ODE TO MY QUINCE FOREST

ODE TO MY QUINCE FOREST

Spring is proliferating!
Daffodils have come and gone,
The roses are swelling into life,
Spinach is sweet and about to bolt,
Tomatoes, broccoli, squash …
and weeds. weeds. weeds.

I look out my French door
onto the gardens….
Our Quince Bush has spawned
a forest of newborn baby quinces!!!

Roots DEEP and stubborn,
their rhizome has become an
underground labyrinth
of obstinate forces,
a weedy mafia,
a relentless triathlon course
for these octogenarian muscles.

I’d much rather sit here
and write a poem about Quince roots,
how they interfere and refuse
to go away,
and how they must surely
have some secret purpose
awaiting human knowledge
before they transform the world
with their profound surprise.

I’d much rather avoid the
hot sun,
be a reasonable old man,
remain inside with
my faithful dog Winston, and
air conditioning.

However,
sitting here
basking in naïve hope is not
curtailing that bourgeoning, now
scandalous, Quince Forest.

May 18, 2017, Hal Edwards

OCTOGENARIAN POTENCY

OCTOGENARIAN POTENCY

There has come a stage
in this man’s timeline
when strength is measured
in other ways.

Once a youthful muscular athlete,
a daredevil, lover, entrepreneur,
workaholic and steadfast helper,
now less compulsive,
a less determined sort,
more flexible,
more grounded in the reality
of limitations and closures,
I observe myself.

And what is strength?
What does potency mean
for one who has “been there,
done that” ten thousand times?

This is my time
to honor the seasons
and times and shifts of Mother Nature.

What do I have to prove?
Where do I need to go?
What remains unlived in my timeline?
What’s on my bucket list?

Perhaps real potency
is the capacity
to be aware,
to be aware of my existence,
to observe with curious joy
what I perceive,
what I observe,
what I feel and experience.

Perhaps real potency
is to be present
to mud and stars,
to listen and learn
and live in this moment,
here and now.

May 18, 2017, Hal Edwards

CHRIST

CHRIST

CHRIST AND DREAMS
Christ, the Dream Maker;
Christ, the dream;
Christ the dreamer.
Christ the interpreter;
Christ the Way.

CHRIST IS TAO
Christ is Tao,
Christ is Chi;
Christ is Buddha,
Christ is Gandhi.
Christ is this;
Christ is that.
Christ is all nothing;
Christ is all fullness.

CHRIST, HOPE OF GLORY
Christ is me, the hope of glory.
Christ is you, the hope of glory.
Christ is time, the hope of glory.
Christ is space, hope of glory.
Christ is matter, hope of glory
Christ in creation, the hope of glory.
Christ is Existence, the hope of glory.
For me to live is Christ, the hope of glory.

CHRIST THE MYSTERY
Christ the breath;
Christ the breather.
Christ the journey;
Christ the pilgrim.
Christ the seeker;
Christ the truth.
Christ the pieces,
Christ the Whole.
Christ is dying;
Christ is life.
Christ is
the Mystery.

CHRIST IN ME
I am Christ in my spirit;
I am Christ in my being;
I am Christ in my birth;
I am Christ in my becoming;
I am Christ in the flesh;
I am Christ;
WE ALL ARE CHRIST;
It is Christ;
They are Christ.
All creation is Christ.
Christ is Creation’s DNA.
Christ is God ‘s full essence
in all and all.

CHRIST AND HISTORY
Christ is our Story;
Christ is our Book of Life.
Christ is our suffering;
Christ is our death;
Christ is our resurrection.
Christ is our falling down;
Christ is our getting up again.
Christ is our coming;
Christ is our going.
Christ is our Alpha;
Christ is our Omega.
Christ is the Eternal Now,
Christ is the finite now.
Christ is God’s totality in me;
Christ is my totality in God.

4/1/2017
Wauconda
Hal Edwards

GRACE, THE OPEN DOOR

GRACE, THE OPEN DOOR

In the alpha
and omega
of every moment
every day
of every week,
every year
of every decade,
every century
of every cosmic millisecond…
Grace
keeps The Door open.

