Thursday, March 10, 2011


The Beginning of Real Time
©2007 Roger W. Pelizzari
(Elephant Journal, 2014, Reflections on the Source, MUM Press, 2012,
This Enduring Gift, 2010)

Almost morning,
somewhere along the edge of March,
I woke to a moment so still,
I heard the ice cracking
on the frozen waters of the world.
Rising from the valley
between night and day,
I opened my eyes and saw my watch
sleeping on the table,
stopped at midnight.
It was a signal for the beginning
of real time.

Here and now the world is new,
we see by the light of the sun
that shines in the middle of the head,
while invisible winds
blow everything false away.
Who will miss the shadows of our old lives?
This is how we enter the future,
through the door of the present.
This is where we find the place
we have longed for,
where no one needs to ask,
“Where am I? Which way should I go?"

We are made of green earth and gold fire.
The blue sea flows through us,
and the sweet, silver air.
The stars flash from the mind
to the sky,
and grow brighter as we look.
Soon, we will not even remember
the time when we were asleep,
dreaming that this would happen.

* The ancients knew of the one-to-one relationship of the sun and the Thalamus, which has been re-discovered in our time by Dr. Tony Nader inspired by Maharishi.

* * * * * *

The Silence that Moves the World
©2010 Roger W. Pelizzari
(Reflections on the Source, MUM Press, 2012)

Just before the morning light,
the air is full of silence,
like the snow on the ground.
It is the same silence that moves the world.
It is where I begin and end,
so close,
just beyond my eyes closing,
my feet wading into its waters.

There are no signs to follow
or maps to lose my way.
With hardly a thought,
I am there.
With barely a breath,
I stretch in all directions.
In a moment, I am everywhere,
I am everything, I am nothing.
Thoughts dropped like pebbles
in a wishing well,
echo and disappear.

I wake as if from a million years of sleep.
This is the beginning of motion,
the motion of all that I have ever known.
It has always been this way.
The laughter I hear is my own
as my body lifts into the air,
and falls like a wave on sand.
Moments pass without notice
and I am up again.
When time finally appears
like some stranger,
I stop to rest on its shore.

There is no need to remember
the silence.
It is with me as I step into the sunlight,
It is written on the faces I see,
It vibrates in the voices I hear,
and I am certain it is
the same silence that moves the world.

* * * * * *

Looking for the Big Dipper
©1992 Roger W. Pelizzari
(The Iowa Source, 1992)

The ancients called the sky a happy place.
To watch the stars, they said,
would cure a sad heart
and remind you of your infinite size.

I find comfort
in those ancient lights.
When some mood crowds my heart,
I go to a field
and move my head back,
until my feet
leave the ground.
I float with Ursa Major, the seven starred Big Dipper
of the Big Bear,
that my mother showed us in the Spring.
From there I find the Pole Star,
straight up above the axis,
the unmoved one,
around which all others move.
Turning west, I walk with Orion,
he with the sword on his belt,
still hunting, but never catching
Lepus the Hare,
even with the help of his two dogs.
The larger, Canus Major,
is honored with Sirius,
the most visibles star.
How kind of Ptolemy*
to give a dog
the brightest star.

* Alexandrian astronomer who systematized the northern constellations

* * * * * *

Wisdom Does Not Wait
©1992, 2016 Roger W. Pelizzari

Listen to the natural wind that blows
through these windows and doors,
that rolls this sun and moon,
and these uncountable stars.
Listen to the natural rain
that falls on this American land
as we sleep through these long last nights
of fear and deception.
Watch the tidal waves wash away
the castles of control and division.

Wisdom does not wait
for the counting of votes.
Like a bird, she flaps her wings,
and flies beyond the reach
of oligarchs and tycoons.
whispering the ancient message,
"Be still, be still, be still."

Sitting in the center,
in the point of all directions,
we find the power
that spins the planets,
we find the door
to all our destinations,
swung open,
wider than the world.
There is the lamp, lit forever,
the end of thirst, the end of hunger.
There we know
we are not meant to fight like dogs
over bones in the dust.
There we feel
the sweet relief of knowing
that all the lovely doomsayers
were wrong.


The Piano at the Victoria Falls Hotel
©1991 Roger W. Pelizzari
(Origami 1991, Collecting Moon Coins 1991,
Iowa Poetry Association Award 2007)

The old man lets his hands play the old jazz,
across the white keys and the black,
on the piano in the round room
at the Victoria Falls Hotel.
Helicopters pass as the sunlight
ricochets from the crystal chandelier.
Every inch of wall is white
but the air is black warrior.
He plays the sharps and the flats that fall,
with a hundred fifty million years
of roaring waters,
rolling into the Zambezi,
that winds below like a snake
in the sun,
while the soldiers on the other shore
shoot aimlessly into the sky.

