Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Upon meeting a kind old hound

Such a heart as yours, my friend,
given me so freely,

I willingly take
to mine,

for your gray lash
and warm bright eye

show full well
the blessing of this time,

this present heaven,
that finds us side by side.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A deeper meaning

Two cups of coffee and I can recall
no more of last night’s dreams than how
these lines came on my face.

But there was an old well on our place,
and if I could count the times I dropped farm bits
down its throat, I imagine it would just about
amount to the same thing.

Which is to say I love them all,
even if they should leave no trace,
and this writing fall and me

Monday, April 28, 2014

As wise as wonder

Oh, he remembers many dogs, as noble is as noble was,
and all of what doth make a man,

besides the cause,

look back as wise
as wonder is to pause,

to find no better kind of laws,
than those that teach as these friends can.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


What is a diamond, more or less,
to the heart of a tender maple?

But, I must confess,
I am not the sun

that shines
on thee,

or finds
such hope

in all
I see,


I am capable.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tractor tires on chamomile

Tractor tires on chamomile about to bloom.

Tired rubber finely webbed in old age.

Driver idles through his sense of smell.

Time retires from the stage.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Canvas 382

Canvas 382

April 24, 2014

Of the moment

A little bird flutters against our window,
his mate behind him looking on,

spirits of the moment,
this life is formed

of enchantment
not yet known,

yet gladly


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

To the sea

The words you were about to say
when you suddenly awoke,

and the mill on the stream
as kind, and as wise, as anything.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


See how the fig tree declares her passion
before her leaves are on,

how the dogwood, winded down,
is bridal in her bloom,

how the birds, busy in your branches,
have shaken you, and flown.

Monday, April 21, 2014


A gray, quilted sky,
snug to all four corners.

A flight of geese
for embroidery.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Only night could explain

Only night could explain what he saw.
A faint pattern, half-imagined, far off, in a high-up dome.
Like a dream newly sown, sailing for dawn.
No mast, no rigging, a child at the helm.

The ship sailed on.

Great was his faith in the child.
Sweet her voice like a bell.

The timbers groaned.
The child smiled.

The dream was home.

Only night could explain what he saw.
A faint pattern, half-imagined, far off, in a high-up dome.

And the child — he was sure now — leading the sun.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How the unborn exist

How the unborn exist
as surely as your own now gone,

sparkling in dreams
and firelight,

drifting free
as butterflies,

calling you
from doorways,


tales untold,

as real in myth
as any you’ve known,

how, on mornings like this,
they return, and the veil is gone.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Afternoon, a dark cloud

Afternoon, a dark cloud over a little town,
the shops closed, the sidewalk clock
and penny scale looking down,

are what a boy knows
that never shows
till now,

all around
light screams

blood streams,
and sirens sound,

where, now, is my mother?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Here lies

The rhythm
of affairs,

or crickets
in dry grass?

: :

the motion
of years,

or wheels
as they pass?

: : :

in old fears,

or in love
at last?

: : : :

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

To the wind

A poem of three taut lines,
defined by his mother’s wash
and her clean white sails

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crazy old widow

The crazy old widow
keeps a vineyard
of gnarled
old men

with bark
shaggy and grim

and grapes for eyes
the dust is in

across the road
where barn boards ken
spiders’ beards
and lizards’

and state their case
as best they can
in the least
of wind

one match
would do her in

one mad dash
with a frying pan

and the widow’s grin
would flare up

and scorch us
all to hell

Monday, April 14, 2014


The birds are quiet
this morning.

I am quiet too.

What is it we know,
and are not quite ready to tell?

Will we keep the secret,
even from ourselves?

Or will we sing,
and singing,


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Road 64

School bus tells the graveyard,
I see the country roads.

Graveyard shows the windows
newly opened ground.

Farm folk shade their eyes,
lay their burden down.

The bus gears moan,
round and round and round.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Where water needs the flowers

He had a perfect way of saying
the desert had been crossed:

Where water needs the flowers,
we’re no longer lost.

And there we laid him;
and here grows the moss.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Morning sounds

Creak in the ceiling
sound at the door
bird on the rooftop
crying for more





creak in the ceiling
sound at the door
man on the rooftop
crying for more





Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fog-scent, wash-day, fingertips

Peaceful the boy, his trowel full of worms.
Little graves, moist rotten leaves, glorious dirt.
Ghost arrives: fog-scent, wash-day, fingertips, girl.
Sees the boy the light play the fuzz on her neck.
She takes her place without having to ask.
Wants to know, what are their names?
Why are they wiggling like that?
He tries to explain but can’t.
Holds out his hands.
Dirt on her dress.
Finds herself blessed.
Smiles, cries, then smiles again.
Forever confessed, on the easiest terms.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

All these years

All these years, and the old bank building
still blushes in the morning light,
her stern face warming
a color at a time.

And there’s a story about her,
with a rose, and a hat, and a ribbon,
and a meadow.

It seems in her youth she was wooed
by the saloon across the street,
where Granddad drank and talked
and smoked.

But her old man was practical:
the saloon was bought off somehow,
its dry boards painted, and given
a shiny new door knob.

The bank sighed through her ceiling fans;
grew distant and cold; hated her pa
in his hat and suspenders, and especially
his money.

When I was a boy, I hated him too.

I was in love with her strange perfume.

So what did I do?

I hid a penny in her wall.

And it was this light that made me think of it now.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cross my heart

Sack of day-old doughnuts, fifty cents.

Barnyard gnawing vineyard brush.

Boys smoke whatever’s at hand.

Found butts. Dead leaves. Horse shit.

Cross that desert, cross my heart.

And that’s the end of it.

Except your ghost, and this loneliness.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Over the farm equipment show,
and the lot where old oaks once had been,
clouds, but no rain : clouds, that in their color
pass as dust : dust, and a mournful breakfast scent
from the edge of town : town, where the first
early haircut is done, the slap of lotion
on : on, in a truck that smells like
last year’s straw : straw,
or a barn floor bed
with your girl

Friday, April 4, 2014

In this wise

The beauty of believing

(you are alive)

in miracles

is wise





mysterious absence

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A tiny essay

There is a profound difference between looking for what is right, or good, and looking for what is wrong, or bad. The evidence is in us and around us. In their satisfaction, both habits are strengthened. Where the mind has been, the mind returns. The corresponding results can be positive and liberating, or negative and devastating. Understood in terms of one’s health and day-to-day relationships, the roots of injustice, poverty, and war are easy to discern. Looking for what is right, or good, is not unsophisticated or naïve. Rather, it is a way of knowing what is wrong, or bad, without the tiring, consuming, repetitious need to prove it to oneself and to others. Looking for what is right, or good, is not, therefore, being right, or being good. Neither is looking for what is wrong, or bad, being wrong, or being bad. And yet, both are ways of being, and of living, whether we are conscious of them or not.

And what of degrees? All we really know, and must surely sense in our better moments and selves, is that in love there are no degrees; and that by degrees, we come to recognize and feel love’s presence in all things, including ourselves; and that the presence we perceive needs no better explanation than love itself.

Upon a waking dream

Waking from a dream

upon a waking




at me