Poem on his Birthday

In the sunlit expanse of mustardseed,
By the river’s winding journey and the sea’s intricate dance,
Where cormorants skim the surface,
In a house raised on stilts amid the chatter of birds,
This day, a mere grain of sand in the curved bay’s solemn embrace,
Marks the celebration and dismissal
Of his thirty-fifth orbit around the sun;
Herons, soaring like spires and spears.

Around him, the flounders and gulls follow prescribed paths,
Executing their cold, fading routines,
Obligingly doing what nature commands,
Curlews proclaim their presence in the tangled waves,
Working tirelessly until their final breath,
While the poet in the elongated room,
Tolls the bell of his birthday,
Navigates toward the ambush of his inevitable wounds;
Herons, majestic and towering, bestow their blessings.

As thistledown falls gently,
He sings into the realm of anguish; finches trail
In the claw prints of hawks
Across a seizing sky; small fishes glide
Through narrow passages and the remains of sunken
Ship towns to the abode of otters. In his slanted, turbulent abode,
And the coiled intricacies of his craft, he observes
Herons walking in their ethereal shroud,

The river’s robe of minnows weaving around their silent prayer;
And far at sea, he understands,
As he labors toward his stooped, eternal conclusion
Under a serpent-shaped cloud,
Dolphins dive in a tumultuous dance,
Rippled seals streak down to hunt, their own tide painting the sea red
As it gracefully slides into the sleek mouth.

In a cavernous, suspended
Wave’s silence, melancholy angelus bells toll.
Thirty-five bells sing on skull and scar where his loves lie shattered,
Guided by the falling stars.
And tomorrow weeps in a blind cage,
Awaiting the impending eruption of terror
Before chains yield to a flaming hammer,
And love unbolts the darkness.

And he freely embarks on the journey,
Lost in the unknown, illuminated by the magnificent
And legendary presence of a dear God.
Darkness is a path, light is a destination,
Heaven, never existing nor ceasing, is eternally true,
And within that tangled void,
As abundant as blackberries in the woods,
The departed flourish for His delight.

There, he may wander unfettered
With the spirits of the horseshoe bay
Or the deceased along the stars’ seashore,
Amid eagles’ marrow, whale roots,
And wishbones of wild geese,
With the blessed, unborn God and His Ghost,
And every soul as His priest,
Entranced and chanting in young Heaven’s embrace,
Attaining a tranquility that ripples through the clouds.

But darkness is an extensive journey.
He, on the earth of the night, alone
With all the living, offers prayers,
Aware that the surging wind will scatter
Bones from the hills,
Boulders will bleed, and the final
Angry, shattered waves will kick
Masts and fishes toward the silent stars,
Faithlessly toward Him,

Who is the eternal light
Of the ancient and air-formed Heaven where souls grow wild
Like horses in the foam:
Oh, let me mourn midlife by the shrines
And Druidic herons’ pledges,
The journey to ruin I must undertake,
Dawn ships battered ashore,
Yet, even as I cry with a tumbling tongue,
Counting my blessings aloud:

Four elements and five
Senses, and man, a spirit in love,
Weaving through this spun slime
Toward his haloed bell, a cool kingdom come
And the lost, moonlit domes,
And the sea that conceals its enigmatic selves
Deep within its dark, foundational bones,
Harboring the murmurs of spheres in the seashell flesh,
And this ultimate blessing,

That the closer I approach
To death, as one man among his fragmented vessels,
The brighter the sun blossoms
And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults;
With every wave of the journey
And gust I confront, the entire world,
With a more triumphant faith
Than ever before in the history of time,
Spins its morning of praise,
I hear the bounding hills
Grow lively and verdant in berry-brown
Fall, and the dew-larks sing
Taller in this thunderclap of spring, and how
More adorned with angels ride
The mansouled fiery islands! Oh,
Holier now are their eyes,
And my radiant companions no longer solitary
As I sail out into the embrace of eternity.