in a midnight place: december

in a midnight place: december

A Chapter by An owl on the moon
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The final chapter of my book: "An owl on the moon..."

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     Lily ice, frigid and biting, blankets the walk, the brush, each slope and slant.  The sky is a dark ocean reflected, in this season of the good tide.

     The fragrant scent of crushed pine fills the air.  Colored fire dashes and dances among the branches; a flame stirring life in fading embers:

 

Red the fire, hot the breath;

blue the flame, cool the death;

yellow embers, glowing, screaming;

green the life, the ocean teeming.

 

     I inhale the iced air as Daniel Wirth enters the frosted door.  Behind him enters a cold, quiet family of three; a family all too familiar.

     “I found them wandering down the road.  They said they were headed north,” Daniel says.

     “We are heading up to be with our family for the holy day.  Quite a storm set in.  Is this common?” the father states while holding their blanketed infant.

     “Sir, you will find everything to be common here.  Anything out of the ordinary is driven away.”  I step on my words and turn.

     He steps forward to stillness, placing his child in the arms of his wife.  “Cynics think themselves honest when all along they’re merely blind. They tend to miss the quiet, sacred beauty of this fragile world,” he says.

     I speak.  “Sometimes beauty is a most frightening thing, even for the blind. In my heart I had seen a rose beginning to bud, but the last petal has now fallen.  The one I came to cherish now lies silent.” With these words my breath nearly ceases.

     He leans closer and speaks with a fragrance of peace.  “Son, we must learn to walk through, not on the earth.  Just to be alive is of enormous significance. And what you do with the brief life given to you is entirely your decision.” He pauses for a moment. “Now, may we have a room of rest for tonight?”

     I turn and address the father.  “You may certainly stay with us tonight.  But know this, you cannot understand my shame or my loss.

 

Can you taste the salt of my sea;

the brine of a thousand, thousand tears?

Or see the haunted crest of the waves,

that wash up a million horrored fears?”

 

     In my silence, he speaks.

     “Do you possibly think that you or I exist isolated from one other?  No, for we are ever linked together by our very nature.  Why do you weep at a sad story or laugh when someone jokes or smiles?  It is because we are intrinsically connected.  The air I breathe is ours. Those who inflict pain or try to divide us into classes or groups are the least human of all.  We have come from One, and we are intended to be one, and in death we see the total equality; the mighty sepulcher and the unmarked grave both contain barren bones.

 

One mother of all;

one frail human race.

One voice calling all;

one mad, frantic pace.”

 

     “How can you speak of one humanity?” I ask.  “How can you deny my isolation?”

     The lady steps forward, and with music speaks.  “True, though a single drop of water will dissipate, the ocean is unrelenting.  Open your eyes for you are of the sea.”

     Her husband speaks again.  “It is to my shame if a child is murdered in the Bronx or if a man starves to death in Noyon.  We are intrinsically linked by our humanity to all that suffer, be they ever so small or seemingly insignificant.  When I see a child with no shoes standing in the cold, I am ashamed to shiver.

 

A body composed of infinite worth;

members entwined creating new birth.

If cancer infests their intimate frame,

the members arise rebuking this shame.

The Truth is a jewel embedded in stone.

Spend a lifetime in searching,

or make up your own.”

 

     With my body limp and my throat a dry wasteland, I speak.  “The masses are too busy for meaning.  Even our pleasure is a labor all its own. Truth has become a silver strangling strand.”

     Though my eyes are dry, my body weeps.  My breath does not come, so I hand a key to the man of words.  He speaks again. “Yours is but one of the agonized shrieks of the orphaned cities. You have ingested a cynicism that is devouring you. But don’t stand alone.  There is One who has come for you.

 

The One who possessed all

relinquished divine robes,

to be clothed in humanity,

and tread on barren stones.

You possess only emptiness,

but grasp at the world,

and seizing only fragments

your destiny unfurls.”

 

     With mute thoughts I send the family upstairs, and Daniel turns his eyes to mine.

     “Our nature cannot be changed by will or law.  We must have a metamorphosis:

 

But with what wonder has the season come?

Its treasure lies in earthen ships,

that carry dreams across the foam.

