The Dharma of Dogs

If we had the lifespan of a dog,
would we be more grateful?
Chester, our older mixed collie,
can no longer hear, and tires
quickly now on neighborhood walks.

It’s more of a series of slow steps
between spots to sniff and signposts to mark
but he so loves his familiar role
in the canine social order of things.

On warm afternoons lying in the lawn
peering into the air with clouded eyes
he is so content to rest his weary body
and breathe deeply of all that passes by.

I am reminded that there is a scent to sunlight
and everything that grows from it
how his coat smells when he enters the house
and his enjoyment of being scratched.

He has a lot of small tumors, benign but itchy,
and loves a rubdown, use fingernails please.
He never pushes or wants anything more
than to be with his pack, hanging out.

And of course to be loved when convenient.
He moves about slowly but with purpose,
placing himself on my route strategically
so that, coming out of the bathroom,

should I need his unconditional love
and heartfelt appreciation for my being,
he is there for me, one of the pack.
While he still has this day to live
there is no greater joy than just to belong.

He paws his big round bed into a nest,
circles twice, and settles with an umph,
expels a deeply happy somewhat sleepy sigh.

Would we more easily find peace within
if every day was 7 times more filled
with complete awareness of just this?

Would we learn to adore those whose path
becomes known and entwined with ours?

Would we trustingly rest without worry
as our senses settled into haze and silence?

Would we then learn that this moment is it?

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180512

the healing grace of women

it has always been a woman
i dared trust enough
to be truly comforted

at times with soothing words
a mother’s hug of encouragement
and warm delicious nourishing food

or with others in beautiful nakedness
enlivened by silky touch & tender kisses
loving murmurs nibbling at the ears
& quickening breath & sweet embrace
entangled in her limbs blood fizzing
we merge into light & are blissfully one

the land also heals in this way, through
supple curved hills and sinuous rivers

sometimes in dreams i meet her essence
the scent of fresh earth and forest
reaches me before she fully appears

glimmering moonlit perspiration
beads up & perfumes her glowing skin

her hair flows out into everything
she is enticing, elusively there
inviting me into the tall trees
silver leaves wound through her tresses

she traces my skin and pulls me
to the mossy cedar scented ground
further entwined in darkness
and sultry fecundity we go down
and disappear into deep caves
tinged with bioluminescence
lost completely and now at peace
in the place where all life is rooted

in waking she remains with me
& though the presence is subtle
she walks assuredly in my steps
and i see through her awareness
the growing possiblity that we
might never have been apart
the whole universe is expressing
what she whispered in the dark

that we all belong to her
when we surrender to living love

we are all being born by her
in every unfettered moment
we allow ourselves to fully be

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180511


the soft sheen
of a new day
glides along our
silky wooden floor
whispers and beckons us
to become one with it

to burst outdoors
and spill among the trees
weave among bright new leaves
to abandon all sense
of obligation or worry
forget ourselves completely
fly high above the earth
that we might be tumbled
in glorious shades of sky

to carry invitations infused in us today
in unity with light wordlessly convey
simply trust what draws the sacred eye
as we walk about and allow the world
a peripheral glimmer will dance
an almost imperceptible shimmer
will glance along our steps and flow
ahead to lead us toward it effortlessly
forward into the flowering middle way

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

ready or not

my destiny is entangled
with the seething magma
deep beneath yellowstone park

infrequent geysers are spouting often
foretelling the impending eruption

it is nothing personal,
but mass devastation must occur
in order to make room for the new

our prized possessions
buried in lava and ash
swept away in a flash
no more nation
no more identities
no salvation of the faithful few

maybe a handful will survive
the long worldwide winter
and calamity
that will ensue

all is provided abundantly
almost too comfortably yet
complete destruction absolutely
will return be assured

we all know how stuck we are
how nothing will change
until we’re knocked to our knees

the new will always arrive
ready or not
regardless of whether
we say yes or please

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180503

because you found this

please know that it is not by accident
your eye was drawn by luminous intent
to arrive at this message
which wishes to say
that your particular way of being
in this world today your presence
will bring love to some person
who needs to feel within their soul
the perfection of their inherent worth
or in the miraculous nature of serendipity
perhaps it is you who needs to receive
love today yet again through synchronicity
and a strange but true divine reciprocity
the gift is given to those who give
shared love brings hope to all in need
within a short while you’ll see what I mean
kindly accept this intention and proceed

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180503


i was thinking about kindness
relaxed in steaming hot water
before tomorrow’s departure
and compassion the picture
of this attractive young woman
who fell in love with Dad
and Johnnie, Debbie, Lori and Bonnie
all at once we were
immediately adopted
by Anita JoAnne everyone called her JoAnne those around her
always felt welcomed by that name

the suicide of Coralie Rose began to heal
we were about 7, 5, 4 & 3
but what a miracle this mother
gave everything she had
decorated for every holiday
made ever changing creations
delicious and nutritious cuisine
and i can’t think of an instance
where she treated us as anything
other than completely worthy
of love and encouragement
she ice skated with us
on our little frozen pond
in still undeveloped partially
wooded Wyandotte County, Kansas
fell once taking our picture
with a little plastic Kodak
and had to have five stitches
above her right eye
inflicted by the smashed camera

she learned to fly had a
commercial instrument rating

she knew how manage a short runway
Dad was her instructor and made certain
she could recover from anything
every year she raced
in The Powder Puff Derby
women competing in navigation
and piloting skills
over several days
she was a formidable
always gracious and capable contender

their years of soaring together
were the absolute best i think
weather and navigation maps were
standard table fare we all
knew the cloud types and could estimate
distance to ceiling by sight

we were illumined by flight
the characteristics of positive lift
flowing above the wing pulled it
into the sky there was overcast
at 5000 feet but above
nothing but calm crisp bright blue air
all of the learning became lost in it
here the horizon became unlimited
we banked into the wind
left stick and aileron
a little throttle
the sunlit compass ball
tumbling toward our new heading

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180422


your beloved presence
fills my heart
as we hug again
familiar comfort
in our shared nest

your journey of shifting sand
meets my trail of unyielding roots
and unconditional acceptance
sweeps us into its arms
a dizzying tangle like
eagles plunging earthward
rapt in evolutionary bliss

yet now still miraculously
we are together above and below
swooping through the lucid light
allowing what will grow
to develop in the one universal
natural warm rhythm

the landscape streams by
with highly detailed clarity
every possibility rapidly unfolds

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180422