when it happens

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Image: Ancestor, pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

“We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us. ”
Thomas Merton
*

when it happens,
will I feel the dark waters
seep into my lungs, hear the silence
pour thickly through my ears,
taste the bitterness
of uncried
tears?

I’ve heard how it rattles
as it jimmies locked doors
searching for any opening
to surprise sleeping cells,
strangle
the innocent
heart.

As the wave washes through my mind
Will I feel terror
as I flee
to higher
ground?

Or will I quit
this tragic trip just
seconds ahead of death’s cold grip,
and ascend to you,
slender and
shining
and new?

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2 thoughts on “when it happens

  1. This is the poem of a mystic, Steven. The final stanza’s question is one that all of humanity, all of our ancestors, have asked over and over again. I know how you answer the question. I am probably not as sure, but I appreciate deeply the mystics who can see beyond the veil of reality and feel the movements of the universe. I have some health problems right now, at least temporarily, but we’ll see, and have been seeing one of the best known Navajo medicine men. I have gone through one ceremony and will be going through another on Monday. The music of his spirit reminds me of Ethel’s drawing in the context of your poem, reaching affirmation in the objects that you touch that have been handled by generation after generation of medicine men through time. A good effort, my friend.

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