Sunday, March 29, 2015

4th Letter: Coffee, Palm Sunday

Coffee, Palm Sunday, in the year of grace
twenty hundred fifteen. Four in the morning.
Three hours until the earliest liturgy,
ten hours until a late lunch in the Square.

I waken after a paltry spell of sleep
to find your latest poem at Our Place,
I liven as I greet your words, so vital,
forged by ardent struggle, formed by love.

The March trees seem as dead as Lazarus
in the black foredawn. Snow from yesterday
shrinks darkly on the promenade outside.

Dear friend, it is a boundless privilege
to share this world of wound and weal with you:
such solidarity in our solitudes!

3rd Letter: Gratitude

You cause me
to indict myself for flippancy,
for a wearisome profusion of
words, words, words!
I should be quiet, and listen, and watch
as you beautifully show your readers
how poetry is made.

I read your poems
with something like a holy envy!
I rejoice in their steadiness,
their precarious poise,
their unobtrusive excellence,
their questings and questionings
more potent than anybody else's
exclamations and certitudes.

I read your poems
in the dark minutes before dawn,
sipping at coffee that quickly grows cold,
listening to the birds of Mrs Álvarez
as they sing their mattins
a few doors down the hall.

And I am grateful.

Grateful for the quiet light,
the wholesome, healing glow
of your most unassuming effort.

Grateful for the grandeur
that is the fruit of humility.

Grateful for the sense of wonder
in the quotidian commonplaces.

Grateful that you are not
what Miss Moore might have called
"a frettingly intensive machine"!

Grateful for the light of your words,
grateful for the light of your silences.

So many who trade in words
give us stones
when we crave bread,
thrust scorpions upon us
when we ask for fish.

You give us the grace
of what is real, of what is true,
of what helps us to live.

2nd Letter: I Would Give You

Friend, sage,
I would give you

an atmosphere
in which all
your tenderly living
sounds

have breathing room,
have space
to grow
and flourish
and sing:

heartbeat
of the votive flame,

pulse
of the firefly,

silent hymn
of winter starlight,

the unmistakable
first few drips
of melting mid-March ice.

I would give you
the unbuyable
music of stillness,

punctuated
by the tentative
questions

of an eager,
exploring,

doubting,
suffering,

wondering,
loving
world.

1st Letter: Your Poems

Your poems are windows
through which we can see
life in its common splendor,
its ramshackle oddity.

Your poems are photographs
of daily grace, of moments
when the things of earth
become sacraments of joy.

Your poems make music
in their austere silences,
in their monastic simplicity--
heart's health; soul's hope.