Summer 2010

Sweet

Cloud on deep green,
white dog is diabetic,
as sweet as ever

Mail

I wait for the mail
with a child’s hope – I want word
from all I have lost

Robin Chicks

I approach the nest
where robin chicks wait for food –
robins dive bomb me

So Hot

So hot, so muggy –
but why can’t I even think?
what ‘s happened to me?

Inner Jungle

In inner jungle
I find words beautiful as
birds of paradise

Door

Each garden holds, hides
a door to Eden, but how
to find it, pass through?

Tall

Tall slender grasses
sway in summer breeze and shed
mists of silver seeds

Basil

First week of summer,
hot and humid, basil thriving
as if this were home

Miracle Ordinary

I try to record
what I call the miracle
of ordinary

Between Patients

Alone with Montaigne
I wait for the next patient
to bring news of now

100 Degrees (Fahrenheit)

In the heat of day
breezes still whisper softly
in deep forest shade

New Pieces

Being with myself
is a perpetual puzzle –
new pieces each day

Almost Think

The heat of day breaks
in late afternoon and I
can almost think now

Small Words

I mumble small words
and then can not decipher
what I may have meant

Soft Fingers

Evening breeze enchants
with soft fingers on my cheek
as moon’s a gold hint

Neither Here Nor There

I went wandering
I was no longer here and
then no longer there

Pale Purple

In the midst of mint,
morning glories are blooming,
white and pale purple

Independence?

Queen Ann’s Lace trembles
in a hot July 4th breeze –
what’s independence?

Intricate

Nothing’s intricate
beyond the fact of being
and knowing I am

No Rain

No rain changes scents –
the sense of dry takes over
along with deep fear

Shadow Net

Of shifting shadows’
net cast across a green lawn
swallowtail flits free

Cheerful…

Cabbage butterfly
as white as a flying flag
cheerful in lilies

Few Mosquitoes

It’s so dry and hot
there are so few mosquitoes –
I start to miss them

Stitch In

Each little poem
a stitch in a bright garment
that I’ll never wear

Old Magnolia

Old magnolia
stands staunch in this blazing heat –
no past, no future

Artificial

Artificial rain,
the drumbeat of sprinkler drops
in parched July wood

Both At Once

Summer evening mood –
a bird sings joy and sorrow
and sings both at once

Too Hot

It’s too hot for thought –
I dream of my dead parents –
missing is missing

Relief

Cardinal flowers,
cardinals – red is relief
in fierce summer heat

Swallowtail

Heart stopping beauty
of swallowtail in the breeze
before twilight dims

Last Fireflies

Last fireflies flicker
lonely lights in late July –
they can’t know sorrow

Drunken

Drunken swallowtail,
yellow patch in heavy air –
rumble of thunder

Getting On

I’m part of nothing
and nothing is part of me –
we get along well

August Sniff

This afternoon breeze
stirs August dapple – white dog
sniffs with her black nose

After…

After weeks of heat
this fine afternoon changes
who I think I am

Gentle Breeze

A thousand worries –
a gentle breeze on the cheek –
which one is more real?

Mesh

Quiet mesh of green
of which I will soon be part
past acquiescence

Bricks

Metamorphic bricks
is what words are – buildings change
without touch of trowel

Orange Flag

Flying in the rain,
monarch, fluttering orange flag –
indomitable

Leaden

My tongue is leaden,
so I stare into the fire,
watching orange tongues leap

I Lost

I lost a few lines
last night, threw them back into
the pond of silence

Almost

From high in green oak
yellow swallowtail whirls down –
almost autumn leaf

Reach Me

I’m always searching
for what’s inside out of reach –
I never reach me

In Sorts

I’m not on good terms
with myself, never have been –
could I be in sorts?

Summer Stir

Summer stir of leaves,
green whispering in the breeze,
high clouds, no moon yet

Color Of Rust

The color of rust,
slimy mushrooms, growing out
from huge fallen oak

On Slate Roof

Acorns on slate roof,
cracks that herald fall’s coming –
squirrels on alert

Moon Dreams

The moon dreams its way
up eastern sky, quells the heat
of this August day

Bluest

Yellow swallowtail
and bluest September sky –
this is still summer

Late Snapdragons

These late snapdragons,
a dream of summer’s passing,
as the sun heads south

Dreamer, A Dream

Everything I see
starts to seem a dream to me –
dreamer, a dream, too

Empress

Empress butterfly,
wings of subtle orange and dun,
still on brown oak leaf

Anemones

Late anemones
at summer’s end are blooming
cool refreshing white

Fading

I’m fading away
from all I was and wanted –
empty, more content

Dream Well

Into the dream well
I lower my bucket, catch
cold draughts of myself

Absent Minded

My mind is elsewhere
when I think – absent-minded
I become myself

Muted

Summer is muted
these last days before autumn –
it has done its work

Flow

How to live, how die?
I watch wind teasing willows
beside the river…

To Learn

All that is, teaches,
if I can just step away
from my wishing’s fount

Into

Yellow swallowtails
fly out of the tall still oaks
and into my mind

Failing?