He plays while the waiters pass with silver trays
in the fading light.
In the evening, he eats on the terrace,
and whispers his thoughts to the waters,
“Mosi-Oa-Tunya—you are the smoke that thunders.
I am sorry these English still call you Victoria.
They will not last so long.”
At dawn, he walks out to the edge,
where the rainbows begin,
and stares to the bottom where the white foam
eats away the earth.

* * * * * *

37 Degrees North by 7 Degrees West
©1991 by Roger W. Pelizzari
(Collecting Moon Coins 1991)

I check the map before I sleep,
when the moon is growing full.
It's hard to know how far or deep,
a dream may fill the world.
One day, one Summer night,
I woke up once and woke up twice,
and clearly saw what had to be,
my body floating by the sea.

Beside the cliffs of southern Spain
just as in my memory,
two burrows in the quiet shade.
I nodded as they blinked at me.
One the brown, the other white,
sitting on their curled up legs,
looking left and looking right,
minding nothing that I said.
I asked, "How long have you been here,
beneath the shelter of the pines?"
The burrows did not seem to hear.
They blinked and shut their sleepy eyes.
I asked if they would walk with me,
along the beach as once before,
and smell the air and cool their feet,
but they had both begun to snore.
I dreamed until the sun did rise,
and spread its light across the map.
There was no time for sad good-byes,
and so I whispered, "I'll be back.
I'll bring you apples, golden sweet.
I know the place where you will be."
And as I rose up from my bed,
I thought I heard them start to bray,
and looking back inside my head,
I saw them turn and walk away.

* * * * * *

Meditation in Deep Drought
©1988 Roger W. Pelizzari
(Lyrical Iowa Poetry Award, 1990)

North is the only sane direction
to be driving in July,
across the flatlands
US of A.
We stop to spread the map out
in the highway grass,
searching for a missed turn.
Long ago, we would have been lost.
Now, it's just a signal to rest,
to close the eyes.
Under the rare branches of an elm,
we dive deep into
the ancient ocean of peace,
where maps are useless.
Minutes pass,
centuries roll,
time disappears.

We open our eyes,
and the world is new.
At the next station,
we meet an old man
who points the way
without being asked.

* * * * * *

Songs Heard by the First Tree
©1987 Roger W. Pelizzari

I knew a elm in Iowa,
alone on a hill,
tall and long standing
one of the last.
Sparrows and grackles
filled its branches,
singing the songs
heard by the first tree.
Standing beneath,
I would join in the chorus,
and marvel when they stopped,
as if to listen to me.

The tree is long gone,
but the notes linger on,
and the spaces between the notes,
where everything is remembered.

* * * * * *

Message from the Muse
©1984 Roger W. Pelizzari
(Writer's Digest Poetry Award, 1991)

Listen, you poet,
why do you summon me
like a servant?
Do you think I will appear before you
like some genie,
hovering at your shoulders,
whispering sweet metaphors?
That is not the way I move.
Forget me.
Leave your books.
Go rest.
When you are fit to travel,
you will hear a bell,
and I will bring you
boots and a sled
with dogs barking
and firewood to burn
in the snow.

* * * * * *

©1983 Roger W Pelizzari

Now, forever, and long ago,
long past the geese flown far south of here,
we breathe November’s new moon air
while north winds blow great powers near,
whistling through a thousand doors.
We gather round as our fathers,
round the tables, round full harvest.

We give thanks for the earth
and the earth gives thanks of itself
and takes the sea.
We give thanks for the sea
and the sea gives thanks of itself
and shines the sun.
We gives thanks for the sun
and the sun gives thanks of itself
and warms the air.
We give thanks for the air
and the air gives thanks of itself
and fills the sky.
We give thanks for the sky
and the sky gives thanks of itself
and tells the time.
We give thanks for time
and time gives thanks of itself
and points the direction.
We give thanks for direction
and direction gives thanks of itself
and finds the soul.
We give thanks for the soul
and the soul gives thanks of itself
and meets the mind.
We give thanks for the mind
and the mind gives thanks of itself
and finds the Self.
We give thanks for the Self
and the Self, curving back on itself,
creates all worlds,
visible and invisible,
now, forever, and long ago.

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