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The night is open to the stars.

I'm clinging to the planet

lost in whole flocks of them.

Enormous sprays of light

glisten across the long-domed sky

like ideas jump-starting

along the sinus of some great mind.

Some flutter in their places

like the pulse of frail things

at the edge of cold waters.

A few, constant as the seasons,

blink their red and platinum codes

through the milieu of time,

rich in what I hope to know of them.

How proud I am to walk among such stars,

to watch them carve out

their bright pastimes,

sure as the urges that conceive us.

Tonight, whole clumps of them

want me to know I'm the way

stars contemplate themselves.

Reprinted with permission

from Stumbling Through the Stars

Copyright © 2004

by Fredrick Zydek

Holmes House Publications






My father liked to dance alone.

Late at night, when he was sure

the rest of the house was sleeping,

he would turn on the old Philco

and dance with the broom.

One Summer, when mother sent me

out with his lunch, I caught him

doing the rhumba in the berry patch.

Music seemed to come from his pores.

One Winter, he waltzed for the cows.

I went to the barn to feed the cats.

I found him doing a perfect pirouette.

His arms spun out and up

until he was like a giant top

spinning before the stalls.

The cows were lowing into their cuds.

I could tell they'd seen it all before.

Occasionally he would spin to a stop,

bow, kiss one of them right on the


and two-step back into his turning.

One day I caught him dancing nude

in the small meadow down past our creek.

He and the dance were exquisite as prayer.

I thought of Noah's sons covering

their father's nakedness, and wondered why.

Reprinted with permission

from Sojourners Magazine, March/April 1996

Copyright © 1996

by Fredrick Zydek






—for Abbot James Jones

I'd be a tea drinker

and joyous walker—

one who lived a life of landscape

instead of skin and kisses.

I'd be a votive

moving down an unlit hall—

one who steps from darkness

no matter where he goes.

I would learn to sing

in one long motion,

let my every bone be renamed

by the little light

tuning itself inside me.

I would be like a block of marble

giving way to the image

waiting like a seed inside

I would give away

the quiet agony of little things

and no longer seek,

in the pits of the flesh,

what I know is not there.

I would take the death

waiting in my veins

and let it hunt its season of peace.

I would become a thing exempt

from time's hideous crumbling—

a creature in transition

chasing all the famished beasts

back into the bush.

I would become the bridge

left uncrossed by their darkness,

the lamp that lights their way.

Reprinted with permission

from The Abbey Poems

Copyright © 1994

by Fredrick Zydek

Lone Willow Press






The Queen of heaven,

child slung on her right hip,

contemplates the little pond—

the reflections waiting there.

The child is restless.

He wants to try out his legs—

to stand like a rock

on the round and willing planet.

But the lady keeps him balanced

between her heart

and the stones they have piled

like altars in the garden.

Today she has dressed him

in the garments of a king.

When he is older

she will tell how at his first steps

it was the poverty of stones

that first adored him—

and the poverty of stone

that gave Him the crown.

They are standing by the pond now

The child is giggling,

digging in with his toes.

The lady is lost in prayer.

Reprinted with permission

from The Abbey Poems

Copyright © 1994

by Fredrick Zydek

Lone Willow Press