In the beginning and
after the ending
of every
marriage and divorce,
birth and death,
sickness and wellness,
abandonment and betrayal,
injustice and catastrophe…
keep The Door open.

Whatever happens,
grace reigns,
grace remains.

Whatever does not happen,
grace maintains,
grace remains.

Whatever comes and goes,
grace sustains,
grace remains.

So
keep The Door open.

Bundle up every hurt,
every loss,
every confused misunderstanding;
Gather every unhealed grief
and thriving grievance…
Gather all resistances
and resentments,
memories of shame
and blame…
bring them Home,
through The Door,
into perfect Love.

Everything sad,
everything bad,
everything mad…

all yearnings unfulfilled,
all desires unmet;
all dreams swallowed
into ten thousand
darkened sewers
of saddened yesterdays…

every good deed unrecognized,
every unconditional gift rejected,
every unfinished symphony
of exquisite harmony
now abandoned…
Open the door and
bring them home.

every unfinished manuscript;
every prayer unanswered;
every loving attempt thwarted,
every abandoned intention—

These deserted refugees
of humanity…
these faithful fissured features
of a moaning creation…
these are the things
angels and gods
were fashioned to embrace.

All shattered investments,
now embellished by Grace,
at once,
in the twinkling of an eye,
have become
a deep reservoir
of Sacred Joy.

“Where sin abounds,
grace abounds even more.”
Romans 5:20

-Hal Edwards
Wauconda
February 18, 2017

OUR CEASELESS NOW

OUR CEASELESS NOW

Our ceaseless life

together

is one timely woven

continuum

of relationships,

events,

experiences,

surprises and

opposites.

We continue

to experience

the equalizing pain

and joy

of being our

perfectly

imperfect selves.

Everyday,

somehow and

some way,

our evolving ego

confronts

the deeper

strength

of the

Spirit of

our Depths.

Everyday,

the cross

that has our name on it,

awaits

our integrity

to refine

our true meaning

and purpose,

reshaping, redefining

what is is

to grow

and heal

and serve

in Love.

How we take

those sharp jabs

of inner and outer

voices

sharpens

our prevailing trust

in this

Sacred Process.

They—all of them—

the healing voices

and

the hurtful voices—

are solid servants of

Divine Presence

working in us.

“My problems

may be a ton,

my problems

may be an ounce;

but it ain’t how

big or little they are;

but how I take’um

that counts.”*

So,

thank You for Your

supportive affirmation;

and thank You for

every sacred scar.

We choose to heed and heal

them all,

slowly,

painfully and gratefully,

one by one,

through myriad experiences

of humbling self-awareness

and loving

non-attachment

determined to

awaken and evolve,

grow and serve.

Divine Love

is such a

crazy wonderful Force.

At once that pernicious snake

in the garden

and the guiding star of hope

remain close by.

Our resistance

and humiliation—

confirming our human

margins,

placed in Transforming Presence—

fall upward

into release,

harmony

and insight.

Another learning

liberates!

Delicious new wine

spills over our glasses!

Our ceaseless lives

embrace another

glimpse

of Ceaseless Life

here, now.

(* A poem I learned in childhood)

Hal Edwards

April 22, 2016

Wauconda

FOREVER A FORGIVING FAMILY

FOREVER A FORGIVING FAMILY

Okay, family dear,

it is my time….

Time to wake up, time to

name my soulful “repentings.” *

It’s time to shout from my rooftop

because

Love’s ah-ha moments

have shattered

my outmoded and judgmental

perceptions.

Now is my time;

Here is my place

to emancipate all family prisoners

from my self-made

psychic prison house.

“Why, of course!”

How could you

give

to me

what you

did not experience

from others?!

“I forgive you,

and, oh please, forgive me;

I did not know

what I was doing

or how my choices

influenced everyone

in our family.”

It is my time

to say Yes!!

It’s a magnificent time

to gather all my

inner idiots

and bless them,

liberating each tired illusion

one by one,

with soulful eyes.

Goodbye, old projections,

calcified resentments,

hardened expectations,

petrified, immobile

attitudes—

my time has come!