Is white dog failing?
She’s still completely herself –
white lashes, pink tongue

White Mist

Spring brings such sorrows
over what can’t be renewed –
what’s dissolved in mist

White mists, so puzzling,
so beautiful – they hold all
I have lost, squandered

White mists, delicate
as profiles of those I’ve loved,
like them, never still

White mists take the shapes
of white peony blossoms
and drop white petals

White mists – no mercy,
don’t care who I see, who I
spread my arms to hug

White mists wet the grass
as spring sun rises to burn
away yesterday

Spring 2006

Wild White

Few degrees warmer-
late March morning carpeted
with wild white flowers

Exacted

Each word exacted
from heart’s beat approximates
what can’t be spoken

Greta

The black cat is dead
whose swift and lithe loveliness
leapt twenty quick years

Kingfishers

Up the river, down,
kingfishers, needles piercing
this cool April dawn

Souvenirs

White dog is sleeping,
white snout propped on mud black paws,
souvenirs of stream

A Single Breath

Every word I write
shorthand for a single breath
shorthand that falls short

Spring Frog Song

Bright chirps of small birds
overlaid on spring frog song
boiling in the bog

Dying Fox

In our tiny wood
a dying fox lies quiet
in deep green ivy

Horizontal Snow

Horizontal snow
in early April before
cherry blossoms come

Whimsy Whinnies

When whimsy whinnies
like a horse, I kick my heels,
run under the moon

When

I can’t remember
when, so full of emptiness,
I’ve been so content

Green Eden

White dog is sleeping
on her back in green Eden
of a spring evening

Young Again

Pink cherry blossoms –
the old tree is young again
under a gray sky

White Fungus

How white the fungus
on the trunk of fallen oak –
white as dogwood’s blooms

Unopened

Unopened lilacs
are stains of a purple blood
against green branches

Exact Pink

Blossoms’ exact pink
I’d forgotten – old cherry
takes me by surprise

Wonder Of Sex

The wonder of sex
is in the morning’s white mist –
and the worry, too

Rasp

Sorrow rasps in me
like a cat’s tongue on my hand –
peculiar pleasure

Step To Wisdom

Each step to wisdom
is a new embarrassment –
what awkward freedom

Yellow Surprise

A yellow surprise
fluttering up from ivy –
year’s first swallowtail

After Two Decades

After two decades
sky blue blue jays all about –
mockingbirds vanquished

In Bamboo

Blue jays in bamboo –
is that swaying brown nest theirs
after twenty years?

Shovels

Exuberant spring –
shovels of red and yellow –
long-handled tulips

Rash Vision

Interior dark
is where light most surprises –
sudden rash vision

Spring Bursting

Cormorant on rock
near the lake’s shore with green spring
bursting all about

May Apples

Like furled umbrellas
May apples break the surface
and then spread green arms

Hinge

A door worth seeking
is in and out all at once,
anchored by a hinge

Pirate

I’m my privacy’s
pirate – I hijack vessels
that sail inner sea

60

I tire easily
and indefatigably
go on being me

Giraffes

Giraffes in the air
Chicago construction cranes
work on the Sabbath

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan blue
flat plate to the horizon
holds an ore boat up

Words

I try to resign
from words and into them, too –
such deep confusion

Bare Wood

The feel of bare wood –
intimacy with my skin –
carbon knows carbon

Monument

A single morel
amid leafy detritus
is a monument

Phlox Filled Meadow

In phlox filled meadow
a patch of white violets –
a cloud in blue sky

No Order

I can’t put my mind
in order no matter what
season I am in

Overrun

Gold centers of white
peonies are overrun
with small greedy bees

Spring Sickness

Sick in the springtime –
old fox has been dead a month –
white blooms everywhere

Lost Beyond

The dark uncertainty
of my deepest dreams, when I’m
lost beyond myself

Sixty-First Spring

My sixty-first spring
hair and beard almost as white
as the peonies

Camouflage

In my dreams the dead
wear the camouflage of life
I’m not done weeping

Restless

The trees are restless
in the night and so am I –
wind blows through my dreams

Vast

Now I inhabit
is just as vast as ever
as death shadows it

Ghost Moon

I sit down to sketch
without a clue what’s coming –
ghost moon in blue sky

Small Things

Small things are the keys
to the biggest locks, riddles
of being right here

True Rubies

These false strawberries
gleaming in lawn I’m mowing –
tiny true rubies

Wilderness

Wherever I am,
there is wilderness, baffling,
unkempt, riotous

Hollow Oak

In that oak raccoons
have lived more than fifty years –
now home is dying

Rasping Voice

I’m dying into
this tiny form – grain of sand
with a rasping voice

Illness Fades

Illness fades away
leaving shadow and promise
of future demise

In Silence

Something in silence
strives to be released – a bird
in the subtlest cage

Lithe As Ever

The black cat is dead
and still as lithe as ever
in mind’s undergrowth

Subterranean

Subterranean
palace of morel’s making
pocked spires’ inventor

Gathering Clouds

May afternoon’s sky
as white as an egg’s inside –
I’m always hatching

Ambition And Dust

Ambition and dust
are closest kin, for they both
steal the touch of now

Next To Nothing

I’m next to nothing,
always hard up against it,
persistent phantom

Ruined Hopes

In the aftermath
of ruined hopes, quieted
beauty starts to sing

More Clearly

Ever more clearly
I see what I’ve lost – losing
and finding – are they one?

Fragments

I speak in fragments
aspiring to mosaic
as yet undefined

Birth Of A Perfume

Aroma of skunk
and the scent of wild roses –
birth of a perfume

Shining

Turtles were shining
on the bank – did swallowtail
flitting by spook them?

