"Wheels Turning Inward" is a is a rich collection of over fifty poems, following a poet’s mythic and spiritual journey that crosses easily onto the paths of many contemplative traditions. The artwork at the top of this page, is one image found in the Gordon Moore Memorial stain glass window at Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, by the artist Kim Clark Renteria. The image of these three circles, is emblematic of both the Trinity and the title for this new collection of poetry now available from Friesen Press.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Times Square

Midtown Manhattan
Center of the Theater District
Here Broadway diagonally bisects the island
and 42nd Street cuts it in half.

Last Night, Eight blocks north of here
at the Winter Garden, I saw "CATS".
T.S. Eliot in New York City.
Could this be, his "still point
of the turning world"?

I am standing at the top section
of a narrow triangle.  Surrounded by
people and buildings, buildings and people.
Behind me is a giant COCA COLA sign
flashing white on red, with letters

In front is a big blue and white
computerized sign reading:
Two sides of another building are illuminated
RED AND BLACK on a bright field of NEON GREEN.

A graphics display shows, "Network to Tokyo",
just below,
Far Eastern news PARADES across an Electronic
Ticker Tape 10 FEET HIGH.
Native New Yorker's call it the Zipper!
From this point, city streets become
Impregnated with a fury of sights and sounds.
From this point, the dance begins.

I turn to look downtown,
twin towers reaching upward
reflect our pursuit of affluence.
Wall Street and the surrounding
Financial District seems eons away.
A church band is playing on the square
Warm black African American faces singing and
flashing smiles instead of advertisements.
Yes, I know, in a way it is the same.
But, they are singing:

"This little light of mine,
 This little light of mine.
 Let it shine, Let it shine.
 All the time, All the time."

For an odd reason it reminds me
of home and white wooden churches
in deep East Texas.
Can't you see those Gospel singing Choir members,
swaying in their pews, and dancing in the aisles.
The band members seem to be full of
such innocence and faith.
I am at once both humbled by and
thankful for their music.
I too want to be part of this dance and
I too want to be touched by God's Holy Spirit.

A Bag Lady off the street moves towards me
smiling and I smile back.
Her face is etched and carved with wrinkles
that map out the rough course of her life.
Our eyes touch, for a brief moment we connect,
and share a passing thought.
Even now I can see her half toothless smile,
brighter than a thousand neon signs.
She passes by and continues on her way,
Crosses Broadway towards 8th Avenue,
Not once looking back.

But I can hear her all the same;
Singing, softly singing,
"this little light of mine . . . . . ."
"let it shine, let it shine  . . . . ."

I am doing the same.

                                                R.P. Starbuck

September 2011:

One of these poetic images has changed forever now. Since September 11, 2001,
the "World Trade Center" twin towers and several surrounding buildings in lower
Manhattan no longer stand, and a new memorial and new towers are being
erected now. It's been nearly ten years and we will always remember the site
as "Ground Zero".

It is everlastingly etched in our national and global consciousness; we have
come to see it as a sacred place, marked as hollowed and consecrated ground.
Even as the rebuilding moves forward, ethereal images of the "twin towers" still
remain. We see them so clearly; achingly brilliant in our minds they reflect the
eternal spirit and memory of those who perished there, turning this part of lower
Manhattan into a sacred landscape.

If you listen carefully you can hear the power of each single soul calling us to let
our own light shine

"This little light of mine...
Let it shine, Let it shine…
All the time, All the time..."

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