With one single second

of awareness

a rust-riddled doorway

creaks open

and I walk through

a once impenetrable wall,

which no longer exists.

Suddenly, mysteriously,

a Light shines out of

my darkness;

calmness permeates

and alters

a mirage of

hurtful memories

mummified by my self-made

inaccurate expectations.

My shadow-work courageously updated;

forgiveness refined,

a full circle

of appreciation

now embraces all things

into gratitude.

This awareness

of

forgiveness realized

did not come overnight…

Ten thousand fits of hunger

stormed against my spirit;

ten thousand questions

refused to go unattended;

ten thousand revelations

cracked me open.

Forgiveness wins over.

Mother, I do forgive you;

I ask your forgiveness.

I have awakened to

the traumatic consequences of

your fatherless and muffled childhood….

a story you could never tell or remember.

Your muted story, buried forever in

the oblivion of glazed-over forgetfulness,

shaped, influenced and honed

my decisions and

my destiny.

Dad, I do forgive you;

I ask your forgiveness.

Sensitive and dutiful son and father,

handsome youthful hero,

a gifted athlete with unlived potential,

you carried the unbearable pain

of your mother’s great grievings in your

unconsciously compassionate heart.

You died ten miles from

where you were born,

finally released from

the bittersweet naivety

of your unnamed mother complex.

Mother and Daddy,

how perfectly imperfect you

sacrificed and

loved us four boys.

You gave us your best.

No regrets linger for me;

all that heavy lead

has been transformed

into glittering gold.

Nothing lost,

nothing left to forgive;

everything matters;

because everything belongs.

The good, the bad, the ugly,

the hidden and the exposed;

everything belongs to the whole now:

the blunders and the surprises,

the pangs of hunger and yearnings;

the subdued frustrations and the cries of victory;

the tormenting gaps and the delightful ecstasies;

the traumatic losses and delightful surprises;

the melancholy and the bliss;

the intensely charged and the remarkably restful—

My relationships, now

unfettered from inflexible expectations

rooted in the past,

now liberated by Love’s laser beams,

are at rest.

We did some good work!

I thank you all.

  • Repent actually means to wake up, to change one’s mind, to outgrow an old worldview, like a snake outgrowing its old skins, like new wineskins for new wine.

Hal Edwards

February 8, 2016

Wauconda

THE PUNGENT SMELL OF DEPRESSION

THE PUNGENT SMELL OF DEPRESSION

 

For almost ten years

I stood on that unsafe edge

of my psychic abyss.

This downward spiral

had no reigns to tug,

no brakes to halt

my incessant

descent

into delusion

and despair.

My cells caught

these psychic plights

and enhanced my

fear and anxiety

into agony and

the “normality” of

discomfort.

Great charismatic

camouflage,

Herculean creativity

and compulsive humor

served to armor

me from the

Spirit of my Depths.

Eventually, after ten years

of dark nights of depression

and ignored signs,

I caved in;

I wore out;

I stopped bargaining…

too weak to try

one more time.

(Thankfully, without

knowing it,

my sickness

was already in the process

of making me well.)

I did not know the Way;

I merely realized that I

craved and yearned for

Something so illusive

and so realistic,

so impossible

and quite probable.

I vividly recall

waking up one morning

after a big dream

saying aloud,

“Oh God!! 

The pain of my existence

is too heavy to bear.  Heal

me or 

please 

let me die.”

Would you know, in that stark

millisecond of spontaneous

heart-cry from my

unconscious inner knowing,

I somehow “knew,”

beyond any rational knowledge,

that this unbearable psychic

wrenching was

an angel of truth

dressed up like

a demon from hell.

I cried out to Someone

within, Something beyond.

I saw myself standing on the

sharp edge of a gigantic abyss.

My toes overhanging the rim

of a bottomless darkness, I

had this stark fearful urge…

to jump!!

I stood there, it seemed like

a timeless endless moment;

I stood there on the brink of

that precipice.

Suddenly, I let go of my fear

and fell forward

into the

black

empty

void.

I swirled and twirled downward,

into a endless darkness.

