These two were written some 10 years apart-the second was based on a vague memory of the first, with changes reflecting changes in my feelings-the first was based on a dream.


The tree of life is hollow.
Its inner space seems vast but crowded.
Whole families dwell within, as do I.
Its walls, their thickness strengthened by age,
Keep us cozy, yet confined.
My fingers, like many others', claw desperately at their sides and
Create small, then ever-larger, breaches.
Through my homemade window I peer at the world.
I pound on my heavy wooden cage,
With my fingernails I scratch for air.
But the minds and souls of loved ones force me back.
I reach my hands through the cracks.
They are grasped by strong and helpful hands outside,
Who pull me in the direction of freedom.
I am torn in two.
I cannot stay.  
I cannot leave.


The tree of life is vast, its roots are deep.
I lived inside its hollow shell
Imprisoned by my fortress against temptation.
I watched the trunk consume itself from within.
Till only the outer walls remained.
I saw them build a fence around the perimeter
And then a fence around the fence around the fence.
Unaware they were protecting emptiness.
For all that was meaningful had been destroyed
By the pride and grandiosity of its guardians.
The hollow shell was brittle.
Its fragile bark yielded to my insistent shoves.
I was outside, climbing the fences
And frolicking in the unprotected wilderness.
Yet always drawn back to the roots
Strong and supple, able to bend and not break.
Growing little trees beside their mother
Trees of life that still hold living truth.

The next ones are trying to make sense of the whole thing, religion, history, allegory, without giving it all up-

Revelation is a maze
Full of false starts, blocked passages, sudden turns.
Words and concepts twist, shift, and tangle
As they make their way around the walls of generations
And out into the sunlight of today.

At every juncture bits of thought break off,
Change shape and texture and reintegrate.
Similar but not the same.

Each passage carries proof of time and place
That piggyback atop the words and thoughts
Adapting them, enabling them to move along
Instead of being left to languish at a wall
They can't break through.

Why, then, when they reach us
Do we pretend they traveled so far, so long
Without a trace of the years and continents they passed?
Why, in order to believe, must we deny the very journey
That gave them strength to survive?

A gentle stream, flowing through time
Carries the spoken word along its path,
Adjusting to circumstance and renewing itself
In each generation,
Suited to its era, to its place.

Years later
The stream stops short at a rock-hard mountain,
Through which it cannot flow.
The words etch themselves into stone
Now visible forever as they are,
But no longer able to adapt.

The creator of the word
Intended it to be alive, spoken, flowing and changing.
Now it is rigid, fixed in stone,
Indelibly marked by misconception
And unable to adjust to the here and now.
Entering the forest
There is sunshine, a well-marked trail for guidance,
A clear path illuminated from above.
Deeper, the brush grows dense and the sunlight dim,
Obscuring the road from view.
Still farther along, the pathway twists and turns,
Trees block the way and darkness reigns.
Cautiously, footfall by footfall-
Divergent steps create new/old routes to our destination.
Imagine a clearing
Where we can stop and see the sun,
Retrace the trails and push aside the branches
Connecting back to the original path.
To discover that some trails lead away from the goal,
Reaching a different end,
While others circle back to the crossroads,
And fill with those who travel in reverse.

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