Ode to Barbaro

Whoever said only man had free will,
Fierce spirit --
A soul --

Never met a quadruped,
Nor knew the awesome privilege
Of seeing you run
And later walk

With a gait more proud
For being awkward,
More alive
For having been so close
To death.

If only we loved life
As completely as did you,
Colt courageous,
We would in gratitude
Weep for our every moment
As with wounded souls
We cry
Over your last.

We hear most clearly
The voices of those who do not speak:
They present to us no options
But to understand,
No intentions but the clearest,
No desires but the purest,
Direct from God,
Unsullied by fear and treachery.

We understand ourselves better
Because you wanted so much to live,
Worked so hard to win,
Then to simply be:
We see our narrow lives
In the vast expanse
Of your desire to exist,
And we regret our timid desires
And our arthritic crabbing
After another afternoon nap.

There is more room for us now,
But a soul has gone out from us,
And we feel unworthy of,
Unwelcome in the space.

Gallop on: all is healed.
To the paddock: all is done.

Lead us by your memory
Toward faithful, unflinching love,
By your example
Toward real living.

--Mr. Gobley


Meditation on Anger

i come to you, heart on fire, and beg you to heal me.

My anger is nothing more than pain and fear, and nothing less than love betrayed.

Do i hold this anger in my heart? It feels, rather, that the anger is holding me.

Please help me to release its grip, and to place patience in its stead -- the patience of a smooth rock in a frozen stream. Then i will know that, as it has for millions of years, the stream will release me and flow over me again.

You who made us in love sent us forth in anger. We are the inheritors of your ire. Teach me to forgive as you have forgiven. Teach me to be present as you ever have been. And give me the patience of that lonely rock that knows the solitude of this season, and that knows its prison will surely melt away.

--Mr. Gobley


Lazy Susan

The light reflects off the varnish;
The bird at the center
Does somersaults.

The hieroglyphs on the edge
Tumble and flash.

The Lazy Susan winks
But does not illuminate,
Spins but goes nowhere;
A point at its edge
Will travel much further
Than a point near its center,

And yet these two points will make
The same number of revolutions
In the short and silent lifetime
Of their little, wooden
Solar System.

And i, i sit in a cone of silver light
Astonished that this turntable
Would show me the
Way to peaceful resolution
Of my fevered dreams:

Move, but stay centered;
Spin and sparkle
But do not fly apart:

In this way
You will be
What you were made to be:

A cornucopian presence
At the center of life's table,
A stationary dervish,
A votive vehicle,

And returning
On one well-finished

--Mr. Gobley


A Prayer for Jury Duty

O Just and Righteous Maker:

Today, as we begin the process
Of deciding the future course
Of a troubled life,
Be with us:

Be with us in the tedious hours
Of testimony,
The breaks for bad food;
Let us sense your presence
Beyond the grimy courtroom windows
And hovering above:

As there is judge and jury,
Prosecutor and defense,
So is there
Your patient Providence,
Which encompasses all of these,
And more.

Whatever the actions of the accused,
Whatever our decision,
Let not shattered lives
Be lived for naught.

And let those of us
Who have been brought together
To determine one person's fate

Be to each other
As counselors,
As companions

On a journey
Toward the justice
You have always sought
To make.

--Mr. Gobley