|The Sphinx on the Escarpment Trail - Southeastern Section|
from the Catskill Mountaineer
My earliest memory of holy—
a whole, sensual and spiritual
presence without boundaries—was upon
a rock—a boulder really—world-sized, high
and smooth enough that I had to lean on
arms braced behind to keep from sliding off
and in the vertigo of adjustment
in that instant of disorientation
my vision shifted and wonder replaced
my fear. But I returned to earth. And from
the descriptions of holiness given
to me then, I didn’t recognize it.
Holiness was located in buildings,
religion classes, objects, names, prayers
and language to memorize and repeat.
When did breath cling to those lessons?
I don’t remember when the word God first
lived for me, though I knew what I was s’posed
to feel. I think I felt something shift once
in puppy love. Poetry erupted.
But it wasn’t until protests against
the war that I integrated with night,
wasn’t until drumming with women ‘round
bonfires that I remembered my first boulder.
Holiness embraces physically—
oh yes—whether in dance or sitting still,
whether alone or in community,
whether on a proclaimed high holy day
or in moments of awareness. It is.
Accessible. If busy-ness doesn’t
displace it and if I don’t misplace it.
Breath is holy. Waking is holy and
touching is holy. And—primed by pagan
ritual and desire for peace—I heard
God speak, finally, and met Jesus who
became a go-between for me. A Way.
I call that way holy, delight to walk
in it intentionally, but accept
that much of the time I am not aware.
I also accept that God loves and holds
me even when I am inattentive.
Excuse me while I unfold sixty years.
I thought it would be easy to explain
holiness, but despite all that is said
and written about it in many faiths—
I know you have to experience it
yourself, oh yes, even in a mystic
inhale, catching your breath when it’s that real.
For my prompt
(April is International Poetry Month.)
My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.