petitioner


there is a time for words
explanations of perceptions of things
the way it feels to suffer the wooden weight
of certain knowledge yes there is plenty
in my world my mind wishes to deny
that we die for example just as love becomes
a heartfelt living presence flowing among us
my god let me grieve long and fully enough
that i recognize the preciousness of this
just let me rest here a moment in silence
i understand nothing, in all innocence, please

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 8/1/17

traveling back

we were traveling back
to a non-existent world
after care-taking for months
we were fully present with her
during her final hours and afterwards
packed up the house made arrangements
for things no longer needed
we did all we could to honor
her sacred beautiful life

and now we were traveling back
the first time we really had
to truly feel the pain of loss
the inevitable crash after years
of affirming her wholeness
the perfect unfolding of her path
yes still true for she had gained serenity
and a heart filled with love and gratitude
not once did she protest or give up on life
she was more alive than most when she departed

as the highway continues to unwind
the world begins to recede there is a need
to simply be alone to rest to grieve
we are traveling back to where normalcy
unrest disease unease continue to unwind before us

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 2020/02/13

the streams

inside the house
all of the screens
stream by with
fear-filled news
emboldened kkk in charlottesville
leave behind the injured and deceased
and here it is August 2017
such sadness and suffering
information can bring

a step or two
from beneath the sheltering roof
is the entire infinite sky and
a delicious lingering touch
of sweet cool air
this bright summer morning in independence
honey locust, towering catalpa, black locust
and kentucky coffee bean hang heavy
aided by recent unusual rains
laden with full brown seed pods

my brothers and sisters
the perfect place to fall in love
is already offering its bounty

the fragrance of life
wafts from the ground
with a scent of harvest time
the dead made fertile
in the luscious earth
i tell you plainly
there is only birth to be seen
in any direction i look

there comes a time when we too
must stand in the way and when we do
we look to the strong ancestral trees
for our example patiently reverent
in the black ground and surging sky

matter transformed to light cascades
to us through the quivering leaves
and back again within receiving eyes

wind that has swept back and forth
over oceans of water and grass
slows and sighs along our limbs
eddies at our fingertips

wind chimes beneath our porch
bump lovingly against one another
a low mellow ringing contralto

earlier on the lake trail
some pressed by gaze averted
absorbed in the screen
they come and they go
voiceless and lost in the depths
of the endless scroll

do not fear my dear
for we will remain
rooted here forever
and a day as long
as it takes knowing
the fear carried
in those furtive eyes
of separation and despair

yet wherever we are together
we invoke an invitation
to be within and with each other

in this field life still flows unimpeded
it rises straight from the center
of earth wind and water

nothing is the matter
and the ground of all being
is in every locale
accepting all that is
without label or illusion

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 8/17/17

harvest moon

it rises
voluminously
as the sun is setting
over Independence

a harvest moon
closely draped
in a silvery shroud

the question seems to be
what pure thing
have we grown this season?
what thing
most beautifully wrought
have we to offer?

and what of this view
from the surface of the moon
a dark globe
slowly rolling its oceans
through a vast star strewn expanse
a dusting of tiny lights
clumped around bits of land?

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

thank you

there are parts of life
almost too crushing to share
pain like razors across the heart

the way, for instance,
my daughter’s body is being eaten
from the inside out by cancer

but i must share with you
how a devoted mother of two
calmly accepts what is approaching

she is at peace with the universe
and appreciates every moment
of what is beautiful in her life

i must tell you this
even though and maybe because
of the pain it brings to her father

i must tell you this
from a place of deepest love
and grief all mixed as one

so that you might look up
in this instant and know
what is important and true

the undying Love within you

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

– in gratitude to beloved friends

the gift

i repeatedly turn it down
this small radiant gift
i am freely offered

a small hinged box or silken bag
that will open on infinity

for after all
how do i even know that
and why am i worthy?

and are there stings attached?

i would then feel obliged
to somehow repay
but that feels ok at least

i would feel more in control
and – oh – the instant has passed

it was just here and then

i doubted my little me again
it dimmed and receded into time

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

come be with us

let this single voice be lost
among the broken places of me
that have worn me to my knees
may by grace i simply be

here please listen
to the stillness with me
this utter peace is born
here where thought is lain
gently for an instant to rest

come be with me where love’s flame
incinerates our masks and opens our hearts

this gate once open can never be shut
this timeless promise will never be broken
only declared again and again
by those willing to fall within

come be with us beyond your fear
come be seen as you truly are
we will join to celebrate your life and
the sacred within you will rush to greet us

come embrace your limitless possibilities
and release your tortured labored breath
yes you will die but only seemingly
and you will know once the walls

have crumbled sufficiently
that your heart can open
on a shimmering doorway to infinity

come be with us in this sacred place

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20191007

my purpose

i’m just here to ask
dearly beloved ones whose attention
now connects with the moment
i am briefly divine have you felt this movement
of which i speak the erratic sway
that is like an emphatic interruption
of the the humdrum swell monotony
upon wave of mediocrity we can be
so much better than this just please
too much thinking to such a degree i mean
honestly this is reaching a transformational proportion that can be tipped more easily than might be suspected if we embrace where we agree please relax but leave your beautiful hand in mine you are full of light and utterly divine on this sweet silky midwestern night
yes yes it’s indescribable we agree

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art
20190812