altar of this earth

A Daily Joy to be Alive

No matter how serene things
may be in my life,
how well things are going,
my body and soul
are two cliff peaks
from which a dream of who I can be
falls, and I must learn
to fly again each day,
or die.

Death draws respect
and fear from the living.
Death offers
no false starts. It is not
a referee with a pop-gun
at the startling
of a hundred yard dash.

I do not live to retrieve
or multiply what my father lost
or gained.

I continually find myself in the ruins
of new beginnings,
uncoiling the rope of my life
to descend ever deeper into unknown abysses,
tying my heart into a knot
round a tree or boulder,
to insure I have something that will hold me,
that will not let me fall.

My heart has many thorn-studded slits of flame
springing from the red candle jars.
My dreams flicker and twist
on the altar of this earth,
light wrestling with darkness,
light radiating into darkness,
to widen my day blue,
and all that is wax melts
in the flame-

I can see treetops!

Jimmy Santiago Baca

3 thoughts on “altar of this earth

  1. very powerful poem, with a sack full of pity images. I love this one: “My heart has many thorn-studded slits of flame springing from the red candle jars.”

    thanks for the introduction.

  2. Wow Genju – This really touches my heart! “I continually find myself in the ruins of new beginnings, uncoiling the rope of my life to descend ever deeper into unknown abysses…” Wow – such authenticity and honesty in these words, allowing me to get in touch with the same… It’s like “death”, even the small daily deaths, allows us to let go of the shore and just open to the stream of life flowing through – unbounded, unfettered, unencumbered, “learning to fly each day”…

    With deep gratitude! christine

  3. ZDS: how interesting that you caught the “pity images!” I’m experiencing the same sights as I read his book. It will be interesting to meet him at the retreat next week.

    Christine: Yes! learning to fly each day… that really hit home for me… right now, in this moment, I feel like I’m having to dig deep to do that…

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