BREATHING THE SPIRIT OF ALCHEMY

The philosopher for Aristotle is not in conflict

He does what he wants and consistently wants what is virtuous

I am more like Paul, who does not what he wants

And does what he does not want

I do not want the legacy of my childhood

Nor the tyrant my father was, nor the misery that was my home

Church was my refuge

A morning’s refuge once a week,

For me, the salve of love

Communion, human and Divine beloved community

A morning’s refuge once a week

Ferment in the crucible of what my life became

Diffusing as tendrils through my passions

Refining the dross that was my upbringing

Veins of gold shining through adamant,

Heavy adamant from my upbringing I carry

In the pilgrimage that is a life’s progress

Toward being whole, gold, unitary

In what I want and in the manifesting power

That spirit has to make, remake, make new

Make conflict cease, bring release, grant peace

SUNYATA

(for Philip)

We live our lives life in a delicate

Balance between chaos and peace.

Each short-lived, the one the other will implicate.

The ancients wanted neither–sought release.

 

An empty chair in the middle of

A grassy yard, reflecting bright sunlight.

I set it there.  But hesitated when I saw it.

Where is the self that seeks to know despite

The onslaught of experience, who seeks to understand it?

Who tries to grasp ahold of love?

 

The ancients reasoned “no-self” sidesteps Karma;

And David sees Jehovah as a rock;

And other systems turn from social Maya:

Prestige, respectability sneering mock.

 

Paul in prison and Christ a capitol criminal?

Christ in prison and Paul an evangel?

Who draws the lines, who forms the frame?

Living shatters all our images–nothing stays the same.

 

“Because everything changes, all is nothing.”

But I, I sit in the chair, on the lawn.

I hear the many birds singing.

I remember the tree tops’ hue at dawn.

I see the leaves flicker, the limbs’ easy swaying.

 

We trace the lines and leave them drawn.

And we are left with the chair, on the lawn.