Friday, December 26, 2008

Bird Dog Like Cunning, Effective Prayer

This next poem is a true story of my early years, not even first grade. I have never been lost on the planet even though men can screw the directions up in cities. But Berkeley, California around the university was in the nineteen-forties laid out in a logical grid.

One day I wandered off following my favorite neighbor dog, an Irish setter as I recall, who led me on a day long wander through the city before outpacing me somehow. I was in a part of town south of the university I had never been before and pretty far from home for a five year old, but I could say to myself, "hills, university, town" and I knew where those were. I knew I lived partway up the hills.

So I just walked home looking for something familiar. I never found anything familiar, and I finally came to rest in the hills. I sat on one of the concrete benches placed for pedestrians to rest on. It was already full dark. I was now really close to lost but don't remember panicking. My mom came up the sidewalk steps looking for me, just out of her mind. I had been gone perhaps eight hours by then. When she appeared through the hedge I said, "Momma, I've found you!"

It turned out I was two blocks from home but up the hill. I had nearly found my way back just using my sense of direction.

Bird Dog Like Cunning

Bird dog like cunning
My Momma said of me then,
So small wandering

Anywhere, free in the hills
Of Berkeley, on the campus,
Down Strawberry Creek.

I never get lost, not in


Back in the late sixties, when I was a Hippie, I was convinced that if a certain number of us experienced an Awakening, the world would change. I was sure that the saving of the world was going to be an inside job, a change in spirit, and that we human critters were in over our heads in a tangle of our own devising. I was rooting for that change to take place.

To me, the impulse toward Awakening seemed to be under all the political protests and the psychedelic ones too. It was about saving the world in a spiritual way. A revival... How American can you get? We hold revivals regularly. I believe the sixties were a kind of revival movement too, but a "pagan" one. However it should be remembered about this revival, that the kids who were Hippies came from Christian families, lived in a Christian culture, and our instincts were Christian instincts, even if we toyed with alternative forms of spiritual living. Hedonism is a spiritual trip too and had formal expression in ancient Greek culture. The educated Greek culture is the other heritage along with the Hebrew informing the spirit of Christendom.

Effective Prayer

The music draws me
Into the dance where you are
And gifts me with form.

So we twine, complicated
Shapes. We draw others to us.

Dozens, hundreds, more
Until we reach that moment.
Then God moves the world.


  1. Christopher - I enjoyed my visit to your blog. My apologies for my error.

  2. Tracey-Ann, I didn't really mind but thought you might after a while if I didn't say something.


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