Evening Calm

Evening calm, white dog,
purple allium, birdsong
in the green of oaks

Old Fox

I can’t help missing
the old fox who used to pad
through our woods each day

Moon Knows

I’m trying to fold
the tent of my ambition –
moon knows I’ve been drunk

Last Night

Here’s where the deer slept
last night away – a bower
of white wild roses

Gander On Rock

Gander stands on rock,
stretches his neck and bugles,
his brood at his feet

Leisure

Leisure is rough work –
when the fish aren’t biting,
that’s when regrets do

Bottom

I’m trying to find
the bottom of what I am –
under all the waves

Snake In The Grass

A snake in the grass
stops the white dog in her tracks –
an old enemy

Small Dryad

Huge Dryad’s saddle
is joined by a tiny one
for a small Dryad

Orisha

Berl in tulip tree
is the rough head of a god,
some lost Orisha

Sun Comes Out

The sun comes out
from behind a cloud, I do, too –
where have I been, where?

Restless Leaves

The breeze stirs green leaves –
desire searching for balance –
restless leaves stir me

Someone Else

Ask me my name and
I’ll invent myself for you,
become someone else

Tail?…Tale?

Gray cat doesn’t mind
going through life with question
mark for a tail?…tale?

Joined

Nothing and something
tried to part ways, but found they
were joined at the hip

Deer Sleep

In wild rose bower,
deer sleep under bright May moon –
can dream surpass this?

Heavy

Early June morning –
heavy honeysuckle scent
floats above the creek

Lavender

Almost open now
the lavender blossom just
hints at its own scent

Home At Last

Magnolia’s first
giant white blossom crowns it,
star that’s home at last

White Mountain Laurel

Brown deer are sleeping
amid white mountain laurel
above the valley

Special Bark

I still miss old fox,
the special bark the white dog
used only for him

Hunter-Gatherer Glee

The first ripe blackcap-
a hunter-gatherer glee
awakens in me

The Old Clock

I wind the old clock
as if it could tick time new,
so tick me new, too

One Purple

One purple iris,
unaware how it changes
everything that’s green

Hot Day

Hot day of late spring –
the gray cat is stretched out – when
will she melt away?

White Clover

Sea of white clover
here in late June, each head fine –
I won’t mow today

Fall 2008

Back

I’m back from the past
where I kept calling my name
and no one answered

Bahia, September 2008

Red laterite hills
and blue ocean and green palms –
finding is losing

Low

Four hundred miles gone
a cyclone rules our atmosphere –
I’m low in the low

Futile

All things change – I’m changed
by my futile resistance
to each tiny change

High Breezy

High breezy blue sky
after the hurricane’s left,
moist depression gone

Tumbling Leaf

Single tumbling leaf
counterfeits a butterfly
orange wings unfolding

Virginia Creeper

Virginia creeper
in autumn – caught red handed
climbing the old oak

Stories

Fall – the leaf trembles –
does that white swan know any
stories of dying?

Death’s Forest

Beautiful fall day,
still green leaves against blue sky –
I walk death’s forest

Croak

High blue aching sky,
croak of the great blue heron,
leaf riding the wind

What

The darkness of light,
illusion that what I see
shows me what I am

Thinnest

Now’s the thinnest slice
of being, and all that is
or that ever was

Grackles

Migrating grackles
fill the crowns of the oaks
with black snow flurries

Passing

In early autumn
I intuit my winter
in each passing ache

Scaled

Scaled with shelf fungus
fallen cherry stretches out
in autumn sunshine

In The Stream

The white dog’s happy
in the stream, braces herself
against the current

Remembrance

The perch cardinal
just left is still quivering –
such is remembrance

Gray Question Mark

Gray question mark cat
fast asleep on the pink bench –
questions never sleep

Lift-Off

2 pileated
woodpeckers down on the ground,
then a loud lift-off

Blue Sky

How blue is this sky,
color of a robin’s egg,
all empty of clouds

Crisp

The cool of the nights
is luxury of autumn –
how crisp my mind is

Mind Games

When I wish it full,
my mind’s empty; when I wish
it empty, it fills

Spin

There’s no way to spin
October’s gold into words,
but a fool might try

October 17, Sixth Anniversary

I remembered and
forgot you all day long, you,
unforgettable

Buried Bulbs

Day of limpid light
I’m doing nothing at all,
less than buried bulbs

Round Trip

I am dust going
back to dust – all tickets
are round trip tickets

Blank

The printed letters
take sudden flight from the page,
leaving me a blank

Bleached

Bleached corn stalks emerge
from the morning mists as blind
and deaf as the dead

Crash of 2008

Nothing is the wealth
I have irreducibly –
nothing’s less than it

Wild Ride

New dryads’ saddles
another autumn’s wild ride,
smooth and firm their seats

Great Blue

Down river’s black back
golden leaves are floating now
past great blue heron

River’s Spine

Kingfisher chatters
up, down the black river’s spine –
he sheds blue beneath

Jurie, Novemeber 6, 2008

No memorial
save what’s lived inside me now
twenty long years gone

Of Grief

Memory of grief
and the grief of memory –
each lives in other

Embrace

Autumn’s an embrace
that holds me and all I’ve lost,
lets me find myself

Thick

Thick November fog
is balm – white anemones
gleam, close rooted stars

Mid-November

Blue jay under gray,
cardinal against stream’s black,
mourning dove quartet

First Snow

Swirling white petals
returning to bare cherry –
November’s first snow

Plotting

Fox rests quietly
in the vale of dreams, plotting –
the moon winks at him

Misty

Out of misty dreams
I rise exhausted – what took
it out of me, why?

