by Richard Jones
When I went home to visit my sister
in the stone house by the river,
I couldn't sleep, and so I rose early,
before dawn, and entered the quiet
temple of the living room to sit
in simple meditation. Palms up,
legs crossed, shoulders squared,
I took a minute to relax my body,
then began to count slow breaths,
attentive to the task of emptying
the merest thought from the mind,
as if sweeping cobwebs from corners.
Moment by moment my heart grew
calm. The windows filled with light
and birdsong announced the morning.
Out of nothingness, light and birdsong.
With eyelids almost closed, I imagined
a peaceful sky free of drifting clouds—
heaven's immaculate, eternal blue.
As I sat, time passed, like the river
quickened by wind. Sun-diamonds
sparkled on wind-shirred water,
and all around the house red azaleas
blossomed, burning like a fiery moat
as towering pines swayed high above.
Perfectly still, quietly alert, I sat
and I breathed—the mind balanced.
Then I heard the soft yet distinct
notes of a distant trumpet.
I did not move, or open my eyes,
but only listened—yes, a trumpet.
The soaring notes entered my being.
My first thought was of angels on high—
the Lord coming on clouds of glory.
But the next instant brought the truth:
not a trumpet, but a bugle—a soldier
at the fort upriver, sounding reveille.
How could I have forgotten the fort,
having grown up among soldiers and war?
How could I have forgotten the battlements,
the armaments I've known since childhood?
And so like my father, a soldier,
I rose to defend the day,
to praise the light in song
like any bird or poet,
knowing this could be the very day
when angels blow their trumpets
and wake everyone.
please note: art by Randy Webb