a wonderful bonus. Explorations in authenticity indeed. Thank you for sharing all of your explorations.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Don! I’d been thinking about that line for a long time. I was saving it for another idea I never quite figured out how to pull together, and I think it was time to lay it down… 🙂 I love the notion that the world is infused with something deeper than we can quite grasp hold of… Thank you for sharing in the explorations, though I dare say you and Alison are the explorers among us!

      Much Love
      Michael

      Like

  4. A masterly construction Michael, and as always, your work compels me to read and read again. Some of this is so as to extract meaning, a sort of neurotic compulsion for understanding, yet invariably the re-run results in a deepening appreciation of . . . of what? Yes, the beauty of the words, though also of something beyond them, and beyond meaning itself.

    The term ‘power’ is not one that chimes with me particularly, although please do not take this as some churlish criticism; it is no more than an effect of my own conditioning, and rather evokes within unhelpful imagery when linked to religious or quasi-religious matters. That said, then I frequently think (and write) in terms of ‘potential’, by which I mean the ground-state, the Tabula Rasa which presents prior to the appearance of the world of things – rabbits, roots, grass, stone and golden light. Is it possible we mean the same thing I wonder?

    With love and gratitude,

    Hariod.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Hariod,

      I thought we might have this conversation, and there were elements to this piece I was frankly uncertain of offering. But sometimes I can’t help myself. I wanted to take the lid off of this feeling. This idea. Power. I know it’s a strange word. I wrote a piece last weekend that didn’t make it onto the blog, that contained the line, The word power beguiles me. But, also, in a particular context, it fills me with peace and knowing.

      To your question, I do think we mean the same thing, but I think perhaps– (in wonderful ways that cause me to explore my own perceptions and conclusions in the best of ways)– we approach this mystery from our different histories, with different questions, and thus perhaps are given different insights. Neither changes what is, or is better or worse. But neither is any fixed view of this capable of holding onto the whole of it. There is perhaps a difference in the sense that there is a relationship Hariod has to the Tabula Rasa that can never quite be the relationship Michael has to the Tabula Rasa. But we can both touch it. Both feel it’s life. I think there is power there, for how else would there be grass, or stone, or golden light?

      While writing this and searching around a few things, I came across this link that is related to some of the imagery in this poem, and the concept of power. Also perhaps, as I reflect on the article again, I see it is a bit of a prayer for the children who have suffered so, lately. You will find in this link some discussion of the ‘really real’, and I think this is what we both mean when we speak of power, or the Tabula Rasa…

      Love returned,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah yes, ‘all my relations’, and the idea of inter-subjectivity, which is an interesting concept, not unrelated to the theme of my latest post on empathy. And I had wondered quite what the ‘stones’ were to which you had referred, and now I know – thank you.

        Coincidentally, I have just had a lengthy exchange with Bert from Belgium on my ’empathic apes’ article, trying to ascertain whether we are talking about the same thing – Bert with his ‘silence’ and me with my objectless awareness. No conclusions.

        Blessings on the day born of night my friend.

        Liked by 3 people

        • You know what the stones are!? Perhaps you could tell me! Ha!

          I have enjoyed your exchange with Bert, and recognize how hard it is sometimes to talk our way around such challenging notions. It takes a real effort and willingness, in my opinion, to extend the benefit of the doubt. Also, it has to be okay for us all to be the same– for us to accept that our point of view isn’t “special” as it were, for in this understanding comes a certain resolve to see through differing vocabularies and perceptions to the common reality. This stretching is a pastime I do enjoy…

          Michael

          Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Nicole. This one rippled both inwards and outwards, leaving me wondering exactly where I was on that spectrum, as all encounters with mystery have a tendency to do!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, that’s just the thing, A. We wouldn’t… Why would we do that!? 🙂