Almost

Almost winter sunshine
makes this new snow dazzling white,
under a blue bowl

Hawk

The hawk comes and goes
murderous in its intent,
quite at ease in flight

Gusts

Hawk lights in tulip,
sits and sways with the wind’s gusts,
accepts sun’s caress

Stew

The stew of purpose
changes its ingredients
with each passing day

Juvenile

Hawk’s a juvenile,
white bellied against blue sky,
scanning the ivy

Zero

Oak leaf falls slowly,
degree of difficulty –
precisely zero

Near

Flicker’s on the branch
above the hawk – what do they
make of each other?

Afterglow

Afterglow of sun,
orange tongue in the mouth of night –
will dawn give it words?

Intimate

Darkness is complete –
I am left with my mind’s light,
most intimate sun

Surprised

I stumble into
my thoughts and then I’m surprised
to find myself there

Shade

The amber of tea
is the shade of autumn leaves
clinging to their trees

Work

It’s a lot of work
to know anything and hard
to keep from knowing

Strangest

The strangest darkness
is the one that lives in light —
as dust in snowflake

Backcountry

It’s the backcountry
of myself that holds me, so
I keep wandering

Rainy Day

Question mark cat tries
all the doors, hoping one has
dissenting weather

Mallards

Squadron of mallards,
drakes green headed as parrots,
ducks dun as the reeds

Dregs

Four-thirty twilight,
this year dwindling down to dregs –
how precious the light

Down

Moon climbs down an oak
so slowly and carefully –
raccoon passes it

Last Day

This last day of fall
I put an ink black beret
on my bald head, smile

Flint

Not quite all used up,
I’m flint that’s stingy with spark,
but can still start fire

Drab

Cardinal couple
in the bare dogwood, only
bright spots in the drab

Itch

I seek, but don’t know
what I’m seeking – curious
is the itch I am

Outcroppings

When I look around,
outcroppings of mystery
are all that I see

Fall 2004

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

Moore

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

Flowers

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

Meerschaum

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

Flotilla

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

Golden

Autumn twilight weaves
golden forest tapestry
under snow claw moon

Incandescent

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

Sudden

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

Seasoning

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

Trembling

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

Fable

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

Linger

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

Rustle

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

Office

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

Flocking

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

Fear

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

Migration

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

Sixteen

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

Bolder

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

Nurse

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

Quartet

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

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

Liberty

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

Gorge

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

Bone

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

Recollecting

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

Stars

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

Parliament

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

Rags

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

Vanity

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

Horror of belief
is it imposes design
where blankness breathes free

Fall 2006

Blue Sky

Walking in mountains
my thoughts are like those few clouds
drifting in blue sky

Not Six

I’m back from Paris
and I’ve brought myself with me –
I’m sixty, not six

How Many

How many of me
are walking through rainy woods
beside pock-marked lake?

Foolish Questions

I go on asking
just the same foolish questions
as when I was six

Inklings

Inklings of order,
not at Key West, but beside
the old river Seine

Mediterranean

The sea is so blue,
not wine dark – my good fortune
to swim in the blue

On The Way To St. Agnes

A thistle blooms blue
like nothing I’ve ever seen –
sky comes down to earth

The Damned Wind

The gray of my beard
recalls the dandelion –
let damned wind disperse

Silver Spider Web

Silver spider web
wearing just a few round beads
of yesterday’s rain

Limber Branch

A single chestnut
inside a green mace still clings
to its limber branch

Black Paws

White dog has black paws
after her romp down river
through rich bottom mud

So Very Many

I am overwhelmed –
so very many books, words
what is there to say?

This Season

My old friends are old
and so am I – subtleties
of dusk in autumn

Whatever

I whisper secrets
to myself and then forget
whatever I’ve heard

Staying

I am staying home
to let unspoiled places be,
to let myself be

My Work

Inside all day, I
traveled other minds and hearts,
their odd green homelands

Rain Has Made

Rain has made this day
into a dim drumming hum –
cat sleeps peacefully

Fill Me Up

The dead fill me up
with quiet conversations
without any lips

Windy Rainy

Windy rainy day
a blizzard of yellow leaves
hides white dog from me

Heron

Heron among ducks –
it steps so scrupulously
and then goes so still

Company

I wound the clock, so
now it speaks hours again,
keeps me company

White Dog Dashes

The white dog dashes
at each new glimpse of squirrel,
thrilled by autumn’s chill

Season Of Loss

This season of loss,
how beautiful the woods are,
as death lies in wait.

“Not To”

Trying ‘not to’ is
one fin of remembering,
the shark in my heart

Flashing Like Leaves

Hundreds of sparrows
flashing like leaves in the wind
in riverside brush

Elks Playing Kazoo -Olympic National Forest

Elks playing kazoo –
is this the refuge Pan’s found
from reason’s madness?

Like Birds

Like birds in a wood,
words live in my mind, take wing
just as it suits them

Work Of Autumn

The work of autumn,
the leaves blazing in the wind
makes way for whiteness

After Last Night’s Storm

Happy white dog wades
down the river that is high
after last night’s storm

Raptor’s Beak

Cruel, curved raptor’s beak,
draft of scimitar, stolen
from the pale new moon

Ease Of Mind

The ease of my mind
recalls catastrophe, how
you died in beauty

Gold Nuggets

Falling yellow leaves
flash in the light, gold nuggets
returning to earth

Two Hawks

High against blue sky
in bare boned white sycamore
two hawks wait and watch

Love

Illusion, that’s love
and all the lesser demons –
and then there is love

Fall Color

I sit and I stare
at fall color as if I’d
not seen it before

Nothing To Say

I’ve nothing to say
except my heart is lonely
whatever I do

Forbid Me Lack

Forbid me lack and
I’m out of luck, for what’s not
inspires all that is

Cloak Of Age

Now I’m putting on
the cloak of age – I’m gray or
worse, invisible

Fierce

Cardinals in pines,
as red as flying blood, red
and fierce as freedom

Autumn Watercress

Autumn watercress
just at the edge of the marsh –
what joy to pick it

November Bee

Bee in November
nuzzles my ear – can I be
nectar bearing bloom?

