Dark Morning

And the rain washes away all warmth and certainty, even as it removes the brick, molecule by molecule, from the walls of my house.

And the sky refuses to speak to the Sun, and the Sun turns its back on the moon.

And all who are lost embrace their lost-ness, and all who are not lost refuse to lead.

And one by one the bright lights of the firmament go out.

And the ancient streams run with dark water.

And the ocean floor is an underwater desert,

And the village square is under surveillance.

And yet i, to whom all this was entrusted,

i will shine through this dark morning and entrust my love to the fading stars from which it came. i will no more assail my neighbors and curse my tormentors, for my curses will stick in my throat, and my tormentors will only sharpen their implements more gleefully.

No, i am made for song, and my song is this: the dark morning gives way, and gives way again. i am made to carry love and light, and i will move, even through dark mornings, toward you and all that casts shadow upon you.

You will see me and think: he is a dreamer. i will see you and say: behold, the source of my dream. We were made for each other, and from each other, and our dark mornings all hold the promise of light.

May you hold that light close, and hold it high, in the year that is upon us.

--Mr. Gobley


The Living and the Dead

When you are quiet,
You can hear the living
And the dead.

Humble yourself
And quiet your mind.

Then, suspend your consciousness
At the curving crossroads
Of our atmosphere.
There, the cries
Of the living and the dead
Will rise to you:

The sad and ceaseless sigh,
The last breath of the dying;
The outraged gasp and heroic cry
Of the newly born.

It goes on, this does,
In an endless cycle,
The gasps, the cries,
The releases and the urgent taking hold:

The world works so hard
At making and unmaking
That you can hear it,
Rising from every continent,
If you can just float above them for a moment.

You are a part of this play:
You have shouted your arrival
And you will sigh
Your departure,

But for now,
Just for this brief minute,
You are suspended,
At the edge of our atmosphere,
And rising toward you,
Ever toward you,

Are the cries
Of the living
And the dead...

--Mr. Gobley


Please Rise

If you worship, you will hear these words:

"Please rise."

When you hear them, you will stand up.

But why? Because you are told to?

Or because a moment of particular urgency is at hand?

Or because you want to be closer, just that much closer,
To God?

When you hear these words:

"Please rise" --

Do you rise, with all your intent and intensity,
With all your heart and soul,
With all your corpuscles and neurons;

And do you open your pores, your eyes, your mind,
Along with heart and soul,
To receive?

Whatever your religion is --
Even if none at all, defiantly none,
Denouncing the myth of God and its
Hallucinogenic hold on a mind
Weaker than yours --

You still can rise.
You can rise toward

That Something is waiting for you to rise.

In fact,
You were made to rise.

With all you've got.



--Mr. Gobley


The Spiritual Content of the Modern Office

Some days, i cannot work, because everything has deeper meaning than it was intended to have. Today is one of those days.

And so, because this colored veil has descended before me, i will demonstrate for you how any piece of business correspondence yields a treasure trove of spiritual wisdom.

How a business catch-phrase, or a corporate memorandum, or a strategic plan, is a thinly disguised exercise in spiritual growth, a plaintive cry toward a hidden God, a determined reach into the cosmos.

For example: i glance down at my desk and i see the words "Associate Director."

And from this, i receive the following:

O great Director
Of all tasks,
Great planner
Of significant meetings,
Master of Strategy,
Maker of Meaning:

Let me be so bold
As to assist you
In your undertakings
Large and small;
If i can serve You
Then i can
Know You;

If, in your employ,
i can heal wounds
and convey wonder,
then, in humble association
With You,
And under Your
Providential direction,

i might be so bold
As to become your
Associate Director.

We are all your
Associate Directors.
Let us blossom,
Leaves of learning
On your organizational tree,

That we may lend shade and shelter
To those that rest beneath.


Now i turn my attention to a memo, and i see the words:

"Accounts Receivable"

And from this i receive the following:

i am drying ink
on the ledger of your love.

i live to soak in
and reveal meaning
behind the vastness of numbers
that symbolize your might.

Through you, i am balanced,
Made whole
With that other side
Which also serves;
i rest for mere moments in
Your Accounts Receivable,
Waiting to make whole

The debt that began with the
Indebtedness of
My existence.

When i return to you:
Please receive me.
Balance me.
Mark my column,
So that you may also
Return to me.

i am not productive today. But i am blissfully happy.

May you be happy as well, today and always, as the words and work of another day peel open to reveal your connection to All That Is.

--Mr. Gobley


Offer May Vary

Now, for a limited time only,
You get to live.

That's right!

Against the odds posed by billions of years of wanton destruction, wholesale slaughter, disease, famine and environmental upheaval;

And thanks to evolution, DNA and your mom and dad, you have been chosen to receive this limited, one-time-only* offer!

You get time on Earth as a living, sentient being.

And that's not all.

You also get

  • Limbic
  • Nervous
  • And immune systems
  • Extremities (complete with ten-digit grasping set)
  • Ideas
  • Musculature
  • And 14 ounces of gray matter to organize it all!

Amazing, isn't it?

But wait! There's more!

You get
Hysterical laughter
Sexual release
Tingling sensations
Righteous indignation
Burning love --
All right here in
the Milky Way!!

The only place
in the known Universe
Hospitable to life!!!

Our offer comes with
An almost infinite supply
Of sensation
And action!

All in one body!

All you have to do
Is get out of bed,

And your life is on its way!

Act now.

This offer expires
At some indefinite point
In the future.**

You won't want to miss this exciting experience!

We're so confident you'll enjoy this one-time offer that we'll even include a Skeleton internal carrying frame at no extra cost!

But hurry:
Supplies are limited.

The Operator
Is standing by...

--Mr. Gobley

* Offer may vary according to your State. Contact Maker for details.
** supplies are limited. Not available on Mars, Neptune, Mercury, Uranus, Saturn, Venus, the Planet Formerly known as Pluto, or other planetary or astral bodies. No refunds. Please live responsibly.


