Blue Nettle Berries

Blue nettle berries
in the tangle by the stream
this first day of fall


This year mosquitoes
are everywhere – soon we’ll have
malaria back

Time Passes

“Time passes,” I wrote,
“when I am gone from myself”
what can I have meant?

Huge Orange Seeds

Huge orange seeds lilies
of the valley make bob like
balls on a fool’s cap


Decades of writing,
always tentative, always
beginning over

Secret Root

I’ve been all my life
a secret root in the earth
starving for the light


Hibbing, mine tailings
in Lake Superior, and
then the Dylan fish

So Dusky Blue

Great blue heron lifts
so dusky blue that it seems
evening’s taking flight

Honking In Fog

Geese honking in fog
wake me from my reverie,
say life’s urgent, now


As baleen whales strain
plankton, I swim through details
becoming immense

No Way Out

There is no way out
of whatever I’m in, but
through and then I’m through

Dark Bones

Snow-blossomed in spring,
dogwood turns blood red in fall,
then bares its dark bones

Earth’s Library

The earth’s library
is full of the bones of those
I’ve loved, great books’ spines

Leaf Strewn Lawn

Across leaf strewn lawn
squirrels play tag and white dog
quivers to join in


Through sixty autumns
I reach back to grab buckeyes
gleaming in sunshine


The ordinary,
that is where mystery lives,
in these sodden leaves

Tongue Without

The whisper of oak
burning in the fireplace, tongue
without any words


A thimble of flesh,
navel goes with me, reminds
me what thread bore me


Report of acorns
on slate roofs – artillery
of oaks in action

Drum Voice

A drum has a voice,
hollowness speaking, even
as I do, same air

Cloud Dulled

Autumn leaves rustle
in rainy wind – the moon’s night’s
Cyclops eye, cloud dulled


A falling leaf scoops
back and forth, back and forth, hand
armless in the air

Tunneling 1

My mind’s not my own,
half belongs to the surround
that gives it its tasks

Tunneling 2

In the gloom are clues
for leaps of quick ecstasy,
but no mind-footing

Their Roots Refuse

Trees sway back and forth
beginning all the dances
that their roots refuse

Mouse Mates

The mouse attracts mates
with a substance in its tears –
how wise the mouse is

Fall Birdwatcher

The fall birdwatcher
is back now for the tenth year –
he’s a rare bird, too

Hickory Nuts

Green as tennis balls
hickory nuts fall from trees,
land with a racket

Unsettled Country

always unsettled country
which is where I live

Fantasy’s Rib

For no one’s pleasure,
gourds have found shapes that have sprung
from fantasy’s rib

Cool Night

In the afternoon,
bronzed praying mantis and then
cool night with hard stars

A Second Skin

Shame’s a second skin
that glitters ominously
and then becomes flame

Sharp White Bite

Middle autumn cool
lets my flesh recall the small
white teeth of winter

Sheen Lines

In the sky, sheen lines
of differing light in grays
over green soaked fields

Most Hidden

What’s most hidden lies
out in the open – habit
blanks wonder’s vision

Green Grass Raft

Four paws to the sky
the white dog shifts in her sleep,
floats on fall grass raft

Heavy Shopping Bags

Woman with heavy
shopping bags smiles at a duck
bobbing on Jones Falls

Fall Migration

How many sorrows
can perch on a branch of mind
and then fly away?

What’s Left

What’s left of morning
when white dog and I walked woods
song and color filled?

