Everything Waiting to be Born

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.
— Charles Dickens

I have come into this body out of darkness,
out of the starless sea. I am not to blame
for what happened there. Those were difficult
times and I was nothing more than a thought.

The world just had faith I would eventually exist,
the way a pool of water imagines sunrise.
All night long, the waters dream about dawn.
Still I was loved; in stillness, I was loved.
In the Nightland we are all loved.
Which is why, in time, we all return.

I would not have you misunderstand.
Death is not natural, not a part of life
or an event in it. Life is life and death
is something else. We go on, but we go beyond.
So death is not something we can be ready for.
We are alive and live in the light,
and between light and its absence
there can be no compromise.

Yes, those were hard times. Everything
waiting to be born is under stress
and every thought – even those loved
beyond life, beyond time or even thinking –
is a prayer for change.
The darkness around us is deep.

And then I was, I am. Not the One I Am,
just me. Out of everything that is nothing
into everything that is. The infinite light
and this body, Being, and the others left behind.

From that moment until this and until the last
which comes at any unknown, unnamed time,
there is you. There is us and we have played
in high sunlight on the shore and in moonlight
climbing in her arc over these hills and all along
the great valleys. We have never been apart;
not separated by miles or by pain,
or even by the whole body of the world.
I wish it was that way forever, except that maybe
we’d forget the desperate rush of love.

Now I struggle even to remember the middle
of the journey of our life. I look for myself
and see trees, sometimes a man
in the crooked distance – just a speck
in a black coat, years from now.
And that man in the black coat turns,
searching, lost. I am powerless to help.

Still we have each other and these hours.
The climbing moon — bright in a night of breezes —
is sweeping in her gentle arc and singing of the sea.

 

Kyle Kimberlin
May 20, 2016

Note: This poem is for my Mom. I sat down in mid April to write a poem for Mother’s Day and managed to hack out the first 3 stanzas. The rest wouldn’t come. Finally, late last night, in the midst of a long binge on The Grateful Dead, it arrived. Replete with allusion to Dante and homage to Bly and Stafford, it fell from the middle distance homuncular, and with a sigh. 

The Internet is Forever

I read on a couple of blogs that UC Davis paid people to try to expunge the Net of all traces of the pepper spray incident that happened there in 2011. This seems ridiculously futile to me, but I like to play. So lest we forget, here are a couple of links to posts I wrote on another blog, on the day of that brutality.

Students Attacked by Cops at Davis

  • November 19, 2011

Open Letter to the Chancellor of UC Davis

  • November 19, 2011

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
― George Orwell, 1984

We have met the enemy…

No greater mistake can be made than to think that our institutions are fixed or may not be changed for the worse. … Increasing prosperity tends to breed indifference and to corrupt moral soundness. Glaring inequalities in condition create discontent and strain the democratic relation. The vicious are the willing, and the ignorant are unconscious instruments of political artifice. Selfishness and demagoguery take advantage of liberty. The selfish hand constantly seeks to control government, and every increase of governmental power, even to meet just needs, furnishes opportunity for abuse and stimulates the effort to bend it to improper uses. … The peril of this nation is not in any foreign foe! We, the people, are its power, its peril, and its hope!

– Charles Evans Hughes

Pogo_-_Earth_Day_1971_poster

Someone Small

Today we remember our beautiful Stella, who crossed over to The Rainbow Bridge on April 8, 2000. She was amazing.

Footprints

 

‘All I know is something
like a bird within her sang.’

 

I look for her in the morning,
the mockingbirds in her garden
still asleep.  She is not in the hall
or lying by the rockingchair,
watching daylight take
the fences and the orange trees.

 

Her leash is gone from the kitchen
and her toys, so I go out.
There’s sourgrass by the corner;
any dog would stop and sniff.

 

Not there, so I drift a moment
over the freeway, to the bluffs
where I used to watch her run.
Look,  footprints where the trail

 

turns to sand and the salt smell of the sea
comes up.  Someone small has
stopped here just to dance, and see
how the tracks stop. As if she danced
a little while, then flew off.

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Footprints, 2000 by Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

Afternoon with Blue Kite

The dog sniffed the bushes
lately washed by rain
and the ocean rolled
in the wind. I saw
three gulls pass over
the field, a blue kite
doing risky flips and turns,
and a thin cloud like an arrow
pointing north. I thought
north is not the heading
of intractable Time.
But then through
the cloud above the kite
a jet arched along the coast
for San Francisco.
So I thought of you.

 

Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

A Flock of Birds

The sun had been up for an hour, hidden above the clouds that brought rain to their Sunday morning. She made oatmeal with honey and two percent milk. He made the coffee and toast. They sat across from each other at the oak table at the end of the kitchen. The bay window admitted a view of the gathering storm. He had the comics section, culled from the Sunday paper, folded beside his plate. She had nothing to read, and stared out the window at the back garden while she ate.

“Everything is like a flock of birds,” she said, taking a last sip of her coffee. A little more remained but it had gone tepid and bitter. She set the cup down and pushed it away.

“They settled here a while and ate seeds and bathed in the fountain, she said.” “Then one by one flittered up and flew away.”

“Everything is?” he said, but did not look up from the comic strip that was making him smile.

“What?”

He stirred the coffee in his cup and finally looked up at her. “You said everything is like birds. You can’t mean this house is like a flock of birds, or this table, or me. You can’t say everything is like anything because some things are not. Some things are like other things or nothing makes any sense. So what do you mean by everything?”

“I mean life. Life as I thought life was and would be. Life got startled and flew away. Nothing is quite right anymore, and I don’t understand.”

“I see,” he said. “The birds are an existential metaphor; at breakfast, no less.”

“If you insist.”

“I do.” He held the newspaper in front of him and snapped it like a great pair of wings and folded it to see the next page. “Life saw the great cosmic cat in the yard and scattered, took to the trees.”

“You’re mocking me.”

“No, no. Yes. Teasing a bit. So what kind of birds?”

“What?”

“What kind of birds flew away and left nothing but memories?”

“Not real birds.”

“I know,” he said. “But since you’re imagining them, what kind of birds do you see?”

“Little ones. Sparrows.”

“Hungry, nervous little things. No mockingbirds, no hawks or gulls? Nothing more formidable?”

“Just the little birds, like I said. They’re gone and it makes me sad.”

“Well, it’s not quite spring yet, and pretty soon …”

“I realize they come and go and I might blink and see them all returned, or just a few, or many more than ever. I’m talking about how I feel. They’re gone forever, every one of them.”

“And took away the waters of the birdbath, the withered petals and the yellow leaves? I think you need another cup of coffee, Dear.”

“Maybe so. I’m still tired. But it threatens to sour my stomach.”

“I never digest anything well anymore,” he said.

She ignored this, remembering the day when she was four or five and her mother took her to the pond. They had half a loaf of stale bread, to feed the ducks. The large, demanding goose frightened her, and she wept.

“We still have the summer, the memories of it. And it was wonderful. I should be grateful to God for my memories.”

“I understand. And then, you also still have me,” he said.

He pushed away from the table, picked up his bowl and cup and took them to the sink. He started the hot water flowing and went back for her cup and bowl, and the small plate on which they shared the toast. He washed everything in lemony soap while she sat at the table by the window and watched the cold rain fall.

 

 Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed