Richard Lawrence Harrington

Richard L Harrington



Our Patriarchy


We loved our fathers most,
those times when they were mothers.

Though we,
have praised their every word,
their every strength,
and every need
- even unto sin -
we have loved our fathers most
when they were mothers.

The Fern Grotto


before it smelled of asphalt
when maps knew not its name
before signs or clearings ever bared the path
it was hidden, still, from most
beyond the cling of blackberry
amid the stinging briar

I was just as lost as I was rooted

fed by a whispered creek
bearing scents of tired, warm earth
it seeped a winter's embrace
beneath the sweet breeze of summer

ever smoothing jagged stone
a tranquility oft overlooked
it formed a harmony among my thoughts
carved deep between our lost old homes

binding time and place
or joy and pain
the hairs along my neck and arms
still stand in nostalgic ovation
to the music of its twinkling cascade

its quivering ferns knew me
as I had known myself
just gently shivering in hope
with my hands unfurled to the sun
and to an imagination of love

I was everything but sustainable then

and now I wonder
if I am that sacred grotto
weeping while I'd forgotten how

I wonder
if I washed those moments of dirt
from my own callused feet
if I learned balance among seasons
and to ask
and to cherish
as I give

Haunted by Nearness


I was a forest
who begged to be explored,
to be known amongst my hist'ry,
and in my efforts, adored.

You followed trail guides
and judged me by their stars,
but balked blind afore the myst'ry
of faith in our learning arms.

Maybe what you're lookin' for
ain't lost among our trees,
but longs inside some hidden door,
cryin', "love," as your heart beats.

I was an old house
who creaked in winter's freeze,
to air out my wounds still growin'
with each promise only teased.

You'd stand at my gate
your own home in your mind,
then preclude us without knowin'
our deeper selves just inside.



In the beginning,
there was,
but not emptiness.

The infinite universe was as infinitely full then as it is now,
but it was sameness
- it was undisturbed.

All the energy that ever was
and all that ever would be
was evenly distributed,
a uniform field,
or a perfectly structured crystalline lattice,
without end.

Every point being equal
in their respective distances from all other points,
all attraction
(or repulsion)
in any given direction
was cancelled out by an equally opposing force.

The universe was not at peace,
for it had never known chaos;
the universe was simply the existence
of immense potential without drive,
without purpose,
without awe.

The universe was a fetus.

as a still and infinite sea swallowing a pebble,
or a taught string plucked
to form the opening note to all music,
something was moved.

It was a naturally occurring anomaly;
perhaps an inevitable quirk of reality,
perhaps the finger of God,
perhaps the injection of consciousness,
perhaps the slightest induction of new energy,
or perhaps it actually began in misalignment.

Regardless of its cause or origin,
with the slightest of nudges,
there was now a point in space
that was either closer to
or further from
all other points
except those aligned along a plane
perpendicular to the axis of this movement.

What came next depends
on the form of the undisturbed universe;
if it was never uniform at all,
then there was no moment of beginning;
if it was a lattice,
then this first misaligned motion was all that was necessary to propagate change;
and if it was a uniform field
or if the shift was axially aligned to the pattern of the lattice,
then the first movement was followed by a second,
neither parallel nor perpendicular,
which broke toroidal symmetry.

The universe drew into
(or spread from)
this point,
tessellating outward
into progressively more indiscernible forms of undulating density
- any point therein was now unique from all others,
if only by its relationship to them.

This structure,
following rules that can be considered neither recurring pattern
nor even kaleidoscopic,
(or pressed)
energy together into swirls of growing density,
squeezing it closer and closer
until it became so tightly packed
that new forms of this energy came to be.

In time,
enough of the energy had gathered so closely
that it could no longer share such a tiny space,
and so it violently spread outward,
sometimes cooling into matter,
other times overcrowding new locations
into new outbursts
- tessellating onward
and outward forever.

at some point not so long before now,
it became our galaxy,
our star,
our planet.

it became us,
and like our host
(or like our greater whole)
we pressed into each other
and violently spread apart.

We oscillated
between the spirit of closeness
and the pulse of independence,
ever driven onward,
both as free as the other,
seeking nothing but some form of persistence
- sometimes holding on too tightly,
sometimes letting go too soon,
and sometimes…

finding the little traces
of love for what we've been,
what we've become,
and what awe we move to be.

In the Valley Beyond the Vale


Will you meet me in the valley?
where lonesome peaks only glimpse,
only glimpse our scenic forms;
where longing draws us down,
draws us down by rivers true;
where arbor hearts have fated grown,
fated grown we within leaves…

Will you meet me in the valley?
where this prose is merely seeds,
merely seeds in fertile earth;
where our roots weave deeply,
weave deeply below our tongues;
where sharing becomes receiving,
receiving understanding…

Will you meet me in the valley?
where time belies distinction,
distinction 'tween bluffs unfurled;
where we speak of mountains,
of mountains endured alone;
where fervent embrace sings tranquil,
sings tranquil against the vale…

Will you meet me in the valley?
where knowing is not longing,
not longing unto blindness;
where we roam together,
together inquisitive;
where winds whisper our summoning,
summoning, "I want you, Love."

Physiological Self


If nothing else,
let your soul be these:
- your breath
- your heartbeat
- your hunger
- your thirst
and listen to them
when the rest speaks too loudly,
and listen to others',
for they speak just the same.

Only Little Pieces


these are only little pieces
of a heart I meant to love
a holy sweetness I meant to carry

these are cookies from childhood
after I knew that secret
a promise of time and toil of hands

these are sacred whispers of words
slow electric caresses
which narrow the cautious air between us

these are fearful nighttime voices
finding judgment in shadows
and courage in ev'ry accepted truth

these are boldly sought tenderness
tiny kisses set afire
pain unraveled by soul-sought embrace

these are only little pieces
of a heart remembering
beauty before the ache of growing up

In You


You speak of God
in rev'rent contemplation
in old longings of wounds

You recite awe
in wisdom reciprocal
in beauties transcendent

You breathe vast life
in each falling autumn leaf
in kind healing of arms

You preach of love
in scarcities bountiful
in shared eternity

You speak of God
in borne celestial trust
in small echos of You

Resolute Uncharted Surrender


I ventured, then,
into my own frontier,
a wilderness unfamiliar
where time wove fingers not,
but the longing lingered
in every step among the trees
- in every echo of your warmth.

Polaris and the Cephei Siblings


When you fell into my sky,
I saw you with the same heart
- but knew you without clarity,
loved you without focus.

You mesmerized my being,
a beautiful spark to naked eyes
- but I knew you slightly then,
not so infinite as you are.

I thought you unmoving,
as I whirled through each night
- but you are not Polaris,
nor even Gamma Cephei.

You are every succession,
every drifting constellation
- each story behind your wisdom,
hard-earned in pain and joy.

When you fell into my sky,
I saw you with the same heart
- but not so honestly then,
as this universe you become.

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