And how your memory of Sarah rapes

the fleshly heart that once bore scenes,

now veiled in smoky stains of tears;

it cries as on its crutches leans,

and ever fills itself with fears.

Be born anew to taste the sky

Lay waste cocoon and upwind fly.”

 

     Daniel breathes deeply and turns.  And I:

 

“Your ever golden butterfly,

sauntering through midday sky;

reborn, only again to die.”

 

     “O, Daniel, I suppose even the moon had an infatuation with her, but I loved her too late. I can’t close my eyes without seeing her face.  What an incurable intoxication.”

     “The shadow of the moon is in your eyes, my friend,” he says.

     His pause rings in my ear.  I step up to him and speak:

 

“My life is a castle of sand,

with each wall I build up, the sea takes its hand

and crushes my dream with a wave.

I have tired so with my dream to save.”

 

     At this, Daniel turns toward the sea and motions toward the pounding waves.

      “Why do you pursue the grave?  Why do you run after death when in due time it will find you?

 

Build your life, not on sand but the Stone,

that won’t crumble or falter or leave you alone.”

 

      Daniel hesitates for a moment and then continues.  “You are an isolated creature of the natural world with eyes that merely behold walls and ceilings.  Rise up and see with renewed vision the things sightless mortals cannot perceive; that a lamb can conquer a serpent.  You’re grasping for peace, yet seizing the lie.”

     And I, “I am holding to life, refusing to die.”

     He speaks.  “No.  Without the incarnation of the eternal, we have no hope of peace.  Remember, what God has created He can recreate.  Examine your soul.  Can you grasp the great empty hollow?  You cannot deny the lifeless stillness.  Awake.  Awake, to the grave in which you lie.”

     “But the grave swallows us whole.”

     “Yes,” he says, “but is there not One who swallows the grave? You are naively pessimistic, to avoid life’s sweet spice.”

     “And you’re naively optimistic, to dance on brittle ice.”

     Daniel steps forward and speaks. “Your self pity drives you to insanity. Pity. Oh, how like a prison it robs you of all joy. How like darkness it devours the day.”

     There is a telling silence.

     With this, Daniel exits into the voracious winter night and is devoured by darkness.  In an hour’s moment I lock my desk, and slowly turning I wander toward my slumbering place.  Pearled drops of crystal dew jewel the barbed gate. Inside my room, I paint a portrait of Sarah.  Then in my weariness I close my eyes...

 

     Screeching voices fill my mind.  Unfamiliar shrieks of  horror strangle my limbs.  I turn and see a body.  A child devoid of life is strewn across rough, wood beams.

     “He is here,” a voice shrieks.

     “The murderer is here,” another voice echoes.

     I run from the voices, but hear closing footsteps. The faster my fear, the nearer the sounds.   Limping towards the door, I stumble over my panic.  As I rise, I see bony fingers pointing at me.  I turn to see my own image; a shadowed substance.

 

A mirrored reflection, I stand in disgrace.

When I look at the killer, I see my own face.

 

     The lifeless child stirs and rises to face me.  His bruised hands welcome me.  I hear a voiceless song. 

           And now?  Now I see the face of one older.

 

Power and humility,

interlinked objectively;

God, and yet humanity.

 

     Streams of glory flood my barren space, as all spirits heavenly cast off the garments invisible.  I tremble sickly, clinging to my cold blankets, finding no escape from the swelling light.

 

In my gaze stands Eternal,

in my voice, not a word.

My frightened hand, no motion;

my ears had not heard.

Such music as the spirits sing,

such sound, rhyme and rhythm ring.

I see all earth and sky,

swallowed in the Infant’s eye.

 

     In standing, my cure is complete.  The swelling surf sings a once silent song.  In withering I had stood; in torrents I now walk.  This desert is defeated by rain.  I reach out my trembling hands, watching...

 

Looking at the man nailed to a tree,

an overwhelming peace surrounds me.

 

     In my weakness I rest and taste the solemn sweetness of holiness. I hear his voice. “I place in your hands the chisel and the mallet. Carve what others will read of you on your eternal stone. I give you FREEDOM.”  

