Friday, December 15, 2017

A feather tumbled from the Christmas tree
And then a moth loosed up and flew out free
They came and spoke, as if they could,
Grow voice to speak from balsam wood:
There are stories here of days and times
That you might know from verse and rhymes,
Of quiet rain and searing sun
Of long nights passed and days begun
Of vigils held and moments mourned
Ovations received with outright scorn
Of births and deaths to celebrate
Not marked by stone to dedicate
The lives and times of pure plain stock
From wind and snow and earthly rock
The same old story daily told
The same great novel never sold.
And so they stopped and talked to me
This evening from the Christmas tree.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November Butterflies

What do butterflies know?
Of November days that seems of spring
Warm slanting sun
And blooming dandelions blossoms,
Open late for
One last dance,
Egg yoke yellow
With toothy florets,
Offering a free final meal of nectar
Before the butterflies, white and yellow,
Choose a loose bit of bark
Or a rolled leaf
Or a silken sleeping bag
To slumber the winter away.

Safe in their dreams
They are thankful I suppose,
And I am not surprised
By this mutualism:
Kindness begetting kindness
People might learn to call it.
Empathy at an evolutionary level,
It works both ways
Such prosperity,
A win-win
In these late warm days
Before the struggles
Of the dark cold coming winter.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Cup of Tea

Could you bring me a cup of tea?
And sit with me for a few short moments?
The view through the window reveals
The dulcet pasture
Now vacated by the cattle
Now the domain of squirrels
Secreting hickory nuts.
They are manic!
Or perhaps just being squirrels
Flush with the wealth of the mast?

I will place my hand,
Warm from the cup,
On the soft skin on the back of yours,
Knuckles and sinews
Stories of your days
Some of which I know
As I was there with you.

An empty cup
Signals the end of this moment,
Something will call you off:
 to tend to a chore,
 to empty your mind
 or to refill it.

The pasture will call me back,
there's a bird at the feeder...
As a gust of wind
Rattles the window panes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Black Vultures

I am in my hidey-hole
and I'm waiting for the speaking world
to call to me
I know it does
at least it always has
the rain and the ravens
black vultures too
as they pass by sky high
and then return circling easily
I see them again and they see me
I know they are speaking
wing against wind

I knew a dog once
who was sick I think
or maybe injured
the world will kick you and
take you down
It is bigger and meaner
she might have said
and this dog was my dog
and she would crawl under the house
into her small sanctum cell
a dark sanctuary
when she could take no more

I am in my retreat now
I may take a trusted hand
and follow
but I cannot take that next step alone or at all
nor lead nor love beyond
this small world of wounds
and into
this battlefield of unimaginable loss

there is no god
and I find myself praying to her
to open my ears
and let me hear.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stepping into the Unknown

A caterpillar quickly walks by
my morning meditation,
Compelled by forces that are secreted
from the casual observer.

What do I know of you?
That you are a white and black ghost
Of late summer
Foreshadowing things to come.
That you are playing your part
Spontaneously, yet
Well rehearsed,
Guided by a deeper knowledge
Inherited over countless generations,
And that you will soon be something quite different
Changing effortlessly, so it seems
As your destiny requires of you.
No preparations,
Nor choices,
No fears
Of what is to become of you,
Nor anything beyond simply doing
The next given thing.

You are the Buddha bug
Stepping into the unknown.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hummingbird Reflections

There is a nectar feeder near the window
It calls out to the hummingbirds
The sweet siren's song baiting the birds near
And as the hummers approaches
They seems to see themselves in the reflection of the window
They hover and hum their song too
Sizing themselves up:
What do we have here, they might say?
Can it be so self aware, I wonder?
A swoop and a dip seems to chase this phantom flyer
Illusion vanquished
Ego satisfied
Momentary domination
Of this small universe achieved.

Later on,
On the nearby open porch
As I sun myself
Eyes closed in fretful meditation
(I too am trying to keep my universe small)
A hummer visit me
Flying close
Perhaps less than a foot from its curved bill
To my face.
It hovers in inspection
Churning vortices of air upon me
Regarding me:
What do we have here, it might say...
And why do you come to me, I might say
Are you my spirit guide?
Are you me from some other side?
And am I confronting  my own reflection
Through your sweet siren's song?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Nest

How many bird nests are built
without an avian thought,
accomplished by only the singular purpose
of nesting?
Are the eggs to come simply
an impulse following
a hormonal dream,
a surprise.
Just that?