Please forgive the rerun...

Friends and readers:

i hope you will forgive this rerun. It is the expression of my deepest wish for you as we take part in our ritual feast: true gratitude, which creates its own bounty.


Mr. Gobley.


Three Days with No Sun

i believe in seasons --
but this is ridiculous.

i believe in rhythms,
but a rhythm requires
regularity, alternation,
syncopation --
some state that changes,
some mood that banishes
this continent of gray flannel
that floats over my frosted town.

The day has three phases:

kind of dark,
and dark.

And yet
i will give thanks:

for another brief breath
i am singing through telephone wires
sighing into a child's tousled hair

watching a squirrel eat an apple
laughing at bumper stickers

listening to a jazz guitar
on a scratchy LP
and understanding
that one solitary blink of an eyelash,
one tear,
one dented smile
is an untold bounty

that only You can give --
and given You have,
with constancy
outshining all ambition
and all hope,
and lasting even until
the Sun decides
at last
to shine again.

--Mr. Gobley


Now and Not Now

Thin wisp of Time, threaded into Mind like sinew into bone, and yet, blown by like brittle leaves, skittering on frosted pavement;

Brittle wafer of Space, a shaft of Presence in a world of Absence, wavering and yet impossibly still like the blade of a candle's flame;

You are sustained along these thinnest of membranes,

From moment to moment and from place to place:

A miracle, consisting of millions of smaller miracles:

You are worked through the narrows of suffering, and squeezed again onto a vast plateau of plenty: truly, what do you lack?

From birth, you have emerged from narrow space into vast space; from one crisis to the next, you have squeezed through dire straits into new opportunity, from dark confinement to brilliant contentment. You will suffer again; and again, you will be freed.

All peace is Now. All suffering is Not Now.

Stay in the Now: as long as you are present to the Present, your suffering is an abstract painting, hung on the walls of your darkened mind. Admire it; respect its maker; but do not live in it.

For each and every Now is a brilliant promise kept, a Treasure unearthed at your feet. It will ever be thus.

May you know it to be so,
Now and

--Mr. Gobley


A Meditation for the Newly Heartbroken

Was it each other
That we loved --
Or was it our demons
That drew us in?

Was the sacred moment
Our coming together
Or our being thrust apart?

No matter.

Now we are two
And we must swim
Upstream together
Toward the headwaters
Of forgiveness.

I forgive you
For being afraid
And for the dark weapons
That hid behind
Your shadowed heart.

I forgive myself
The heart I gave you:
What is left
Will harden and heal,

And a new bud will emerge
From the ancient center.

Please forgive me for
The pain
I caused
When I wrenched
What was left of me
Away from you.

In time, we will move away
From shared history
Toward common mission:

To love wholly,
To fully forgive,
And to pour light
Into dark places

Where for aching centuries
Nothing has grown.

--Mr. Gobley


Get Haunted

As the harvest is cleared
And the frost settles,
As the coals are banked
And the streams thicken
And slow;

As the clocks are turned back
And the dark creeps forward,
We feel ourselves to be
Miraculously alive.
We don masks,
Wings --

We laugh and eat sugar,
And briefly gain the power
Of living
Over the unbeatable
Truth of Beyond.

Behind the scrim of childish screams
And the pointed hats
And the sparkling wands;
Beyond the luminescent fangs
And plastic scars

Is a great truth:

Spirits wait for you --

Wait with hollow eyes
And huge, beating hearts --

Wait for you to acknowledge,
To remember:

Remember that you once
Thanked God for them,
Sang songs to them,
Slammed doors,
Told lies,
Shed tears for them --

Lived with them.

All they ask,
On this night,
Is that you reach
From your precarious perch
Toward their waiting souls,
And so briefly, bravely
Complete the circuit

--Mr. Gobley



i will likely never know where it is i am gone to. Even when i am gone there, what will exist that still can be called "me"?

Each time the Sun sets, i am reminded of this: that the Sun is not gone, it merely is gone to those of us who enter the night. We rest assured of the Sun's return, and the night's, too; we have trained ourselves to not fear the sudden collapse of the solar system, not to panic about another mutiny in Heaven or dread an upending of the physical laws that made and sustain us.

Dusk is a moment of great wonder for me; a little sadness at the passage of time, a delight in the promise of rest. Even on the dreariest of days, the sky seems to expand -- if the sky had shoulders, they would relax at this moment -- and time seems to enter a thin envelope of eternity.

May your moments of rest and wonder expand at each dusk, and may your soul calmly dwell within that envelope of eternity from which you were born.

Your friend --

Mr. Gobley



Do you hear it?

It is thin and high,
Persistent and untroubled.

It comes from beyond,
Goes beyond,
Yet at all times
Runs through

The bulldozers
And weed-whackers
And the
Grinding gears
Of our
Steel skeletons
But do not

The thread
Between you
And the
Greater Self,
Despite all,
Still thrums
And vibrates
To the tune
Of your life;

Still courses through
The thin artery
Of timelessness
That nourishes

This sound
Is underneath
Yet omnipresent,
Yet patient.

It is



Ah, yes.


--Mr. Gobley



Focus in,
Pare down,
To this:

One place to call home.

One unifying
By which
To question,

One place
To which
You can retreat
For comfort

One person
for whom
You would
Do anything.

And one peak
On which
To set your sights,

And by which to gauge
Your direction.

--Mr. Gobley



A prime number

a unique
to the number

it is made
only of itself
and the
lonely integer
that stands for

A prime number
is odd --
which is to say,
not even --
and it is
of a solitary

that sets it apart
even from its
closest neighbors.

i am a prime number,
made only of myself

marching in
rank and file
with my

and yet
and yet



--Mr. Gobley


Thought and Belief

Naught but a choir of neurons
Bids me sing of You;

Only a thin filament
Of electromagnetic

That runs its riverbed
Can convey me
To the angels.