      I’m delighted to know this one connected to your own experience of the drum… I know you know this feeling, and what it’s like to feel as though your life is a piece of clothing this feeling put on in the morning… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • I once had a dream where I arrived back “home” and hung my body up on a hook for the night.
        Another dream – the thought arose “well I’m not choosing that kind of spacesuit again, they’re too vulnerable.” 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • I knew you knew, Alison! 🙂 Those are some pretty amazing dreams… and I love the simplicity of putting your foot down on a spacesuit that comes with side effects…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I am mesmerized, here, and blessed, watching you holding the space, holding the door, holding the whole the dang dome above us! Can the pulse you take from here be the truest reading for us all? I feel like taking off my shoes and canceling my health insurance.
    When are you not hitting the artery,these days, M, while also inviting us to also tap in?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Truly, the distinctions between us begin to blur when any palm touches the sky. All are held. All are known. All are guided. Your playful sentiments about insurance and shoes are sentiments I’ve thought about often… We say these things partly in jest, and partly in the knowing we truly can relax into the space that holds us. Dare we give that feeling room to grow? We’re finding that world you know about, and I hardly think I’m alone in tapping in to the main line…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Beautiful imagery again, Michael.
    “if you tell me our holiness
    isn’t enough, I won’t believe you.”
    That is something we need to remember daily. Thanks for the reminder.
    Blessing,
    Karin

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Karin. It is something to keep in mind… It’s one of those mantras that might work for some people– just remembering our holiness is enough… Nothing more is needed… We are whole…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This one gave me goosebumps, in a good way. Powerful indeed and off I go into my day feeling a little more connected, a little less constructed, a little more free. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 3 people

    • Excellent, Harlon. There’s two goosebumps here, too. Goosebumps to your goosebumps. Truly we are connected and able to influence one another… Savor the freedom and the peace, my friend…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dennis,

      Thank you, and thank you for touching on the importance of contacting the meaning and aliveness within it. Truly, there is something fleeting, an opportunity in which we are coming forth as who we are…

      Blessings–
      Michael

      Like

  8. I’m drowning in the bluest waters of your world Michael ! Your writing is euphoric , a paradise that opens my soul and so ” in the room , in the house , in the land ” I am flooded with your song and the drums are heard from far and wide , Thankyou dear friend with your graceful ” stethoscope palm ” … this poem is overflowing . Love , megxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Meg!

      Thank you… Kick for the open waters! Thank you for filling the sky drum with your presence, and lending your strength to all the rest. The point where we meet is everywhere… I’m looking forward to spending a quiet, resounding moment with your latest piece…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Michael,
    I forgot to mention that after reading this, maybe 5 minutes afterwards, I got goosebumps on my right arm, it was in the form of some kind of design, but nothing that I could ‘decode.’ It was surreal. I’ve never had goosebumps like that before – and, I thought it was just the air-conditioning in the car on the way back from purchasing my styrofoam head for points class. I feel like I have to take care of this styrofoam head now. It’s an awkward sort of feeling. It reminds me of being a teenager and getting an egg to take care of. One of the main differences that I can point out is, it’s made of styrofoam, and it’s going to get stuck with needles. Still, I think I’ll need to find a special little protective bag for it. Can I find one in one of your poems?
    Aloha, Ka

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Ka,

      Thanks for sharing that… It sounds really interesting… And I remember when we had to take care of the egg! Wow. My theology class wife and I had a lovely Cabbage Patch Kid who spent a few too many homerooms in one or the other’s locker… Whoops…!

      I think you found the one already, that keeps things safe… (Sky Healing perhaps???) ha!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This one has the strangest ontological quality – ‘I’ am the conduit that connects ‘here’ and ‘there’… ‘touch the sky
    with my stethoscope palm’. Thank you for this, I realise how so much of the time I can be preoccupied with concepts of the world rather than just being in it…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, me too, Tiramit. It is so easy to become caught in the concepts. The self can be a concept we so readily attempt to inhabit. A Course of Love contains the encouragement to relinquish all our concepts of who we are, and just trust in the experience of it. That can sound a little naive I guess, but it is intended to speak to what you describe here: getting beyond the clouds of concept that obscure direct contact…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  11. I had to wait and take this home so I could really delve into the soul of the words you paint. At first I felt like I was part of the concert and then moving subtly through to another place, another time and in reading the comments see how oft times some indecision on which words to use, lest they be misconstrue happens.. I think the invisible master guides us through the path to pluck the right feathers, the perfect stones. We create our masterpieces and it is magnificent because truth can be felt. Embraced. Love this Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ‘And I’ll remember for both of us!” And maybe even more of us….and the more of us who remember for others…the more who will remember! I know it’s late…so I hope I made sense. Just love this one, dear friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I am watery-eyed and smiling with recognition. And also, the line about gum losing its flavor made me chuckle. 🙂

