in a moment of grace

it is here
suspended in time
by the act of creation
that it sometimes happens
in the middle of a willing task
working without care in the green lawn
when the birds, distant sirens, hedge trimmers and barking dogs pile together

a small barely discernible voice whispers
through millions of quivering leaves, wind chimes, piling amorphous clouds,
an insistent light that seeps into our language
a white background holding these symbols
until an utterance appears at last

yes it sometimes happens then
the ineffable arises and expands until
awe stricken gratitude blazes in the heart
something which must be given away
for the fire to fully consume
thus now perhaps a gift to you

and then
the yard work continues
all of us roaming contentedly out here
in the sunlit flowing flowered breezes
breathing deeply of this moment’s grace
as though the most natural thing has occurred
new growth emerging
from long patient cycles
of giving and receiving
a silent serenity
singing riotously around us all

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/23/17

Great White Owl

dedicated to daughter Beth

majestic snowy owl
perched in the still night
on a branch far above and safely away
from her hungry chicks

like a dappled statuette of moonlight
she sees every detail with perfect clarity

but it is her hearing that locates dinner
a rustle beneath straw hundreds of yards away
is triangulated with absolute precision and
she glides to where her memory holds her prey

and without the faintest whisper of sound
descends upon what she cannot see
pierces and ends the small life
with absolute certainty, quick finality

she lifts noiselessly the air seeming
to pull her effortlessly upward
long white snowy wings ascending
to her quiet nest her hungry brood
already learning the sustenance of stillness

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/22/17

just after dawn

the earth again rolls
our lush green neighborhood
toward the sun

large on the western horizon
a waning gibbous moon slides
into a nebulous white envelope
of brush-stroked clouds

people out in their yards greet us with smiles
happy to be working in the night air
sighing up through the tossing sunlit trees
our collies grin in the morning breezes
lift their heads and twitch noses
to an intoxicating scent
wafting from some good person’s kitchen

my beloved plants a big kiss on me
right out in the middle of the street
on the crown of a hill above our brown house
and all around the swaying trees applaud
while hundreds of birds sing our favorite songs

and as we walk home together
our day begins like the blessing it is
trailing miracles everywhere in our footsteps

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/17/17


sitting on the screen porch the sunlight
dances from branch to branch birdsong
hops within the vast aviary of an Osage orange
just outside this windowed nest lawnmowers are droning
in the distance and i am peacefully reminiscing
glad for all that has brought me here
out into this clear space aloft in the tree tops

every thorny wall has crumbled into the sky
and it is oh so serene here when i do not try
to understand the why or the why not nor to deify
anything beyond this holy spirit breathing in me

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/12/17

no time to waste

there is no time to waste
that is clearly true
for if time did not suspend
these words would never come through
nor can i explain the certainty
with which i know this
for the writing proceeds faster than i know
but when open the sky does occasionally this
streams the cascade flows on leaving only
this small glowing wake of what is

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/7/17

Faith and Strength 

for life to flow forward,
a green wave of food
derived from sunlight
chases the brightest opportunity
eagerly ’round our swaying planet;
all of the leaves unfurl
at just the right moment;
stalks, blades, shoots and spores
rise from darkness in perfect synchrony

thus we too prepare to receive,
trusting in a light we cannot see
but are pulled tirelessly toward,
an unrelenting ache in our hearts
that, when we allow, releases in us
new ways of being and fresh starts
days filled with promise, renewed love
and an ever-present sustaining trust
that together we continue to evolve
that together we rise through familiar homes
toward thrilling new discoveries above

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/8/17