And every flash
That singes
The heavens
And inflames
My molten

Conducts itself
Along conduit
Made for that moment,
That purpose

We are recombinant,
We perceive,
And in an instant
Are transformed.

What can we know,
Save that about which
We were born
To wonder?

And of what are we made,
Save that which
Makes us anew?

My blood
Bears Your signature,
My poor brain
Enfolds Your fingerprints:

In the blind brilliance
Of an instant
i see the filial embrace
Of piety and passion,

But in the light
Of my days
Plunge again
Into dull

Small wonder:
i live in the world
We are making,
You and i;

Dark matter
With wave
And particle

To conduct
The electricity
Of enlightenment
Through the circuits
Of mere

By simply
We eclipse

And join You,
Our co-Creator,
In the crucible
Of eternal

--Mr. Gobley


Fitness Water

i want to be
your Fitness Water:


until tasted.

As i cool
your innards,
quench your
inner fire,

a little of me
on your tongue:


Leaving no trace
but a taste,
i am you
but something more:

that renews

we are fluid
we are one

i move into you
through you
beyond you --

our molecules
will one day
meet again?

--Mr. Gobley


Fire Stairs

Each weekday morning
i climb six flights
to my office.

Sealed into a shaft
Of concrete and iron,
i slowly


Nodding silently
To standpipes
And sprinkler valves
And the scuff mark
Shaped like a
Soda bottle.

Each landing
Its landmark,
Each numeral
Its meaning and place.

The elevator is faster
But it is crowded
And sullen
And the journey means

i prefer to climb,
My briefcase
Bumping against my hip
Like a saddlebag
Against the flanks
Of a prospector's mule:

Each nudge
Reminds me
Of what i carry
And what is carrying

i ascend
Alone and silent
To my bower
Of glass and steel,

And when i arrive,
i feel the gentle thud
Of pumping blood

The stretch of tendons
The mild, muscular heat
And the knowledge

That at the end of this journey
There is work to be done.

The stairs are there
For safety, and
Each day
They quietly,
My life.

--Mr. Gobley


The Teacher

The Teacher
Looked into
My eyes
And said
"You have
A beautiful soul"

And i wanted to ask
what it was that he saw

But at that time
There was
An arc of light a
Above his head

Pale but certain
Streaming with needles

It would not be moved

i said to myself
This man will be
My guide

And i embarked

It is a long road
A crowded
But lonely journey
Leading --

No one knows

But i know this:

i will grow
Only insofar
As i trust

Only insofar
As my fears
Are not my masters.

i will shout to you
From all along
This road

Streaming needles
Of love and longing
Lonely learning
A burning beacon
Shone on

Free from torment
At last
i am
On the long
Lonely road

--Mr. Gobley



They call it that
Because it is hard
And because it does not end
And you cannot leave it,
Though it may leave you.

It is a hardbitten,
Anglo-Saxon word,
The sound of an axe
Brought down
In bitterness
On the growth
Of a vast and lonely

Is a word
That followed us
From Eden,
Mocked us,
Made us sweat
And curse,
No matter
What we achieved.

We are supremely blessed
To know this curse:
Poised at the top of Creation
And yet held within it,
We alone
Know infinite toil:

As our bodies never stop
Regenerating, recycling,
Sorting --
Rejecting, Absorbing --
So we are alone
Among all creatures,
Sculpting ourselves
Out of sand,

Fashioning universes
Out of found objects
And each others'
Dangerous brilliance.

Say with me
This prayer:

Let my work
Be Your work.

Let my effort
Bear fruit.

Let my desire
Take wing.

i am
In Your employ.

My fruit
Is borne of
Your mighty tree.

i rise
Toward you,
Bearing that
Lightest of burdens:

What little
i have done
That might earn
And spread
Your blessing.

--Mr. Gobley


To Do List


The cycling of air
Begins the renourishment
Of all that lives.
Each breath, a miracle of
Endless genesis
Of beginningless life,
Is a promise fulfilled
Against staggering odds.


All senses
Connect all matter,
And all that matters.
To touch is to
Forge a link
And to grow strong:
Skin to sacred skin
Or sense to
We absorb
What is touched
And give back
To the Maker
A new blessing,
A new strength:
God is helped.


Do not cast yourself
In the mind's
Dwell in
The growing miracle
Of how much
You know:
That you at once
And partake
Means that you
Make meaning
Out of thin air.

My list says
Nothing else.

--Mr. Gobley


How to Say Goodbye

First, you bestow a lasting kindness.

Then, you express gratitude.

You smile throughout;

You heal as you leave.

Remember that,
As you cause pain,
So must you liberate:

There is no captivity
So cruel
As an abrupt
And unforgiving

As you prepare others,
So shall you be prepared;
As you heal,
So shall you be healed.

And humor:
Do not forget humor,
The greatest balm
Against bathos,
The crowning glory
Of humility.

If you can,
Depart quietly,

Sing praises
And stitch a hymn
Of light and dark
Across the
Compassionate cosmos.

As you go,
Leave a space,
A rest between notes;
Let your last steps
Be the steps
Of a joyous dance,

A flight toward freedom
Whose trail tapers
To sweet nothing
In the vastness

--Mr. Gobley


A Dream of Dying

I dreamt of our death,
Yours and mine.

Our synapses,
Clogged with messages,
Could not convey
The urgency
Of the moment
To our hurried minds.

Free men and women,
We held a lamp
In a hurricane,
And imagined it
To be
A beacon
That would never go dark.

And i said to you,
On the eve
Of the end
Of our great experiment,

Only this:

The majesty of our minds
And the purpose
Of our souls

Will be extinguished in fire.

Our eyes, filmed over,
Will go entirely dark.

Only the sound
Of our pursuers
Will be heard,
Coming for us
Through the woods.

i awoke and was relieved,
But not entirely,

Because, though awake
These many hours,
i still
Hear them coming.

