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 Spirit Chimes

A Portable God



All morning I have sought
enlightenment under the pines,
and I'm filled like
wind-dried linen
with the mossy light
they exhale,

and still I have no answers.

At first it was the infant
powder of dawn I praised.
I breathed it like wild
perfume that unraveled
everything tame
inside me,

I crossed a rocky stream
that spoke in diamond
proverbs like a monk.
I breathed it too.

Still no answers.

I want the smaller God
of my childhood . . .
an almost-human wisp of
gold floating back and forth
through the veil
between us.

How cruel to live behind
this drape of birth and death
with only enough
answers to keep us asking,

but here, under a sky
so much like a god,
even with wisdom we've
touched in our best dreams,
even with a throne of six
billion questioning souls
and terrible beauty,

there was a moment when
I was simply alive.
No reasons. No next
breath, only
one frozen infinity
distilled to this
beautiful Now.

I want the soft-spoken God
of my childhood.

Winter mornings on my way
to school,
clouds polished into opal
and trees of ink spilling
toward their gods,
I put on mist like a second soul.

So afraid.

But there was my Jesus,
sometimes just a picture on
a well-worn card . . .
creases across eyes gazing
past all the world's pain into
an attainable heaven.

Reachable then.

I am now sick with passion for
untamed places and brown
fragrance that opens doors to
the afterworld around
every corner as I walk
through an ever-growing forest.

But I have to return to
the world and all its empty
and exotic voices,
each a different message
written in fear . . .
blood, scribbles, sweat
streaming down pages we could
tear up
but choose to keep,
so random
so unconscious

etched by some drunken
scribe outside ourselves,

while here
there is only one voice
and a God in my pocket and
in my chest that glows like a
gasp of memory,

sky-soaked,
fire-touched,

a God in love with life and
every gust of incense inside
my green cathedral and
every unseen city living
strange lives inside the soil,
and every universe beyond

and every starry corner
of my very old
and very young soul.

Patricia Joan Jones

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