The Crazy Thing

My friends and I, we’re dreamers.

We value ideals more than dollars,

sunsets more than gold.

We stay up late around the fire,

talking about aliens,

talking about God,

talking about revolution.

~

Talking isn’t the point, of course.

It’s just how we tune in.

When the moment is ripe,

when the moon is full and bright,

and the embers are glowing just so,

we melt.

We disappear.

We become the wind and starlight.

~

People say we’re crazy.

“It’s impossible!” they say.

“Naive! Irresponsible!”

But the crazy thing is,

that people don’t do this all the time.

The crazy thing is,

that anyone would ever waste a night like this

in front of the TV.

tv zombie

Smoke That Thunders

victoria falls

It’s the first day of March here in Kansas City,

and there’s a few inches of snow on the ground.

The temperature is around 30 degrees,

the sky is cloudy and overcast.

Rays of light from the nearest star

are illuminating half of my Mother’s face,

tearing the gray mist of the air to shreds,

touching each fleeting and perfect crystal

of frozen H2O

with all the tenderness and passion of Krishna,

breathing life into the earth,

dancing with the pine trees like so many virgin maids,

their ballroom gowns translucent white and swirling;

playing and leaping

and pouring like Mosi-oa-Tunya

into my astonished eyes.

Eavesdropping

listen

I’ve heard the stream

and the old stones whispering

beneath the cedars.

I swear the hills are breathing.

Listen…

On a still winter night,

the darkness is filled

with a quiet, electric hum…

the language of the stars.

Who can transcribe this conversation

between the earth and sky?

Who can say what wordless exchange

takes place among the trees?

Who can understand what passes silently

from the wild, beating heart of the world,

into my pensive soul?

 

© 2015 Ben Neal

Tending the Fire

tending the heart fire

I keep forgetting to do

The little things each day,

to show my wife and son I love them,

to dance and sing and play.

I keep forgetting to take the time

to seek the silence,

still the mind.

I keep forgetting who lives inside

of every creature, plant and stone.

I keep forgetting who I am

and who I’m with,

even when I’m alone.

I keep forgetting my life comes down

to just this moment, here and now,

and how I choose to spend it.

Remembering is a sacred fire

and I keep forgetting

to tend it.

 

The Rebirth of Poetry

phoenix

I believe in poetry.

I believe in Love.

I’ve been out beyond the veil,

where the mathematics of space-time give way

to the resplendent reality

of the Golden Eternity…

So forgive me if I don’t go out and vote.

I have no faith in politics,

and the sociopaths who’ve been seduced

by the siren song of power.

I prefer to stay home and tend my garden,

surround myself with good friends and good music,

and take refuge in deep conversation;

in drums and bonfires

and dusty old books.

I believe in art and in ideals;

I believe in the soul.

I believe in the inexorable march of progress and evolution,

and I believe in the coming of a new renaissance,

led by you and me,

a rebirth of poetry and mysticism

that will redeem the human Spirit

as inherently holy and good.

I believe in Truth and Beauty,

and I have faith in the heart-connected community

that we are forming,

and the just and compassionate new world

we are creating together.

I believe… I believe.

Around the Fire

around the fire

There’s somethin’ bout a fire

And gathering round it

With a sky full of stars up above,

With the smoke

and the dark,

and the drums and the earth –

a feeling of family

and tribal love.

There’s somethin’ bout a fire

and a circle of friends,

sharing their stories and songs,

takin’ turns choppin’ wood,

cookin’ meat on sticks,

father’s teachin’ their sons how to fish.

This is how we used to live,

every goddamn day,

until television.

There’s something we’ve lost

along the way –

something sacred and essential.

And more than anything

we all desperately need to get back

around the fire.

Another Day

IBR-1113189

It’s just another day,

and nothing much is happening…

A hummingbird flits among the morning glories,

as the grass grows swiftly, silently;

the clouds are soaring gracefully overhead.

Somewhere lovers, lost in bliss,

are professing their undying devotion;

the faithful are praying and the earnest are working,

and the righteous are risking life and livelihood

in the fight for liberty and justice.

