(@ Conca di marini on the Amalfi coast) I’m
leaning forward on the metal railing of a terrace a
balcony seemingly in suspense between heaven and earth The
top of the cliff a thousand steps above my balcony The
Adriatic Sea seven hundred below heaven
and sea are connected here only by a winding string of stairs whose
existence is contingent upon stray reflected lights of the night.
Here and now. this
is a place of intimate grace like
no other I have been …a
stirring of the senses a
purring within the soul like
a gentle breeze that causes the chest to flare and
the eyelids to close Not
to see what they cannot see But
to lend vision to an exploration Of
being, cause, reason, soul, spirit and life.
…All is in good measure here there
is no overload of the senses no
urge to fight nor
to flight emotions
stretch toward introspection but
rush to determine or feel Only
to bathe in the temerity of the moment and
the solemnity of this grace A
spiritual transaction more potent perhaps by
“Make sure you pull out the weed with its root”, my grandfather would instruct me lovingly, over the garden sounds of the water sprays emerging from hoses, whistling leaks at the garden faucets and the chirping of birds in dark trees silhouetted against the dawn.
I was but a teenager or younger, impatient to boot, loving our time together in his garden but unappreciative of his requirement for thoroughness. Both, my years in boarding school and my demanding parents before and since then had appeared to care only about one metric, one measure of success… “Was the job you set out to do completed?” If the evidence suggested that it was, then it was proof enough. So without knowing it, and without anyone intending it, my reactions, even my instincts were honed to present successful, quick and efficient completions. It didn’t always matter that I didn’t pull every weed out by its root or wash every dirty dish with soap or clean the tires on the car at the end of the long carwash ritual.…
I saw him stumble and reach out for my hand
one so sure-footed that others had always reached out for his.
I heard him panting and gasping for breath
one so strong that it had appeared he never rested.
I felt him grasp tightly, my arm for balance
one so independent that he had seemed to need no help
I saw him tear up as he reflected on of his life
one so driven that he’d seldom looked back
I heard him talk about the feelings and hurt
one so formidable that we’d never considered his pain
I felt him turning spiritual and philosophical
one so practical that he had appeared only to see the material.
He thinks today’s is the last suit he’ll ever buy
a man who seldom acknowledged endings
He recapped simple instructions as we drove
a man who knows how to do everything
He said things that are obvious and apparent
a man who had little patience with chit-chat.
He thanked me today for a suit I bought him
a man who bought me every suit I’ve ever owned
He wondered aloud why people are mean
a man …