Back in 1996, I had the good fortune of literally sitting at the feet of the great Vermont Poet, David Budbill, as he shared his poems with my Cohort at Vermont College of Norwich University in Montpelier, Vermont. He was so earthy, in fact, David was as much as “earthy monk” as any person I ever met. He was amazing, humble, down to earth, true blue Vermonter (although he was born in Cleveland, OH). I love his words and this spectacular poem came into my Inbox and I looked David up online only to learn that he died back in September 2016.
Saddened by this, it is right and fitting that one of my favorite poems of David Budbill be shared here…especially since I now reside in the neighboring state of New Hampshire and I am deep in the soulful state of Winter
Enjoy David Budbill
Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first
through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop
and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.
I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening
a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.
Source: While We’ve Still Got Feet
Author’s Note: Today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day in terms or actual daylight. So in honor of the Creator’s grand order of changing Seasons and in celebrating them, I offer these poems.
Autumn is slumbering into winter,
messy and graceful like God’s ongoing
Advent within us.
And the World stands
Like it did once on a Holy Night
thousands of years ago.
Winter Solstice Luna
Brilliant ivory friend of mine,
rising with quiet passion over the
you, all fecund…
me, all lost, empty and searching…
You light my way, oh gracious Luna,
Lighting the splendid darkness of my
night with Divine light.
The late afternoon sky reminded
me of old, worn out bones,
ashen gray but filled with a holy Spirit,
mine and God’s.
and I wondered if my life would be as
much of a gift to those who have
been such a Gift to me…
Dreams of Mercy
I dreamed of walking through
Emerald forest…hanging all
The worries and weights of my body,
Upon thick, uneven
I felt the wind blow the
Dust out from within this
Wounded temple. I heard the whimpering
Cries of (old)
Grief come to have a say.
This grief felt so laden, so familiar,
All the years of want and the scars of
Letting go, all came out of this
The trees dared me
To let this
Grief hollow out my bones with mercy,
To paint the walls of my heart, the colors of
White & black. I have failed this challenge
Pregnant opportunities to be held
By an urgent compassion.
Too often I have walked away, full of myself
And empty of the Truth. But today,
Today I dreamed of walking through
My fingers tracing poems in the
Worn flesh of their bark…
A monk once said to me:
your faith should be like tea served Ch’an style
– rough, warm, and loosely wrapped;
and your religion the same:
warm to the touch,
& hewn on the edges of life.
the mystics great gift is
feeding hungry ghost
along the Way.
An old Abbot leaned against his cane,
rambling on about being invited to sit at the table of the new emperor.
“imagine me,” the wrinkled old sage giggled,
“being there with the divine emperor
& all those rich people.”
But Abbot, I said,
“you are the rich people.”
I awoke from a dream…
feeling like a habit held together by
flesh & grace…
so filled with God even
the Emptiness brimmed over.