Wednesday

Meadow




Up from the great green wave
of green grasses: a thousand shades
and one blackbird rising up and up
into his red wing, into my heart.



Saturday

Once Upon



Once upon a time in the faraway
the first and foremost of why

was not.  How  followed close
to here and now now now.  Now

a flower, or snow or a fish. Or
you and me, a full moon in every

pond.  And the smell of wild cherries
and how brown cow ran the hillside

kicked up her hills and laughed.




Monday

Blessing



The cool of a May morning
with foxglove, with wetfoot
with columbine, with daisy
with small apples just formed.

And fish swimming red then gold
and frogs under snapdragons
and calves running the meadow.

With every green, blessing.




Friday

May



A soprano:
the first western wind
in the first greenings
of the first day of May.

There is no pain
there are no burdens
everyone is free.

These are soprano
dreams dreamed
in green, ribboned
in pale blue and
white and pink.
Violet.  Magenta.
Blue then black
then blue again.






Monday

River



The river is a god
we heard her roaring
all white and frothy
this morning.  Come

here pretty man and
yes you can bring 
that woman I think
I might like her too.
Bring me a bridge,
I'll take the old tree
and maybe a couple
of young ones all
green and leafy
would be lovely.

She is our god
today as we watch
today as we pray
for the bridge to hold
for the road to hold
for the tree and the
house and the newly
planted garden filled
with snapdragons.

I don't think the fish
will drown but you
can never know when
she will be satisfied
this river, this god

and I think she may
like snapdragons.





Tuesday

Here, then there



The pond, a bullfrog,
a small drum of rain

then birdsong, just a
note, here then there

a wash of white petal
caught in greeny frond

here, then there again
a piece of music, one

note, then two, rising
into a multitude of day.






Sunday

Fool





Careening up the steepest slope
of Big Rock Candy Mountain,
guided only by an apple blossom
whose refusal to designate east
west or time of day or fact of
night or day, concerned only
with the arrival of her lover,
the bee, who appears as
intoxicated as I am,

enough to seriously consider
if I, too, could somehow
contrive to dive into the open
petal and collect a bit of pollen
for my very own in the hope
that a smear of yellow dander
across the top of my forehead
could be enough to re-open
the gate closed by steeple
to me and mine so long ago.

A fool, utter and complete.





Tuesday

Singing Green


On the highest ridge
by the oldest tree

I heard a red mist
singing  to green
leaves wrapped
tender in the tight
pouch of the bud,

singing the pleasure
of the wind, the rain,
and the yellow light
floating in the blue sky,

singing the pleasure
of  a bird's caress
of thunder's outrage
singing the pleasure
of a lullaby life lived

in spectral coordinates
of chartreuse, of celadon,
of sap, of viridian, of teal
and olive and emerald

a hallelujah chorus
singing green and green
again and again and again.


Thursday

Yesterday the Crows



Yesterday the crows

gathered in the pines,
and with a high, harsh cry

called to the newly green
spread of meadow

called to a hillside forest
misted in redding bud

called to the silvering stream
pocketed with small new fish

called to the pasture,
calved by live birth

called to the cherry trees,
first bride in bloom

called to the thrush
singing Ella Fitzgerald

called to lost belief reborn
in the power of beauty

called:  This is spring.




My Pleasure


An unauthorized magic
whirl-winded four deer
up through a stick strewn
tawny taupe forest floor
this third day of spring

to play, nuzzle and graze
breakfast right along side
the morning windowed
in sunlight.  A morning
covered by a cloud rolled
blue sky made only
for this day, no other.

The pleasure they took
-along with just opened
blackberry leaves,
a seemingly delicious
rhododendron, and
the stalk of tiger lily
lifted just yesterday
up out of the ground-
was truly all ours.

Come again.  Anytime.



