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


allow this moment
boom this instant
a musical beat
in the background
you are not a theory
but the real deal
don’t block your way in
or out
(these seemingly solid items
are always scattered about)

there is some kind
of connection but
there isn’t any time
to account for anyway
and certainly
no one to appease

so be at ease

can you feel how that
relaxes the shoulders?

set down the firewood
there is water enough
stop being responsible
and begin to believe
in impossible things

bring them closer to insight

let all be lit and soften
we will form from them
luminescent sea waves cresting
over reflections of milky moonlight
we will enjoy our sea otter play
long into the swaying night

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/4/17

Holy Water

a halo of warm water
appears in the air
above my head
and descends in streams
caressing sweet liquid of life
that has careened through space
traveled countless times through clouds
oceans deep wells brooks and wide rivers
and now flows past
lingering along the skin
steaming out over the small room
in brief banks of misty fog

pulled away into the morning
that even now is heating
the dew laden grass
and the tendrils
of shimmering breath
rising from the earth
this holy wheel
that turns us once more
washed anew
toward fiery first light

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/4/17

You Are Worthy

none of us are beyond its reach,
those moments of self doubt
when the inner critic tells us
there is something lacking,
when it says we will surely fail,
when it says shhh – stay here
stay small
stay quiet lest you misspeak
stay isolated lest you be noticed
for who are you after all?

just love this foolish one;
notice it and love it
until it disappears
as all that is unreal must do.

your eternal being has all power,
and you have been worthy since birth.
walk out into the world
where your radiance
can be seen and felt.
you belong here.

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/3/17

Water Is Life

life on land was hard for me; my mother committed suicide when i was very young.
there were some troubled years, but let’s just skip to the good part,
a long summer with my maternal grandparents at Lake of the Ozarks,
a beckoning body of water i always loved to be in; there I found healing.
i was seven when a lifeguard neighbor taught me to swim.
i looked into the reflected sky and the long limbs of shoreline trees,
brilliant diamonds of reflected sunlight so intense you had to squint to see.
upon this shimmering surface i was taught to lie back and trust, to breathe fully
and deeply and to lie stretched out arms open to the clouds above, head back and at rest.
there i floated, completely serene, basking beneath the glorious sun,
knowing now that water would always hold me, becoming in that moment transformed.
i could stroke, frog kick, glide easily on that rippling body. each day i grew to love it more.
now i wished to merge with it, and over the summer swam stronger and further every day,
ducked beneath the water alongside the dock and pushed off my slender body stretched 
to offer no resistance long gliding kicks and breast strokes the breath held until stars appeared
so badly did i wish to remain submerged. at night i would dream that when my air ran out
and water rushed into my mouth, gills began lazily pulsing along my neck,
pulling oxygen from the water; i swam into deep illumined caverns where treasures lay.
later there were long Olympic pools filled with crystalline water the languid slap slap against sides
and towering into the sky a three-meter board where i learned to fly and arrow through the water in a plunge
straight to the drain grill sixteen feet below no splash on the water above and then the nights spent
in mental practice for a back layout to get good height yet distance from the board to fall back toward it
at last willing to make the attempt and feel the welcome pain of just a back slap, knowing the head
had easily cleared; now just several hundred repetitions, committing to body memory, and finally slicing again to the bottom without a splash,
this clear accepting water where i was embraced and shown without words
how our earth mother can impart with tender grace
ways of being beyond the limits of fear,
far beyond the mirage of boundaries rippling between two worlds

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/1/17

like rain

like the clear rain
that has been falling for days
sliding down trees sheeting over rooftops
seeking depth once again soaking the clay until rivulets flow from it
so i too
must stand aside and allow
the falling flow of me
liquid light that appears
only in these moments when
i extend and join within
the tumbling unknown and allow
the right way
to simply be where i am gliding

©John Greenleaf-Maple 4/28/17


i am a blessing not to be wasted
but as solitary thought continues
it is forgotten indeed, hidden among weeds,
a sovereign loneliness longing for good deeds

better to disappear among us, not to hide
but to know our connection pulsing inside
unmoored from our seemingly solid dream
content to be this flowing fog-sky-star-stream

©John Greenleaf-Maple 4/27/17

Electric You

lightning flashes the rain swept darkness
crashes against our roof in Independence
and you out there electric too register
in the midst of every heightened sense

can you feel how it flows ground to sky
and back again the pause so momentary
it seems to be continuous as we ourselves vary
jostle and swap atoms among forms barely

visible but for the sustained intent flickering
in our eyes the lingering touch of rarified air

we breathe it in slowly together recognizing in this
shared moment the slow thundering roll of earthly bliss

©John Greenleaf-Maple 4/25/17

Land Locked

from my earliest memories i longed to be returned to the water
as though submerged, surrounded and buoyant for so long before birth,
swaying softly within the warm embrace of a woman’s salty sea,
i remember being suddenly crushed, cold, then heavy and land locked
i gasped for oxygen, survived the birth, survived my mother’s suicide the same year i started school,
survived the many aftershocks in our family as we stumbled along our dusty path,
but are we seeing the pattern here? the choice for life on land may be where we fundamentally went wrong.
it can be very tough living here, and my story is far from extraordinary, i’m sure you will agree.
did we leave the sea because our food became scarce? or because we were something’s favorite snack?
it seems so bountiful there. but perhaps it was just a mistake to leave,
and that explains our mass tendency toward lunacy,
all this difficult lumbering about the land.
in any case, we all feel that attraction to flow back to the source;
our skin encapsulated the bit of sea we must always carry with us and still it is water that we mostly are.
(except for the bones we are very cushy to lie against, because of this yielding pliancy).
we will always long to merge, relax within slow currents, and to hear the long undulating sounds
from far beneath and beyond the range of sight, to flicker though refracted light sleek bodies
thrusting then coasting with ease above the myriad colors of long reefs swaying filtering fans and billowing
schools of bright fish. what stops us now from floating into this open ocean deep in our memories?
it is the bit of sea in us even now that is pondering this, isn’t it obvious? there is no barrier to this

©John Greenleaf-Maple 5/1/17