NPM: Nascence

The earth itself is crumbling 

Along fault lines and fissures,

Its body wracked with spasms.

The earth heaves

And lets out a guttural cry.

It trembles, it flails.

And suddenly, all our solid structures,

Our concrete and steel,

Are like anthills, like straw.

They collapse like cards,

Trapping us inside, if we are lucky,

And crushing us, if we are not. 

A man in Ecuador was pulled from

The wreckage of a pharmacy. 

He thought his life would end there in the dark,

Such a short twenty one years. 

But as they pulled him 

From that stony womb, almost a tomb,

He was reborn. 

He swears he was reborn,

And now he is one year old. 

His life started over

When he emerged from certain death. 

His nascence came at the moment of the end. 

NPWM Day 18: Humility

A snake, a lie, a tree
A fall from grace, humility
A gate, a sword, decree
A banishment, humility
Blood from a brother’s jealousy
An outcast mark, humility
Rebelled, enslaved, unfree
A people’s cry, humility
A plague, a death, a plea
A broken “Go!”, humility
A staff, a stone, a parted sea
Deliverance, humility
A gift, a calf, idolatry
A desert path, humility

A crown, a throne, a need
A choice to go, humility
A crown, a thorn, a tree
A choice to die, humility
A stone, a grave, empty
Life over death, a victory

Spun and Spent

 

How quickly our days are spun and spent

like the string of a kite

caught on an updraft,

the spool held in loose hands,

spinning fast and faster.

 

To slow the spinning

is to stop the climb–exultant, liberating.

To wind the string back onto the spool

is to move backward, to sink, to stunt.

How should I live these unraveled days?

How can I rise and yet

come back down?

The spool, its frenzied turning,

burning my hands.

 

I am afraid.

 

The days spin on, uncounted, uncontrolled,

but soon, before I know,

the string will catch,

the spool will slow.

 

Oh help me live these kite-string days!

Truly live them, spinning and wild,

and I, a breathless child

with burning palms and

racing heart,

will hold on lightly, lightly.

 

I will trust the wind that carries me

to the place where earth and heaven overlap;

knowing the string, however long, is short,

and, once spent, will surely snap.

 

NPM: Swan-Song

They say a swan’s last song
The one it sings right before it dies
Is the sweetest of its life.
It’s the finality of it,
The fragility
That makes it beautiful.

From the moment we’re born
Gasping and flailing
We start dying,
Each second leading us onward
Toward our last breath.
Our entire lives are dying melodies,
Achingly sweet because they are ending
Even as they begin.

Lay your head against my chest
And hear my heart’s fluttering percussion.
The rise and fall of air in my lungs.
This moment
And all my successive moments
Bound together as a symphony.
This is my swan-song.