by Michael Miovic

In the morning, my love, we depart.

Rising from soft down as we shed the cool night air, the shutters are opened
on the moaning of doves.
Young mountains spring up through spider-webs of dew and, to the right, the
Mediterranean stretches in her placid appeal.
Fishermen are puttering out to sea, their clackety motors less cacophonous than gulls.

 A little tea recalls the soul, now we are ready.
Bags packed, paper in place, we go to the corner to wait for the bus.
Quick lurch, an electric hum, the gondola rises—it’s magic.
First comes verdant foliage and canopy of trees, then hints of sky, and below
Rolling meadows, smoke trails that garland the dwellings of men, their beasts and

We breathe in crisp autumn air.
“Look, Daddy!” the kids cry in excitement, “the leaves are red!”
And it is so. Soon foothills flatten to wrinkles, and only the land matters now.
Vast continental stretches pull the eye. I see Greece, I seek Kenya, I see the ancient
plains of the Serengeti.
Children scurry to watch silent stampedes of zebra and lions, one plucks a kangaroo
out of mid air.

Remarkable. I want to be young again, too,
But there is an awful brooding of spaces around and above,
and Time aches in my memory.
“Where are we going to sleep?” a voice cuts in urgently.
Night is falling; danger quivers the air.

We search in grim silence for refuge from cold. Minutes count.
At last Brother finds a small hut, it will do….And handsomely, too!
A most curious construction, not quite of this world: floors of thick jute and springy
under foot, like a stiff trampoline.
Through holes we peer down miles to ocean below; the waters have long since receded.
One sees a barren etching of ages, a vast and empty record that would speak
like a gramophone–if one knew how to turn it.

At night the wind grieves, tidal and beautiful and threatening.
In the valley below towers crash to the dust, voices of brave warriors ride the storm.
Widows wail and children cry; all that sad sickness of history swells and stains
the unhappy sky.
Rain clouds march low overhead and hunt the horizon–but not a single tear, not
one tear.

The great tree groans and creeks. If it breaks, we all die.
But the scene shifts: Did anyone pray?
Who invoked the high Goddess?
Ingratitude, our ugly defect.

Ah–but She is radiant! Ushas, harbinger of dawn–
She never fails, even across terrible spaces, she comes, she comes.
My love, now I feel you descending, a golden sap of life is thawing my veins.
It is You who arouse the fire, it is You who mission my roots to research the dark earth
for sustenance and hope.
I am reborn. Already I am spreading, coiling, diving, expanding into secret spaces
We arise into a new day, a new dawn, and the whole earth is wide again, and young.
To the left spread waiting plains, to the right rise splendid mountains.

We continue on, upwards ever upwards.
The gondola cuts close to the ground, awakening small outposts of settlers.
Emerging from snowy crags, they greet the day with ruddy cheer.
A little tea for those lost in slumber, and they set to their labors—
markets, trade, cooking for travelers.

But not for us this happy way station.
Pushing the wind-whipped ice cork above that compresses, we ascend the
inhospitable ledge, turn the last corner.
All now is bright haze and strenuous labor; a solitary skier pulls to exhaustion but reaches
no closer the peak.
Wideness contracts to anguish of unpassable height. The day is relentless, it shines
cold heat and no issue.

And then….it is done. In a sudden downpour,
We arrive and She descends.
A seed is dropped from the elusive transcendence, and
Wrapping the birth of light in sheath after sheath, She carries the gem downwards.
O Goddess, O Thou of the great Dawn, it is You and You alone who bring the true life.
On a summit of heights, arrayed in vast legions, we are gathered and aspiring
to Thee.
One million leaves rustle the perfumed breeze, and purifying sunshine
revivifies the Tree.
Even nether neurotransmitters crackle and snap out their biochemical applause, rejoicing
the fecund ecstasies of ravishing Truth-Light.

Here, in a still air where all winds settle to perpetual day,
Supernal luminescence bathes the brain’s synaptic secrecies, infusing bliss
into clefts of death.
Gone now the gray, cellular demise, the miasma of years falling like leaves. Even
Flaming corpses of ignited proteins yield as dross to Thy transfiguring touch.
Sublime photosynthesis shoots soul-sap downwards through stem and tendrils,
And taproots transmorph into nitrogenous efflorescence.
Spirit becomes substance, blood begets God, and,
From the dead memory of a narrowed day,
A new bud is born.

December, 2002