--Mr. Gobley


Bed of Nails

Hauled before my maker
On a sled of steel wool,
i cry for mercy.

Were it not for
The real suffering
In the world,
Mine would snatch
Greatness from the heavens.

i reflect:
As we crawled from dank pools,
Flapped toward Eden with our fins,
Were we not constantly
In mortal agony?

Was our pain
Not simply
A fact,
A given?

As we rise
Rung by rung
On Jacob's ladder
We begin to forget
The primordial bog
In which its legs
Are sunk.

i will not rest tonight.
i will be aflame with fever, but
i will pray for peace,
And will gladly suffer
In my small, comfortable way,

So that, in time,
i may again rejoice
With all
Your children.

--Mr. Gobley


Prayer for Them All

Who do not believe
In prayer;

You, to whom
There is no

You, for whom
Life is a
Line dance,
A wine bar,
A beach:

On your knees.

Start praying.

If nothing else,
Prayer concentrates
The mind.

Prayer focuses

Prayer summons
Great strengths
From unknown


i pray
For them all:

All whose agendas
Are built on
Suffering and
False sanctity.

All who die,
And all who kill.

All who murder,
All who are murdered.

All who speak truth,
All who live by
Slur and slander.

All who sing praises,
All who slit throats.

i pray to

Through them,
To them,
Let Divine intention --
Some greatness,
Or perhaps just some
Shard of compassion --
Enter their heart.

Let mercy come running.

If not on knees,
Then on wings;

If not on high,
Then right here.

We are running out of time.

--Mr. Gobley


The Joy of Insomnia

The darkened rim
Of the witless world
Is on fire.

No one may save me
From this
Silent conflagration,

This baptismal hush:
For this moment,

Speechless awe,
Turning wonder;

i dance
In the vanishing dark
Like a fool

While, all around me,
Sensibility sleeps.

For you
My eyes
Will never close

My mind
Will never stop conjuring.

As morning rears up
And our brief business

i will shoulder the wheel
And strain toward
The promise of peace,

But i will never
Be more grateful
Than now,

Even as peace,
That shy ghost,
From my grasp...

--Mr. Gobley


The Oasis

We found a natural pool
The color of an apple martini

At the top of a waterfall
Between narrow shafts of rock
Carved by a river
Rain-swollen in winter
A mere ghost in summer

Through the giant aperture
We could see the Sun
Admiring its reflection
In a languid sea

We scooped
The jade water
Made lemongrass tea
On a portable stove

We dove deep
Into the cupped palm
Of this paradise
And sat
As our bodies cooled
And our souls rose

In their contradance
With the setting Sun

It made us know
That Paradise
Is a region
Of the soul
That will always

And proclaim itself
In these moments

When time exists
Yet does not
Death waits
But is not:

We are baptized
In wonder
And bathed
In cool eternity

That lasts for
Just this one

--Mr. Gobley


Into the Wilderness

i go
to the far corners
of peace,

where i will see,
the proportion
of soul to self

to realm

to universe.

i will find you
in even the
deepest silences
and the fiercest

and i will know you
in every moment
of darkness

and promise of light.

as long as i breathe
i will reach toward you,

and as long as i suffer
you will reach toward me.

the moment of our meeting
is my destination,
your promise:
our shared destiny.

--Mr. Gobley


The Animals Underneath

My morning coffee
Is taken at a window
From which i can see
The animals
That stand to
Inherit my house.

They are small, quick,
Tremulous things
With rapid pulses
And nervous eyes.

Who live in
Rectangular fortresses,
Disdain these
Quickened creatures.
They dig up the bulbs
And burrow under
The foundation.

They are always busy.

They multiply furiously.

Even as they scurry,
Looking hunted,
They meekly munch
And politely trample
All that human hands
Have daintily set
In the black soil
Of suburbia.

And yet,
Each morning i say,
As i raise my cup:

"i salute you,
Survivors of civilization:
You, who will live on
After we who build
Have finished with our
Own destruction.

May you continue to rise
Toward shy dominion

Over what has been given,
Lovingly --

Especially to you."

--Mr. Gobley


The Schrodinger Shift

I read John Gribbin's book on quantum physics, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. Towards the end, he seriously entertains as a live option the notion that we brought the universe into existence by observing it. -- Micah Newman

Here at last
Is the secret
Of our unfolding!

We are made
Of what we make,
We are
Both paper
And crease --

An organic origami,

An evanescent Escher,
Emergent from Mind --

But whose?

We are
To procreate
And co-create:

We make others
(With others)
Even as we
Make ourselves
(With no other,

Other than
The Other
That is All)!

We spiral around
This empty center,
Making a double-helix
Of Self and No-Self,
Until, at last,
We are self-less.

Having made
That which we observe,
We observe
What we have made,
And in this Sabbath moment,
Our creation --
Our soul --

Is made to midwife itself
Into miraculous Being,
And become
All, and more than all:

Which is to say,

--Mr. Gobley


A letter to my friends

Dear Readers:

i have published a few of the posts that have appeared here, through iUniverse.

i hope you might buy one of these small books for yourself, or for a friend who might benefit from seeing and hearing some of what i have seen and heard.

You can get the book here, here or even here.

i suppose a store would order it, if you asked them to.

As soon as i can figure out how to put the 'buy my book' button in the right-hand column, i will do so.

Happy reading.

Faithfully yours,

--Mr. Gobley


Heat and Wind

The two promises
Are whispered
Across millennia;

The eternal emissaries
Of life
Come together

In a violent embrace
That bequeaths to us
A storm of
Sensuous strength:

It is the season,
In this tropical realm,
To feel the languid fire
And the stinging rain,

And to love the God
Who pushes a profusion
Of life
Up through the
And the
Tidal flats

And the flattened

Life takes less time
To restore itself
Than even hope.

Remember this,
And know that
The storm that
Passes over you

Brings great bounty:
The heat stirs life,
The wind brings change,

And the silence after
Opens a lighted space
For seedlings
Of hope.

