The shaman sits by the fire (A love letter to clergy)
The shaman’s tent sits outside the wall
or at least at the edge, planted,
a vision to be gained by one,
a place to be reached by others
who seek the real in all things,
beneath and within all.
There I sit.
Is it not a space of lonely union?
To be set aside is to be
placed within, a mystery,
not just another–
as if there is an other to see.
Nothing less than a soul, I yearn to be,
driven to become one, aware,
drawn into and through my own life,
being swallowed in the
center of my own being
and finding You resting there.
How can we dare speak of it?
I hold a ancient bronze bowl,
beaten smooth to the finger’s touch.
I stretch out my hand
and gather the prayers like blown glass,
softly placing them inside,
for that is the only place that
the burning truth of them
will not singe and char.
As I slowly peer over the rim
my eyes rest on what lies inside,
catching but glimpse of
the clearness of things, the more
that is there, here, but not seen–
a chosen blindness,
a wound of ignorance.
In quiet moments when the wind brushes by,
the prayers spoken long ago
reach out their hands through time.
How could I have known
that which is my soul, and yours, most sublime?
And while the world shouts around me
Orpheus whispers in my ear
with a fierce truth, a vision, drawn near
of that space where love and grief join hands.
The hope of imagined things.
Do not look back.
Do not look back.
Yes, my soul knows well the one who
crosses the veil on winged feet,
silent and swift and
full of focus, the one with many names we meet,
known by all who step through
and move into the unknown there, and back.
The one who takes the hand and guides
those whose time has come.
Yes, the shaman fans the embers
with life in them still
no matter what robe they wear.
All would do well to remember
deep down and hold close to
the burning flame that lies at
the heart of who they are,
the holy burden of what they can be,