MEMOIR AND POEMS OF A YOUNG HEART

As a young child I would look up at the inky night sky and could hear the shimmering stars singing. I was inexplicably connected like a violin string to their numinous chorus and in my silence and stillness I could feel my young heart vibrating with the harmony of their voices reassuring me that I was loved and not alone. My heart and the heart of the firmament were one. It was the beginning of a faint awareness of the presence of God within and around me.

When I told my parents what I was experiencing they admonished me to ignore the images and singing and not to share with others. The chorus became a faint whisper as I withdrew deeper into myself and developed what Steven Levine describes as an “armoring of the heart.”

 

Sacred Chorus

Your music encircles
my muted forsaken heart
unable to embrace
Your tender presence.

My ears mistrust
the sound of Your singing.

Unlatch the portal
of my heart

harmonize my song
with Your melody

adding my voice
to Your sacred chorus

of compassion
kindness, forgiveness.

© David C. Weiss

 

Thomas Wolfe in his novel “Look Homeward Angel” says “You can’t go home again.” But sometimes we are blessed and yet traumatized by an event that occurs in our life that reveals the path to “go home again.” It was an episode at age five that began to dissolve the armor around my imprisoned heart.

 

God’s Furnace

Your command erupts from the fire
like molten steel surging from a foundry furnace:

“Step into the flames.
I will set your heart on fire.”

As I take the first step, the inferno begins
to dissolve the armor around my heart

like lead transforming into gold
in the alchemist’s furnace.

© David C. Weiss

 

The event was contracting heart disease and being sent away for two years from my family and placed in a residence for children with cardiac illnesses called Heart House. I was abandoned by my family and thrust into the uncertain care of strangers. The year was 1945.

My life has been a painful struggle to cross over the threshold between abandonment and reunion. This threshold has been a deep underground channel of anxiety, grief and distrust throughout most of my life, a river that can unexpectedly swell to the surface and drown my attempts to be intimate with others and to feel safe in the world.

 

Surrender

Come Holy Spirit,

break open the armor of my heart,

help it throb with courage

to be vulnerable to love.

© David C. Weiss

 

You Want to Enter My Garden

You want to enter my garden
to stroll barefoot
on morning dew-brushed grass

scent the redolence
of morning glories
opened by dawn’s first light

and dip your cup
in sunlit shimmering brook
to nourish your parched tender mouth.

If you want to enter my garden
you must enter
my cave where dank air

is smoldering with the stench
of childhood
abandonment and grief

and smear your naked body
with the acidic dust
of terror and despair.

Then you will discover
a child’s school lunch box
containing shards of a ceramic Jesus

four tiger-eye marbles
a plastic whistle
from a Cracker Jacks box

and words scribbled
on the inside
of a candy wrapper

“I Am Beautiful Just The Way I Am.”

© David C. Weiss

 

In my adult years I have been able to embrace the seven-year-old boy having just arrived “home” after spending two years separated from his family. As a child I fantasized home meant returning to a loving, safe family like I experienced the previous two-years, which I soon discovered was untrue and began to grieve the loss of my family at Heart House.

 

Oh, Anxious One

Oh, anxious one,

Do you not sense me
in the silent, spacious stillness
listening for your footfalls
toward my beckoning hand.

Is not your heart
pillowed on my bosom
like moonlight nuzzled
on new fallen snow.

My Beloved,

I am desires
you are desiring,
wellspring of your passion,
roar of the lion-child
from your mouth.

I am fire
streaming from your lantern
setting aflame muted candles
within shrouded hearts.

© David C. Weiss

 

From my first memories of coming back to my family at age seven to my present life, I continue to discern how emotionally and psychologically different I am from my brother, sisters and deceased father and mother. It has been a difference in which they and I have suffered in our attempts to be closer to each other. I yearn to be loved and cherished by them but I know I am on a different path to embrace and redeem the young boy from Heart House.

I have been ridiculed, condemned and provoked especially by my father when he was alive as well as a brother and sister into making a prodigal son confession and to return to the family fold. But to follow their paths, to ask forgiveness for my indiscretion of being different and for violating the family taboo of embracing a life unlike their lives would be emotional and psyche suicide. I have learned to swim in a different ocean.

 

A Fish Called Surrender

The Buddha and I are rowing in a dinghy
on the ocean of gratefulness.

The Buddha says, “Let’s dive overboard
and swim among your blessings.”

I grab the oars from the Buddha
feverishly sprinting the boat towards shore.

The Buddha asks, “Are you afraid of drowning?”

I answer, “I’m terrified. I don’t know how to swim.”

The Buddha replies, “I’ll teach you how to swim
like a fish called surrender.”

I hand the oars back to the Buddha.

© David C. Weiss

 

Through moments of grace and insight, my journey home has not been to my birth family but to those childhood years at Heart House and to embrace the beautiful child who was unfolding there. Thomas Wolfe was wrong, I can “go home again.” I can reclaim my childhood and bring healing to the openhearted young life within me.

 

Hoping to Catch God

I am a salmon in a cascading stream,
stars piloting my way home.

I am a bee swarming with
my queen in a droning dervish.

I am a rainbow reflecting the radiance
of angels frolicking in a spring shower.

I am a butterfly creating galaxies
by fluttering my stardust-covered wings.

I am a spider weaving a gossamer web
anchored to stars,

hoping to catch God.

© David C. Weiss

 

White Stillness

I am a snowflake birthed in wintry darkness,

a nascent droplet refashioned by temperature
into a feathery crystal,

twirling, whirling, floating,

finally grounded with other snowy angels
forming a mantle of white stillness,

reflecting the blue-gray lunar face of God.

© David C. Weiss

 

FOLLOW YOUR CHILD’S HEART – IT KNOWS THE WAY HOME

David was a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 35 years before the publication of his first collection of poems, “A Heart on Fire, Poems from the Flames.” He continues to write poetry and makes presentations on poetry of Eastern and Western Mystics and leads poetry workshops as a faculty member of OLLI College at the University of Southern Maine. David is a regular contributor to Kind Over Matter. David plays the “Shakuhachi,” a Japanese bamboo flute used in Zen Buddhist meditation and celebration. He combines his flute music with poetry readings. He has taught Tibetan and Western poetry to Buddhists monks at Sera Jhy Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in South India. He earned his Master of Theology and Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology degrees from Boston University. You can contact David via email or follow him on his website.

Posts in your inbox

Sign up to receive blog updates in your email box!

Related Posts

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy these

Comments