Icicle Winter

Across the gorge from my snowed-in hut,
in the last piercing shards of wintry daylight,
ice gleams and glitters like the scattered jewels
of a fallen monarch’s hapless catastrophe.
Stitching through the canyon,
the lone crane silently winging home
becomes a fast-fading memory of motion.
Here at my camp, a crystalline stillness
has settled softly over this meager fire.
This high up, kindling is scarce.
Too soon, alas, my fire will dwindle
to cool ashes before me, demonstrating
yet again the ultimate fate of all passion.
Once out, only a mysterious inner flame
remains aglow beneath this darkening sky.
How swiftly it too will submit itself
to the vastness in a ritual of humble surrender.
What lingers on, what’s ever been:
pure dynamic emptiness, a timeless radiance
without center or origin, impersonal and majestic,
granting this kaleidoscopic world the power to exist.
For a sense of that, consider how a single mote of dust
became this mountain, and how the potent mystery
that made this possible is the same love shining,
even now, between our restless thoughts.
Standing still, we fill the same space
as any mystic mote or magic mountain.
When I stopped searching, I found myself
rooted like a sturdy pine, branches raised
in praise of sky, a living stick prayer
swaying in the wind, yielding
to all that moves me.
Though the fragile beauty of a peony
will not survive winter’s first hard freeze,
something of its death exhales out beyond itself –
a deathless prayer to the promise of spring.
My heart is adrift on that same breath,
tenderly wrapped in a breathless prayer,
a prayer to warm this icicle night, and all
the lonesome spirits gathered here who
share in the shine of this love light.

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