To Listen to Everything


He leaves the house before dawn

to stand out under the moon and

that single morning star,

listening to everything;

a torrent within, outside,

the distant northbound train, the dogs

in the hills serenading the end of night, the

interstate humming. An owl speaks of the

first world in the far cottonwood.

The man is neither pure nor holy

but carries a sense that some

greater sphere

that joins with him

is yet held in pure holiness.

He lifts words up to first light,

a simple request to live well with

longing as it lingers. He hears

a quiet invitation to

step into himself, best he can,

into the more gentle demeanor

of moons and stars.

He feels the strength to live with feelings he

cannot resolve. He purposes to

follow love where it leads

and live a simpler life of waiting for all that

he desires to come to him

in its time and

if it chooses, to

drain him of his furies.

The days are lonely in this season,

well worth the learning

to listen

to everything.


2 thoughts on “To Listen to Everything

  1. I love this one so much. Pretty much every word, but these lines in particular:

    “live well with longing as it lingers.”
    “Strength to live the feelings he cannot resolve”
    “Gentle demeanor of moon and stars”

    Longing is one of my favorite words – perhaps because I’m well acquainted . I hear longing in many of your poems. CS Lewis liked the German word sehnsucht because it conveys an ardent kind of longing or craving. The Portuguese word saudade apparent conveys something similar. In both cases, there is apparently no adequate translation to communicate the intensity and nuances of the feelings. I’m not trying to impress you with linguistics, but I’ve enjoyed trying to find something that describes what I feel so often, and in my search, those words moved me.

    There is also a mysticism to your writing that resonates.

    Thank you

    • I was struck, many years ago by Lewis’s use of the word sehnsucht in his book Surprised by Joy (I believe). I have dwelt on it ever since. He placed his first feelings of it in his childhood, just as I would, and have long since carried the severe mercy of it with me. I like having learned of the Portuguese version of it here today. Thank you for your kind words and for letting me know that you are resonating, which is my sincere desire.

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