--Mr. Gobley


Meditation for a Railroad Crossing

Time has not stopped,
But it has been detained.

The ringing of the crossing bells
And the rhythmic clatter
Of the rails
Both mark the measure of its
Prison sentence:
Unceasing, oblivious,
Of cells,

And this:

The flow of a day
By a thundering arrow

Comprised of cars:

Their syllables
As square and regular
As the beat they keep.

i keep this beat, too:
My heart, my breath
Align themselves
With the biorhythms
Of this mighty
Yet somnolent

And here am i,
Moving and still,
Inside and out,
And utterly
Lost to myself.

When the train is gone:


The gates rise,
The bells cease,
And time flows freely
Through cleared arteries.

The geometric clutter
And clatter
Recede into infinity --

And i return to
The box,
Flat cars
Of my day.

i ride time's rails
Toward my own
Point of parallax,

Glad to have known
Of Moments.

--Mr. Gobley


After a Thunderstorm

as the storm recedes,
the heavy sweetness
of late Spring air
washes back over

trees grown heavy
with plenty
bow beneath
the great giving

a shudder of lightning
moves across the evening;
the Lover
rises and departs.

the patient Earth
has been
and we
who live on it
have been
and healed

and, once again,

--Mr. Gobley



Move your hand
In a slow circle
As you look out your window
At a squirrel.

Pass your palm
Over the dashboard
Of your faithful car.

Place your index finger
On the bridge
Of your child's nose;

And while you make
These silent gestures,
Think to yourself:

"As in each moment
You keep faith with me,
So I keep faith with you,
Your constancy,

And together,

This benediction
Will draw you
Into closer embrace
With the world,

Which will
Rise to greet you,
Each morning.

--Mr. Gobley


To the Hawk Outside My Office Window

It is hard work being you.

Your wings work angrily
To hoist you above the exhaust,
The spray of the fountain
In the midst of the
Chemically azured waters of
The office park's lagoon,
The waftings of the restaurants
Across the way.

You struggle above the boulevard
Toward a dome, a disk
Of unspoiled Spring sky.

You work by rising up
And looking down:
You circle above
The twelve acres
Where your meals move,
The marshy field
That somehow has
Survived as itself.

By the end of next year,
Those acres will be home
Not to you,
But to the likes of me:

The surveyor's stakes
Are already planted
At the corners,
Their red ribbons
Proudly announcing

Fly on,
Be fearless
On our behalf:
At least you know
Why you were made,
And you live,
Always rising
To better see

Even if,
Each day,
It becomes
A little harder
To find.

--Mr. Gobley


At my desk, on Monday morning, lacking will

First, i stack everything neatly.

Then, i go to the kitchen
for a cup of coffee.

i return to my office:
the stacks wait;
my duties deliquesce
like corpses in a morgue.

Is it time yet
for a mid-morning snack,
i wonder . . .

The red voice-mail light blinks;
i am astonished,
my reverie shattered,
when someone plunges
into my fish-bowl world,
all efficiency and effort:

i have come untethered.

My heart and soul are
But i am

In this slow,
silent lesson,
this steady acceleration
into the wall
of the World,
i brace myself

for collision
with my fears.

--Mr. Gobley


On Being Woken at 4:30 by birds

The melody is a mantra.

It pulls the Sun
From the horizon
And my heart
Rises with it,
Eclipsing the rim
Of my despair.

You will sing
Until the Sun
Has fully kept
Its promise.

My clock
Is an abstraction:

In this hour
When motors
Still sleep,
Your alarm

Means God
Has kept His word
Another day

And so must i
keep mine.

Perhaps only you
Can see the hope
In this new day.

My hopes rise
With yours

All that is possible,
All that is prayed,
All that becomes itself
With each new moment.

--Mr. Gobley


On Finding A Dime

To glance at a gray, translucent page
from yesterday's paper,
and detect a perfect circle;

To lift the sodden edge
of old news
and discover a silver silhouette,
a man of pedigree,
and, on the reverse,
some eternal flame--

This is the bounty
of life
proclaiming itself
for someone to see.

Today, that someone
was me.

Look hard tomorrow:
there is a message waiting:
some code,
some gem,
some blossom,
some treasure

from beyond you

will connect
to the Source

within you

and you will be
made new . . .

---Mr. Gobley


Prayer for the Subway

I roar past
Old bones
Through centuries
Of Exhalation

Cubes of light
Become the semaphore
Of locomotion
Tunnels of tile
Are running ellipses

I examine silhouettes
Divine the auras
Of commuters

Read the same ads
Over and over:
Mantras that move

We all
Bow our heads
In prayer for each other
And sway in unison
To the screeching song
Of the iron choir

We ask
For the safe arrival
The timely departure

The peaceful ride
Toward the next ride
And the next
And the next

--Mr. Gobley


Prayer for Waiting in Line

i thank
God and Gravity
that i can stand.

i thank those
who are waiting
to serve me
for expending moments
of their lives
so that they
may help
me with mine.

i thank
the Mysterious Maker
for the back
of this woman's head,
her twisted braids,
her flowered blouse:

and i thank this same
for giving me the
fevered imagination
that lets me conjure
her life story
while we wait.

This emptiest
of moments
is so full of
and sensation
that i must leave off
telling of it
and get to
living it --

--Mr. Gobley


After the Ritual

The chairs are askew,
And the children
Are tousled
And smeared with food --
Walking palettes,
Paused at life's messy canvas.

The men fold tables,
The women make
With dish towels
And speak
Of who will host
Next year.

The air is moist,
Smelling of spilled wine
And spent thunderstorms.

The teenagers resume watching
Sex and the City;
The elders
Conduct gentle inquisitions
Of their granddaughters'

The majesty of the moment
Has departed,
But in its gentle wake
Is the ageless
Wonder of all
That we may come to know --

And rest, rest:
The relief
And the exultation
Of the newly dead.