In desperation and weakness,

I let myself free fall.

Slowly the darkness changed.

Dark purple, then blood red.

Finally a tiny light seemed to

form at once both

a sense of dawn and twilight.

Gradually more light expanded

into what now seemed like

a birth canal.

Like a stunned Jonah vomited

upon the shoreline

of Nivinah,

I awakened from the

ordeal,

sweating and vibrant and exhausted

from intensity.

I turned onto my back,

glanced upward

into the clear blue skies

and felt the welcomed brush of

a summer breeze

cooling the nervous

sweat from my drained body.

I knew something was different,

but words or thoughts failed to

capture that moment.

Only years later

have I come to

see the miracle

and mystery

of that moment.

All I know is,

fear fell into that

dark abyss

and love was

born from

that birth canal.

Despair caved into hope,

I fell upward

out of emptiness

into fullness,

out of not understanding

into the inexplicable experience

of knowing.

Reflecting now,

on that

epiphany some decades ago,

I drew desolate depression

to transform

and guide my

beloved shadow,

only

to discover that

the graces of the gods,

(not my own trying harder)

was my true Essence.

In time this shifted

my worldview, my reality.

Shame, blame and trying harder

were no longer my warders.

Like clear skies after

the flashes of lightening

and rumbling of thunder,

the landscape of my soul

felt refined and cleansed.

Now, after many a free-fall

and many surprises,

I now see

how transforming

that darkness has become.

It was my dark depression

that lit up the night

of my depression.

Only in the experience of

leaning into my own darkness,

surprised by the Unknown Knower,

trusting beyond reason,

letting go into the abyss

of incredible gentleness,

did I come to myself.

It was Refining Love hidden away

in my suffering

all along!

Thank you, Depression.

Thank you, bottomless Abyss.

Thank you, camouflaged Shadowlands.

Thank you, Emptiness.

Thank you for edging me out of my nest.

Thank you for showing me

that I can fly

with the wings

of the wind.

February 6, 2016

Hal Edwards

Wauconda

THE DAY I DIE or A Sweet Time to Go

THE DAY I DIE

or

A Sweet Time to Go

Like sitting by the

open window

on a warm Spring day;

Like sipping my

most delicious

homemade

early morning

mocha;

Like hearing the

caw-caw-cawing

of distant crow calls

and the pungent

aroma of lilacs;

I offer my final

conscious

breath.

I bid goodbye to

this lifetime;

I thank all

the memories

and melodies,

messes and

messages

accrued

during

my short visit.

I inhale it all,

I exhale it all.

Stillness and peace

cloak me

in Divine Love.

One final

breath away.

HLE- 5/23/15

Wauconda

ADDICTED TO SALES

ADDICTED TO SALES

“Save more money at Menards”

Capitalism’s adrenalin rush

has easily become

America’s greatest epidemic.

When I was a little boy

in the after-years of the

Great Depression

my grandma gave me

a piggy bank

and started me off

with a few pennies.

“When you get enough saved

you can maintain

your very own

bank account

and earn interest

on your savings account,”

she said.

I proudly and regularly

visited

that pint jar

in the top dresser drawer

next to my socks and underwear,

depositing my pennies

and nickels.

I made my own bank deposits.

As my pennies grew

I experienced a certain

satisfaction

and a subtle sense of security.

Eventually

as a youth

 I capitulated, I

looked for good sales

and spent my savings

on Stuff.

Exciting Stuff—

Stuff for my girlfriend,

Athletic stuff,

Fun Stuff,

Stuff that made me

look good,

smell good,

eat good.

In my late 20’s

Lorraine taught me

to

save 10%,

give away 10%

and

live on 80%.

A challenge well-taken

with four children to educate,

we paid our bills,

we gave to others—

and neglected to save

on a regular basis.

I can only imagine,

in my retirement years,

how different it would be now,

had I invested more

and spent less

on all that

“Good Stuff.”

“Saving…”

means spending more

today.

“Save more money at……”

To hell with delayed gratification.

Like buried mummies

of a forgotten past,

saving money

 has become

 an ancient fossil

in our value system.

