Second Firmament

When I meet darkness
inside me, I look for stars,
second firmament

Wild Turkeys

Wild turkeys rising,
tail fans spread, the same color
as the leaves falling

October Clover

October clover,
as pale purple as ever,
lonely in the grass


Henry Moore lifted
the shapes of rock from nature,
added attachment

New Split Oak

Scent of new split oak,
green rhapsody of summers
long past, still present

Autumn Mists

Autumn mists, white sheets
with nothing written on them,
pierced by bright bird calls

Saffron Threads

On my hands and knees
I place thin orange saffron threads
on a dry oak leaf

Chalk Clouds

Chalk clouds on blue sky
changing characters wind-worked
no way to read them

Last Traces

Smooth on my fingers,
these ashes, the last traces
of a great white oak


My parents, planted now
where they’ll never bloom, are still
flowers in my mind

Red Streamer

Cardinal in flight,
red streamer unfurled over
tawny fall meadow

Can’t Get Used

I can’t get used, Dad,
to your death, not a problem
that you struggle with


Two years dead and still
you’re puffing white smoke clouds from
Meerschaum in my mind


Flotilla of leaves
floating down the stream – what is
this life that leads me?


Autumn twilight weaves
golden forest tapestry
under snow claw moon


Weeping cherry’s turned
incandescent hues of gold,
all tears forgotten


Sudden sun’s splendor,
tenderness of mid-autumn,
lone gold leaf floats down


Red leaves amid brown
fall has its own seasoning
waiting for first frost

16th Anniversary

Sixteen years ago –
an instant – I’m someone else –
a red tumbling leaf

Snout Is Still

White dog’s snout is still,
ears twitch, interrogating
fall wind for the news

Bare Snag

That bare snag was once
more complicated, also
far less beautiful

Old Thoughts

I’m wandering through
the dark closets of my mind,
trying on old thoughts


Not to understand,
but to live like morning dew
trembling in the light

Big Oak Leaves

Oak leaves big as boats
carpet these deep woodland paths –
my feet crunch sunlight


Anemones – two
and only two, last white blooms
in fable of fall

Not Just Facts

Away from the facts
to something fiercer, the facts
that are not just facts

Buck Bounds

The white of deer’s tail
compels my eye as the buck
bounds swiftly away

Nothing At All

Following a scent,
white dog runs circles where we
see nothing at all


Leaves seem to linger
as they float down a soft breeze
this sunny Sunday

Only Fair

It seems only fair
that I should subvert this form
as it subverts me


The sum of whispers,
rustle of squirrels’ quick feet
in dry autumn leaves

Forgotten Wings

Leaves fall one by one,
birds that have forgotten wings,
land and then lie still


A doctor wonders –
“Am I minister of life
or death, or of both?

Two Quiet Ducks

No deer and the sun
in my eyes by the blue lake
and two quiet ducks


Robins are flocking
below flame red bittersweet,
ready to fly south


Jagged as lightning,
fear rips through me, showing what
I don’t want to see

Lush Flesh

Wonder of the word
is it can show how lush flesh
becomes less and more

Not To Think

Help me not to think,
but let the swift river flow,
carrying me off

Old Oak

Burning all day long,
old oak keeps me company
as it becomes ash

One By Scarlet One

Downy woodpecker
picks off bittersweet berries
one by scarlet one

Gray Hands

Marsh reeds with gray hands
upraised waiting for the wind
to pose its questions

Loud Mallard

Loud mallard splashes
brown water in which the sun
is hiding, silver

Ah, Woodpecker

Ah, woodpecker, how
I love your beak’s precision –
rat-a-tat, no doubt

Ink Brush

I can’t remember
why I picked up this ink brush,
how to put it down


An orderly V
of Canadian geese, high,
keeping the old ways

With Folded Wings

Hawk, with folded wings,
sits high in an oak watching
a wind-stirred meadow

C. N.

Death, unadorned, walks
more and more, expressionless,
the ways of my life


The weight increases,
you were lost so long ago,
sixteen years, today

Gout Bites

Gout bites my ankle,
but still I walk autumn’s woods,
hear geese in the clouds


Older and older
I get bolder and bolder –
less of me to lose

I, Mouse

Hawk’s cry is ugly,
announces menace I, mouse,
feel in my belly

Like A Cloud

Our daughter’s sleeping,
floating like a cloud above
where her parents wake

North Wind

North wind is a broom
that sweeps the sky clean, brings cold
and the eyes of stars


I nurse my sorrow
as if it were a baby
destined to grow up


A quartet of ducks
bobbing where the river turns
a sunlit shoulder

Native Integral

Twisting wild cherry
is a native integral
in December woods


Armada of geese
attended by reflections
in the quiet lake

Slug’s Progress

Lines my life traces
shiny as a slug’s progress
on a sweet green leaf

Gray In Burgundy

Gray in burgundy,
my head in hydrangeas
riches in late fall


To think and to think
and then somehow stop thinking,
empty this prison


Life seems unchanging
until it slips all at once
into a wild gorge

Fox Trots Left

We’ve piled the oak leaves
into a brown mountain the fox
trots left to avoid


Dog barks at her bone,
as if it could still get up,
walk over to her

Boundless Blue

The sky’s boundless blue
holds wisps of wandering cloud
and my own two eyes

Question Mark

Lever for prying
being open and scythe, too,
for harvesting light

Quiet Rings

With what ease the rain
wakes quiet rings on the lake
which folds them back in

At Play

I make my small things
suggest what they can not say –
universe at play

Siamese Twins

The book of yearning,
the book of learning – twins, stuck
with a single head

Rosetta Stone

Staggering loss can
be a Rosetta Stone both
for sun and shadow

Self-Same Sun

The oak that’s burning
is about my father’s age,
made from self-same sun


In recollecting
my lost hopes there’s more pleasure
than pain – very strange

No Two

No two chunks of oak
are the same, so I listen
carefully to each


To find stars by which
to navigate me is all
I’ve ever wanted

December 14

Suddenly it’s cold –
Orion still goes naked
as I bundle up

Fragile And Fragrant

Virtue is fragile
and fragrant as pine needles
scattered on the ground

My Way

I’m in my own way
on my own way – I obscure
where I’m going, why


In the autumn thorns
a parliament of sparrows
meets to debate…what?


Memory sells rags
and calls them rainbows and silk,
forgets how flesh hurts


Vanity’s a sea
that has no far shore, no wind
to carry past me

Room And Board

Your lives continue
in me, a hotel that can’t
charge for room and board

Places I’ve Been

The places I’ve been
have all lost their names and map’s
only mystery


Horror of belief
is it imposes design
where blankness breathes free

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