Miles Flansburg

Miles sent this poem recently, with a note, "I hope you like it." Well, of course, I like it! And it fits well in Miles's canon of poems.


There is so much I have never done
and will never do.
Is it over then? A life wasted?  All promise spent?

I have never read Homer in the original Greek
But I have learned to read a coming storm from the tones of the sky, and to smell the secret and invisible rain.

I have not blown crystal or cut precious stones
But I have drowned in the tiny jewel colors of henbit flowers and pass-me-by blossoms.

I have never seen the sun set over Kilimanjaro
But I have watched the vespertine shadows fall over my garden, and the morning sun gild my child's face.

I have never spoken French in Paris
But I have read the character of a horse from her eye, and listened when the spiders spoke.

I will never prove a new theorem of mathematics
But I love, and am loved, in that slow eternal reverberating crescendo that shakes the bones of the world.

Some travel always outward
Chasing wonders that fade as they approach.
My path has been a spiraling circle
A labyrinthine dance
That brings me always back to this moment
and deeper into the moment.

My greatest treasures come when I am still
The deepest wonders are always at my feet.
The leaves turn in the light to say
"It could not be richer.   Different, yes.  But not richer.
"Nothing can be richer than a life lived with the eyes open."


My heart is clothed in an electric skin of life.

    With each breath, life fills us
    Driving out and drowning the lifelessness from which we came;
    Pushing back the cold for one more moment.  

    Each of us will one day be rescued from this struggle,
    Returned to the peace of stillness;
    Reclaimed by the stones.

Till then, the fire of the conflict burns within my veins.

             —Miles Flansburg

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Miles Flansburg says this poem "grew out of late-night shopping trips and feeding horses after dark."


Argent Lady, gazing down on us with your quiet laughter—
Your silver gleams reveal the truths that light hides from us.
Our eyes strain in the night,
Mistaking explicit mysteries for shadowed facts,
Honest insubstantiality for obscured permanence.
You watch, bemused by our blindness,
And release your luminous flood
To wash the stain of certainty from the world,
And reveal its translucence.
Grasping for comfortable clarity,
We lose your visions.
What you reveal is not in the words you speak
Of light and shadow,
But in what we come to know
When we stop looking for what we expect to see.
The arc lights of the parking lot
Hide your children from us—
The strident light is harsher, crueler, falser,
Than moonlight can ever be.
You yourself seem faded, shriveled.
But still you smile,
untouched by our frantic scrambling.
Secure in your own harmony,
Changing only by you own stately cycles,
You watch, reveal, and wait for us to see.

             —Miles Flansburg

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
According to poet Miles Flansburg , this poem is "a continuation of the thoughts in my last one, 'Reveal,' from a slightly different direction, influenced by rereading Tolkien's remarkable essay 'On Fairy Stories'."

We have heard all our lives of the other place,
the perilous realm,
where the fair folk, the good neighbors, play their music.
But where is the border of their country?
How can it be anywhere,
now that we have explored the whole globe from poles to equator?
In the blazing light of the sun, with the blinding light of reason,
we have looked everywhere.
It is not to be found.
But in the crystalline darkness, we begin to know another truth.
The silver-gray gleams of the moon reveal to us,
in the unintended moment,
when we glance without seeking,
that the borders of the perilous realm are all about us.
All we need do is to trust, without understanding,
and follow the glimmers of what we know to be there.
(We must not frighten it by trying to decide if it is real or not. 
Such certainty is its antithesis).
The light of the silver lady calls us,
pulling us away from what we think we are
into what she knows we can become.
into what we unknowingly know is our true self.
Is this not always her call?
Whether she beckons in our dreams,
rides a silver chariot in the night sky,
walks hand in hand with us in the mall,
or sleeps softly beside us,
she is always calling.
Can you not hear her music,
the plucked strings and sweet voices calling from beyond the trees?

—Miles Flansburg

*  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Miles sent this latest poem (below) without comment.



I follow the path that my teachers showed me,
but never too closely, always a bit to this side or that.
The pines whisper hints to me,
the birches offer subtle guidance.
I pass the trees and feel the clearing open before me.

If I open my eyes too wide
the branches close, the path tumbles,
and I am back at my doorstep.
Instead, I take a breath and another step.


I pass the trees and feel the clearing open before me.
How far to the other side?
It is beyond the reach of my outstretched hands;
that is all I can know.

The sun is warm.
I sit in the grass and let the boundaries of the world
be wherever they want to be.

—Miles Flansburg

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