Peace Paint

Indian summer –
seduced by the light, I tromp
woods in their peace paint

Scent-painted

Woods are scent-painted
for the white dog – last night’s fox,
the dawn’s thirsty does

Correspondent

My address changes
as I move about inside,
lost correspondent

Sober

I’ve become sober –
image has lost its magic –
boulder is boulder

Conviction

I’ve no conviction
of the worth of what I say
it is simply me

Eighteen Years (2006)

I’ve lost track of you
except you’re deep inside me
where I lose myself

Delicate

Sycamore’s white arms,
as delicate as Helen
of Troy, but rooted

Explode

Small birds twittering
in still green leafed bush explode
when white dog trots by

Heaps

I stutter in heaps
of five, seven syllables
whose meaning is mist

Blue Bowl

Blue bowl of heaven
under which we live, which is
only air, our air

Eighteen Years

Eighteen years ago,
I was someone else, now drowned
deep in sea of me

Final Landing

Hawk’s final landing –
no more circling in the sky –
claws sheathed, pacified

No Point, November 23, 2006

No point grieving you
who are long dead – I grieve me,
now completely changed

Head Of Hair

What a head of hair
I once had – now cold winds bite
my baby pink scalp

Big Fox

Big fox out of marsh
moving fast in this daylight –
how still the tan reeds

Caught In Oak

New moon caught in oak –
could I climb the trunk and kiss
what I always miss?

Fog Gentles

Fog gentles the trees
to late fall calligraphy –
sycamore’s a ghost

Last Day

November’s last day,
a thousand coots, a slight breeze,
a flock of bluebirds

Great Blue

Honking its odd horn
a great blue heron flaps up
the black coiled river

Less In Peace

I’ve lived less in peace
than in pieces of puzzles
changeable as cloud

Poetry Is Dead

Poetry is dead
if it’s understood and that
goes double for love

Hankering

Constant hankering
after knowledge – what is it
lets the worm writhe free?

Green Iguana – St. John, December

A green iguana
skitters across coal black road
as death comes so close

Moonlit Worry

My worry is moonlit
as the wind keeps on blowing
both inside and out

Bright Moon

Under a bright moon
the sea puts on silver scales
becomes largest fish

Wise Pelican

A wise pelican
crested in pollen yellow
holds still on black rock

Silver Galaxy

Millions of minnows
silver submerged galaxy
that feeds pelicans

Restless

The wind is restless
as my own thoughts as I lie
under waking moon

Sailing

The wind keeps blowing
and drives my swift sailing thoughts
across inner sea

One Tree Frog

A single tree frog
transforms the hilly darkness
with sleep killing song

Tarpon

Tarpon’s dark, immense
gliding through the firmament
of silver small fry

Inch Long Barracuda

The menace built in,
inch long barracuda swims
the mangrove grottos

Sweetness Of Skin

The blue and the breeze.
of evening and sea and sky –
the sweetness of skin

Gold Road

Gold road of the sun,
light paved on rippling water
ends here at my feet

Mangrove

In this mangrove world
lit from above are squares
gorgeous as Paris

Two Tang

Two tang in the deep,
head to tail, chase each other,
are lost in circles

Squid

Who would have guessed squid
were so lovely, delicate
of features, colors?

Fall 2003

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?

Abundance

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

Surf

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

Anxious

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

Tod

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

Dying

Inexpressible
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

Mitochondrion

Mitochondrion,
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

Other

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

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

Lack

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

Basking

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

Oversight

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

Tack

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

Practice

Oaks sway and rustle
while overhead a lone hawk
practices circles

Noguchi

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

Signatures

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

Dawn

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

Imagination

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

Rainbow

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

Legacy

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

Mounds

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

Toreador

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

Jagged

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

Remedy

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

Appendix

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

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

Flickers

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

Partake

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

Already

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

Fall 2005

Blue Nettle Berries

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

Warming

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

Tentative

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

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

Bulk

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

Gleaming

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

Ordinary

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

Navel

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

Artillery

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

Armless

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

Imagination
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

Shoreland

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

Smell, Subterfuge

Each city is an
encyclopedia, rich
in subterfuge, smell

El

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

Demiurge

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

Adversity

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

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

Flotillas

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

Already

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

Wonder

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…

Blinds

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

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

Rattle

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

Rack

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

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

Shira

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?

Crows

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

Ecstasy

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

Quizzical

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

Rescue

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

Fall 2007

With Myanmar, September 7

Miniature monk,
a tiny praying mantis
amid basil’s green

Quite Who

I never forget
who I am, since I’ve never
known who I might be

So Stealthy

Beautiful dry day
after beautiful dry day –
so stealthy this drought

A.K., September 24, 2007

We keep you in mind
as if searching for the plans
to build you again

Up Early, Worried

Up early, worried,
I feel the dread in the flesh
that is life itself

Gunshots

Acorns are falling
with the report of gunshots
on slate roof and deck

Drink

Autumn woodland fog
passes through the spiders’ webs,
leaves fresh drink behind

Eruption

V’s of geese erupt
from dense banks of autumn fog
scream upwards and off

Time Reduces

Time reduces me
to something like an essence
but still not quite me

Slipping Through

I keep slipping through
the noose of my own knowing
so I stay alive

The Sky’s Flag

In dry October
the blue jay flies the sky’s flag,
darts through falling leaves

Windows

Windows in the woods
start to open as leaves fall –
I see sky patches

To Write

In order to write,
I step back from what I see
to find it again

New Surface

The act of writing
turns me inside out – how strange
this new surface is

Tired

I’m tired of me,
something sweet in this fatigue,
with a hint of rot

None?

