And now, as I prepare to fall,
dear Lord, let me sing
let me pray
I fall to emerald water
let me fall with grace
I fall to grace
Tigers either way, before me and behind me,
but here, on the ledge
tigers either way, above me and below me,
I hang, on the ledge,
tigers either way,
but here, on the ledge,
one perfect strawberry,
one perfect sweet berry,
I reach for the berry.
All winter beech leaves
remind us of what we have lost
semaphores of summer’s sun and green
All summer the greenly leaves
hide the mountains from our view
and brooks run up the trunks
Brooks run up the trunks of trees
to bring the greenly leaves
and light brings on the dark
In the fall we recall
what we are losing
and rejoice in it.
Haul the wood, hammer the shingles,
work is your worship, building impermanence
Every moment is new, the past forgotten,
the coming only is sacred, energizing spirit.
Our lives, like houses, are never finished,
when they are settled, they are not alive,
Let us remain unsettled.
Let us truly live.
Cultivating wildness takes practice,
aplomb in the midst of irrational things.
In life’s thicket – a clearing.
In the face of failure, loss, and death,
we lift our noses to the moon,
Seek the holy quiet of solitude
Allow your self to be entered and filled
The life spirit you meet is also within you
Let separateness fall away
Only do not give in to anger or hatred
Announce your amorous intent,
The collective call to love
In mud season
it is the rocks that
keep us up
We walk in mud,
of our terrible
As the tree puts forth new branches
through pores of old
so the world comes through you
The unfinished world is ours to develop
choose the world and fall to it
with presence and absence equally
From first breath to last,
as you move through the world,
the world moves through you
Choosing the world
we discover at the end
the world has already chosen us.
On the edge
of a moonlit field
and no safety net
it is in falling
we find stillness
Do not suffer change,
Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
Throw clay on the wheel
and center it so it spins
press the spinning lump
between your palms
thrust in your thumbs
pull the clay toward you
and as it forms
only the clay can find the center
you cannot contrive to know
This is the rhythm of our lives
the striving and the pulling,
we are shaped by life, deformed
so we may return to form
We are thrown on the center of the wheel
our lives press in, thrusting thumbs intrude
one must let go all disaster and delight
and so return home, bearing gifts.
It is at the edge of night, of an idea,
or where I meets You, that the boundary
gives form to the thing,
where I know your skin is not mine,
and in touching the boundary we merge
where here and there become one
and now I throw my body and my self
into the sweet air I have breathed
and fall as all along
“Requiem Poem,” by Peggy Johnson is based upon Learning to Fall by Philip Simmons, Copyright ©2000 by Philip Simmons, and used with the permission of the Estate of Philip Simmons.
Key words: choir, full chorus, solo, mezzo, orchestra, life, death, moment, now, present, momento mori, dying, living, poem, poetry, music, modern, contemporary, classical, contemporary