 

This voice shatters sky and sea,

and breaks the bonds inside of me.

 

     I open my eyes...

     Tiny crystal stars from heaven blanket the earth.  The gray belly of the swifting clouds rolls and twists, as the clouds are pierced by the tail of a star. The faint eyes of Orion are engulfed by the eyes of God, as the scent of peppermint and pine mist the air. I walk slowly up to the sleeping Idler Inn.

     Walking from my clouded sleep as if arisen from a grave, I gaze into this holy December night; it is an eve of hope lying in sacred blackness. I gaze through these barred windows as pillars of fire consume the darkness of shadow and silence.  From the mist of this red silence, I hear footsteps.

     At the door stands a vision of the angel.  Her eyes are olive green and her ebony hair drapes her ivory face, and deep, black dress.  I am unable to move.  The fragrance of musty rose decorates the air, and I fall backwards against the barred glass.  The angel’s lips speak.

     “I am Katherine.  My mother fell from these walls sometime back.  Would you take me to her fallen place?”

     As I gather my thoughts, I shed my words.  “Sarah was your mother? You seem so like her.”

     “Would you please take me to her fallen place so that I may release her memory in my mourning.”  With these words we walk toward the sea, and beneath the crags, we embrace our thoughts of Sarah.  The night passes us in a breath.  Clouds drift overhead on the skies’ tide, revealing the blue beauty of God’s gallery.

     A buried memory awakens in my heart.  At dawn I speak.  “I saw her again last night.  I saw her figurehead at the bow, as the mast threaded the misty curtain of my sea. Though veiled in shadows I heard her quiet thunder.  ‘Eternity is a moment that lasts forever,’ she had said.   Forever pierces my heart.  Can it be so?  Can there be a forever?”  I cannot contain the crystals within my eyes.

     Katherine turns to the sea and speaks:

 

“Prepare the way of the King,

shadows fade from sight.

Scarlet is the song we sing,

anxious hearts take flight.

 

Look into the eyes of death and then beyond, to that which will remain.”  I turn to see her stinging, salt filled eyes.

     “Katherine, would you stay for awhile here by my sea?”

     She turns, and a simple smile caresses her lips.  Alabaster chariots race the wind overhead as birds dance in the air.  I glance across the frozen waters of the sea.  A voice as soft as a candle flame begins to sing:

 

“Peace is not found in the sea.

It is found when I dream of eternity.”

 

     A thousand, thousand diamonds wash the shore of the crystal sea.  Turquoise and emerald beads dance and glitter in the tide.

     I speak.  “In death is there no remedy?”

     “You are making a mockery of your Maker.  Death is the ultimate remedy,” she says, “and the ultimate disease.  When your voice is silent and your flesh is dust, then you will know, for even death is but a doorway.”

     The stillness stirs and silence sings as the sun devours the darkness.  The soft air begins caressing the sand and shells.

     “What do you see that was once hidden?” Katherine asks.

 

“Unchanging Presence,

encountering everything.

Unfaltering mercy.

Enduring justice.

 

     Though I once dreamed of death, I can now see beyond myself, Katherine.”

     She turns, “Those hungry dream only of bread, and the cold only of shelter, but those who possess Life capture the gates of hope.”

     We walk through, not on the earth, as we scale the crag below Idler Inn. Roses rest on her cheeks, and again she speaks.

 

“What sights you remember?

What sounds you now hear?

The taste of the winter,

the fragrance of fear.

Do you feel the deep presence,

of light creeping in?

Or dance with the shadows

of skeletal sin?

That the light now illumines

and darkness subsides,

is proof that your winter,

from truth now hides.”

 

     She stops and turns toward me.  A granding thaw melts my icy frame, and I shake in uncontrollable sobs while she holds my hand.  I kneel beside her.

 

Great bars, my curse,

but paper prove to be.

And I, with hasting,

torch this prisoner free.

 

     I am overwhelmed with a devouring peace. In my eyes, an ocean, though still I speak.  “All my life I felt isolated, like an owl at rest on the moon. You will also leave me, but not alone.  Gentle seraph, in grace how like an angel, for you kiss the earth and sky, and all its beauty fades in your eyes.  Yet, you speak and gospel flame ignites the sea.  Is the long winter turned, and hells’ Hag consumed?  If not, then this orbid earth rests on a tortoise hull,  and fire is frozen dark.”

