Growing More and More

Growing More and More
For Henri
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Nexus 5 Photos 1152

 

Trees are not defined
By how well they read
The scrolls of the sky;
They are not defined
By how wide or how far
Or how hard they stretch;
They are not defined
By the green they bloom in spring
Or the gold they scatter in autumn.
Trees see in the dark.
Trees brush their hands
Through the fields of heaven.
Trees find ways
Of securing themselves
In earth and stone no one else
Would have ever thought of.
Trees spread fragrance and fruit
Simply by being themselves,
And by growing more and more
Into being themselves.
Trees make time to stand
Draped in moonlight and starlight,
And the shawl of the sun.
Trees gracefully allow
The breath of God to whisper
Through their minds
And touch their faces.
Trees gather nourishment
From storms and winter soil.
Trees weave air with skillful fingers
From pure imagination
And devotion to life.
May we all learn to rest
In their confident shade,
And, by their example,
Grow more and more
Into being ourselves.

 

 


 

 

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The Bridge

The Bridge
To Fane
By
Joseph Anthony Petro
There is a bridge to cross
Where afar afield
People have found a way
To live with relative ease
With themselves and others,
And now have formed
A welcoming committee
Eager to widen the circle.
Looking over the span
Of space and time
That spreads between
Where they dance
And where I stand,
I reach out–
Their dancing turns
Into rejoicing–
I take a step a far
Afield and their dancing
Turns into a festival–
And they are singing my name
And they are moving as close
As they possibly can
Leaving me the dignity
To cross on my own, to stumble
And allow my stumblings
To become dancing,
And their singing
Give me wings,
And their dancing
Gives me strength,
And their very presence–
The very fact of their desire
To help and to welcome and to share–
The very fact that they can even see me
From so far away,
And love what they see–
Is enough today
To help me get up,
Step away from my own shadow,
And keep walking.

 

 


 

 

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Resuscitation

Resuscitation
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

 
Spring is trying,
The trees turning into carnivals of flowers are trying,
The roots are trying,
The sky is trying,
And the robins, the hawks,
The invisible, but audible owls are trying,
So many people are trying,
I know they are asking
Their gods to try,
I know you are trying.
I only hope it’s not too late.
That I am not already dead,
That the block not letting the air
Into my heart isn’t too massive,
Too menacing to let any breath
Escape in or out. I only hope
I can trust the kiss, the passage
Of your strength and courage
Into my chest. I only hope
The breathing will catch hold
And then gradually level into calm.
And I might need to hold your hand,
And I might need you to tell me
To hold on, or to let go,
And I might need you to have me,
To not let me drift into nothingness
Once I do let go or hold on,
Whichever the case may be once
The stream of your breath begins swirling
In my lungs, and I open my eyes
And live again.
And I might need you to remind me
There is white light around me
And within me.
And I need it be OK with you that I need you.
And I might need you to be the white light for awhile
And embrace me with healing gentleness like there’s no tomorrow,
Until I rise again a new creation.
I only hope it’s not too late.
That I am not already dead.
That once I begin to feel
The warmth of your breath
That whatever it is within me that is frozen
Will begin to thaw,
Will have its own experience of spring,
And will suddenly and without shame
Blossom into a life that is alive.

 

 

 

 


 


Going Through the Motions

Going Through the Motions
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Fake it till you make it, they say.
I’ve been faking it for the better part
Of forty-seven years,
The rest has been out and out lies
Scattered through fleeting moments
Of a deep awareness of the oneness of things.
I am trying now, more than ever
To go through the motions of living
Because the motions of dying
Would hurt too many people.
Yet every living movement I make is hollow
And empty like a brainless robot riddled with rust.
I shave, clean my room, I look at you
And I write these words, I even gaze long moments
At flowers and roots of trees,
I walk yet I do not feel my steps,
I lie in bed yet I do not feel my weight,
And it isn’t so much a wind is blowing through me—
It is more I am not even here, not even a shell,
More of a ghost–a living, breathing ghost.
And I do not know when I crossed over
Into dying while living. I have tried so hard
To push through, to simply be,
To tell you the truth of my journey,
And yet I can slip my hand through my own body,
The mirror reflects the wall behind where I think
I stand. I want to tell you something beautiful,
I want to give you bushels of hope,
I want to tell you to never look away from the light
Or the darkness, I want to tell you to never refuse an embrace,
Or to never give up, yet I am faking it, so I truly do not know
If what I am telling you means anything at all.
Yet I am here. Going through
The motions, the way waves go through
The ocean, the way wind
Goes through
The curtains,
The way space
Goes through
My eyes,
The way time
Goes through
My life,
The way the end of the road
Goes through, straight through
To the other side
Of heaven.


