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the essence of prayer

the essence of prayer is not what is sung
the song that is sung, dances on tongue, begins
and begun is done and undone, the essence
of prayer is the breath of what is sung

the draw and expel from throat, heart, lung,
the coil of what is and what remains to be done,
the beginning is always what is yet undone; the
essence of prayer is the breath that is sung

heart binds blood to lung as stars are blind to the sun
the song is not the beginning nor what is sung
we mount this ladder rung by rung; the essence
of prayer is that which binds breath to lung

in our singing our melody remains undone without you
but the essence of prayer is the breath that is sung
<I would like to thank everyone who follows this blog for your interest and support. It has been a year of revisiting the past with my Peterborough Poet Brothers & Sisters, and a year of recharging. Your interest, comments, likes, shares, truly do keep me going. This is one of my new poems. There will be more to come in the New Year! My your spirit be bright. — wm>


there is a love that does not perish
there is a love that cannot fail
it is the sound of our singing
the sound of the clouds in the sky
it is a love that cannot be forgotten
it is the spring that never runs dry

the stars cast their spears down before it
the lords of heaven tremble before it
the damned in hell thirst for it
it is the love that cannot fail

there is a love that does not perish
a love that survives each loving part
a love that cannot be divided
the love within each beating heart

there is a love that is the source of strength
a love that always is re-made
at the root of each flower
each stone rolled ‘neath the water
at the base of each mountain
the spring of each ocean
the love that surrenders
that nourishes and sustains
that speaks words of truth
heard in deepest dreams

It is here with you now
Place your hand on your breast
Feel the beat that promises
The love that cannot surrender
The love that is always with you
The love that cannot die

There is a love that does not perish
that waits without breath or pain
without forgetting, without wanting
without comfort, without shame
waiting for you to find it
in the dance of light upon the water
take you in its hand
and remind you
what it is to love again

it is the love that cannot perish
the love that cannot be divided
the love that cannot be taken
the love that will always remain


This is the final prayer/poem in the book Deep Water. I would like to thank followers, likes, and readers for reading this book. I will post 12 books this year. This is my second book and now it is over. The most personal—if there are differences regards the soul in poetry. Which seems to me debatable.

I was uncertain how this book would be received after the insouciant attitude of Monochromatics. Thanks for sticking with me— there are more books to come and I promise more folly, less sorrow—but. always, poetry.

In my reading about bereaved parents, a common thread amongst fathers is they seek to create a legacy. I had a beautiful son, named Stephen Arlen Maxwell. Arlen means a pledge, a deep promise. He died just before his eighth birthday so there is a horrible resonance to this last post. I am going to add a picture of him going out for Hallowe’en as a Jedi. A hero. This book is his legacy. Thank you for reading.


dear lord,
what the fuck’s the use?
dear lord,
why not someone I would choose?
dear lord
ruler, roost
er biting the snake
as surely as the worm
feeds on shit
in the yard at dawn
dear lord
ripples on water
chain of your endless mail
bless me lord
in victory and defeat

as I await my day of death and dismemberment
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord
as I make my rounds, as I live and breathe
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord
as I seek my final moment
as I ask these endless questions
as I listen to answers I cannot hear
I shall make a joyful noise
I shall make a joyful noise
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord
I shall sing and play my mandolin
I shall grieve, flee, continue to sin
Until my end and this is where I begin
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord

In the crash, in the smash, in the graveyard trash
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord
as I reap, as I speak, as I ravage and I wreak
I shall make a joyful sound unto the Lord
as I shout, twirl about and loudly proudly doubt
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord

I will bellow, I will blow,
I will shout above and below
drum upon my breast
splash and make unrest
I will sing just for the song
make music all day long
a joyful chorus, a round of Horace,
through each note you will find us
through song touch and teach each one of us
and until my end, you can depend
I shall make a joyful noise unto the Lord

give me the strength and courage to endure
the tempest and tumult of my heart
let me know peace,
mind torn by doubt and despair,
let your works be a sign
that all is knit and One
pearl necklace strung light and dark,
both the Lord’s work.
Let me know your place is within,
that when I despair that you are lost,
you are lost.
That when I cry for you and there is no answer,
it is a sign.
I am a dust mote resting but a moment
in the sunbeam of your love.
And in that instant I am gold.
That is all I know.
Hear my prayer of thanks
for the stars and the sun and the moon.
Let each new day find new works of man begun.
New lives tumbled, new struggles found.
I listen and hear your song, Oh Lord,
I see the towers of the mighty and they are your shadow.
I see that we rise and fall upon a mighty ocean of time
and it is yours, each wave, each drop, each mote,
this moment to be shared with Thee

in the stillness
in the vacuum lock that defies entry
there you are
in the noise and tantrum
in the screaming, tears, pain, and hopelessness
there you are
in the empty hours of the morning
in the fruitless hours of the night
in the cold of winter, the blank stillness of summer
the howl of snow in spring and fall
there you are
I beseech you
be with me
I implore you
be with me
I beg and promise you
be with me
always with me
my support when all else crumbles
there you are
and I am with you
safe, singing, thankful for your blessings
the promise that is not broken
the trust that is not betrayed

for love
for the strength that love brings
for the love that surpasses all obstacles
for the love that reaches into the pit of your belly and pulls you out of yourself howling alive and anew
for the love that lies with the child in its mother’s womb
for the love that makes the father at birth
for the love that draws man to woman
for the love that makes friends,
for the love that drives men and women to heal and nurture,
people to beg a bargain with the wind
and seek a cure for that which seems incurable,
I thank Thee

in the darkness
in the abyss
in the sorrow that surpasses understanding
be with me
in the misery of tears that cannot conceal what has been said
be with me
in the fainting, in the weakness, in the sleep that seeks exhaustion
be with me, be my guide, be my strength,
be my Father, be my Mother, be the Voice in the night
that sings of the sun, that tells the surety of the tides,
that guides the moon through its orbit, be Thee mine,
be with me, guide me through the unfathomable,
see me through the darkness that never ends
be the Goal and the Way, be with me
be the Promise and the Voice
be the end of all things and the beginning of time
outside and beyond all that befalls me
be with me

thank you Lord for each moment he lives
thank you for each footstep in the hall
thank you for every smile
thank you for a fall halted by provident hand
the barrel chested roll into another faltering step
thank you for the baldness and the hair that follows
for the roll of the seasons, each savoured
and exulted in—today we went tobogganing!
with your blessings there is nothing we cannot do, nothing we need fear
may your love shower upon him, may your strength flow through him
may you show us the path through this dark hour
and remind me each moment how I treasure this time
this time that is unique, that is eternal, that is now
this gift of his company and ours with Thee

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