welcome back

welcome back you old bastard
the curmudgeon i periodically become
tense beneath a wide blue missouri sky

while soft loving sunlight seeps in
dances rhythmically through the car window
probing me for faint signs of life

what is this pernicious thinking
a dark sludge that expands exponentially
dragging me into stories of separation?

words, always words, and thinking
that there is some right way to act
so you will all affirm your love

you see me, you hear and console me
and therefore i feel i have been born
that my existence is as real as the sky

the vast blue sky and dying landscape
reel by flickering beyond the window
quietly preparing for a long hibernation

the darkness arrives sooner each day
with each dawn the trees are more barren
the cold seeps deeply into aging bones

in another few seasons all will be dust
and whether or not i’ve been here
will matter not a bit to the living

so i ask you what is the point of this
how am i to behave as this particular fiction
and how can you pretend to know anything

you and i, us and them, a throng
of labels, descriptions of characters,
how does talking ever help anything

and why share these depressing thoughts
the law of mind action piles more
and more upon the festering heap

perhaps when i break under the weight
i will see again clearly perhaps
in the deafening silence i will hear

please let me break apart in time
i desire that my blood be filled
with golden radiance my mind dissolved

and all that i am to be known
written down and verified in my heart
safely protected from my dark thoughts

i want to sleep and awaken in my veins
i want to give you the kindness i intend
and i think my absence is the only way

this staggering pile of beliefs can ignite
and join the universal energy yes
i surrender them all and blissfully rest

my blood warms in the waning sun
my heart continues to seek you so now
at last may we rest silently in love?

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20181110

mother earth

you are the tangible infinite
the life in water
on land and in the sky

strong and supple
are your rolling fields

i stretch upon
your sinuous grasses
i am one with your clay
your elements cycle through me

your touch is everywhere
each indrawn breath
comes from your mouth

every gasp of wonder
is a prayer of gratitude
whispered back to you

such beauty seems impossible
yet it is here surrounding me

you are the one i see
when i think of divinity
your soft sacred kiss
is the one i feel
as real and tender
as all the world
can be

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

falling light

how can i say
how the falling light
has changed the streets

how strikingly vivid is
the line of scarlett red
blazing yellow
flaming orange

through us
this vibrant light
constantly arises
in its varying hues

how can i say
how beautiful your truth is
spoken into the silence
of this room
of falling light

how can i possibly say
what changed forever
from one moment to the next

i am always
from one tree of grace
to another

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

what if

what if
moon hanging full
in the tropical air
cicadas and tree frogs
exchanging choruses

what if
gazing up
breathing it
all in
i just gave up

let all
my limiting beliefs
flit away
like feeding bats
swallowed by shadow

what if
suffering led to this
night of clarity
where a universe
stretches into infinity?

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20180724

standing still

standing still on our long weathered deck
beside chicken roasting on the grill
they appear within the cathedral
of an Osage orange first chickadees
then goldfinch, woodpecker, sparrow
flitting in turn to the feeder 8 feet away
and overhead a fleet of nightjar
like fighter jet versions of swallows
with long razor thin wings they feed
only at the crepuscular hour when the veil
is thinning between darkness and light

the Osage are Native Americans
who once dominated all of Missouri,
Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma

now, here, only their trees are left
hardy twisty drought resistant
once the ubiquitous defense
along every few hundred acres of crops
against another dust bowl

now those are down too for more yield
a few are left in old neighborhoods
like ours carved from a working farm
it sits near a filled-in spring
delighted to have abundance it thrives
and provides good lives for those
who nest among it or like me
rest in its stillness at sunset
content to be with what comes and goes

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and photo 20180719