It is Beyond Me

It Is Beyond Me
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 
I do not understand how I can be filled with such a sprawling emptiness.
I try letting the spring overtake me:
The trees breaking open with their flowers of colored light,
The ground erupting with tulips and daffodils who so clearly want sky and bees,
The robin eggs bluer than the sky filling secret nests with the wings of the future,
The silent flock of deer wandering the graveyards of my attempts to pretend, to obliterate
Myself– how they nibble at the moon-drenched grass at my feet,
How they touch my hands with their velvety lips,
Still–there is still a gray wind stuck in the tree of my soul.
I do not understand how such a desolate wasteland could just appear
After all the work I have done to cultivate prayer, to garden my heart, to reach out, to love myself.
It is beyond me.
Somehow I walk—a stranger in the town of my own life, no longer surprised
At the devastation, at the ground full of flower petals,
At the broken robin eggs on the grass, at the daffodils curling in on themselves,
At the riots, the stupidity, the greed, the betrayals,
At the mirror looking back with such vacancy into such a nowhere
That it is unbelievable I still exist. And please
Don’t talk to me of ingratitude. Anemia spreads
Through the veins of my spirit without my consent, there is a famine moving like
A procession of ghosts through the fields of my ability to sing.
Please just look away, and please just hold me until it is beyond me,
Until it is unbelievable that I could have ever felt this way,
Until I can breathe again in a life full of spring.


That Same Wonder

That Same Wonder
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

blossoms

 
I am being
Step for step,
Morning by morning,
Evening by evening,
Breath for breath,
Pulse by pulse,
Desire by desire
Written, drawn,
Painted, sculpted,
Composed, arranged,
Sung, and spoken.
I am an expression
Of something, someone
So living, so vitalizing,
That it spills into my steps,
Pours from my words,
Weeps from my heart
In such a way as to both hide itself
And reveal itself at the same time.
It should come as no surprise
That wonder drips, no matter how
Sad I get, from every cell
Of my body.
I am being made, created,
Dreamed, formed
By wonder, and the same wonder
That assembles me
Dismantles me, levels me,
Emptiness me,
Adjourns and disrobes me,
That same wonder
I am being fitted for
Doctored by,
Dissolved by
Is the same wonder
That wants me,
Requests me,
Stomachs me,
Explores me,
That same wonder
That is my every breath and my last breath,
That same wonder that will lay me down
In the soft earth and raise me up
When I am ready to awaken,
That same wonder that will keep me
Dancing, learning, being born, full of grace,
Full of insight, full of cherry blossom petals
And moonlight, full of ponds
And stars—that same wonder, when I am ready
To be myself in full bloom
Will be there, here
Ready to catch me
When I fall.

 

 


 

 

 





I Saw the Willow Dance

I Saw the Willow Dance
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

I am telling you I saw the willow dance.
She danced with such duende
My root chakra ignited into a pool of fire,
My kundalini awoke gyrating like a cobra,
My third eye opened and caused my upturned face to blush.
She twirled her rivering boughs,
Whirled her soft, green skirts,
Shimmied her thousand and one shifts
In one billowy shift,
Drew the morning breeze
Up her skirt and through her undulating arms–
Her whole body swished and swept,
Her fingers fluttered over the dew-covered grass.
I’m telling you, I saw the willow dance—
And for me,
And now
For you.