    “How could I give you the sound that emerges from the point in my being where my hand touches the sky, when there’s a root in me that cannot be pulled?” Our roots are above and this poem illustrates and supports that bridge effect, that receptivity, the importance of holding space, and “loka-sangraha” action done for others, society, God, here on earth. The lines which reference Power and the earth elements connect to something my husband and I read this week in Sri Aurobindo’s “Savitri.” We read 2 pages of this epic daily so that we complete it within a year and then start again. This week we finished Book One, Canto IV, “The Secret Knowledge,” so we also dipped into M.P. Pandit’s “Summary of Savitri” on this Canto to help reinforce the message: “States of freedom and immortality await discovery by man. Whether he is conscious of it or not, his being steadily grows toward them in the stress of the evolutionary labour to which he is subject…And yet the earth does not feel left alone in her labour. She senses and becomes aware of mighty Puissances in the Cosmos helping and drawing her upward by their very presence and irresistible action. The earth-mind seeks and aspires for the Verities of Knowledge, Power, Bliss…however much they may appear to be out of reach to the terrestrial spirit toiling below…the impulsion from within and the lead from above goes on till the purpose of the earth-movement is achieved, till the earth-life flowers into a divine existence…Through all the vicissitudes of lives, there is a Light that leads, a Might that pulls, a Bliss that sustains…”

    An interest in and call to the love and vastness behind the veil of nature is what started our friendship. Thank you, Michael, for always keeping the beat!

    ~Lanessa

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lanessa!

      Thank you for this lovely response and for the quote from M.P. Pandit. I could read that over and over all night, and still come morning I would be moving deeper into its offered meaning… So beautiful… I like to reflect on the fact that beyond all those little necessities and nags of daily living– remembering where we put the car keys, planning meals, coordinating visits with family, making sure the work gets done, etc.– there is a powerful arc pulling us along perfectly…

      Thanks, too, for the reminder of how this all began… 🙂

      Love
      Michael

      Like

  14. There are no words to say how much I loved this poem.
    Liked “when there’s a root in me
    that cannot be pulled?”
    Just have one question: what is a flying rattle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kristina…! If you follow the link I gave Hariod above you may obtain a fuller picture. In a yuwipi ceremony sometimes there are rattles that have small flint stones placed into them (I think). During the songs (or whenever they want I suppose) they sometimes take flight and dance through the darkness, and you can see the sparks they make inside of themselves as they whisk around the room… That may, in fact, explain very little, but that is so… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Michael, that is a very interesting article. The rattles make for the nice images, the flying sparks in the dark tent, like the stars in the night sky.
        We were at a Sugar Camp yesterday, and there were representatives from Pottawatomie demonstrating maple sugaring Pottawatomie style. When I asked the lady what was the difference in maple syruping between the Pottawatomie and the Pioneer style, I liked her response: technically, very little (perhaps difference in bucket styles), but community-wise, very different, in Pottawatomie maple syrup collection and boiling the whole community was involved, including all the children and grandmas and it was as much a ceremonial event as work. This article you referenced reminded me of the conversation.
        Another thing that came to mind, is ceremony and its relationship to games. Years back, a Waldorf school we attended suggested a blanket wrapping game for kids to heal some sensitivities a child may have. So we started these games where a child gets rolled up in a blanket tightly, only the head sticking out, and then unwrapped. My kids call it the “burrito” game. And years later, they still ask for it, and have created their own ceremony around it, so to speak. Reading this article you referenced, really makes me ponder some more about this importance of games,rituals, ceremonies, whatever we may call them, and children’s natural attraction to them. Thank you so much.
        Much Gratitude,
        Kristina

        Liked by 1 person

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