I’m shell within shell –
which one is the innermost –
or might there be none?

Poised

October’s still green
but summer’s fever has calmed –
the paintbrush is poised

Autumn

While I still can see
I record the mysteries
I can’t comprehend

Dog And Doubts

Soft October night
I take my dog and my doubts
for a long slow walk

Dawn Mist

Dawn mist hugs the ground,
fills the hollows of the land –
a deer’s head floats by

Smoke Rises

The way smoke rises –
so words should go up to join
the sky of silence

Wonder

Am I a wonder
only insofar as I
can’t help wondering?

Warm

Warm October night,
with the cicadas singing
amid painted leaves

Ghosts

Moonlit heartless night –
leaves fall from trees, flutter down –
ghosts of butterflies

Right Name

Separation grief,
that’s the right name, the one I
whisper to myself

Autumn Sleep

White dog’s fast asleep,
unaware two brown leaves have
landed in her snow

Jungle

I wish I had names
for the plants that grow and make
jungle inside me

Warm

Warm October night
won’t let summer go, even
if summer is gone

Toothache

Toothache in the rain
the cold of autumn is here
I’ve no place to hide

Underneath

In autumn downpour,
gray question mark cat hunts mice
underneath the house

Splashes

After days of rain
splashes of sunshine break through
huge pearl clouds, thinning

Old Stumps

Old black stumps rot out
into cities, whose skylines
are slick and jagged

Golden Sheet

The sun’s golden sheet
unrolls over rainbow woods
as breeze launches leaves

Drowned

Five white tailed deer drowned
in a swimming pool – how strange
is animal fate

Stevenson Bison

Last year bison jumped
the net on a tennis court –
victory gesture?

Slalom

A single red leaf
slaloms down October breeze,
doesn’t miss a gate

Death

When I think of death,
my thinking is not thinking,
but the truth of fear

Cold, Toothache

I wake up in despair
with a cold and a toothache –
is this all it takes?

Commonplace

Today’s commonplace
was born in a world lost past
all imagining

Myself Ticking

Wherever I go,
I carry time inside me,
hear myself ticking

Planet

Were I a planet
my regrets would run as deep
as veins of silver

Remembering

I’m remembering
November, when, like a leaf,
you fell and were still

Tree Of Life

How slender the stem
that holds me to the tree, life,
whose trunk is this air

Elk

I still hear the elk
bugling on the mountainside
twenty-five years ago

Stink

Stink of a dead buck,
decomposing, a youngster
by the river’s edge

Search

Year after bright year
I watch the leaves slanting down,
search the wind for words

Insect Truth

Butterflies are gone,
but the mosquitoes remain –
a sad insect truth

Amber

The amber of tea
first traps all my reflections,
then lets me drink them

Simple Parts

Mother and father
are simple parts of the earth,
yet walk in my mind

Not Just

Not just in shadow
but in the very light that
makes me burn is death

Dying Oak, Autumn

Slant of dying oak
covered in ivy amid
the surrounding gold

Expert

Autumn is expert
in dyeing dying’s colors,
how wonder weaves woods

Up And Down

I go up and down,
thinking sometimes that I am,
sometimes that I’m not

Eons

I dream of eons,
yet come back to instants,
the talk of my tick

Dragon

The dragon of hope
breaths flame and singes flowers,
burns us all to ash

What?

Wind, weather change how
I hold myself in my hands
in my head in…what?

Words

Words use me as I
presume to use them for earth,
air, fire and water

Inner Ear

Happiness of ear
trying to listen within
for an inner wind

Wordless Color

The wordless color
of these woods in autumn, fresh
even as I age

Empty

In empty moments,
memory lassoes me, drags
me from where I stand

Sunlight

Sunlight that made me
transforms an autumn morning –
a deer disappears

Saffron

Red threads of saffron
I have plucked from the crocus –
how they’ll yellow rice!

Obscure

How obscure I am –
each chance of intersection
finds me newly skew

Lacquered Reds

The autumn woods glow
lacquered reds and golds in rain –
soon they’ll be bare bone

Way Station

A red leaf lands now
on a lower branch, breaking
its journey to ground

Intricacy

Who can imagine
intricacy of what is
beyond strutting science?

I Wait

I’ve planted tulips –
now I wait for mystery
to explode in spring

Pendulum

A leaf’s suspended
by a spider’s thread and so
makes a pendulum

Fine Gold

On fine gold carpets
I walk mile upon sweet mile –
such is autumn’s wealth

Still

When I was little
I walked the woods in a book
now I walk them still

Crows

Raucous cries – a mob
of crows in the pin oak tree –
are these football fans?

Like Rubies

Glowing like rubies,
the fall crop of raspberries –
the white dog grabs one

Wordless Balm

What I see goes far
past what I can say – beauty
is a wordless balm

Phantom

How can I follow
the promptings of my nature,
which but half exists?