--Mr. Gobley


To Be What We Are Not

We are so eager
To be
What we are not
That we never
Quite become
What we are.

We are so hungry
To have
What we lack
That we never
Truly possess

i have never
been myself
until this
fleeting moment;

and yet,
the moment
is gone,

and so,
am i.

--Mr. Gobley


In Memory of a Spiritual Mentor: 1908-1971

You were like no one else.

Everything about you
was open
to everything about you.

Even your skin
was the color
of all people,
as if to remind

that our skin
is no identity badge
but a canvas
upon which
the history
of our souls
is painted.

You saw,
into this world,
and through it
to others.

You loved me --
of this i am certain --
in part because you saw that,
with the unknowing omniscience
of a child,
i loved God.

You taught
with your eyes.

Your soul
burned for God,
shrank from praise,
retreated to its small
bright room
of plants
and icons,
there to reach
toward its Maker.

i cannot fathom,
cannot forgive
that, after all this,
you died alone.

And yet,
you have forgiven.
You have said as much.

And in this,
you live still:
bound back up
in eternal becoming
you wash the stones
on the other shore

and prepare a feast
of forgiveness
for those who come.

-- Mr. Gobley


Upon Seeing a Child Succeed

O silent Maker
Of my fragile heart

Thank you
for the bright, brief gift
of this borrowed soul.

We are blessed:

What wisdom is his!

With but a brief cry
Of complaint,
His soul
Set out again
Toward the mountain
He had
But recently climbed.

Let this child come to know
That it is your love
Which fills the lungs,

Your sparks
That light
The way.

Breathe into
This one
The presence of peace;
Let his hands work your will.

Your gift to me
Is your gift to him:
The strength
To move,
Full of sacred fire,
Aware of wonder,
Borne again
And always
Toward you.

--Mr. Gobley


When Other People Are Annoying

They breathe heavily.
They exude troubling odors.
They misunderstand you.
On purpose.

They lay traps.

They value dross,
Consume much,
And make prodigious waste.

They revolve around
Their imagined selves.

The world is their miniseries.

What does one do?
From where does one summon
The strength,
The equanimity,
The forgiveness;

The lofty traits of the

Whom to invoke?
Beelzebub, to impale
This fool
On the tines of his own

Jehovah, the vengeful Old Testament
To rattle this flea's
Empty skull?

Joan of Arc,
To win in righteousness
Or die at the stake
Of principle?

Or do we

Breathe and keep

i am sick
unto death
of blame
and vilification.

Anyone who wishes
To do me harm
Has already done so.

And so,
i must forgive,
Because in forgiving
i deprive them of drama,
And begin a new narrative.

Their unction is
My unguent:

i am healed.

My shoulders groan
With the yoke
Of their burden,

And yet the legs
Of my spirit
Grow strong.

--Mr. Gobley



i want to fight.

i confess it:
i feel my ribs
electric hatred
humming along
my blood vessels,
and i want
to stand
before one who will
cross me,
vex me,
dare me:

i want to strike.

Sometimes --
just now and then --
i am rushed by
rock-jawed brutes
in my brain
who want to
"settle things."

Their world
is a litigious

They push my heart up
through the ribs
and lower
a veil of blood
over my pupils

and all i can see

i watch
Inner Brute --
a companion
known to many men --

i hear his heel
strike the chin
of my tormentor,
i feel his knuckles
the cheekborne
of the oppressor --

and i realize
that all the world
is flowing through me --

So large,
this world,
so infinite
in its energies --
and sometimes,
this is the frequency
on which i come to rest:

that of battle.

i move on down
the cosmic dial,
and i do not wait for
or wait upon

the warrior.

He lives in me,
but i do not live in him.

i will embrace all of you
encircle you with my arms
and breathe you
deep into my lungs

and then,
my blood will know
the richness
of your ire.

i will not be danced upon --
not as long as i can
sing of you,
great heart
of compassion.

Beat on,
great heart.
Beat out
the rhythm
of time's ascent

Remove the barbed hook
from my heart
and my song will
never end.

-- Mr. Gobley


An Open Letter to God

i silently rail
at your quiet

i quake inwardly
at your omnipresence

i cannot reconcile the two:
why are we left

to destroy each other
with stories about you?

why are we made too loud
to hear your deafening quiet?

i wait to be pierced with certainty,
and yet i already know:

you are as evident and intangible
as breath,

certain as gravity,
as flammable as fear.

if we were any more certain,
we would cease to be.

why must we teeter toward you,
dancing on our wire,

shouting blood
shaking fists

sobbing, uncertain,
knowing and not knowing,

desperate for company
we cannot have,

imprisoned in this hermitage
to which we cannot return?

i rise toward you from the kingdom
of the unjust

i howl at you
from the crypt of compassion

i tear at your robe
with my teeth

deranged by
tsunamis of suffering.

Tell me:
if i seal myself in quiet,

will you come?

if i tune my soul
to your voice,

will you speak?

Will i finally

--Mr. Gobley


a friend in weakened light

we sat for hours,
in squares of light
the weak blue of skim milk --
over coffee in the morning,
beer in the evening,
dinner at night.

his monologue of heartbreak
would not end.

the love of his life
had kicked him
to the curb --

a writing table,
a stereo, a coffee maker,
and a set of towels

were all he could
summon the energy to take.

It is three years later;
he has not mended.

He had thought of suicide --
said he looked into buying
a gun,

then told himself:
Ah, the hell with it.
Too much work.

i spent two days
with him.
We warmed
our hands
at the hearth
of his melancholy.
i spoke
when he asked me to.

At the end of our visit,
he hugged me --
we trembled with the
force of the embrace,
ribs touching,
breath held --
a couple of slaps
on the back,
the way men will.

As i drove away,
there was snow in the hills,
fog in the valley.

On the branches of
the hemlock,
drops of indecisive ice
paused in mid-melt
to consider what had passed,
and to refract the
of our friendship
back into
the healing heavens.

--Mr. Gobley


Taught by Trees

with my little calumnies,
i am an arch-villain.

My sins
throw the world
from its orbit;
my loose lips
sink ships
with wisdom,
ships bound
for my shores
with a cargo
of glory.

from cube
to cube,
i become
a cube,
built to contain
all that is not
worth containing,
bent on completing
that which is never

Then, i go outside.

A winter wind
atomizes the rain,
punishes my eyeballs
for the gift of sight,
hurls coffee cups,
rolls trash can lids.

The detritus
of humanity
is whisked away.

But the evergreens,
bending and sighing,
even in a gale,
clearly love
being trees.

Puddles shiver and dance.
Boughs and bushes
in ecstasy
at the effortlessness
of the struggle
to exist.

That pure Nature
Of being,
to which
we once subscribed,
is their sap,
their soul.

returning from
the blasted heath,
my cheeks aflame
with cold,
i revisit
my manifold

they are tiny,
for birds of blame
to gather and sow
in other,
darker fields.

--Mr. Gobley


Getting It Right

in the hum and hubbub
of my work
thoughts and prayers
as if in amber --

they pause

and harden
into moments;
they look at me
until i look back.

Today, a seared and scoured
memory of lost love --
ancient history
for which i
have not
forgiven myself --

Not like amber, though;
it was regurgitated
at the shore
of my consciousness
and announced by
the crashing wave
that delivered it.

this nettled gasp
of understanding
stuck in my chest:

i had hurt someone
i was afraid
of not "getting it right"

and then ashamed
of getting it wrong.

Was i so new to being fallible,
that my shame should
burn this brightly?

Was i protecting
a spiritual no-hitter
into the late innings?

Sadly, no.

My fear
is the swimmer's
solemn dread
of the open ocean,

the pilot's resolve
as his craft rises to meet
the rowdy Spring sky,

and the mountain goat's
grudging respect
for the cliff.

All will eventually fall.

And i,
will i one day,
having fallen from grace
yet again,
learn to
fall with the grace
of forgiveness of self?

It is,
after all,
the only path to
Getting It Right.

--Mr. Gobley


The Edge

Every day we march closer to the edge.

One by one, our uncertain steps, though they may aim elsewhere, take us forward.

We watch those ahead of us in line. Their steps never falter, though we might wish them to.

Then, they drop from view.

And still, we march forward.

As we do so, the scenery changes, slightly.

As we grow closer to the edge, we begin to notice the landscape beyond.

We find that we do not really want to go.

Still we march forward.

Once we are close enough to notice the details of the edge, we begin looking back.

We see the faces behind us, their fear growing with their understanding.

We envy their place in line: they have so much more time.

They envy ours: our suffering and uncertainty will be over sooner.

We begin frantically to distract ourselves with word games, songs, banter, and reminiscence about our favorite commercials.

We are still moving.

Now we are quite close. A roar, like a waterfall, can be heard from beyond the edge.

We have to sing louder, laugh harder, just to keep from sobbing.

Some fall to their knees, and yet still are carried forward.

Some go over in a furious struggle, facing backward, refusing to look, angry at the arrangement.

Others pump their fists, or scream, or make obscene gestures.

The person in front of me bows her head, briefly. She has long, dark, wavy hair. The stray hairs tremble in a breeze from beyond.

She slowly spreads her arms.

I am next.

I look over the edge.

There is a radiant smile awaiting me, on a face I have not seen in decades.

I look back, and blow a kiss to my children.

I look ahead, and let myself fall toward the embrace of all who have awaited me.

--Mr. Gobley


A Note to Karen's Daughter's Friend (a post mysteriously eaten by Blogger on 2/4/06)

You go on forever.

Your breath
Goes all the way back
To the First Breath.

Your heart
Is keeping a beat
That started
Before the Earth
Was cool enough
To stand upon.

Your mind
Knows no bounds.

And your body
Contains the secrets
And the wisdom
Of the ancients,
And the stories
Of the struggles
Of all
Who brought you
To be.

Do away with this,
And you forfeit
Your chance
To keep the beat
And spread the love
And give the gift
Known only toThe living.

Shall I tell you the secret
Of this gift?

It may be this:

Your pain is a blessing
A sacrament
A hotline to the heavens.

Because your pain is not
Just yours.

The pain you feel
Is the pain of others,
Calling out for your help.

You are sensitive enough
To receive the transmission,
To hear the cries for help.
You have power, you have wisdom--
But you're stuck in your head.

There are people begging for
Your help,
Your gifts,
Your love.

You can understand
Their pain
And heal
Their loneliness.

You are uniquely qualified
To lend aid,
Lavish love,
Offer hope,

And yet:
You are
Totally unable to help
If you are dead.

Keep the beat.
Fan the fire of life.
Warm the cold
And tired souls
That wait
Only on your strength,
Your beauty,
Your wit.

End it,
And your death
Ends love,
Suffocates hope,
In souls
You've not yet
Even met.

When you meet them,
What will you say?

Meet them
And say:
I love you,
And I am here to help.

End it too soon,
And you will meet them
And all you will be able
To say is:
I am so sorry.

They smile at you now,
These wounded souls,
They see hope in you,
They wait on you.

You are the answer
To their prayers.

Go to them.

Bring them back to life,
And they will
Do the same for you.

--Mr. Gobley



i click an icon that says
and i am faced

with emptiness

i inhale

i exhale

my touch
meets your gaze

vast oceans
of white
off screen

i feel your presence

and reach toward you
with prayers

never underestimate
or fail
to appreciate

that you too
have a
Create icon

for contact

--Mr. Gobley


Gifts to the Silent Watcher

In a great city.

