The breath of paradise on my lips,
speaking the language of angels.
Turquoise dust clings to my feet
from walking along jeweled riverbanks.  

The fragrance of paradise in my hair
from sleeping in its garden of wild roses.
Brought to this place on the back of a whale,
I can hear birds sing in the rain.  

My eyes sink deep into my head
washed by tears of a newborn.
I live in the crystal void of paradise
and its harmonies rock me to sleep, awakened forever.  

So where did I go astray, or is it part of the plan,
lessons to learn at my mother’s brow?
Be still. Listen in, listen out -- it’s a whisper on my breath,
the unsecret secret of the gods immortal.  

But the winds blow and the path becomes narrow
and I stumble over illusions & make believe.
Doubting what’s real, I disconnect my heart
and lose sight of the footprints toward heaven.  

I deny life’s most magical
and slay the dragons and burn the witches and tear down spider’s webs.
All in all, I lose myself and can only yearn
for lingering in the space between the spaces.  

Small and frightened, I forget my home
and believe the thoughts I am thinking.
I fill my eyes with looking and my ears with empty stories
and take comfort in the familiarity of being limited.  

I imagine I am caught in a prison of nets
if for nothing but to feel something, so afraid of being alive in the unknown.
I rage and punch and shout curses at the web,
blocking out even echoes of paradise.  

Something has me stop for a speck of a moment
and something brushes my face like the tongue of a puppy
and something tugs at my fingers but there is nothing to see
and in something like a mirror I see myself laughing at something that looks like me.  

What if feeling trapped is when I can’t hear what’s real,
the truth of who I am?
What if fear is the absence of trusting --
a chaos of contortions played out in the pretense of avoiding love.  

What if hell is the absence of beauty,
a tangled & confused & humorless rubble.
What if rage is the absence of touch
and pain is the absence of stillness?  

What if heaven is flying without a net,
and the web is a labyrinth to freedom?
Then the route home is always at my feet
and my wings have never been altered.  

Moving with the web like a meditation,
I merge with what has captured me.
Nothing in my memory to keep me from falling,
just the sensation of the web’s gentle sway.  

I close my eyes and see the spaces,
floating through them on breaths of indigo waves.
Surrendering more, I open all that can open
and the untangling spins and twirls me.  

Tumbling out, the wide horizon of the world is waiting,
I wonder how I got here.
Feathers of the seraphim tickle my fancies of paradise
and in slow motion I leap frog back to the crossing.  

by Cornelia Powell 5/03