EPITAPH

EPITAPH

Oh, we do arrive

and we do go.

So much happened

before I arrived,

and much more

will happen

after I go.

And always,

it does seem,

there will be more

to do,

more to become,

and still more

left undone,

left for others

and other times;

while, at the same time,

all is perfectly well.

Weeds not pulled,

a bridge not finished,

manuscripts to refine

and poems

not published;

Every day unfolds

its

magical mystery

and mystical

madness—

and gladness.

I scan the obits,

I peruse their accomplishments—

my contemporaries,

those younger and

those older.

Stories and memories

surface, and fade away,

as I turn the next page

and check on

today’s weather report.

My ashes will forego

a headstone

with elegant epitaph;

they shall,

however,

like yours,

bequeath inevitable

imprints and ripples of

perfected imperfection,

creeks and rivers and

oceans of Love.

I hear my favorite crow

cawing, cawing, cawing, cawing

four times.

All is well.

On with another

unfolding day.

Hal Edwards

June 24, 2015

Wauconda

FEAR AND LOVE

 

FEAR AND LOVE

 

Sometimes

it takes

ten thousand years

to come into Love.

 

Sometimes

it takes

milliseconds

to come into Love.

 

Something deep

and eternal

in the soul of us

seeks and knows

Love.

 

Love brought us here

and Love

welcomes us

into Itself.

 

While Fear merely thinks,

Love always knows.

 

Will and

readiness

to trust

through and beyond

Fear

opens this Door.

 

Without fear

we would not come to trust;

without trust

we would not know Love,

because we cannot think Love,

we can only

receive and give Love.

We can only know Love.

 

Fear is the

chasm of control,

the traumatic fog

where rational ego

is tricked

by an invisible Force.

 

Fear is a ravenous river

capable of drowning all

desires and attachments

of a lifetime.

 

Fear exposes

the Other Side

of our preferred identity,

our dark and denied,

our lost and orphaned,

awaiting Love’s Perfection.

 

Without Fear’s mentorship

we could not know Love—

nor our true Self.

 

Facing and embracing

Brother Fear,

we realize

our total Union

in Sister Love;

for Love awaits us

within

each wounded treasure,

now finally restored,

made safe and

humbled

by gentleness.

 

Hal Edwards

May 28, 2015

Wauconda

FATHER MATTHEW KELTY

FATHER MATTHEW KELTY

What a character!

This old monk,

warrior-lover,

rough and smoothed

as iron by warm butter,

focused and refined

by suffering in

Divine Love.

Merton’s trustworthy

spiritual director,

sanctifying confidences

never to be known

to the outer world,

treasures of Masters

beyond our years,

they both bask in glory.

Bones and flesh

now transmuted

into soil and soul,

their legacies

dance in our hearts

and memories

as we stand on

their shoulders.

Early morning masses,

a delightfully stubborn ox,

an otherworldly smile

on his face,

eyes curled heavenward,

he

quotes beloved Blake’s

“Little lamb, Who made thee?”

Precious monk-man,

your infectious presence

reverberates

unique mind-soulfulness,

even now,

incubating our hearts.

Matthew Kelty,

we are not the same

because you seeded

our pregnant Way,

heartening

our hunger and passion.

Your oar, like

Odysseus’ winnowing fan,

stirred and guided

us with vigor

and integrity.

Your passion

blazes bright

with and within us,

as we humbly

ingest and invest

your eloquent markings,

firmly imprinted

upon our

souls.

Hal Edwards

Wauconda

May 28, 2015

 

Fr. Matthew Kelty, Benedictine monk, gave mass every morning at 4:00 at Gethsemani Abby for decades. He served as Thomas Merton’s confessor during their years together at the abbey.  To read Kelty’s profound homilies, go to:

http://www.bardstown.com/~brchrys/homilies/

I Just Have to Sit Down and Write

I JUST HAVE TO SIT DOWN AND WRITE

Today is too lovely,
too filled with Springtime,
to pick weeds.

Let them grow
and let it rain
so their roots
will yield to
my exercising.

