The Highest Light

The highest light is the light within.
Descending, we ascend and win
The heavens, though they distant be,
Reposing here 'twixt you and me.

Our coldest season lights the spark
That vanquishes the roiling dark;
Our blindness ebbs toward understanding,
Furnishing the view commanding:

We constitute a constellation--
But bound up in our situation,
We see, but do not comprehend,
And strive, unto the bitter end.

Exhausted by the endless push
We never see the burning bush;
What would be the path we took,
Had we but turned aside to look?

Every tree's already lit,
Awake within, and ponder it.
Look beyond, and look again--
Perhaps you'll understand it then:

Every light is the light within,
And every thought its distant twin;
Immortal is our evanescence,
Our orbit is our very essence.

--Mr. Gobley


In Praise of a Splinter

Between the ridges of a fingerprint,

A microscopic javelin:

You have to hold up the finger

Against a dark background

Even to see it.

And yet, each time you brush it,

The whole body thrums with a

Warning, a plea:

A need.

You ask yourself:

How can something so small

So alter my outlook?

How can the barely visible

Be so unbearably insistent?

Your day is filled with such splinters.

Do you not see how finely woven you are --

How the plucking of one nerve

Awakens you to the vulnerability,

The sensitivity,

The dangerous thrill

Of simply


My splinter was the shaft

That split open my slumber.

The tiny opening it made

Let a world pour in.

i thank it.

--Mr. Gobley

Prayer After Giving Thanks

One moment of respite
Within the womb of plenty
Is worth a lifetime of gratitude.

Please teach me to give thanks
When I am bereft,
To sing hymns of praise
When I am abandoned,

And to remember the bounty
Of breath
In that instant
When it

--Mr. Gobley


Before the screen

Before the screen there was the page, the scroll, the tablet, the stone.

There was a way of seeing--understanding, envisioning, comprehending-- through reading, first for a select few, then a few more; then everyone who could read had the chance to "revise," remake, the world.

Then the mind's eye became a screen, and the screen was outside the mind, and the screen became the mind's eye.

Then the mind ceased to be a mind.

Then everyone had a screen.

And no one had a mind.

--Mr. Gobley


The First Cup of Memory

The first cup of memory
Fills the throat
With sorrow and expectation

The veins with the fuel of longing

Anticipation is Time's trollop
But memory is her angel
With the ever-turning sword.

Each present moment
Holds more past-ness;
The past grows more present.

As i look out the window
On the rising heat of the day,
I drink the first cup of memory

And turn toward my desk.

--Mr. Gobley



Your going away
Was ordained
The moment you were born.

Your return is written
But only in draft form--
Who can say
What we will feel
After all that

i find you always
In the flotsam of
Domestic duty

You appear
In the guise of
A tube of cream
A shoe tossed
With the flick of a foot
A blouse still exhaling
Your scent --

A list
In your hurried
But competent hand.

When you return
My embrace will suffuse you
With those lost moments

And me with
Your next

--Mr. Gobley


In Praise of the International Space Station

O wandering brilliance--
Avatar of our pilgrimage
Toward ourselves,

How the point of light in me
Rose to meet you
As you soared

A motive star

Across the scrim
Of the suburban night sky;

What you showed me

Was myself:
A frail enclosure
Moving across vastness

Containing life
Crossing paths
With other
Translucent vessels

On a journey that
Appears linear, finite,

But is in fact
Eternal . . .

--Mr. Gobley


Please Confirm You Are Not a Robot

i laughed out loud
when the computer
asked me to prove
i was not a robot.

i asked it to prove to me
it was not a person,

and that i, in fact,

--Mr. Gobley


Prayer for an Injured Child

O Great Healer,
Raise your mighty hand
And stop the flood of tears,
And Fear.

Exalted Engineer of Life,
Restore the soul to its strength.
Knit the bones
Back together,

Mend the gentle mind
That still cowers
At the lurching memory
Of looking into
The jaws of

Suture the wounded spirit,
Spread the salve
Of your love
Over the burning stitches.

As the turning of day into night
Gives rest to your Creation,
Let it restore
Of mind,
Body, and Spirit

To the one whose pain
Is more than my frail heart
Can carry.

Heal her,
Care for her,
Revive her,
Hold her
In the
Great Embrace 
Of your Presence.

i stand by,
A whispered prayer,
A jagged breath,
A gasp of love,
Holding vigil
In the darkness of  
The fluorescent desert.

--Mr. Gobley


The Rebirth of the Muse

When the singing of the great angels ceases,
Have they gone,
Or are they merely crowded out?
When the mind fills with lists,
Scraps of metal,
Shards of memory,

The angels cannot be heard.

One angel in particular
Shadows you,
Embraces you with light,
Cradles you in sleep,
Pulls your spirit
From the earth

Like a blade
Of new grass;
Touches a coal
To your lips

And brings forth

Storms above the soul
Cause you to wonder:
Is she gone?

She is not gone.

She is behind the maelstrom
Of detritus,
Waiting for a gap

Into which she can step.

When she steps in,
The maelstrom stops,
The scree in your skull

Falls into a sacred hole
And you are reunited with her.

Find silence every day:
Carve a space for it,
Make a time for it,
Open your arms

And she will step forward.

--Mr. Gobley