The sounds
of human striving
never cease,
never fail
to penetrate
the sighs
of the radiators
and the morse code
of the water pipes.

there is a tree
that seems,
through the
battered window,
to be bent with age
or beckoning for help.

upon stepping
i am shocked:
the air is gentle,
the people

The trees
are gently pressed
into precise little parks
or fenced sanctuaries --
like glittered squares in
an Advent calendar --
their holiness
to the silent

There is
no place
so lonely,
so rushed,
and yet so full
of Being,
ceaselessly unfolding:

humanity exerts
its restless will,
while making room
for Nature,
which waits,

to that silent watcher,
smiles and waves.

--Mr. Gobley


In the air

how easily
i fall asleep
in the embrace
of the winged
that takes me
from home.

above quilts
of grain
of forest
and the scales
of the sea

i yearn
for the arms
of the one i love

and the sheltered
of home,
the only antidote

for loneliness.

i am grateful
for the sensation
of departure

the promise of arrival

the renewal
of my repeated returns
and the rebirth
of gratitude

to live alongside
its soulmate,

--Mr. Gobley


In a Foreign City

The imprint of our home
Is never so clear
As when we find
Ourselves in the embrace
Of its cousin.

A foreign city --
With its offices
And shops,
Grinning like
Vaguely familiar ghosts,

Its bright cars
Zipping happily along
Its unfathomable grid --

Refreshes one's faith
in the vastness
And tenacity of life.

On new ground,
One feels all inner compasses
Searching for
True Spiritual North --

But the terrain,
And the water,
And the signs,
And the sights

Lean on different

When your own inner terrain
Becomes oppressive
In its familiarity,
Cross a border.

Look for someplace
That reminds you of home.

Then let the huge differences
Sink into your soul,
Like a monsoon rain

Into the parched
And pleading

--Mr. Gobley


Meditation on Peace

Today, resolve with me
That you will do everything
In your power

To vanquish hatred.

To do so,
You must leave wrongs
Slights unanswered.

You must help
The ingrate,
The the thief
And the child
Who hates you
But does not know why.

You must learn to fight --
Yes, you must --

Then lay down your arms.

You must meditate on peace --
Yes, you must --

Exhaling broad fields
Of yellow light
Toward distand lands,

From your heart
Outward to the
Cold cosmos.

No matter how still the waters,
Waves are always breaking.

We shall fly to battle
On a rumor,
But run to peace
Only when shattered.

There is much to learn;
A wave of darkness
Rolls toward us.

Light a fire,
And hold fast:

Mercy is
God's own
Meditation on peace,
Borne back
Toward those
Who breathe.

--Mr. Gobley


Meditation Before Dawn

There is no Other.

Blackened sky uses all of me
To raise up
And transform itself --

We are lovers,
Bound together
In fire and ice.

Duality of the diurnal:
A joust in the light,
A dance in the dark.

All motion
All matter
All being
All life

And burns it away.

As it returns,
Like the Sun
To its post,
i return,

In atoms,
In verse,
In breath,

To take you with me.

--Mr. Gobley


Heart of Ash

Beyond fear,
Beyond caring --
Yearning toward death

And a swift end
To the endless struggle
To keep emerging --

On the knife edge
Of Being;

Drawn out
To our last breath,
Down to our last dime;
Almost buried:

This is when
We rise, because

This is the moment
For which we were made.

And it is in this moment
That we feel within us
The greatest stirrings
Of love and forgiveness,
Of understanding and peace:

A coming-together
As we fly apart;
Soul soaring
As body burns.

At the end,
Or something like it,
Our spirit
From our heart of ash,

And renews us,
Remakes us,
Restores us:

It takes us home.

--Mr. Gobley



A person who believes
Will believe until the end.
No, beyond that end,
Raveled out until
The endless beginning,
The tireless, spreading
Root of
The tree of souls.

Even beyond, when shown
Any purported proof
that God does not exist,
Such a soul would say:

"But you see,
That silence,
That stillness,
That lack of an answer
Proves God's love:

"It is the provenance of peace,
The stillness from which
Comes the small voice,
The repose
For which we yearn
While living
And serving."

No void,
No chasm,
No cold and lonely expanse,
Revealed in this life
Or the next,
Could prove
To a lover of God
That God is not.

On the other hand:
A voice, a hand,
A place,
An order,
A registry of souls,
A reunion of lights:

The skeptic's ire
Would quickly cool
When delivered to
A world to come.


Whether here,
Or in the Great There,
No presence,
Or absence,
Can prove
That God is not.


A soul may in this minute sense,
Or someday know,
That God is.

And this
Is the mystery
Of the highest order
And truth,
Written on the plainest paper
Of our being,
Laid out in plain view.

It is not proof.

Borne in my heart
Along the stream of a constant love,
It is proof enough
For me.

--Mr. Gobley



raise your voice --
even if weak,
even if drained of light --

in praise:
in our darkest days
we pass most closely
by the Sun.

our seasons
always tilt us
toward Change,
a harbinger
of Hope:

our coldest days
grow longer,
our hottest nights
grow shorter.

and so
every peril
contains promise,

each gray hair
a hint of our
slow dance toward
the eternal youth
of our homecoming.

spin us,
Great Maker,
through our darkest days,
for in these
Your presence
is most vivid:

but luminous,
but faithful
to our lasting

--Mr. Gobley


We Are All Chosen

Another year
Only darkens the print
On our invitation.

Like a blade of grass
Pulled from its sheath,
We will be chosen.

The waxen shriek
The blade makes
As it reveals
Its pale, fleshy root

Is all the protest
We will make

As the root
Of our soul
Rises upward

And recombines
With its Source.

That we celebrate
The passage of time
Seems odd:

Time turns on us --
Why honor
That which betrays?

Because our ancient souls
Recognize this:
As we fell to Earth,
So are we all
Made to rise again.

We are all
Just passing through.

Time is simply
The river we ride
Through the realm
Of gravity,

Until we rise
Back toward
The Timeless.

This is your last

You have been chosen
To live in it.

Your ride continues.

May you ride
And well.

--Mr. Gobley