Tag: spirit

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Formidable Maiden of the Fountain, Central Market, Valencia, Catalonia, Spain

First Responders

She strode from the chaos
With an extraordinary self-possession
Intent on some minor stain or damage to her frock
As if all that mattered in this world
Was her appearance in it

It was impossible to know
If her composure reflected disoriented shock
Or disdain for the physical danger
She had not yet entirely escaped
Until she let the hem fall down her thigh
Turned her attention toward her destination

Determined steps splashed a path
In a straight line through flotillas of shattered debris
Which seemed to have drifted in a pattern
Intended to allow her unobstructed exit
Books, papers, and various other shards of detritus
Drifted in the eddies of unsettled water
Which she cleaved like a great ship through choppy seas

In countenance and action
She exhibited a formidable and resolute presence
Like the war film fantasy of the battalion commander
Who leads his troops through a barrage
Of bullets and shrapnel
Upright, undeterred, intent not on the enemy
But the objective beyond their defensive lines

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Mosaic, The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Mosaic

I marvel at the mosaic
Its intricate tile work
Follow the lines around
On their dizzying journey

Then notice the shapes
How each tile had to be cut
Individually
By hand
Just so
Or it would not fit

The precision
It’s astonishing

I draw back a little
And see the larger forms
Shaped by the small tiles
The lines weaving their way
Through the forms
Linking one to another
Delineating them

Then notice the star
In the lower left corner
Or is it a sphere?
How do you create the sense
Of a soft round orb
With nothing but straight lines
And hard edges?

But neither my eye
Nor my mind
Can linger there long

Follow the trail
Walk the maze
A lazy, meandering drive
Through rolling country

Up to the chains
All interlocked
Each link with its own form
Peanuts and hearts
Circles and infinity

Then the letters
Is there any written language
So beautiful as Arabic
In the hands of an artisan
Filigree relief in plaster
Harmonious
With the sweeping strokes

I understand the grace of Rumi
With such elegant script
As a medium
And wonder at what beauty
The translated words
Might speak to me

I step back
Take in the wider view
Such conscious beauty here

But I cannot hold all of it
Not in my mind
Not all at once

The lines and shapes
The forms and individual tiles
The curling words
All of it intertwined
In space and history and culture
A tapestry of ceramic and plaster and time

A small rectangle of wall
Is all so much larger
And beautiful
Than my ability to hold it all
In consciousness

So I open my heart
Let my spirit become my senses
Let experience touch my being

And there it is
All of it
Not contained by me
By my mind
Or my heart
Or my spirit
But I contained in it

It is not the mosaic
Through which the white lines flow
But myself
And so become I
Part of the mosaic
And the mosaic is me

As suddenly as it came
The awareness passes
Though my memory of it
Remains

All such epiphanies
Great or small
Prove to be
Both ephemeral
And eternal

I stand there
Manifest again
Looking upon a mosaic
On a wall
In a fabulous structure
Built centuries ago
Occupied by many empires since
A mosaic of existence itself

And I wonder
If all along
That was the message intended
By artists and artisans
Who designed and created
One small mosaic on a wall
In the Alhambra

Life
Existence itself
Is a mosaic

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That Inner Life, Boston Pizza Waitress, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Inner Life of Healing

“You are never really gone,” she tells me
“The times you ‘go away’,” she goes on
“Are like your body, treading water
While you process all you’ve learned”

Now I watch my waitress
And I wonder if she is also processing
The traumas of a dimly remembered past
While serving another table’s drink orders

I wonder if the waitress knows
That in the every day of just going along
Her mind, and her heart, and her spirit
Process the hard work that is so upsetting

“You did not go crazy”
“You did not die”
“You lived and never let go of the light
Even when you were plunged into the darkness”

“And all you learned to cope
With the trauma so many years ago
Keeps you alive now
While you heal”