White Dog’s Tail

In the white dog’s tail,
oak leaves wag when she sees me –
an enchanted bough

Rainbow Chicago

Foot of a rainbow
over Lake Michigan, hard
rain in Chicago


How red the maples
against Lake Michigan’s blue
out Shoreland’s windows

Smell, Subterfuge

Each city is an
encyclopedia, rich
in subterfuge, smell


The el, anything
but elegant, yellow steel
holding trains’ rumbles

My 60th

Sixtieth autumn –
a cloudy October day
quiets all colors

Dead Relatives

So you’ve come to live
in me, all of you – I wish
I’d known you were me

Deep Analogy

A small form requires
not only compression but
deep analogy

Bottle Of Ink

A bottle of ink
is what night is to me – I
dip myself in it

Blackbirds High

Blackbirds high in oaks,
compositor’s drawer can’t
hold them anymore

Memory Lies

Memory lies, then
finds its lies are true, despairs
of any escape


Soup is a river
that’s run through my life, through me,
warming demiurge

Mandelstam 7

Beauty’s a bright child
playing at tragedy’s knee –
unbearable sight

Just A Sip

I take just a sip
of Osip – I’m lost, drunk on
a hopeless beauty

Your Gaze

Dad, your gaze, gentle
inquisition, holds me now –
I see it in dreams

Wild Garlic

Gray question mark cat,
asleep by a cliff of white
blooming wild garlic

Cell Phone

Mistaking cell phone
in my hand for a treat, horse
knocked me over – yes


I became myself
in adversity’s prison,
adversity’s prism

Sun’s Favor

Autumn woods put on
a coat of many colors
mark of sun’s favor

Freshman Year

Wooden animals
my father made my daughter –
still here now she’s left


Sumptuous autumn
rises from the dawn’s pale blue –
into this you died


On the still lake now
flotillas of geese and ducks,
leaves that have no wings

White, Pink, Black

The white dog’s pink tongue
lolls out under her black nose
as she pads along


I’m getting ready
for what’s already happened
long autumns ago

Tomorrow’s Wind

The weeping cherry
is going orange – tomorrow’s
wind will strip it bare

Purple In Autumn

I’ve picked red saffron
from the crocus sativa,
purple in autumn

Golden Branch

Phantom life pain is
mind haunted by what’s long gone,
golden branch of me

Patches Of Blue

Patches of blue start
to show through the forest’s roof –
fall prepares winter

Yet Quite New

The things that I say
have been a lifetime in me
and are yet quite new

Alone With

The provinces where
I’m alone with my mind are
the ones I prefer

Lost And Found

I am most myself
when my attention wanders
to be lost and found

Old One Now

I’m the old one now
and yet I’ve traveled only
such a short distance

Deeper Mine

The gold of fools is
everywhere – what’s rare is twist
to find deeper mine


High in the mountains
I walked in wonder at how
they and I got there

Never Quite Know

My love for the light,
for how eyes investigate
and never quite know…


The Venetian blinds
stripe light and shadow across
the wood of my mind

In A Chair

I sit in a chair
and listen – my mind wanders,
won’t come back to me


Death’s starting to come
to collect my friends, I’d just
as soon keep them, me

Soft Shadow

In a moonlit night
I move with a soft shadow
down towards the sea


Moon in torn linen
and the wind out of the north,
rattle of dry leaves

On A Hanger

The cadaver held
his skin on a hanger –
could not take a step

Cadaver In Heels

In high heels, shopping
bag in hand, she looked chic dead –
no worries at all

Next Of Kin

When you crumbled earth,
you questioned it tenderly
as your next of kin

River Moment

White dog drinks, rippling
reflections of sycamores
as their leaves fall up


Each bare sycamore’s
a magnificent rack, horn
erupting from earth

Middle November

You lay comatose
brilliant day after brilliant day
as I felt for you


Apples of the air –
that’s what poems are – pommes d’air,
not gold, not silver


Shira, you are what
your name means, poetry, song
all in a white dog

Memory’s Ready

Memory’s ready
to devour tomorrow, just as
it has yesterday

Hope’s Beginning

How did hope begin,
given that it torments me
each and every day?


West Nile virus killed
so many, half this flock’s widowed –
caw and remember

Nude Oaks

Nude oaks on blue sky,
two ducks in flight, clarity
of cold morning air

Not This Rock

What is adamant,
not this rock, but formless flux
that can not be still

Kingfisher’s Chi-chi

Kingfisher’s chi-chi,
blue burst of its underwings
as it flies upstream

Beginning Under

Decades of writing,
always tentative, always
beginning under


The scent of oak smoke –
ecstasy in this cold air –
as I fetch more logs

Who Says

Pansies still blooming
in cold want to know who says
pansies are pansies?

So Many People

So many people,
so much loneliness – can it
be the two are one?

After Thanksgiving

After Thanksgiving
dandelions are blooming
studding grass with suns

Six Of Them

Redheaded flickers
six of them on just one log –
bright blue jays fly by

Hudson, December 3, 2005

The sleeping Hudson
starts to blue in the first light
of December dawn

Old Coffee Warehouse

Even in winter
lost coffee warehouse smells haunt
white Lincoln Center

Out Gray Window

Paris winter rain –
lost little boy looking out
gray window and in

Hard To Know

What was hard to know
can become quite suddenly
easy to say, play

Small Prints

This snow is silence –
the words I speak make small prints
twisting through the pines

No Way

No way to record
how hours slip through my fingers –
but you know yourself

Tiny Bird

From that tiny bird
comes a huge song – so it is,
exactly, with us

Thin Ice Skin

Like a snake, the creek
is shedding its thin ice skin,
slithering through bends


White dog in white snow,
visible but quizzical,
she’s almost not there

Cat Asleep

I slept in the sun,
woke to find day almost done,
cat asleep on me

A Few Lights

A few colored lights,
next to nothing, stand for hope
as the days shorten

Clay Trees

The clay trees I made
years ago still have not put
out any green leaves


Time to wind the clock,
though pendulum’s still swinging –
time to rescue time

Beyond Trapeze

Each moment’s letting
go, taking hold, art beyond
the trapeze artist’s

Inside The House

Inside the house I’ve
come to write inside myself,
where I dwell…and how

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