Moonset sky so full
of frost the midnight bells
ring cold, clear to my boat.
Crows are cawing just outside
Chang Chi’s old mountain
temple. One city pilgrim,
facing the fishing lamps of river
oaks, rocks himself to fitful sleep.
THE HEART’S GRAVITY
Caught every day in a tangle of need for love,
we forget our planet’s precarity (how brief).
We whirl at measured speed like ball to glove,
the icy Hale-Bopp comet, or pre-dawn thief.
We do but fleetingly recall how small
is the whole squeaky story of humankind,
Each I a spurt of light, ‘til death does blind,
myriad figures swarming in the starry all.
Danger knowing, we blithely venture out
as though our minds had truth and worth.
Born to trust ourselves in spite of doubt,
it is meet we cannot see these ties to earth
that bind our feet and spin our hands to art.
Words clutter the eyes. Give ear to heart.
Mate, I have loved and loved
and gotten myself in incredible binds,
experienced some shallowness and highs,
questioned the soundness of my soundings,
tested the brokenness of my heart,
torn the spider webs of my breast,
stunted the fullness of my days,
fixed my feet in a permanent maze,
broken my compass so it always points west.
Now with new-drawn chart we dare set course,
sights locked onto freedom, so certain that
we can avoid love’s lies, dodge the deceptions
a doubter finds; and, clear of foundering,
refute what all heartbroken poets proved.
- Maxwell D. Ochs
- Severna Park, Maryland