There is little incentive

to save today.

While meeting

(or not meeting)

basic needs,

the everlasting “big sale”

captivates

and enshrines

our illusion

that instant “good buys”

are more important

than saving

for some unknown

and unpredictable

future.

We are “Stuffed” people;

our garages, closets and basements

are buldging showcases

of all the Stuff

we bought

during wonderful

sales.

We did have fun

with all that Stuff;

and we also flouted

delayed gratification.

Oh well.

I need and desire

less and less

as I celebrate

my wonder-filled

old age.

Its simplifying time now;

Goodwill Stores

do prosper

from folk like me.

-Hal Edwards

January 21, 2016

Wauconda

ITS ALMOST CHRISTMAS AGAIN….

ITS ALMOST CHRISTMAS AGAIN….

Its almost Christmas

Again.

“O come, let us adore Him…”

Our house now all set

for children and grandchildren

and beautiful friends.

 

“Joy to the world…”

Presents almost wrapped;

spices and condiments

and sugar cookies and

gravy and turkey

are about to parade

through our kitchen.
“God rest you, merry gentlemen and gentle women…”

Another Christmas

and I am yet a kid again;

my heart and body

ringing with the familiar

carols of new birth and hope.

 

“We three kinds of orient are…”

Scrambling, family, children,

siblings, schedules and all

the stuff that we stuff into

our reunions;

fantasies, hurts, hopes

and loyalties—

its all about being together,

practicing the evolution of

healing love,

the ever fierce practice

of love.

 

“Away in a manger….”

This Christmas

will be my eighty-first.

A caravan of Christmases

line up for my attention,

four score and one,

each uniquely perfect and

different,

each exactly choreographed

by the landscape of my

own meanings.

 

“and God send you a happy new year…”

Will Jill’s gravy out-taste

her last perfectly delicious batch?

Will our families bless one another

and look back and say,

“Ah, how good to be together!”?

 

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining…”

Will our giving and receiving

of spirit and Stuff and Things

reflect our loving kindness

and gratitude for life itself?

Will our table talk

offer the delicious taste

of hilarious gratitude, stories, and

a life of timely graces?

 

“Fall on your knees and hear the angel voices…”

Again, this year,

shall we unwrap each other

and look into the open mangers

of  our smiles with happy tears

and wonder at such miracles?

 

“With the dawn of redeeming grace…”

For, dear ones,

we are the manger

where Christ is reborn

in each of us.

We are the wondering shepherds

in awe of such incredible

light and glory.

We are Mary and Joseph,

not capable of understanding

why such marvelous and

precious Life

has come through us

into the world.

We are the wise men and women

who have traveled

far and long,

following the stars of

heart and soul and imagination—

to this moment,

to this table,

to this circle of love.

 

“Christ the savior is born, Christ the savior is born…”

Its almost another Christmas,

and we are the

nativity scene,

we are the angels

and the shepherds

and wise ones bearing gifts;

yes, we are—

and the camels and

sheep and lowing cattle;

we are indeed…

and each of us,

a blessed son and daughter of God,

a living Christ

in the original and eternal core of

our existence.

 

“Sleep…in heavenly peace…”

The magic of Christmas

goes with us

wherever we go,

whatever we do.

Everyday

is Christmas

and Valentines

and Easter

and Good Friday

and Pentecost,

Halloween and Thanksgiving

for

every day resides

in all days.

 

       “Oh come ye, come ye to Bethlehem,”

And we have come,

yes, we will come

again and again and again

to this place,

to this circle of peace

and forgiveness and joy.

 

“Glory to God in the highest…”

let us adore

the Christ in all humanity.

Let us kneel before one another

and taste the deep Spirit of Life

Who gave us birth,

Who sustains our true Passion,

Who celebrates the Eternal

ever living Essence—

Who and Whose we are.

 

“Here we come a’wandering…”

Its almost Christmas

every day of our lives.

Its meaning is destined

by our choices…

… always,

whatever the circumstances,

the choice is ours.

 

December 16, 2015

Wauconda

Hal Edwards