Do the birds know their truth,
such as given to them by
the wind
and water
and sun,
as the seasons spawn
the secret imperatives...
and so
is the nest is just as much the bird
as the egg laid
the feather fledged
the song sung?

And then to sometimes lose it all
dropped down
dropped low,
does it render them sad
their hopes cast down too
so tragic,
witnessing the empty shell that empties the heart
as these moments seem to feel?

Is it their loss too
or do they simply do the next thing that comes,
free of such bittersweet moments
free to fly into the morning sun?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Peace and Love and F___ You!

I believe in peace and love
Earth below and sky above,
But I would like to stray today
And in the most loving way,
Say fuck you!
Heartless thieves and shameless too
As if the earth belonged to you!
So greedy.
You casually seek to sweep aside
The very earth where we abide,
So foolish.
Stealing what's important to me
So gleefully, most cruelly,
Will just not stand.
The list, it seems, grows every day
But I for one am in your way,
And I am not alone.
And though it’s not my normal way
Please listen when you hear me say,
Fuck you!





Monday, April 24, 2017

White-throated Sparrow

I saw you razoring your bill this morning,
Using the budding branch of a maple tree
As your whetstone.

I have some questions:
Ø  Does doing that give your sunflower seed
a maple-y delicious flavor?
Ø  Do you suffer when the weather is cold and wet?
Ø  Do you have a best bird-buddy friend?
Ø  And where do you go at night?
Ø  Are you ever afraid or lonely?
Ø  And most especially,
how does it feel to fly?!
Ø  Is that freedom as delicious
As maple-flavored sunflower seeds?

And thanks for stopping by each morning
And having breakfast with me.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Just Now

I can only hold onto this moment for just so long.
It is hot, hot!
And sometimes I am blessed it seems,
Or cursed perhaps as well
With how quickly “now”
Is always becoming “then.”
But it is not then and gone, no, there is a wane:
And it is a gift when the hot now is love
‘cause hot will keep me warm then,
Long into the cold shadowy night,
And something I can circle back to,
As it cools
The touchstone after the fire has faded.
But it is not always then and gone, no,
Which is a clear curse when hot is hate,
‘cause hot hate will haunt me,
And taunt me toxic now
And burn me as it cools, then.
It is something that circles back as it simmers
A stain that is never scrubbed clean
A regret that begets regret.
So what to do, what to do?
Since there is no sure way to quench the hateful heat
But only to let it cool in my own entropy
Nor to feed an endless fire of love,
As much as it is my desire…
So I will greet such heats with a small wry smile:
Hello!  And there you are!
I will greet them in this moment
This only one
Like the heat of the sun
So constant and so god-like…
(As only in my life does the sun’s heat seem to come now,
And go then.)
This is know, this I know…
And this moment is hot!


















Saturday, March 25, 2017

Prelude to Spring

A passing shower brings
A prelude to spring.
It dimples and pocks
Creating self-healing divots
Craters and canyons
Painting and sculpting and painting again
The grey liquid canvas.
Watch closely or you might miss it as
The eye jitterbugs from near shore to far
Wanting to register
Each drop as it strikes
A visual cacophony of
Low rollers circling and radiating
Brothers and sisters
Born from above
No two seem  alike
(Though there is
A strong family resemblance).
A sudden burst bring more and more
Radiating circumferences
Shoulder by shoulder
Crossing and blending these
Fluid Venn diagrams,
Now being studied by mallard mathematicians
Paddling across the pond
Wondering if dinner is included with this show?
 Soon, a drier wind sweeps
The grey palette clean
Shape-shifting the water,
With a pause and a stillness,
An ephemeral epilogue
Waiting for the rain to return
Once again.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Donald Trump's Birdfeeder

I’m going to send Donald Trump a birdfeeder.
You might picture it in the window of this photograph,
Possibly with a Peterson’s Field Guide placed usefully on the Resolute Desk.
I won’t labor the President with any lectures on ornithology
Or science or adaptations and the like,
Since he wouldn’t likely listen to me.
I’ll only ask him to keep the feeder filled
With a nice mix of sunflower seeds and millet.
The chickadees and titmice will be appreciative
I’m sure.
Maybe the President will watch them and marvel
At their enterprising natures,
Their common beauty,
And their valiant struggle for survival?
They will only take a few minutes of his time each day
But they will surely show him things he did not know,
He did not know,
Like steadfastness, diversity, playfulness, and simple joie de vivre.
David Thoreau said,
   "I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment,
   while I was hoeing in a village garden,
   and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance
   that I should have been by     
   any epaulet I could have worn."
Maybe the sparrows will teach The Commander-in-Chief
About peaceful co-existence?
And tolerance?
And modesty?
William Wordsworth is oft quoted,
   "Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher."
All leaders need teachers.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

