Orange Pendulum

That orange pendulum
is just one leaf suspended
from a spider’s thread

17 Year Cicadas

Do the cicadas
underground know that they’ll surge
awake this next spring?


Acorns drum the roof,
announcing the abundance
of which squirrels dream

Just The Fourth Monarch

Just the fourth monarch,
resting orange, black on milkweed,
I saw this morning

Self Same Hue

Cherry tomato
and high far rare reddish Mars
share the self same hue


The wind finds in oaks
a sound like surf, wild waving
of paper-thin green

So You’re Gone

So you’re gone, mother,
whom I never quite knew, since
you weren’t quite you

First Shock

The first shock has passed,
so that I can begin to grieve
with the falling leaves

Rolling In Offal

Rolling in offal,
the happy dog knows nothing
of this week’s events


It made you anxious
to get near me, when I was
small and free and me


You had lost the will
to live long ago, but you
still loved being towed

Absence, Absence

I can’t find you now
in my mind – absence, absence –
that’s you in my mind

Your Mother’s Voice

Near the end you had
your mother’s voice and went slack
as she to be free

October Dogwood

A pool of scarlet,
near blood red, is a dogwood’s
image in fall lake.

Rare Distinction

One in ten million
were the odds you’d die of this –
a rare distinction

Branch Of Red Leaves

A branch of red leaves
is painted on the full moon
and stirred by the wind

Lake’s Lead

Skin you, dying, sloughed
returns as patches of mist,
white on the lake’s lead


as the full moon setting now
is dying, the end

Tiger Stripes

Unafraid of frost,
a tiger striped bee hovers
over yellow leaf

Dead Crow

Ink as black as night’s,
crow becomes hieroglyphic
lying dead just here

Golden Haze

Sun turns morning mist
to golden haze in which fox
appears, then is gone


tiny power plant, inscribed
with Ma’s initials

Oak Lake

Hollow fallen limb
has filled with water, made birds
a lake to swim in

Yellow Leaves

The yellow leaves now
are like a flock of gold birds
impatient for flight

Toad Lilies

The toad lilies start
early in spring, explode now
like autumn orchids

Fall Light

Fall light is itself
almost elegy, golden
with ripe remembrance

Like Water

Years flow like water,
silent, no clue where they go,
how they dissolve us

Earth’s Hold

Now I get it – earth
holds what was, what’s to come, all
the particulars

White Dog Prophecy

White dog, prophecy
of snow and memory, too,
trots in fall’s rainbow


I always meant you
to be other than you were,
just as you did me

Nothing Inside

If I reached inside,
found nothing there, would I grasp
its rare, spare splendor?

Sky Of Cream

Sultry autumn day
waiting for rain to begin
from a sky of cream

Without Wrinkles

White is everywhere
as snow smooths the view – I see
you without wrinkles

Too Modest

Too modest to have
any sense of homecoming
a red leaf hits ground


Here in the moonlight
I’m writing in the presence
of the subtlest shades

Each Death

Each death makes me feel
more vulnerable, closer
kin of earth, air, night


Our lack is our luck –
we need emptiness to fill
and silence to speak

Father Bloom

In the golden light
of painted autumn, father,
your face blooms in mine

Summer’s Ghost

Autumn’s summer’s ghost,
but bright robed, gay, until its
fingers turn to ice

Indian Summer

Indian summer
in all its glory – red men
everywhere unseen

Gunpowder River

Gunpowder River
cold as a rifle barrel
flows dark into dawn

Free Travel

Letters travel free
on the wings of butterflies –
they stand for nothing


Against bright blue sky
one bronze leaf now floats slowly
down from sycamore


Half moon oversees
Indian Summer twilight –
I send smoke signals

Moon Lasso

Smoke wisps from my fire
to try to lasso the moon,
is lost in wide night

Death’s Name

How to say death’s name,
but with a caress, sweet sense
of how it holds me

Born Anew

To feel the same things
over and over until
they are born anew

Orange Butterflies

Two orange butterflies
flit across the river Styx,
turn to leaden mist

Fifteen Years 1988-2003

The old disaster
still lives in me, wakes, worries –
my life holds your death

Painted Leaves

Painted leaves like words
are wind blown and then lie still,
heaped in memory

Green Curtain

Green curtain’s lifted –
this lake shimmers in blue stripes
between trunks of ink