 

 


 

 





It Is Over, This Beginning

It Is Over, This Beginning
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

storm clouds

 

It is over, this beginning,
This blossoming into the past;
It is over for the future
Is the spring in bloom now;
Believe it, for within the clouds
Storms are building to break open
The sky with thunder and you
Cannot do anything about it
Except stand tall letting the roar
Wave through you turning you
Into an echo of divinity;
Let the rain scour you clean
And draw you down into the earth
With holy heaviness.
It is over, this dying,
This unending end of not knowing
Your own worth, dignity, gold.
It is over, this lie
That you are not allowed to be happy,
That you are a victim,
That you have no alternative
Except to crumble slowly into dust.
Stand tall in power and bless your life
With your life without the need to ever
Again hold your breath or disappear
Into the ceiling. The ceiling is gone.
The hating yourself is gone.
The bed and floor you were pinned against
Are gone. You are limitless thunder
Plumed with possibility. Go and end
The ending, begin the continuation
Of your becoming you becoming you
Becoming an echo of divinity unfolding
Through the mountains and valleys
Of a life lived alive.

 

 


 

 

 





Listen Heart

Listen Heart
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Go easy on yourself.
You’re working hard giving birth to the soul.
Allow yourself to rest awhile in a bed of light,
And in the coolness of the soft-winged darkness—
The one that cradles seeds and roots,
The one that carries starlight faithfully on its shoulders
All those millions of millennia.
OK, so the mind you’re with has made some mistakes—
Cut him some slack. He is learning to live unchained
While at the same time bound in God’s care.
You say you feel empty and yet full of sorrow?
Those are contractions from what I am told.
Try and stay steady. I know you’re young,
You always will be. But you and the mind
Must work together during this process,
And you must take the lead.
I realize he is often busy in some fantasy, hating himself–
Find a way, lean on others—the midwives
You know so well. Let them help you,
Hold you, coach you along.
You are doing precious, incredible work—
So precious you might want to call it play–holy play.
You are freeing the soul from waves
That course in and out of you–
The ones that toss even the mind
Up and down in swirling eddies,
So the more light-hearted you can be the better.
And the mind is helping you
By learning to stay present no matter what you are feeling,
And your light helps him for he lives in darkness
Much of the time. So play. Play in hands of light,
And let the soul go, dear heart. Let her go, like a song,
Like a breath, like a prayer wept when you have no strength left.
Let her go the same way you want me to let you go,
The same way I want the mind to let me go—gently, gradually—now
And perfectly, with grace, humor, and dignity.
And while you and the mind work together on this,
I will be here, wrapped in silence, trying to believe
What I tell you–trying to believe that no matter what happens,
I am worthy of love.

 

 


 





Stop for a Moment

Stop for a Moment
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

 

Listen:
You never were
Anything less
Than you are now, and yet,
One day, one day sooner
Than you think,
You will be so much more.
It isn’t simply a matter of perspective.
It is more akin
To falling in love with yourself.
How can this be, and what
Does loving yourself
Have to do with anything?
Close your eyes.
Please.
Breathe in the image
Of a seed sleeping in the earth,
Hold it there a moment—
Now breathe out the image
Of a tree crowned with the sky.
Wonderful.
Now breathe in the image
Of a bird’s egg,
Hold it there a moment—
Then breathe out the image
Of a bird, in this case an owl
Gliding with a mantle of stars
Over a moonlit marsh.
Tell me:
How is a tree—sturdy
Yet swaying, rooted yet reaching,
Not an image of the earth
Loving itself into the sky?
How is an owl, a heart with wings,
Not an image of the night
Turning its head around
To look at itself in pure astonishment
And admiration?
You were once a zygote
And now you are reading this
Blossoming into your life;
You are what loving your neighbor
As yourself is all about.
You are a seed-spark growing,
Reaching, branching out as a body of light—
God’s own flame
Dancing in a hearth of flesh and bone,
And one day, one day sooner than you think,
The flame will leap from the room
Of your life and become an owl of astonishment
Perched in a tree crowned with the sky
And sleep all day in a mantle of clouds,
Waiting for the night to fall in love
With itself again, so you can drop
And express yourself in silent flight
Swathed in moonlight and a hunger
That is both holy and full of becoming more
Than you are now.

 

 


 

 

 





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