EPA Lament

Do not steal the air from me
I could not bear such poverty
And fill again the pristine sky
With dirt and soot that stings the eye.

The earth our home we must not foul
I long to hear coyote’s howl
We share it all with birds and beast
The giant whales and microbes least.

The streams and lakes and oceans wide
The care of which we must abide
This is our home from which we came
To spoil it now will be our shame.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Not Yet a Swan Song

I thought that I had lost a swan.

Viewed through the window
And across the lake
They sailed there mornings
On most fine days
As a threesome of waterfowl
Forming a triptych
Hinged in their beauty,
Into my vision such
Clouds upon the water,
Joy upon the heart.
But then one was gone
So it seemed
And out of kilter was my new view,
A rowboat plying with but one oar.
The remaining pair flew low and muted
Across the ice covered lake
Whistling for their vanished friend
Or so it seemed.
And I counted down their loss and mine
As the way of the world both harsh and cold
Which sometimes snatches up
Such beauty and promise
Rendering forever
The goodness from their lives.
But then I saw on this grey dark day
Found, not lost the triplet!
Gliding across the distant way
And still within our visual bond
Pallid and strong against the breeze
And so it seems
What was lost is now found
Whose return required nothing more
Than fidelity
Which is to say:
Have faith and hope,
Let’s wait and see.




Saturday, January 28, 2017

Walking with the President

I would like to take the president for a long walk in the woods.
We would climb humble hills and majestic mountains,
We would cross small steams, steaming in the morning light,
We would ramble across flowering fields and watch the bees
Bobbing on the blossoms.
We would listen-long, smell deep,
And touch things wet and cool and smooth.
We would spend dark nights perched on a rocky crag
And just look up...
And think back to the beginning of time.
We would walk and breathe and discover our way
Deeper into the universe,
Deeper than we ever have been,
Deep enough to realize that we do not need
To be in control,
And that it is good for us to let that go
On the next sun sent zephyr,
And know that there is most certainly
A better way.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Lonely Walk

We have been caught out in the cold
In the fading light of this democracy
We have taken for granted
That it would always be there
Solid and monumental.
Silly to think it could not be snatched away
Silly to think that there was such a thing as
Absolute trust.
Absolute good.
This is a miss-read of human nature
This is a painful moment
This is a  long, lonely walk home.




Thursday, January 5, 2017


I’m somewhere between solitude and loneliness,
Can you help me?
This task will likely be burdensome since
I cannot teach you the steps to this dance,
Nor rule the hobgoblins
As they step forward fast
And then soon sashay and vacate
The dance floor.
Sometimes they are driven by a compelling beat,
Sometimes by an adolescent swoon,
Sometimes with no cause at all they
Come out to play,
Just cause.

So I need you to put on
That pretty dress,
You know the one,
And wait for me to take your hand
As I wait for the next ladies choice.
I think you know,
I think you know better than I.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Yielding to Resistance

Lifts water
Secretly rising gracefully
Skyward by the persistent power
Of the magician-god
The great Ra
Our soul
The Sun.
Heat and sweat and wind
Pluck the liquid loose
Stealing it from its earth bound vessels
And momentarily flaunts it
Flinging it wantonly skyward
In the face of gravity
Rising rebelliously
Then suddenly and finally
It is resisted
Yielding molecularly
 To the cold black wall of the sky
As strong force plays its part
And so self-attracted and slowed
And  rejoined in
Brief moments of chaos
And Condensation
And transitory concession
Downward it returns.
Visible now
Sticky dewy icy
Hexagonal flakes and shattered shards
Transformed into prismatic droplets
Rushing and plodding these
Tears of joy
Fill my cup and your ocean as
Gravity gets the first and last laugh
Throwing down precipitously
Against these brief mile markers
Of resistance…
Finding its only true home
In the constant
Cycle of change.