Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Kite

It is a ghost on a string, paper skin or plastic
sewn onto the most brittle of bones
that perhaps were never born or have already died.

The frail body dips and screams.
It cannot believe that it has been surrendered
to an uncertain fate in an arena where it is rumored

that angels conspire to synchronize the affairs of men.
And yet, when its sails are in full furl,
it dances like a child who has finally learned to walk

without the gravity of knowing, the philosophy of when.
Or so it seems. There is a doubletake,
and one sees that it is a solitary prayer

that must be released to have any chance
of being found let alone returned with interest.
It moves skyward, and yet beyond the sky,

into the depths of a larger beating heart
than that of swift rivers or rising seas.
It must find the eternal rhythms, the many mantras,

that govern the expanding whole and the infinitesimal part.
I saw it sail over a golden meadow and a grove of trees,
its tail swinging like the rosary beads of a noonday nun.

And then, before it disappeared, it was whipping wild,
like a Buddhist prayer flag torn by ecstasy,
its holy tongue-wagging just begun.

~William Hammett

Site Map

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Woods at Yuletide

It is indeed the darkest evening of the year,
the sun’s brief arc hiding behind clouds, a thicket, and snow.
I exhale archangels and seraphim into the gray air,
my boots planted deep in white winter frost.

There is stillness in all directions, the coming silent night
already bearing down with noiseless labor pain
that calculates what is gained and what is lost,
astrology having served its final purpose for the kings.

The wagon ruts of a poet who paused to think of miles
runs to the veiled village east of here and the woods,
an incarnation of the should that in the snowfall sings.
There will be the usual death despite the sap beneath

already contemplating its impossible rise.
A sudden keen wind causes my mind to sift memories
of what has transpired since I was a sapling dreaming of years,
of a long road that has led me to this evening prime.

In the village, a single bell tolls Christmas time,
Such is love.
Such is the meaning of a gift, many decades old,
that is again unwrapped by the fire when the day is cold.

It is time to move on from this cathedral of dusk,
for a new dusting has filled the sky with the heavenly host.
The evening has been my scripture, chapter and verse.
At home I will light a candle in this dark but expanding universe.

~William Hammett

Site Map

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Bird on a Post

I saw a sparrow sitting on a post,
a bit of fence dividing green from green,
here from there, field from solitary road.

He was quiet and serene,
composed as a monk who has finished
his evening prayer, his final circadian vow.

At last he spoke.
He did not have a home, did not own a nest.
His lone vocation was traveling,

for this, he said, was the only true calling
for any creature with a heart that beats,
with lungs that fill with air, with chi.

When I asked him if his life ever grew tedious,
this lacking of hearth and home,
he spread his wings and for a time flew circles

over pastures before returning to his temporary wood.
“We are always leaving and arriving,” he explained.
“Rivers do not stop flowing,

grass does not stop growing
though the ocean and the land may pause for a while.
You see, the Earth is Noah’s Ark.”

Bowing his head, he took to the skies again,
heading south to a land where consciousness was king.
I continued walking down my lonely road.

I had a destination once, or so I thought,
but now my steps themselves are home,
which is what my feathered guru taught.

~William Hammett

Site Map