“Our very life depends on continuous acts of beginning. But these beginnings are out of our hands; they decide themselves.
Beginning precedes us, creates us. There is nothing to fear in the act of beginning.
More often than not it knows the journey ahead better than we ever could."
John O’Donohue

23 November 2013: Neponset Estuary


Today I built an altar.
It was an act of desperation, really.

The other parts seem to be functioning
relatively well, but
the part of me that knows
where home is
has been traveling for so long
that it seems to have forgotten
in which lifetime
it left the fires burning.

So I set out flowers
that might seduce
the armored fragility--

a smooth stone
to amuse the mute wisdom
with its tumbling, ancient stories
of adventure--

a jagged stone
to tell the reckless heart,
in wounded silence,
what it knows of mountains
and of arrowheads--

a feather to preach freedom
to the captive will.

Each offers kinship to each,
cautiously hopeful that recognition
will set spark
to some smoldering thing.

The candle in a porcelain saucer
does nothing but burn
until it can burn no longer,
until it is a mottled heap of self-sacrifice.

In its fragment of time,
it sets a perfect ring of light
around this stage of chatter
and courtship.

But it is the darkness outside
that whispers breathless promises--
so that you have to strain, ardently,
to hear.