Oh if I could tether you
To me like the moon in orbit
If my gravity could draw you
Into a never-ending dance
Intoxicating and inexorable
Constant as galaxies
If our love had the lifespan of a star
Its radiance could blaze on
And once it had flickered out
A distant planet would still see its glow
Distant lovers would still meet under its light
Thousands of years after we had passed
The interplay of light and shadow–
One without the other has no meaning
No light without darkness
No hope without despair
No healing without wounds
We are all works of chiaroscuro
None of us, no not one,
Is without sin
This morning, when I went to get in my car
in the empty parking spot next to it
lay an orange paper lantern
the kind you set fire inside
and the heat billows within the tissue paper
to make it rise, glowing and magical
into the empty night sky
In the light of day
it lay there crumpled on its side
the breeze gently moving it
so that it looked like it was breathing
panting softly on the ground
after its one glorious flight
The wick inside it had burned to ash
The paper sides of the lantern
were streaked black from the flames
Its orange flanks rose and fell
like a horse ridden too hard
until its wind is broken
I picked it up
and set it gently to rest
in the cool morning grass
It deserved no less
For how many can say
that the fire inside them
burned so fiercely
that it carried them to skim the stars?
Beneath a giant, spreading chestnut
I found myself on a summer evening
The light hung like streamers from its branches,
pooling among its roots as molten gold
It creaked a windy greeting
Its leaves murmured about sun and soil
and time, such time
I laid my hand against the massive trunk
and felt the press of years
and the pulsing life that started as a seed
still pushing outward, upward, always
Throw out an anchor
Beneath the starless sky.
Brace yourself against
The salt spray and lashing winds
While the black waves
Roil beneath you like serpents.
Murmur with cracked lips
Whatever words you know
To any god that will listen
While the world bucks
And shudders beneath you.
Power clashes against power,
And you, soft frail soul,
Are crushed and bruised between.
Darkness upon darkness,
Time, times, and half a time.
You forget the dream of solid ground
In the endless tempest.
Yet, it ends.
Light bleeds along the horizon
And a soft red dawn unfolds.
Raise your weary, battered head
To find your anchor holds.