November 18, 2007

The weeping cherry
has put on its yellow robe
prelude to the nude

Playbook

I’m dreaming reasons
for my puzzling existence –
x’s and zeroes

Raw End

This bone chilling cold,
the raw end of November,
sun a ghost in grey

Convention

I’m a convention,
those inside me so diverse,
I never agree

This Fog

Talking to myself,
I can rarely find clear words,
so I speak this fog

Splendors

It’s a simple thing –
happiness coins such splendors
as surpass dreaming

Of That Doe

Beauty of that doe,
young, slight, alert, stays with me
in me for days, weeks

Lush

Lush warm night comes down
on leaves of many colors –
holly has white blooms

Poaching

The poaching of pears –
the white dog is fast asleep
as Thanksgiving comes

Print

Print of each instant
is distinct as a finger’s
in the dust I am

Whisper

The whisper of hope
that something can yet be born
inside my own ache

Near Shore

Deer bound for the woods,
beaver scrambles for water
as white dog closes

Signature

On warm autumn air
a soft signature of skunk
almost beautiful

Red Berries

Eating bittersweet
berries as red as itself
lone fall cardinal

Parenthesis

Each parenthesis
is nest for a mystery,
as I am, (myself)

A. K.

In dream came A. K.,
said she had spliced time so she
could be still alive

Memory

Memory fights death,
then slowly concedes, recedes
to join what it fought

Lost Gold

The weeping cherry
is newly nude, its lost gold
strewn over the ground

Waked

Fall of baked brown leaf
makes such a slant in my mind
I feel newly waked

Mulch

Mulch for what comes next,
each leaf was once a story –
I drop from my branch

Rudderless

Ruddy fade of day
into wide rudderless night –
how my mind careens

Here Here

I don’t go back where
I came from – there’s no there there,
barely a here here

Bronze Red Hands

Large as bronze red hands,
leaves of the pin oak can’t grasp
the wind that flaps them

Lost Worlds

Sorrow makes me tired
as if I had to carry
the bones of lost worlds

So Blue

Now the sky’s so blue
it is hard to imagine
any other sky

Shy

Wisdom hides nothing,
is drab not from modesty,
but just to be free

My Waking

More than I sing it –
so much more – sunlight sings me,
gives me my waking

Furnace

Inverted blue bowl
of late fall sky – my breath steams
from furnace I am

Red And Blue

Crossing suddenly
so close – blue jay, cardinal –
the red and the blue

No Eyes

Wind choreographs
dance it has no eyes to see,
ballet of the leaves

Stuff

We’re in love with stuff,
so that ourselves we do stuff,
so we turn into stuff

Long Sunny

In trees’ company
I wend a long sunny way,
doubting my sorrows

Autumnal

This autumnal ache,
that the chain of tomorrows
must soon be broken

Jaunty

In the year’s first snow,
burl head wears a cap of white,
really quite jaunty

I Don’t Rule

I float on the cells
of an empire I don’t rule –
I dread its collapse

Leaves, Suddenly

Leaves suddenly yield
a stick which becomes a snake
beige and beady eyed

Lightning Fingers

Mother in my dreams
you’re thunder on the piano
with lightning fingers

Nature

Nature knows nothing,
is wiser than all knowing –
how empty why is

Same Windows

These last two decades
I’ve looked out these same windows
as my vision changed

Ebbing

Drizzle, darkness, fog,
another year is ebbing
as the white dog snores

Bewildered

I’m still bewildered,
most of all by simple things –
am I possible?

Before

White dog and white swans
on a leaden autumn day
before the rain falls

Beloved

Beloved old house,
almost in ruins, just like
my own childhood

Mine

Listening to dreams,
I hear a thousand voices
I could take for mine

Shaft

I mine what is mine,
although the risks are so great
the shaft will collapse

Laboratory

Laboratory,
each instant experiment –
this is how I am

Wondering

I keep wondering
why is it I’m wondering –
there is no answer

Less

I know less and less,
but can’t quite get to nothing
which holds all there is

A Thread

A thread so slight, how
it meets fingertips is right
at illusion’s edge

Small

How render the truth
of what’s vanishingly small,
of my own estate?

Splash

I’m diving into
the infinitesimal –
I don’t make a splash

Mind

How strange the mind is,
for it goes a thousand roads
and holds a million

Twilight

Twilight is oak strokes
of different dark barked inks,
no trace of the pen

Habits

Only my habits
know how frightened I am – I
trust them not to tell

Night

When the night comes down
the day gone by starts to glow
like stars with questions

Shortest

Year’s shortest day –
moon is a pale wafer caught
in slim oak fingers

Spring 2008

Winked

Morning wilderness
borders on the land of dreams –
a star winked at me

Fact/Fiction

A matter of fact
is a matter of fiction –
so spring is my dream

Afloat

Clock chimes the hour –
I don’t count, knowing only
that now stays afloat

Bothered Beaver

The bothered beaver
strikes the lake’s bass drum and dives
to white dog’s surprise

Pink Haze

Weeping cherry’s bloom
makes a pink haze on blue sky –
this grief’s delicate

Exquisite

The exquisite scent
of a blossom I don’t know –
would a name spoil it?

Lone Goose

Lone goose, white bellied,
under white clouds, streaking west,
squawking all the way

5 Hawks

5 hawks circling light
at Cross Campus and Osler –
what prey do they see?

Green Eyes

One green eye in sun
and one green eye in shadow –
question mark cat sleeps

Flashed

A blue jay flashed through
the weeping cherry’s pink veil –
that was yesterday SF, April, 2008

More Like

Now I look more like
my father than like myself –
who was he am I?