Green Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros horns
of spring’s skunk cabbage peer green
through fall’s brown cover


That last leaf, frozen
on a white sycamore branch,
tack stuck in blue sky

Happy Barking

The white dog’s happy
barking at a squirrel up
a tree, out of reach

River’s Black Tongue

The river’s black tongue
rolls on through rainy autumn
speaking to no one

Complex Pitchforks

Like complex pitchforks,
the bare sycamores impale clouds
on their shining tines

North Wind

Geese near shore I watch
through a veil of bittersweet
while a North wind roars

Brown Of Deer

Brown of deer is brown
of leaves on the forest floor,
but with leap added

Black Clouds

Black clouds in the west
have taken the massive shapes
of migrating whales

Zebra Flanks

Shadows stripe these hills
to zebra flanks – the herd is still
as I walk through it


Oaks sway and rustle
while overhead a lone hawk
practices circles


Massive fallen oak
propped on one limb throws a dark
gate across my path


I miss my parents
their signatures in the air,
both fond and foolish

Snowy North

Shira, the white dog,
is melody in movement,
song of snowy North


Today at dawn, sun
crouches in bare woods, waiting
to spring with bright fangs

Three Geese

Three geese are honking
a trio across the lake
in clean autumn air


Does white dog wander
in her imagination
as she does in mine?


Grief is a rainbow
that can never span from here
to far lost sweet there

A Gem

Sorrow condenses
like carbon under pressure
to become a gem


Breath is not conquest,
but how I burn just to be,
become legacy

November 23, 2003

Fifteen years ago
today you died and my world
went as still as lead

My Own Garden

I’m my own garden,
a plot to cultivate
green shoots in earth’s dark

Red Ember

A cardinal is
a red ember (remember)
amid the arched thorns

Names In Fire

If I wrote your names
in fire across the night sky,
you’d still sleep in earth


My feet caress each
mound I cross – it just might be
you sleeping life off

Flight Of Bluebird

Swift flight of bluebird
over water, startling as
the sky in motion


At dawn, the black cat
chases its tail, is both bull
and toreador

Bowed Evergreens

After two days’ snow
this evening comes softly down
on bowed evergreens


Grief is the record
of disappointment, how life
found a jagged path


Once imagining
knows it rules nothing, it’s free
to be remedy


Shadow of a hawk
on snow, shadow of hawk’s prey
appended to claws

Out From Under

Emerald green grass
comes out from under white snow,
stares up at blue sky

Yellow Pansies

After the snow melts,
the yellow pansies it crushed
are bright sunlit fans

Author Of Light

Who is the author
of light, the painter, dreamer,
the singer of stars?

My Kinsmen

Trees are my kinsmen
who stand and stand, lift and lean,
drink in water, light

Word’s Worth

The worth of a word
depends on the living it
holds and that holds it

Like Wine

Like wine, ruined hopes
age and grow beyond themselves,
found another realm

Swirling Flurries

Herself snow’s color,
the white dog has no shadow
in swirling flurries

Bloom Of Light

A few words for what
can’t be said – the bloom of light
on a new day’s stem


Applause is the sound
as a dark wheel of coots lifts
from this cold blue lake


Marsh is lit gray gold,
with ice patches here and there,
flickers in the trees


Partake of sorrow?
I’ve drained cup after cup, know
I’m myself the grape

Plates Of Ice

White-lined plates of ice
now have formed where puddles were,
bringing grace to mud

Still Toothed

White bare lower jaw,
still toothed, gleams through the leaves
at black base of pine

Snow Flakes

Swirling on the lake,
a flock of gulls, snow flakes which
can’t finish falling


Where the deer’s hooves make
marks in the sand, writing has
already begun

December 21

Stillness and glint, lake
wearing new made ice collar,
pine scent, squawk of ducks

Not Basho

When Basho surprised
the frog, he was not Basho,
nor even the frog

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