I want to make poetry
out of seeds
and weeds,
of plants
and bushes.

I want to join in
the chorus
of birds
and watch the
squirrels swirl
around the feeders.

I want to smell the
lilac and honeysuckle,
hear the mantra sounds
of our zen waterfall.

I want to sit in the
swing and open my
body and soul
to the shining sun.

I want to smile and
weep a bit,
just sitting in the wonder
of it all.

Springtime is all about
the power of
resurrection and
survival,
making something
out of nothing,
waiting and watching
as Nature dances and
delivers her mystical bounty.

Making poetry out of
Springtime
is all about
being still,
just looking around,
smelling the soft fragrance,
even
waiting until it rains
to pull a few weeds.

-Hal Edwards
Wauconda
May 6, 2015

What? Another Death Poem??

WHAT? ANOTHER DEATH POEM?

I hear you
loud and clear,
my dear precious friend.
I hear you asking me,

“No! Not another one?
Not another one of your
death poems!
Are you obsessed
or entranced
with dying?”

“Are you
hypnotized by
it all?”

“Why do you insist
on writing so much
about dying?

“What is wrong
with you?

“Why can’t you
just be happy
and look at the
bright side of things
and focus
on being alive?”

I can only
but answer you
by saying,

No, I am not obsessed,
nor do I have any
need or desire to die.

Neither do I choose
to dismiss this
most important
moment
of greatest meaning
and purpose.

I sense an inevitable Surprise of Love
that will come to pass;
I welcome whatever
is to come,
as I value
every opportunity
to be present
here and now.

I choose to be present
to my Soul
in my living
and
in my dying and living again.

I seek the same grace
and surrender to
the same grace
exhaling and inhaling,
sleeping and awake,
working and playing,
living and dying.

Graduation Day
is worth
preparing for,
writing about,
reflecting upon
as I
smell the flowers
and lick my
chocolate ice cream
(with almonds).

Wauconda
Hal Edwards
April 25, 2015

Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Disneyworld, Grandpa Story 12

Grandpa Story 12

DISNEYLAND, KNOTTS BERRY FARM AND DISNEYWORLD

Ed Turpin was his name. He was a dedicated, loyal, introverted church trustee at St. Mark’s Methodist Church who fixed our broken parsonage toilet more than once. Every day, in the wee hours of the morning after the last parent and child had left, he swept the parking lots in Disneyland with his huge industrial sweeper. So, guess what? Back in those days we had paper tickets, A, B, C…all the way to J. A was for the Matterhorn ride, and J was for bumper cars and Tea Cup rides!! Ed salvaged tickets strewn around the parking lot, and he gave us a big bunch once or twice every year. Needless to say, there were many more J-tickets left on the parking lot than A’s!!

We lived in Buena Park at the time, in the 60’s, close enough to hear the train whistle at Knotts Berry Farm, and less than five miles from world-famous Disneyland.

Disneyland opened its doors in July of 1955. Six thousand people received special tickets to this gala opening. Unfortunately, twenty-two thousand additional people came with counterfeit tickets. The next day, open to the public, it cost $1.00 to get inside. The plumbing didn’t work; it was a very hot summer day. Women’s high heels sunk in the new asphalt. Thanks to his contracts with movies and TV, Disney made enough money to finance and complete his first dream park. The rest is history.

I remember vividly, December of 1966, when Walt Disney died. Flags flew at half-mast. Tears flowed. One man who shared stories and gave us songs about a duck and a mouse disappeared overnight. Even today at this keyboard little warm tears still hold that moment in memory. And yet, as I walked along Main Street last week and watched the fascinated faces of little children and happy parents, I knew that the soul and vision of that one man was still very much alive…spilling over on all of us.

Living in Southern California was like living in a perpetual vacationland. Countless tandem rides with our young children to and from Knotts Berry Farm, always including the country store with cherry liquorish; plus climbing rocks along the seashore at Laguna Beach; Tinker Bell, Tiki Tiki Room, and Mickey Mouse; sitting among the swallows at San Juan Capistrano Mission; fishing for albacore in the Pacific, visiting Universal Studios in Hollywood, snowball fights two hours up in the mountains, visits to San Diego Zoo and picking deliciously fresh oranges off the trees in Don and Jean Dornan’s orchard. And there were individuals whose lives deeply influenced us.

