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MIDWINTER RECKONING

Elizabeth Simons

The holy nights of Christmas
birth the light emerging from this planetís star,
and darkened paths grow brighter with the sun.

These foot-framed walkways limn my soul,
and shape the journey
of a cosmic foundling in a fragile world.

I parent pain
while angels line the path
with whispers of a tear-free world;
I long for hope
while darkness dances with the light.

How did I come to take this way?
What day, what date, determined me?
While searching in the turmoil for a gate,
I saw the criss-cross road -
and chose to take it, anyway.

I came to earth to founder in its destiny.
Awakened from my dreams,
I chose to cut my tether to the waning stars
and find my freedom in their wake.



THE DYING OF THE LIGHT

We worship rising stars,
but setting suns are not revered.
They signal change;
receding tides and slowly fading destinies
replace the Easter greening of our hopes.

We yearn for orchestrated possibilities,
predictable and safe,
and want our soulís own dwelling place
unbent, and smooth with life.

The clockwork consciousness
of brain-encumbered thought
cannot reveal its unremembered name;
the *I* that wakes in sleep
and ultimately learns to say its name
when breath withdraws.

We worship rising stars
that promise luminescence in their wake,
but curse the aging sun
for bringing in the dark
that makes us
reckon with the lonely, untamed landscape of the soul.



TO MAX

You were the first of us to die,
to cross the threshold
where the unseen world abides.
Did spirit-guides await
to take your grave-bound soul aloft?
In leaving,
was the pathway dark?
Or did the self-bestowing truth
illuminate your way?

They put you in the orchard, then,
among December roots
that held the Christmas breath of earth.
Did angeled beings hover there?
For as the wounded ground was filled
I heard no spiritís name
invoked upon your grave.

I linger in the time-bound world and wonder:
Did your journey end?
Or are there places yet to be?
Are you alone,
or are there others gathered where you are?
If I cry out your name
will you need ears to hear it said?

You were the first of us to leave the earth,
and all our educated minds
must bow before the mysteries of the grave.



RESURRECTION

By night, I used to fly,
wingless and body-free
I soared above a dreaming world
where weary souls would never trouble me.

The rivered landscape
slipped beneath my sight,
a green and silver symphony of angeled tunes
to chaperone my flight.

But love got in the way.
It called me down one day
to places where the soil was pierced
and printed with the marks of wounded feet.

The sirens of the sky
sang invitations to my ears.
But here, surrounded by the earth,
I heard my spoken name

and freely chose the grounded path.



© 2002 Elizabeth Simons

Elizabeth Simons is an editor by trade and a poet by heart. She has written many poems, a few short stories, innumerable letters, and has recently completed a manuscript on creative writing for young adults. Ms. Simons currently lives with her husband, Richard, and a calico cat in Columbia, Missouri and works as an editor for the University of Missouri-Columbia.