Sunday, May 10, 2009

Winter Walk, Vanquishing Demons

I am getting on with things, trying to settle into the rest of my life, which is different now. I am looking at how all this is a simple pressure on my boss to divest of me. His health insurance just took a hit. It only cost me $200 to have a heart attack. It would be really good if I were no longer on the payroll. I will be slower now of necessity. Less productive. Demons. Both his and mine. You have no idea, but demons enough of your own, no doubt. I was headed into New Year's Eve with these poems and they seem to fit right now. The winter of my life? I am not dark. It is all right. Even at the darkest, most northern point there is still light poking over the horizon, just a little at the noontime of the day on the Winter Solstice.

Winter Walk

The freeze, the chill fog,
The red rose buds encrusted,
I am here put right.

I walk these paths with glory
On my mind, and you at heart.

The old is going,
The new is coming to us.
We're more willing now.

December 31, 2008 3:09 PM


I am sure that some of you are going to start recognizing these poems more and more. I don't remember where I first wrote most of them probably. I am pretty sure of Winter Walk, where I wrote that one. I was in the mood though. Someone put me in the mood. Back in the 60's I partially read the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol?). In that book it pointed out that to the trained spirit the demons are just as I describe here, and your soul depends on not allowing foul smoke to govern your path, no matter how demonic threats seem to become real, to matter, to solidify before you on the path. So...

Vanquishing Demons

Imagine the world
Reaching past your fear of loss,
Giving you the sun.

The demons have departed.
They've gone underground for now.

They were just foul smoke
No substance, only swagger.
This will be your truth.

December 31, 2008 3:42 PM


  1. ...No substance, only swagger.

    Somehow, touching death on the cheek does this to us.

    Good, Bad...who is to say

  2. Yes...more than death I shrink from pain, and yet the longer I live the more I survive and don't fear, but I will work hard to avoid some...gout (no more, please God), urinary catheterization, now twice, once just a few days ago in recovery because I called for it and it didn't come to much, no big deal...the pains of arthritis beginning, when I nearly popped my hamstring and tried to break my other ankle and failed, the pains of my broken heart so many times, but I love again anyway.

    What else can I do but love again?

  3. I like these :)

    Bugger the boss!

    Bring on the new....(better than a Monte Pythonish 'bring out your dead' :)... sorry, bit warped at times am I.


  4. That's not the way for me to treat the man who has been as loyal in his way to me as he thinks. He has. No doubt. He has been associated with my money teat since 1983 with very small gaps, though I have actually worked for him since 97. I can't bugger him. Not my type nor my way. But I do take your point sweetie.


  5. "I am here put right." I have to think about that line. It seems to summarize everything - and "put right" is an acceptance of your lot.
    There's an old hymn I try to believe -- tell myself often enough and hope that I will. It says, "Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'"

  6. Christopher, first thank you so much for your poem left on my blog yesterday, I was really touched.

    You are an amazing soul living in a crumbling body, but YOU shine through in such incredible ways. I am grateful that you are here, kicking, put right, and keeping on putting your heart out there for all to see. Your boss is lucky to have you, and I'm sure he knows it. Death will come, as it always does, but until then, your demons on the path will continue to be transformed into something wonderful, because your heart requires it.

  7. Karen, I too have a hymn that I love, an American Shaker tune. That is the one that calls to me in this complexity.

    Tis a gift to be simple
    tis a gift to be free
    tis a gift to come down where we ought to be
    and when we find ourselves
    in the place just right
    twill be in the valley of love and delight.

    When true simplicity is gained,
    to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.

    To turn, turn will be our delight,
    til by turning, turning
    we come round right.

  8. Just keep going. The health insurance is a pain...and I understand the problems with your boss...but just keep going and maybe the Demons will lose sight of both of you.

    I remember "Vanquishing Demons" :)

    It is funny, Christopher...I wrote this:

    Imagine the window still open.
    Imagine the time it takes the wind
    so full of winter and ice cold to change,
    the time it takes to tilt
    toward spring again.
    Imagine the silence that filled
    all the cracks in your heart
    will loosen little by little like
    bird song this piece of hope
    small and feathered in flight
    imagine it may settle down
    on the bare branch of your soul
    singing singing a song that could
    loosen the stillness, loosen that stone
    of silence in your heart
    imagine how it will be to sing again
    never stop the words let them
    be the path pebble by pebble
    falling from your pen.

    and in my computer -- the file name is "Curtain Inspired by Ida" I remember writing it from a photo she took last winter...I will have to find it again on her blog :)...and then you posted "Vanquishing Demons" to my poem and you turned my thoughts around quite a bit:)

    Thank you, dear Christopher.

    "Winter Walk" is beautiful. I agree with Karen about the line "I am here put right" It seems like one of those moments of great clarity that come -- usually unexpectedly -- and usually with love and the beauty of nature.


  9. Catvibe, how nice of you to say so. Of course contracts are contracts, business is business, and while loyalty and fondness and other things can squeeze in through the cracks, the main thing is informed by corporate needs and demands. It cannot be otherwise in corporate land where we suck on the money teat. The core of it will not change because it just isn't personal and will never be, at least not in the part of the money machine where we reside.

