H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Tender Petals For Calm Crossing


along this silent path among cliffs thru terraced green you’ll

sing beneath your breath where the poet once dreamed


of his escape thru the clouds, where whole populations fled

to rebuild shattered dreams, hands in the moist earth—


stone masons who shaped the rock attentively, that it might

interlock & honor earth that gave both seed & harvest


in the sweep of seasons—ghosts today, they wander with you,

picking your pockets, to know what dreams you bring


to this place, what breath you leave among these rocks,

what song you gather in your backpack & basket of silence:


here, the lost mother weeping for her child borne to minutes

of love before its last breath, the father pouring a lifetime’s


devotion thru his hands, his face red with defeated love yet

shining in all the brilliance of that loss—here, the lovers moving


together, their short gasps echoing in a great sigh thru which

another child comes—here, the lost father who could not face


the wreck of his love in his own child’s eyes, his sorrow like

a hermit lost in the passes of his own valleys, his heart bursting


with roses he could not bring to his own table—here, warriors

cut down like corn on a day as crisp as this, eyes turning skyward


one last time, up to the light as their blood gushes out on fertile

ground, shining path where arms & legs of the dead clutch


& kick at heaven, vanishing dreams of hungry ghosts.  so

you come, bringing blessings & eyes to flush the tears that


still pool in the world’s grief thru all the rages of lost centuries,

all the weeping sisters crying for lovers that never appeared,


all the lost brothers marched thru barbed wire to death’s

final anonymity in the last bursts they’d ever hear, minds


turned inward to their mother’s cries on the day they forced

their way into this light, compassion now for them all:


that your dream be clear when you come to this pass, I send you

this wish where tender petals turn, open in both darkness and light.



[Originally published in NHS 2001, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs01/cope.html.]