In Praise of a Splinter


In a dry river bed
Carving the canyon
Of one finger print:

A shaft.

The finger must be held up
Against a dark background . . .
A translucent projectile
From some angry angel.

And yet:
Each time you brush against it,
An alarm goes through
Your entire

It is the thrill
Of the threading of nerves,
Experience --
And in it, too:
A premontion
The End
That comes with each

How, you might ask,
Can something so small
Pervade your consciousness,
Arrest your day,
Force its way
To the front?

The splinter says:
Pay attention.

It says:
You are one
And many.

How finely woven you are,
And how attuned
To the missives
And missiles

That remind you
To pay attention.

The splinter is gone,
But not the spirit that sent it.

The splinter found its mark,
Made its wound:
A world poured in behind it.

Thank it.

--Mr. Gobley



When nothing beckons --

When the striving
And the gasping,
The wrenching,
The breaking-down;

When the struggle to
In the face of the
Relentless rush
Of non-Being
Seems too much--

Remember that
Is not the absence
Of everything.

Lives in its own
Dark universe,
Twinned with ours;

It is the sieve that strains
Our Being.

We all pass through it;
We all live on in a sacred
A revivifying recombination
Of the atoms of our
Tiny selves.

The pain we feel
In holding ourselves together
Is the exquisite throbbing
Of the nerve-end
Life itself.

Grasp that holy agony
And you will begin
To understand
All that is possible,

Beginning with this:
And no-thing
Not two,
Not one.

We traverse the solitary seam
Of Life
On the balance beam
Of Being.

We must dance,
No matter the risk.

--Mr. Gobley


In Praise of Waiting

Beneath the crust of the frozen earth,
Spring has already been formed.

Just so,
Within your skin, your All

Not with bated breath,
But with silent assurance,

The exalted inhalations
Of promise.

We fear that we may
Never fulfill that promise,
And so we live in a flaccid fury,

Enraged at all that holds us back.

In fact, what holds us back
Is precisely where blessing resides:
This is the fulcrum of promise,
Not the ministrations of the malevolent
Or sheer bad luck.

Know this:

Your promise never will be fulfilled.
Instead, it will expand for eons --
A universe of potential
Unleashed by you,
Echoed from you,
Emanating from you.

What you never will be
Is the space to be filled
By those who loved you,
Who lived in your universe,

Breathed your promise;
Their exhalations of memory

And disperse,
To the winds,
The molecules,
The miracle

Of your abiding

--Mr. Gobley