     She stoops beside me.  “How often she mentioned you, but in this false knowing we disguise our own deceit, for simply to name is not to know. So now we both seize hope without vain blindness.”

     We shift as on swelling surf, and crest near the gray granite of Idler Inn.

 

In glass a framed reflection

of Sarah trimmed in mist.

And Katherine smiling idly,

a burning soul unkissed.

By earthly aspirations

and withered dreams of dust,

O, to despise contentment

and scorching, arid lust.

 

     “Hold your hand up to mine,” Katherine says.  “No...No...Palm to palm. The thin veil between this brief temporal world and the eternal is smaller than the space between our hands.  How thin that veil, and how seldom we realize it. Our hope cannot be shaken by the horrors of this world, for we sail across halcyon seas.”

     Through this morning chill comes unmasked sunlight, as this angel parts into the veiled distance, and a misty movement envelopes her as she walks on.  I turn with my back to the inn at Aesacus, that ancient dreamer.  My feet stir up sand and shell, retouching the silent earth; silent since chaos was stilled in its beginning.

          In my room my eyes are opened...

 

     From this cold room I spy a channel of fire illuminating the darkness.  A slight crack in the wall allows a beam of gray light through as dust dances on the pillar.

     I move towards the light until I can see along its channel.  In a moment, I am transported outside and catch visions of circling birds and waltzing waters.  Through this small pillar I see freedom and breathe air as fresh as new dawn, and in the distance I see a horse dancing in the waves.

     The fog that lay across the water tears open as the sun shreds the gray with its piercing yellow beams. From this vanishing mist I see a crystal staircase rising from the sea to the sky covered with angels crying, “Peace!” It is an entrance to heavens portal. I bow my head and whisper, “God help me,” and in a moment I drift with the Seraphim through the sky. Have I slept my whole existence? Has my life all been only a dream until now?

     That day lives ever in my mind.  Now I live in the present, ever connected with my past, and ever hopeful of my future.  The hovering hordes by heavens’ arm are fled, past Hades’ crags and the sun’s misting rest. Out of my pain has come a song, and on my graves’ sleeping-stone it will read:

 

“Live for what will last;

the Voice that whispers in night’s past.

The cruxton tree that stands through time;

the lives of saints through death who shine.

Seize those things that last.”

 

     The darking night and ravenous winter fall forever into the abyss, and an eternal summer is birthed in my soul, though the echoes of the angel’s voice whisper on.  Now life’s full fragrance and flavor immerse my mortal senses in an almost aching joy.

     I close my journal now as I close my eyes in ceaseless rest.  And I driftingly dream of infinite words.   Impenetrable words.  Imperishable words.

 

 

 




© 2008 An owl on the moon



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Reviews

Your words with all their imagery inspire me to continue with my writing I believe writng must come from a place deep within the soul in order to capture and keep one's interest.

Posted 5 Years Ago


I get to finally say something about your book! Here are my two bits.... Your blend of imagery and emotion, ties in to the finale, bringing the word "words" to an appropriate pedestal. Summing up the journey at a "ceasless rest", one can only say after traveling this story, it felt grand to do ... Almost aching joy? I bet that is a hyperbole Craig. The joy I read here, rakes across the dimpled surface of the moon.... and sweeps a smile onto that great gray man's face. Craig, Thank you.

Posted 7 Years Ago


I loved everything about this story. The settings of time and place, the ethereal feel, the dreams, the poetry, the story and the message are all so wonderful. I'm really glad I came across it.

Posted 7 Years Ago


What a perfect and hopeful ending to this truely phenomenal book. I loved ever moment, every word. You are a master and I am amazed at your productivity in such a trying time in your life. Thank you for writing this. I think it is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure to read...

Posted 7 Years Ago



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Added on March 7, 2008


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An owl on the moon
An owl on the moon

About
Welcome to my page of poetry... May you find peace and inspiration... Craig "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And.. more..

Writing