Sunday

Chuck



He built a house
big, plenty of room
for everybody:

Jimi's guitar burning
genius re-writing
the national anthem

canadian dandy
Leonard lamenting
lost lovely Suzanne

thousands of english
stratocasters howling,
freed of their ancient

moon, alchemicaled
into Keith, magic
and LSD and more
magic and smasher
Pete, Eddie, Page,
Stevie Ray, Duane,
Eric and Wha Wha
who is that woman
her name is Benatar
her name is Joan
her name is Nicks
she is Janis screaming
and Yes everyone

screaming John
screaming Paul
screaming George
screaming Ringo

finally free.




Wednesday

Kong


Kong plays with the babies,
a dandling coo coochie coo
on top of the soft black pads
of his largely perfect feet.

Kong plays with the babies,
bowered green, silverbacked
smack dab in the middle
of that continent we could

all call home.  Ancestral.

Kong plays with the babies
and watches Matilda, her
every move a wonder, all
black in that green heart.

Kong plays with the babies,
they tug, they pull, they roll
over his great drum of a belly,
pull his toe, blink then sleep.

Kong plays with the babies.



Pledge


Standing on this hillside
under a blue struck sky
the softest wind of crocus,

all blue all purple all white,
has blown against my face

holding this small wind
keeping this small wind
against the bitter human
storm of shout, of stomp
can be and will be done

by the flag of daffodil
to whom, on this day,
I  pledge my allegiance.




Sunday

Color/Colour




Once I brought it
into the studio
where it drove me
into madness,
layer upon layer
of nerve bitten nerve.

I was a wreck,
beached and shaken
under all the sudden
sharp brightness
beyond reason and
beyond care for reason

which are probably
one and the same.
Neither black,
as gossip would have it,
nor the singer's blue,
it was yellow

and it burned.





Tossing Yellow



Tossing yellow across the day what could be more generous
than the daffodil?  Holding nothing back, fearless in the face
of the sure possibility of a late come killing frost, this most 
common of offerings must surely be the most tenderly brave 
among us...must surely be me, be you, at our loving best.



Wednesday

Song



Two octaves above merrily merrily
I go where ferns sing: sing of green
sing of the small vole living close
and brown.  He listens, hums along
and in my dream catches a beat.

A walking, talking dream spanning
300 million turns of earth, sweet
and wet, held close by the burning
sphere devouring me, vole, fern
and quite possibly the high E sung

in praise of this hungriest of gods
responsible also for the daily bread
she feeds us and we in turn feed him
golden and delicious.  A Vivaldi
of one note, this fern - and green.



Saturday

What Crop?



Kansas clouds line in stripe
the great lake of blued sky.
An even hand, it would seem,
plowed  row stretching row
of a white field, rolling seedless,
furrowed by light.


Monday

Flag



The same small bird,
a chickadee, glides
a winter snow as easily
through the Ukrainian
state of siege as does
his sister in Vermont.
Snow, the same white.
The sky, blue also with
clouds. Starred by night,
thousands and thousands
of nights.  Millions.

And one small bird
smack in the middle.
I will pledge him,
I will pledge her,

my allegiance.




mouse



lkjs  eljdif n kljdi
d njltu  ldu dk 
vlua c hfo ejhklaob 
dflbf  dlfjburt 
a clv gjekw dnis

 dnjue!

A mouse came
in the night
and left this poem
about a wolfhound,
about the low soft moan
of white snow drifting
down into the meadow,
about a dried berry
and the sweetness of grass

about the moon.



Wednesday

Salt



The indifference of rain
cares for me, cares for you
in equal measure of not-at-all.

Blow-me-down winds or
today's warm caress explore
what they can of me, of you

as early evening star spangles
include a dominion of squirrel
as easily as a 'tis of thee.

Pulp, both deciduous and pine,
has been pressed into service
of words:  lordly, kingly, me

a forest of letterings we carefully
pin before our names, or after
our us, our we, our me

while waiting to be burnt
as one by fire, drowned,
dried, blown away.  Salt.


FoxMoving



A soaked-coat fox
moves steady
through the swish and sway
of  high altitude grasses
moves steady
from where I first saw him
into today
roaming time
roaming memory he is a
twenty-years yesterday fox.

Wet and thin, he was also,
on that damp day,
a late winter early spring fox
not so glossy as he had been,
a little ragged but still - fox!