Lovely Ugly

Lovely ugly croak
of a heron taking flight –
is mine different?

SF, 9 April, 2008

Cranes wait by the bay –
the Olympic torch is lost –
Everest stands still

A Streetcar

A streetcar renamed
lack of desire, how aging
brings want of wanting

Yellow Rimmed Eye

Small black bird, yellow
rimmed eye, tends a puddle where
cherry blossoms float

Mix

Fatigue and sorrow
mix with sixty year olds’ joys –
I’m past purity

Heat Wave, Point Reyes, April 12, 2008

Resplendent in warmth,
blue ocean, barely rolling –
ease, immensity

Scattered

Wild iris scattered
throughout seaside cow pastures –
specks of majesty

Stain

Bird against blue, hawk
keeps its shadow on a string,
stains green grass with ink

Tomales Bay

Now the setting sun
casts the bay as silver plate –
breeze rustles the trees

Hills

Hills climb to the sky,
drop to their knees by the sea,
hold millenia

Lowing

Black cattle lowing
on the hill confide in breeze
blowing from the sea

Quail

Four dusky quail walk
a dusty cow path – red winged
blackbirds sing in reeds

Crows

What crows have to say,
they speak in the squawkative,
the case that’s their own

No Rush

California
poppies, little cups of gold
in no rush at all

Coming Death

Close friend’s coming death
tells me the wind holds mine, too –
even the moonlight

My Death’s Horse

I am my death’s horse –
it rides me over the hills
to canter the beach

Pearls

I’m trying to find
pearls in nightmare – what rubs there
makes all things precious

Foil

I hadn’t noticed
eucalyptus leaves glisten
in seaside sun, breeze

Hush

Hush of afternoon –
I’m coming back to myself,
whom I barely know

Dragonfly

I fell asleep in
the tent of infinite dreams –
I’m a dragonfly

Free Turkey

Blue of gobbler’s face,
brown splendor of his ruffed tail –
turkey struts his stuff

Spring Hail, Seattle

Spring hail beats leaf drums –
sunshine yellow skunk cabbage
glows up from the ground

4:20 AM

I wake from my dream
to the first halting birdsong –
miracle’s music

Warbler

Warbler singing high
in a tree – dinosaur, how
did it come to this?

Wind Combs

Wind combs wildflowers
on the hill’s spine by the sea –
if my hair could bloom… Point Reyes

Tamales Point

This spring spectacle –
millions of bright flower eyes –
every year, just now Point Reyes

Bolinas Lagoon

Black seals on a bar
flop about, enjoying spring
just the way I do

Twin Towers

Twin yellow pockmarked
morel towers – how eagerly
my eyes pick them out

May 11, 2008

When the sun comes out
I’m another me, someone
woken by the light

Tree Peony

The tree peony
sheds white petals like a tent
going to pieces

Dream – RAR, March 10, 2008

I swam to the side
of a dying friend, dripping
as we were at birth

Not Prepared

I was not prepared
for anything that transpired –
this, my life’s glory

On Black Lake

White swans on black lake,
white dogwoods blooming on shore,
white dog by my side

Never Been

Darkest miracle
is death, the return to where
we have never been

Gold Drop

I am very small
and getting smaller with each
gold drop of a day

After Hail

Sunshine after hail,
clouds true to no fixed purpose,
unsettled as mind

Buck A,K.

Did the buck that slammed
into your car mark you then
for an early death?

Whir

Cardinal’s wings’ whir
as scarlet bursts from a clump
of gold swamp iris

Close and Far

I am an old man
who once was young, memory
close and far as dream

Stir

The stir of the breeze
in the May green of the trees
as light keeps changing

Old Apple

Blue jay in the breeze
lights in the old apple tree,
stays a single beat

Wine Of Joy

In the wine of joy,
is the flavor of sorrow
and yet we drink it

Lip Of June

On the lip of June
this forest is enchanted –
a faun sleeps in grass

You

You, white, naked, new –
here are the snows of this year
which will melt in time

Pest

I’m trying to know
much less than I did before –
ambition’s a pest

Wonder Of Now

The wonder of now
is that it is always here
so I’m not alone

Dog Daze

The hammer of heat
comes crashing down before noon –
dog inhabits daze

Wordwork

I’m a wordworker
or is it that words work me,
take me for their wood?

Death Fruits

Death’s everywhere
and then fruits like a fungus
from the underground

Basil

In the heat, basil
plants pop up, tiny green spades –
I taste what they’ll be

Bones

Up the wild cherry
has the wisteria climbed,
lacking its own bones

Savors

White dog savors taste
of the very first black cap –
next come mulberries

Undertaking

Strange undertaking –
we sail out to meet our deaths
under bright blue sky

Black Cohosh

Phosphorescent white,
witches’ candles now ignite
rise up from the green

Tangles

My thoughts walk with me
impersonate the tangles
of the climbing vines

June 11, 1977

That grief can sweeten
over vast stretches of time
is bitter wonder

Between Sets

Silence in the swamp
as the frogs rest between sets –
then a sudden twang

Goldfinches

Two small spots of gold
sit up in a tree, feasting
on ripe mulberries

Swallowtail

Yellow sunlight flaps
its wings – swallowtail crosses
creek from which deer drink

Late June Afternoon

White dog’s fast asleep –
rumble of distant thunder
competes with her snore

Sour Cherries For Pie

Red as winter coals,
but smooth and safe to the touch,
picked from their green orbs

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