from Shadow Play

by John Brandi



birth of first grandchild, 3 August, 1989

The pathway shines!

May the power of breath, love,
courage be with you

From your mother's house
you slip out to fill the gate

To become visible,
truly here.

Breathe, little one,
rearrange the world with your smile.

Bring rain to the garden,
carry with you always

The light
from which you've taken hold.

Remind us that we are an echo
forever arriving into the dream called life.

Praise the Mystery
as together we swim this stream.

Let us live fully, and truthfully
as we begin our return

To the House
from which all things are born.



Look through the smoke hole.
The Emergence Place is filled with song.

In the heated Underworld, wolf turns
and rattles his bells. A fir tree dances.

Bobcat and deer sway from shadows
chanting the immortal language.

Drum is a seed
reverberating inside Womb's eye.

Remember this song.

Keep it singing inside this flesh
we've forgotten how to wear.

May it wipe away greed — burn clean
our collective Psyche.

Morning Star brightens in black drizzle.

Listen, these voices make wide the sky.
On the horizon — those aren't clouds

But sound, up from under
joining two hands in the dawn.



I walk, trails stop.
I stop, the compass spins.

Head, shoulders, fins
etched in rain-washed stone.

The body a petroglyph, brittle air
sunlight and blood.

The universe a fragile empire
dissolved on the tongue.

I follow deer tracks beyond clouds.
Lost again,

where the world begins.



peace prayer vigil, January 1991

I bite time
while guns wait in heaven.

Muslim heaven. Christian heaven.
Afro heaven.

In the beginning
fire was holy.

We were intelligent animals
breathing smoke.

Now the empire's a monster
in which truth is an obstacle.

We drink fire, preach fire, shoot fire,
colonize with fire.

No flag
is pure enough to wave its rule.

The green plants, the Yellow River,
the Red Sea will try us all for war crimes.

Tonight, on the eve of this year's holy war,
the moon hides

behind earth's shadow.



stair is this, whose lip, whose

The meal is exquisite,
the paper boats lit
just right.

I want to sink in now,
sweep paths
to the spirit houses

Find the dreamer
who weighs us with these dark oceans
and feasts of illusion.

I want to lift the screen,
play leap tag
through the ultimate door

Sleep close
now that the bed
has been made.

[Feast of Loi Krathong
Sukothai, Thailand / 1989]


From SHADOW PLAY, published by Light and Dust Books.

Copyright 1992 by John Brandi.


Return to Light and Dust Poets.

Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry.