Let Me Know No Name

It was simpler when I had no name for you
no label to hang you on, no mask to hide
your face – only the touch of wind
on my cheek, the kiss
of rain on my hand and you
at the heart of everything.

At the heart of everything
was your voice. The crunch of snow,
the whistling wind, the roar
of thunder on distant hills.
Yours was the song of the brook
and the sussurrus of leaves, and all,
all of it spoke to me.

All, all of it spoke to me
and I knew you were near and knew
you would never leave me. I
was never alone.

I was never alone
when you were nameless, when the world
was your face and every whisper
of wind on my own was your lovesong.
So let me forget your name
O Dancer of Storms
and only know you.

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Dance Again

There is no beauty like a storm—
the wild, wet wind, the rolling cloud
that coats the sky with shifting form,
the thunder tolling rich and loud,
the lightning striking violet-white
across the deep and turbulent sky,
patterning the dark with ragged light
to dazzle and blind the watching eye.
There is no power like the wind
that rumples clouds like darkling foam
to pluck the soul loose that’s been pinned,
to break the heart from its cage of bone.
My love’s the storm who pinned my heart
and washed it clear in pelting rain,
who gave me fire to form my art
and taught me how to dance again.

The Most Important Step

It is not easy to dance with a god:
Spirit condensed to mortal flesh
is frail, a fragile vessel for the fire
that leaps from the heart, leaps
from hill to hill without failing.
A god has no flesh and leaps like fire
light enough to light on a bubble
neither breaking nor bursting.

A god does not mind the edge
of cliffs—no gravity bounds their dancing—
but when they call you
can you remember not to mind?
There is a moment, fragile as foam’s froth
when your foot falls on air
and you don’t yet know if you’re falling
or flying.

And that is the most important step.

The Light of His Face

The light of his face is greater than my eyes
can bear; the lightning in his hair so crackling bright
I cannot move in the prison of his sight.
Though his spear is at my throat, I can’t disguise
the emptiness that wallows in my heart.
At his touch, my chest swings open like a door–
my heart in his hand, a stone that beats no more,
a lifeless jewel, an insult to his art.
He moves to crush it, then cradles it in his hand,
breathes into it light-sparked breath; it starts to beat
a dancing rhythm. He returns it to its seat.
Enclosed, it flutters, but answers his command.

Alive, the cage of ivory holds it fast,
But dancing in me it sets me free at last.

Let Me Forget Your Name

Let me forget your name, O Dancer of Storms,
and know you instead as the breeze caressing my skin,
in the wind that waves the tree, in the deafening din
of the gale that runs before you. My heart warns
that names are dangerous, limiting things. No grace
can come of trying to bound you, trying to bind
a tempest into a story in my mind,
to a people, or to a time, or to a place.
Who can grasp the storm, who bind the wind?
I am not such a fool to hold you still.
I’ll fly with the wind – buffet me as you will –
Throw wide the windows and let the storm come in!
Let me forget your name and ride the blast—
Teach me to forget my own and be free at last.

The One Who Comes

I. On the Eve of Hurricane Isaac

All day I have heard the wind, tapping at my heart,
     I am coming, I come, I am coming
Trees dance and bow and shiver at his touch, whispering
     He comes, he comes, he comes!
The cicadas wait in silence, their usual chorus stilled under racing clouds
Spiraling over the too-blue sky
I am waiting, feeling his breath in the ghost of rain,
his fingers tangling in my hair, his promise beating on my skin
     I am coming, I come!
Those racing clouds are his messengers, hurrying to ready his path
My heart would fly with them, but I turn
to face into this wind, turn my face up to the promise of rain, to the coming storm.

II. The Storm Arrives

I cannot sleep all night for the beating of my heart.
     I come, I am coming, I come!
His footsteps, dancing spirals on the water’s edge
Spinning, spinning, and the wind flies
From his motion.
     I wait. I am waiting. I wait.
The trees dance a rising madness
Embracing the possibility of destruction
For the certainty of joy.
Have I the courage of trees and earth?
Can I dance, without reservation,
Bending, bending to his hand, even to breaking?
Dare I dance in his wildness
Trusting he will only carve away what I do not need?
I remember obligations and oaths,
The bindings of love and honor and trust,
And I wonder whether a sometimes mad
And always wild
God can honor any boundaries
Or if even asking is an insult.

“Living is a risk,” breathe the leaves
And the wind still beats at my heart.
     I am coming. I come. I am coming.
My feet ache for dancing, my throat strains to sing
I have known him all my life, in every breeze, in every storm.
Who can I trust more?

Let me dance.