Shut Up, Open Up

The Sun attains its lofty arc,
Its rays regain their focus;
The soil, a rich and roasted dark,
Uncloaks its hoard of crocus.

As life gets free of Winter and
Runs riot all about us,
We slowly come to understand
How all goes on without us.

A spinning orb, a burning star,
Whose finely tuned relations
Entrap us in a Mason jar
Of constant undulations,

And bids us boldly to believe
A message oft unheeded:
To blossom, open and receive
The nourishment that's needed.

Open, then: lay bare your heart;
Let all receive its giving.
Extend yourself, and stand apart
From the dead and almost-living.

And yet, remember how life moves,
How Nature's law's applied:
When something's closed, that surely proves
It also opens wide.

Then close, and let your silence yield
A refuge for your brother:
For silence is the only field
In which to meet The Other.

Open here, and there contract
Your soul's own tidal flow;
Just as opposites attract,
So your energy must go.

The poem's done, and all i've said
Does no more than suffice;
So now that I've played out my thread,
i'll take my own advice.

--Mr. Gobley


Benediction for a Grumpy Waitress

The coffee sloshes over the rim,
A black tongue of recrimination
Lashing you for your smile.

Your attempts at congeniality are rebuffed.

You -- with your indecisiveness,
Your picayune requests,
Your spilt Splenda --
Is there anything you don't complicate
Or desecrate?

Must you take so long?
Ask so many questions?
Try to be so damned cheerful?

When her back is turned,
Wave your fork in a circle,
Toward the level of her heart,
And silently say:

"With food you nourish me,
With pain you revive me.
As you serve, so may you be sustained.
As you nourish, so may you be renewed."

You will see her spine straighten
And her demeanor change.

Just to be sure,
Leave a tip large enough
To confound.

And as you leave,
Know that you will have
Saved one small corner
Of the Universe,

Sending its bright arrow of blessing
Into the heart
Of an otherwise unforgiving

--Mr. Gobley


On the Loneliness We All Feel

The loneliness we all feel,
The terrible low moan behind the scrim of our weekday mind,
Is the vastness of Space pressing in on us.

It is the indifferent howling of solar winds
And the crunch of crustaceans
In the black hold of the deepest seabed.

On the bitter mountaintops
Of distant stars,
Some part of us is keening.

And here, as we daily struggle,
We hear that keening and feel
The fear just behind our thoughts
And we think,

"i am so lonely.
If i could just find . . ."

Know that what you are looking for
Is another part of your self,
Carved off,
Risen up,
Left as a husk;

A shattered vessel
That held the beginnings of you
Ageless eons ago.

As you make your way back,
You will see your earthly loneliness
As a little thing --
A mood, a memento,

A little shard under your nail,

Reminding you that the Greater Self
Also is feeling your absence.

Tugging at you. Calling you back.

Do not be afraid. In time, you will go,
And the call will have been answered.
This troubled nap,
This brief war
We call life
Will seem to you

A statement of boundless love
From the Self
To the smallest part
And all
Of you.

Know this now,
And let the loneliness
Leach from your bones
And rise to the sky,
Where all of us
In every moment,
Even the last,
To meet
And know
And rejoice.

--Mr. Gobley


A Blessing for Daylight Savings

Maker of Time,
Architect of All:

One hour more,
One hour less:

We ebb and flow through the seasons,
Sliding the disk of our days
Beneath the brief lens of life,
Peering close
To see the molecules
Of our desire.

Our game is to imagine
That we have in our hands
The vessels of life
And the measures of meaning,

To quietly share the joy
(And the fear)
Of moving nanosections of Time
Into different orbits
Above the few moments
You have bestowed.

For this, let there be a blessing:
Let that blessing be
One more hour for us all,
One more shaft of daylight
To shore up our souls,

One more canticle of praise
Sung beneath the slowing Sun
Of Your faithful love.

Warm us by this, only for another hour,
And we will be warmed by your
Mighty fire,
World without end,


--Mr. Gobley


i can't

Don't try to cheer me up, OK?, she said?

Don't give me lots of positive affirmations about how I can do this because I can't. I feel I can't and I know I can't, and nothing you say can change my mind.

I know my strengths and weaknesses, she said. I know my limitations. Why should I bash my head against a wall? There are lots of easier ways to get a headache.

i said to her:

You can't imagine the thousand little victories that come from trying. You can't foresee what might come of the effort. Something inside you is burning to do this; otherwise, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

i disagree, i said, with whoever said failure is not an option. Failure is always an option; it's part of life's curriculum. We imagine it to be far worse than it is. Take it from me; i know.

I know what'll happen, she said. I'll try and fail, and it'll suck. And then you'll try to make some great lesson or some meaningful experience out of it, and it'll just suck.

Will it suck forever?, i said.

No, she said. It'll just suck.

And when it's done sucking . . . ?

She sighed and looked out the window. Then she looked back at me.

Then I'll just get on with it, she said.

Welcome to the human race, i said. Where we all hurt, and just get on with it.

OK, I'll try, she said. But I'll be really pissed at you if I screw up.

Screwing up is different than failing, i said. You won't screw up. As for failure: who can say? i never mind failing, as long as there's still at least one meal to look forward to that day.

We put on our coats and went to our prospective wars.

--Mr. Gobley