Tented, I was laying
in the cleared fill
of long  grass
when I saw him
moving through
topo-mapped
Russell's Field
on his way to way
and his here to now.

He is a lively and excellent
companion, little changed
after twenty years traveling time
with its great abundances
of rain and wind and sun.

Fox tells me
the meadow
is as it was,
with him and me
in the long grass
on the high hill,

in the meadow.



Monday

Dreamer



I walked into your dream,
Dreamer.

The door was open.
I heard the music.

I saw the dancers.
I began to sing.

I began to dance.

I held the hand 
of a child. 
I became a child.

I was embraced.
I embraced in turn.

I drank.
I tasted elixir.

I ate.
I knew ambrosia.

I was black.
I was white.

For a brief
moment I
was shining.

Like the sun.

I walked into your dream,

Dreamer.



for all who loved him, on his birthday


Tuesday

Dream of Snow


I saw two deer
standing quiet
in the little clearing
below the pines.
Their eyes, luminous,
their coat, golden.
That was this morning.

And now, on their too
slender legs they have leapt
from the whiteness of snow
onto this whiteness of page
to hide in a thicket of alphabet.

Luminous eyed, shining gold
they cavort, they dance. They
leap from my screen to yours
back to mine then
through the room's glass window

into the little clearing
below the green pines
into the dream of snow.

This bright clear splinter,
I'll send on to you.  A talisman.




Friday

Tree History



A tree holds tree History:

Of a storm loosened branch
that now dangles and is dry.
Of generations of squirrels
and their scratched hieroglyphic.
Of leaves, each tenderness
each green, every gold then red.

The old man's first
offering of the season,
the snow that came this
morning, will be written.
And my name paired
with yours in the long ago
summer we chased and
played in the green cave.
A heart, carved initials

an arrow,  snow covered
today, but still warm.



Tuesday

Birds: A Day


There was a day...
it was late afternoon
when the sky was golden,
and my friend and I
were standing on a street
in Columbia, South Carolina,
a town known for being hot
really hot but it was not
especially hot that particular
day, an early fall day,
and we were at ease,
my friend and I, standing
on the sidewalk, waiting
to cross a not very busy
street down in Five Points,
a part of town filled with
good-time bars and restaurants.
We weren't in a hurry that day,
standing on the sidewalk
just looking around
when in the sky
we noticed a large mass of
birds flying above our
heads.  We looked to see
where these birds had come
from and in cool-shattering
wonder realized we could not see
their beginning  nor their end.
This flock of birds flew from
eastern sky to western sky.
We stood and watched this
miracle for a good fifteen
minutes. The flock's end was
still not yet in sight as we
finally crossed the street,
got in our cars and left, both
of us in a daze, for appointments
long since forgotten.  But

this, that golden day, when
birds ribboned the whole of the sky,
calls me, calls me to witness....

...there was a day.



Thursday

Child

There was talk about a star
and a woman, hugely pregnant,
whose husband had been turned
away from the no vacancy
tavern and given an armful
of sweet hay for an overnight
stay in the cow, sheep and goat
filled barn.  A horse maybe,
and chickens.  At that time
everyone everywhere
had chickens, a couple of
ducks. The donkey she had
ridden came to rest with them
too, his bridle removed then
given a bit of cabbage, wilted
but still a special treat.  The
journey had been long for him
and he was not a young donkey.

There could be worse places
to give birth than in a barn,
but not many.  The book
skips that part:  the long
hours of labor, the blood
and Joseph out of his mind
with worry with regret. The
night in its mercy was clear
was windless was moonlit
and he was able to keep her
warm. The innkeeper had
warned against fire and he
dared not chance losing this
small shelter to the street.

The horse, the cow, the sheep
the goat, the chickens and the
duck all knew about birth.
That a human woman would
come to lay down in the sweet
hay to bring her child into the
world as they did was of great
interest to them.  As was the
babe when he finally arrived.
A human child, corded! They
too came corded! And oh such
a beautiful child after he was
cleaned by Joseph, swaddled,
given to her arms, her breast
her soft song, her heartbeat.

