Just Before Daybreak

“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light.” —Miles Davis

After walking Henry (in the 12-degrees-with-the-wind-feels-like-2-degrees-weather) today, I curled up next to him on the couch with my coffee and began my morning ritual, which includes reading the Daily Dose of Talmud and opening the Compassion Today app to read the quote of the day and news from the Daily Good. While I’m not always thinking about creating when I’m walking Henry, I often compose spontaneous prayers. These words from Miles Davis reminded me of a poem I wrote two weeks ago in Spiritual Poetry Writing class and inspired me to revise and share it with you:


Just Before Daybreak (after Andrew Colliver)

Everything’s a bit blurry around the edges just before daybreak,

when I open the front door and guide Henry onto the street, 

toward his favorite spot, the massive magnolia

where we often meet our neighbors with their dogs at midday.


I see its trunk and outline of its canopy, as we approach, 

its lower branches hidden by its leaves,

forming a cloud, a thought bubble, above me. 

Henry tugs, insisting us forward, closer to its tangled roots.


Knowing how his agile body forms an angle of ninety degrees, 

I glance down to admire his acrobatic performance, 

and THWACK! I smack my forehead on a knotty twisted branch.

I’m blinded by the darkness just before daybreak.


I exhale forcefully to avoid heaving shouts of pain, 

silently curse my clumsiness before opening my eyes. 

Fixing my gaze on fallen leaves, piles of pine needles, 

Henry’s graceful stance, I see the whole world clearly.