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ALL I ONCE DESPISED

ALL I ONCE DESPISED

All that I contrived

and despised

in you,

Hal Edwards,

all I sought to

erase or fortify

I irrevocably embrace,

I now concede

to the Greater Gods

who gather all of me,

my light and my darkness,

into

Soul-saving

Reunion.

Yes, you have

sampled Eden’s

forbidden

fruit;

You

have experienced

the intensities of

passion

and soared with

enchanted

wings of grace.

You have groveled through

dark dangerous caverns,

clung from

precarious precipices,

always restless,

searching and yearning

for more depth,

more meaning,

more life-giving purpose.

With your compelling,

all-consuming

passion

for excellence,

you neglected

restfulness and play;

you abandoned

your very soul

while seeking

to save

yourself

through your busyness.

Yes, yes, yes,

I embrace you,

Hal Lamar Edwards, Jr.,

I embrace you,

I forgive you,

I love you

the way you are.

Your divine wound

wears well now.

You limp

with ancient Jacob,

having wrestled

through the long nights

with

your dark angel.

Oh, the list of grievances

goes on and on—

your naïve hopefulness,

your acculturated religiosity,

your narcissistic introspections,

your intellectual snobbery,

your hierarchy of illusions,

your distended self identity,

your positioning for approval,

your ego-centered goodness,

your unconscious arrogance—

Yes, yes, yes.

“Dr.” Hal Lamar Edwards, Jr.,

I did not overlook

your shadowed footprints.

Alas,

good brother,

finally

they lie all spent,

awaiting their

redeeming moment.

Like fermented compost,

the metamorphosis

is well underway.

Well done,

imperfect and faithful

servant.

Welcome.

Your Eucharist awaits you.

Limp gracefully

into the

kingdom

where

Original Goodness

reigns for all.

-Hal Edwards

Wauconda

March 30, 2015

THE INVISIBLE WHOLE

Yellows pinks and purples,

Crocuses, tulips, daffodils,

Ah,

your time has come!

Springtime reawakens

something deep,

breathing quietly from

your invisible roots of darkness,

beyond sight and touch–

until now.

How do you do this?

How do stars

turn to mud, and stems

and blossoms

into color and perfume?

My words want to

retreat,

frightened at my

attempts to explain.

I am doomed to eternal and

inadequate expression

as I search through finite words

within my poor attempts

to explain

the mystery of the Infinite,

Sfully alive,

within

my Self.

Whatever I am,

Wherever I come from,

Wherever I am going,

there is

an inalienable Self,

a Divine human essence,

transcending all

and

permeating everything.

Something surely exists–

an Absolute Reality

before time and space,

before my creation

before all physical creation–

before, during and beyond

chronology’s brief stint.

As the oak wombs within the acorn,

As salt permeates the sea,

As the eagle soars above the clouds—

I embrace my resolve

Under the sun.

-Hal Edwards

once upon a time

in Wauconda

 

 

COURAGE TO LIVE, COURAGE TO DIE

COURAGE TO LIVE
COURAGE TO DIE

Which
calls forth more
courage
in me?

Living or Dying?

Courage calls me
to die daily.
That is what
meditation
invites.

Courage calls me
to live fully
here, now.
That is why
I meditate
every day.

Are living and dying
the Two infallible Faces
of
creation’s existence?

Will living and dying
expand and perfect
my essence and my
destiny?

For me,
to live is
to realize
my own Inner Christ,
my own cosmic
perfection
of Spirit and Matter.

For me to live
is to embody
my human/divine
nature,
suffering and reconciling
all opposites
within my body
and psyche.

For me,
to die is to let go
of every attachment,
of every external dependence,
and
to surrender to the
Unborn Tomorrows
of unlimited
growth and glory.

For me, to live is Christ,
and to die is to gain
more of
my True Self.

May 31, 2014
Wauconda
Hal Edwards