    Our little company lives as a symbiont and parasite somewhere on the corporate bottom, near the stakeholders who will never see light of day. We have built ourselves a fragile domain based on performance, but we play according to rules set by policy focussed elsewhere and for other purposes. Through the years we have had to do the same with less, knowing that they don't actually care that we do it better and cheaper. We are a foreign body that keeps alive by pleasing the wrong people (we can't please the right ones) and our contribution to the local bottom line grants us indulgence. But production is the key, and I am starting to not be productive.

    There will be no other job after this one. I don't have the money to retire.

  10. Faith, I believe that there is a remarkable spiritual flow that can be developed between and among all of us moving across this interchange we call blogging. I believe it is happening. Thank you for your presence and courage. Thank you for your love.

  11. That breaks my heart Christopher. You deserve to retire.

    a tired man perched unnaturally
    to take his milk from the teat
    because he had to
    because this is the game
    a wobbled idea
    on a sea of glass
    the work went against his creed
    but he ate it anyway
    because he had to
    because this is the game

  12. All beautiful.
    Reading all those lines,
    i walk these paths with glory.
    Thanks for blogging, walking together.

  13. Imagine, I will dear man that your
    poem is true for all of us.

  14. Catv you touch me, and that is one side, the side that shows up at this moment's gesture, because it is true...I need to retire and cannot.

    There is another truth, not in place of this one but added to it. I was given this work by God in 1973 as the compromise that would permit me a modest life without thrashing my heart beyond all recognition. I am placed high enough on the food chain to have a degree of freedom. I could not have survived in harness otherwise. So when I go in my closet, I pray for the capacity to serve, to do my duty.

  15. {{{Jozien}}}

    Aibreann, thanks for introducing yourself. Isn't this blogging thing sweet? A chance to have some reality amid the strange stretched forms and the clamor of so many tunes.

  16. Sending many hugs and well wishes your way, Christopher. I'm so sorry for your sickness. You have dealt with it very well, though. Actually, I'm impressed at how well. You're a strong person.

    The practical hamster on my wheel keeps nagging me to ask this. Isn't it discrimination to get rid of an employee for health reasons? Maybe if you kindly remind the boss? I guess it would have to be proven. I just hate to see it happen to you, especially in this economy. Maybe they can assign you other duties that wouldn't be a physical strain?

    Okay, I'll stop all that now:)

    Excellent poems, as always. I don't care how many times you post them. Your work is always a welcome sight. (And thank you so much for your beautiful poems you've given me. I wish I could write a poem as a response so beautifully).

    I agree with everyone who has pointed out the line, "I am here put right." It is powerful and very true. You are here put right.

  17. Yes, Julie, you are right that it is technically against the law, but also nearly unenforceable when being fired for "no reason" is not against the law. We have a long term nearly family relationship, but business is business.

    I do not blame him for it. Instead that is why he is welcome to his stresses, which I totally understand, and I keep mine. I would not like to manage the kinds of things he is forced to do, nor do I want his health issues, even though I have my own. I also don't want the financial obligations he carries.

    I work for a guy. There are two employees and four contractors counting me. We all come and go according to work load.

    It's a small business.

  18. Oh dear, I didn't mean literally. In Australia 'bugger it' is kind of a lighthearted expression of humour in an otherwise not nice situation.

    I think that makes sense?

    I meant don't worry about it, all will work out in the end. Probably should have just said that :)

  19. Michelle, I pretty much really took it that way you meant it, and you are right. I mainly expect to step back in the saddle tomorrow with nary a hitch except the part I was already supposed to be done and will hear about it. However my relationship with the man is long term and complex as any family relationship. To think what it might be like if he was significantly altered by my hand is not beyond my consciousness on some days. I pray for him and me instead :)

  20. OK, Christopher, i'm new so I'm allowed to be amazed by the simple. That you mark the time of the day is so astounding, and I think important. A lost opportunity for me. One that I think I'll take advantage of from now on. To see how/when these poems fall to us, such a gift. Now the poems...

  21. Both speak of acceptance. A good place to be at any point in life, I think.

    Be well.

  22. Woman, I mark the time of day because I often write more than one in a day. But yes, I think the time of day may be more important than what day. But if my poems were the kinds of work that some people do, then neither the date nor the time would be very important. None of the poems I write take more than half an hour, forty five minutes absolute tops at one sitting, and maybe ten minutes editing at post time. I am an impatient man with trudging.

  23. And p.s., I almost uniformly dislike any of my actual long poems. I feel like I lose the thread. I think I reveal the state of my mind saying so. ;(

  24. Angele DeiÁngele Dei,
    qui custos es mei,
    me, tibi commíssum pietáte supérna,
    illúmina, custódi,
    rege et gubérna.

  25. They say we know when our demons are coming, and we set up defenses in anticipation. Or we set the table and welcome them in.

    The P on my computer just cacked out, so I peeled it off and found a crumb underneath. Now the keyboard is working like new again, but I don't quite trust it. It looks sound, but I know underneath it is quite frail.

  26. I remember 'Winter Walk'. If I had the courage, I mind subtitle the blog 'walking these paths with glory', but it's your line, and you should.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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