fortunate orbits

for Nhien

with all of us spinning
’round our blazing sun
among the blurred faces of everyone
it is a miracle when someone like you
is found bearing blessings, hopes and dreams
gifts of unimagined possibilities one theme
of love connection and humble commonality,
a precious life we especially celebrate today

With love and appreciation,

JGM 9/29/17

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180105


even on this frigid
first day of the new year
divinity is streaming
through the pale blue sky
a thousand feet above where
it is much colder
(it increases their lift)
long strings of geese
are flying wave after wave
healthy and strong
certain of their place
in the air and on earth
born along by the freedom
of unfailing knowledge
in rhythm with all
that sails beneath their wings

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180101


– for Macha in celebration of our 14th wedding anniversary

i am grateful for the daily discipline
of mindfulness toward our bodies
that they still readily respond
to one another in a strong and supple embrace
the touches electric traces and taste of salt
where our separate seas flow together
until we are curled round one another
like planetary currents of liquid light sliding
slowly into one until we become an effervescent
swirling vortex of golden champagne
blood rising like boiling surf racing
to burst into blazing glittering booms
upon the warm sizzling beach foaming
with bubbles of shared mindlessness yes
i am grateful for times like this
when sense of separation vanishes
& we are content to blink dreamily
toward one another like sleek seals
satisfied upon this sighing sand
where sound, light & sensation
drum the hearts’ song wordless
rhythms of appreciation for the
surging cascade and searing neurons
yes this is pure unmitigated bliss
in which a world is torn asunder
and laid gently here to reform
into the daily life we choose again
to live in appreciation and grow within
each bringing newly discovered treasures
to this ragged wild unspoiled coast
where light coalesces into breath
exchanging the sweet intermingling
of all the rest of you and me
where thought falls away into the
eternal swell and sway of moments
stilled and hushed finally spent
in this way into a newborn sense
of an entire universe a loving intention
and alluring invitation to dance
barefoot upon this soft sacred shore
built upon the timeless ebb and flow
of slow patient settling a few grains
each time the tide rises turns reverses
always new this way until today
when discovered on a perfect sparkling
sun warmed day a blanket freshly swept
to our feet where ocean tang glows
upon the silent tongue that receives its blessing
becomes iridescent within our mind &
rises into fiery dawn where we again unwind

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 12/30/17


as my fractured right clavicle

has knitted itself back together

stronger than ever before

(for the body grows with insight)

i am stuck again by the miracle of it

and relish in the feel of muscles sliding

well supported by this honey combed

frame of calcium already recycled

millions of times through sea shells

and the bones of all who transitioned

before us everything built without

a single conscious idea or spoken word

were it not for the fractures and healing

we might take too much for granted

on a planet in a solar system in a galaxy

in a universe where physicists daily marvel

at how finely tuned everything is

to make our existence a living possibility

but as we see it all fits perfectly into you

and me and all that is without a single


©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 12/12/17


It is our last night of retreat with
Gravity, A Center for Contemplative Action.
And now a sky brimming with stars
settles gently around our shoulders.

The Big Dipper poised above Saint Benedict
seems to shimmer with fullness,
as though it just scooped up a mountain
of silvery kernels from Nebraska cornfields
stretching to infinity in every direction.

There are no devices I wish to power on.
The faint taps and whispering scratches
of a fountain pen
communicate to my sisters and brothers
scrawls of gratitude
in a language that we now know
trails off beyond symbols
to a path of reflected lunar light
across the rippled lake and beyond
to circle a magnificent rising moon;
such celestial celebration
as only reverent silence can bring.

I want to rest here forever and i do
in this eternal present moment
emptied of news feeds, opinions and restless thoughts. All our usual distractions seem so meager, like a blaring, blazing 24 hour casino promising riches to the the masses
that throng to it in a distant metropolis.

Across the street monks pray for us
and all of the world with such devoted unwavering love that I can see it rising
above the harvested fields, a holy host
of mysterious beneficence, like a gift blanket of luminescence that I can surrender to fully amongst the dreams of all who shared with us,
fellow seekers encircling us with
joined hearts and hands,
baptising us with the water of life,
tears freely given without self-consciousness
from such beautiful eyes that I never realized
each human has the capacity
to glisten and shine like this,
that they could bring such blessed renewal,
unconditional love that suffuses the night,
rising higher with the ascending moon,
glowing with perfection on every one of us
in this holy grace-filled timeless instant
of solitude, silence and stillness.

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 10/7/17

please pass it around

i can tell you
what your deepest fear is
the same as mine and all humankind:
that you will not be loved

as a member of the global tribe
certain codes and rituals are practiced
to strengthen the story we think of as us
our roles are well worn
one generation to the next ensuring
some comfort will be brushed along our skin

newborns who are never touched
develop a syndrome known as
failure to thrive yes they die
as has been documented scientifically

can we see how clinical we have become?

love withheld, love unreceived leaves wounds
anger that snakes through a body of scars
trailing behind it festering resentment,
a serpentine reorienting to things
so they now make circular sense
the best defense is calculated offense
much lack can be hidden in war where
we battle the monster attacking our worth

you know good and well
this is how we start thinking
so we can deliberately kill
without blinking an eye
a rational logical decision
based upon the original omission
of any sense of tenderness
yes we truly will lay down lives for this

but as i mentioned before i know
your deepest darkest most hidden fear:
to be judged the outcast unworthy of love
not by god his son or the holy host
but by fellow living breathing humans
the sole agents capable of physical touch

is it too much to ask at last
that we pass this along one to another
as some show signs of having been missed
in the original round where all were blessed

it has become a rather pressing matter
as we are about to drown
in the trickle of intricacies
bleeding from every corner
of this well-narrated tale
of utter loneliness and murderous terror

please be kind and pass it around

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/29/17

in stillness

in this nowhere
of stillness

there is less
and less
to say

i appreciate

i trust

i feel

an energy
radiating from my heart
boundless endless love

i know
that it flows
from one reality
the source
of all wholeness
and flawless purity

from this
point of stillness
all of life is born
every atom
of all that is

in this perfect moment
in this timeless instance
full of grace and eternity

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/27/17