Lost*

These days 
I am lost
They can see me
But I live
In another world

A world where
All the lamps stay lit
So it never gets dark
And all the paths
Are clearly visible
So I can see
The one that is mine

A world where
Dreams and reality
Become as one
My two eyes
Become twin prisms
And all that I see
Becomes a rainbow

A world where
The struggle stops
The anguish fades  
The pain subsides
The lost hopes return
And the loneliness melts
Into blissful solitude

A world where
I am fast asleep 
Even as I lie awake
And I am wide awake 
Even as I lie sleeping
Where all life has left me
And yet I am more alive

Make Me*

Torch me with the harsh rays 
Of the summer sun
So I can grow 
Like a tall leafy tree
And give shade 
To the weary traveler who sits under me

Strike me with the painful blows 
Of the sledgehammer
So I can take shape 
Like a beautiful sculpture
And give much joy 
To those who come to see me

Burn me with the singeing flames 
Of the potter’s fire
So I can mold myself 
Into a hard ceramic pot
And quench the thirst 
Of the ones who drink from me

Melt me into the flaming liquid 
That bubbles in the crucible
So I can fashion myself 
Into a pretty necklace
And adorn the neck 
Of a bride with my golden gleam 

Stretch me into the thread 
That twists to its breaking point
So I can weave myself 
Into a soft velvety fabric
And grace the form 
Of the wearer with my silky sheen

Crush me like the grape 
That spews out all its juice
So I can ferment myself 
Into a fine crimson Cabernet
And intoxicate the drinker 
With my potent heady flavor

You made me what I am
Now help me become what I can be
So I can find meaning 
In this life you’ve gifted me
And give myself up in the service 
Of those who need me

Brother

Brother, can you spare the time?

Can you take a moment to think
About the Rohingya of Myanmar
Persecuted by his own leader
Knocking at the door of a neighbor 
With too many of its own mouths to feed

Can you say a prayer for the Uighur
At the mercy of a great power
That wants to treat his faith
Like a mental illness, to be cured
By locking him up in a concentration camp
 
Can you spare a thought for the Syrian
Whose town was destroyed by his leader
And the coalition of his so-called friends
Who have turned their backs on him
After he lost everything to ISIS

Can you shed a tear for the Yemeni
Who’s become the victim of a proxy war
Between the two great powers of Islam
That choose to kill, maim and starve
Those whom the prophet called their brothers

Can you find sympathy in your heart
For the hard-working Venezuelan
Forced to leave her beautiful land
Because an incompetent dictator
Cannot loosen his grip on its riches

Can you try to feel the pain
Of the poor families from El Salvador
Split up at the border, their children in cages
Because an angry, heartless demagogue
Wants to fan the fire of his followers’ false fears 

I know the brave lady with the torch
Who once embraced the huddled masses
Is herself locked in the embrace
Of a cruel, ugly, amoral monster
Who has you convinced they don’t need you 

But brother, can you spare the time?

Dreaming

You lie awake, in desperate straits
Nothing is going your way
You try so hard to take control
But everything is going astray

When life overwhelms, has me confused
I know just the thing to do
I go lie down and take a short nap
For maybe an hour or two

As my eyelids close, the muses appear
And we’re off on the voyage of our life
We sample the nectar, we ride unicorns
We hear gryphons playing tunes on the fife

We climb hills made of soft muddy fudge
We pluck chocolate bars from the trees
We drink the sweet juice that’s flowing in streams
In ice-cream we sink to our knees

One by one life’s cares fall away
And I’m like a child once more
I can wake up and face the rest of the day
No matter what Fate has in store

When you sleep, you dream, your faith is restored
And hope, eternal, springs
You can walk, you can run, you can soar, you can fly
Dreaming - it gives you wings

Picture*

(In Authaya, Thailand, there is a Banyan tree that has grown to envelop the statue of a sitting Buddha placed under it.)

I stumbled upon the Buddha
He’d become one with his tree
The serenity of his face
Brought it all home for me

To be one with the elements
That we touch, feel and see
That bring the universe alive
Is the supreme way to be

To be like the ocean
With its awesome cresting waves
And its calm, tranquil heart
Like a thousand cathedral naves

To be like a cloud
That brings the gift of rain
Turn a parched summer land
Into a fount that can sustain

To be like the breeze
That caresses all that lives
And carries with it the scent
That the Frangipani gives

To be like the tree
That shelters in its shade
Many a weary traveler
No matter how far he’s strayed

Sometimes you have to see it
Have it spelled out for you
A thousand words will fail
At what a picture can do