Brilliant minds are writing code

and dreaming up inventions

that will make the impossible commonplace,

and poets and artists are distilling their passion and pain

into the exquisite nectar of Beauty

that somehow makes the whole human struggle worthwhile.

The tall grain is dancing in the field,

the fruit is ripening on the vine

and the sun is freely pouring out its bounty,

Nourishing, sustaining all…

Other than that, not much is happening.

It’s just another day.

Which is reason to be grateful.

Look No Further

you are home

After a thousand lifetimes

spent searching for God,

There a comes a day when the soul finally collapses,

weary and exhausted,

into the arms of grace.

“There, there,” says a soft voice

from somewhere back behind your eyes.

“Be still now. You can rest.

Look no further than this ragged breath,

this beating heart,

this aching back,

these tired bones.

Look no further than this quiet street,

these quaint little temples,

these tufts of grass and trees and weeds.

Look no further than the earth and sky,

this moment suspended here between.

Look no further, pilgrim.

You are home.”

Today is the Day (To Sing Jai Ma!)

nature walk

Today is the day to sit outside, soak up the sunlight, take some deep, mindful breaths. Taste the air, so fresh and cool and full of life! Take off your shoes and feel the earth against your skin. Dig your toes into a bed of clover.

Today is the day to go for a walk, to take a closer look at the world around you, to see what often goes overlooked. Notice the dazzling array of weeds and grasses, bushes and trees that are spilling out everywhere, all around and in-between our houses and our streets.

Today is the day to stop and smell the flowers. Open your eyes and drink in the colors, the elegant patterns and imperfections, the wild ecstatic wind dancing!

Today is the day to watch the sunset.

(Honestly—how long has it been?)

Watch the stars come out tonight… bathe in the moonlight, find constellations. Try to comprehend infinity, to wrap your head around the sky. I mean really try—reach and stretch until your mind is ripped wide open.

Today is the day to hug a tree, to dance in the meadow, to play in the dirt; do the kind of fun and crazy things that only children are alive enough to do. Wrestle with your dog, roll on the floor, get licked in the face. Go adopt a pet from your local animal shelter.

Today is the day to take a small step; pick up some litter, start recycling. Get together with your neighbors; clean something, fix something, form a committee. Set an example. Be the change.

Today is the day to honor the Earth and the whole miraculous web of life. Today is the day to plant a seed.

Today is the day to sing Jai Ma!

To praise Mother Nature, to radiate our love and appreciation. Let her know we’re awake, and paying attention. Let her know that we care, we are trying our best. Let her know we are grateful.

We are oh so grateful…

Join the birds and the bugs and the angels, the silent song of the trees and flowers. Join the chorus of life everlasting, singing a joyous, triumphant hymn.

Jai Ma!  Glory to the Goddess, beautiful mother of the whole universe!

Jai Ma, Jai Ma, Jai Ma!

They Call it Poetry

blood ink

They call it poetry,

this tracing the shape of old wounds

with a pen.

When the voice cracks,

the tears start to flow

and the soul comes pouring out.

Everyone feels that hurt like it’s their own.

Because it is.

They call it poetry,

when your brain is on fire with an idea;

when it must be written,

when you have no choice.

When writing it makes you feel more alive

than ever before.

When reading it makes you feel

“Oh yes! This is it. This is it!

I’m not alone.”

They call it poetry,

when a human voice becomes a vessel,

swift and strong,

to carry you across some stormy sea;

when a verse becomes a hand

held out to all mankind, beckoning;

Come, this way. Follow me,

I have something to show you.

They call it poetry,

when the syllables are woven together

with a rhythm and cadence

that turns speech into music;

a lyrical symphony that ebbs and flows

and swells into ecstatic crescendos

and you are entranced, transported,

swept away…

They call it poetry,

when words can cut through the fabric

of time and space

and carve out a quiet place

in the center of the universe

where we can sit together

with the dreamers and mystics from every generation

and pass around the sacred wine.

They call it poetry,

these wildflowers that bloom upon the tongue.

This bountiful garden in the heart,

where grief and sorrow, hope and love,

tears and laughter, tenderness and courage

are all blossoming and bearing fruit.

Come with me, my friends.

Come inside.

I have something incredible to show you…

~ Ben