Alfred K. LaMotte – Five Poems

Morning Glories

You have a secret work within your work,
the stillness of the heart.
The energy for the task is gratitude,
the sensation morning glories feel
just after dawn.

Learn to glow through mist as they do.
Though their blossoms do not speak,
their Being is a kind of song
that requires a deeper listening
to the ordinary.

You too could sing like that, 
seeded by stray breezes, tangled 
on a broken fence beyond an empty barn

where pigeons startle and flash
in dusty sunbeams stuttered through chinks 
of warped cedar.

Passion in the fragrance of their shadows
is what matters.
Let useless beauty fall in streams
of not pretending.
Bend where you need, feigning no

Trellised on the post and rail of silent ruin,
bow under graces of weightless sky.
Entwine your heart with weeds 
of sudden unexpected revelation.
Flower without trying.

Say Less

True listeners live in the heart.
They love the gossip of raindrops,
the breaking news of Spring peepers.

Say less than you mean.
Grace is the gift of subtraction.
The trembling crystal of a chickadee
proclaims the whole Godspell.

Tell as little as a willow by a pond
where the heron glides away
on the first breath of twilight.

And if you must speak, leave
a rippled stillness between yours words,
the kind of mirror where 
that long-beaked huntress might pause

on one leg all the golden afternoon.
Be more like the moon between clouds,
until your silences say everything.

One Who Loved You

The one who loved you madly into being
has become your breath.
If you empty your chest, she fills 
your darkness with moonlight.

Your first duty is inhalation,
your last is merely to breathe out.
This is how you polish the earth
like a sparkling emerald.

What you do between birth and death
is not so important.
Just hug the whole entanglement
without untying any knots.

Through your magisterial refusal,
a laughing hellebore teared with dewdrops
answers every question; a dandelion
embodies the Maker of all things.

Self-awareness is the pulse
of a twin-chambered heart.
The one who sees is the one who is seen.
Yet between them is distance so vast

it contains the night, and so alive
it churns out stars. Matter is a mist
in your eye, but the soul is solid
as a diamond. Already you Are

the boundless space into whom
you ever expand: this is the paradox
deep in the green of your iris, defining
ananda, the bliss of bewilderment.

All you need is the hunger of silence
to understand that the cry of an owl
at midnight is sacred and means
precisely nothing. Yet in this nothing

your ancestors gather, singing
your name by the glow of a golden fire
that was never lit. At dawn, you’ll see
the truth: all through the darkest hours

some Word-less mothering secret force
was weaving galaxies into the shape
of a nest: She is the one who sings
the whole sky in a robin’s egg.


Ejaculate the stars.
     Then visit the liminal wilderness
           between zero and one
     where the Word arises, 
          not as creation
     but the chaos of astonishment.
Grok the luminous ambiguity
          of non-conceptual mind
     using breathlessness
          to get there.
If a thought speaks
          the heart is betrayed.
     But if a song does not begin
          somewhere in your belly
     the cosmos is a stillborn seahorse
          floating in milk.
Rest in this riddle
     without solving it. 
Let you spine be a supple
          blue question mark
     in a moonlit tidal pool
          birthing an agony of pearls.
The brushstroke of chance
     daubed this world-stain 
          on a silk mirage.
Meet your voice
          in the wellspring
     of annihilation.

A Sound

Don’t listen for a voice from heaven.
Crack and break open like a nurse log
pocked by edible mushrooms
here on the brown earth.

Be the old broke wood-bone hosting
a new spruce shoot.
Listen for the Wintry howl of
wounded seeds in thermal furrows.

Turn your clocks back, watch
the last gold glance of daylight die
on a mossless stone.

(igneous mindful atomic quartz entangled
larvae dreaming thick in crevices between
earth water wood and air all matter quivering
on fractal blades of the witnessing Self
who pulses beyond sleep too silent to bear
the presence or remember where we lay so
patient in our protons for two billion years.)

Now listen
to the sound of
falling stars in your body.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty unfolds in the silence between thoughts. The dark loam of thought-free awareness is where Words of creation spring up and cry, “Let there be light.” 

Creation is neither a tale of the past nor a vision of the future, but a history of this moment. That is why, for me, meditation is the mother of poetry. 

This world is so beautiful when we see it through the crystal lens of silence, without super-imposing our ideas, our stories, our past. Then a new creation shines with every breath. One atom of this body encircles the entire sky. One tear of compassion contains all the fire of our outrage. It is very important to find this tear, and weep.

Fear resists. Resistance thickens. But when we let the veils thin out, Beauty glows through the entangled opposites of this world. In Beauty, there is vast sorrow as well as joy, the angst of multitudes in the street, and the gentility of a falling leaf in the ancient forest. Gold and burgundy, sunlight and rain, commingle in the wine of Beauty. 

The artist does not untie the knot. She is simply the servant of wonder, recording the annals of Presence.


Alfred K. LaMotte is the author of Wounded Bud (Saint Julian Press, 2013) and Savor Eternity One Moment At A Time (Saint Julian Press, 2015). An interfaith chaplain and college instructor in World Religions, he lives near Seattle WA.