And then the visitors. Suddenly
the barnyard was filled with
wealth. Three kings, golden
crowns and servants, camels!
sent by dream brought by star.
Gifts, wondrous caskets filled
to overflow. Suddenly Joseph
could see a small house, warm
fires, food on the table he would
make especially for her.  And a
cradle for the child.  The beautiful

Child.





for Tom and Sharon


Saturday

Every Night, Every Day


The doe moving in and out
of the morning with her friends,
playful.  And him watching.

Everything for her, always.

The hills have bared their
flank, red burned russet
and silvery all the way up
to the ridgeline.  Then blue

with clouds.  Everywhere.

She is his wish come true.
And there are no hunters.
There are no men with guns.

I dream this dream
every night every day
every night, every day.



Friday

gift


time, this one
and space, the here
of the now that
you've been given,

a gift, the biggest
through which your
fabulous machine
passes in dance, love
or anger.  Games

for the mischief maker
(notice the chief) always
pleased, except when not,
to be in charge. Sex

for the miracle of
the moving mass
called body.  We are
fruit of those loins.

Singing dancing
carrying guns through
alien desert lands,
your choice
your gift
your miracle.


Wednesday

Advise, Columned


Live as long as you can.
Do something well,
if at all possible.
If not, enjoy what others
may do well.

Go outside, as often
as you can, if you cannot
then try to spend
some time at the window.
What you see is where
you are from.

If you can't see
a bit of a tree or
a clump of grass
from your window
then look up, eventually
a cloud will pass.
In this situation it could
be worth waiting for.

Take pleasure in weather,
if you can, as rains,
snows wind and fogs
are one of life's consistencies.

Whatever you may read,
or hear, there is one word
that might be worth
keeping in mind: could.

Because whatever you may
read or hear wordwise
describes an experience
or a thing and is not
the experience or the thing.
You are the thing.

Sweet.


Tuesday

Government



The wren terrorizes the cat
back and forth landing just
this side then the other.  He
pounces, twisting mid-air
then dives into a vacancy
suddenly created just for him.
Humiliated, he sulks under
the house for an hour maybe
two then a snack.  His day.

I yelled and waved my arms
during the entire event
but to no avail whatsoever.

My cat, the bureaucrat.




Monday

philosophy


what goodness what pleasure
to be windowed by fog by rain
to be shut in
to be shut out
of the crowd, of the road
of the human mess.

Sometimes it sings, this mess,
and sometimes I dance.

There has been an embrace.
One here.  One there, smiling.

But the rain!  And the wildest
winds!  And the inscrutable
unknowable fog,

Lao Tze
come to the meadow,
come to the window

existential essence, delight.




Sunday

fog



fog, ancient essence,

banking low along a once-blue-now-grey
ridge top closed down for the season

shuttered.


The Cuban Boy



The boy brings to mind
another time another
story of an old man,
his boy and the sea.

Hemingway wrote that
one a poor grandfather.
Yes, they had it rough,
the boy, his grandfather.

He battled a fish into
Nothingness.  That was
where he liked to go
best, really into nothing.

And if not nothing maybe
a good long disappearance
into the landscape.  I like
this as well.  You could say

I understand.  I really do.

And that is what they did,
the boy and his grandfather.
They disappeared into their
poverty into their blood,

into their beautiful island life.



Monday

come and go blues



me, you
the cat sitting
in the window
the window
watching the bird
singing in the tree
that also comes
and goes.  big

moons the same
size they were
yesterday. big
moving small
and small into
yeah yeah yeah
big again.

old party or
new neither
really turns
the trick for
me maybe
they should
maybe they
could if only

this bird would
stop singing.



Thursday

November 3



Burnt orange, a bruise of yellow
with red splashed here and here
and a bit over there on the hillside

we are fading into the bared branch
beautifulfully but without fanfare
without extravaganza.  Muted, cooled

this morning by gray fog, by mist.




Sunday

Bobby


I started calling him Bobby a couple of years ago, a way of keeping him close when so many would have made him an idol or a god (although god-dylan sounds a bit too close to godzilla to work really well).  With this new prize I think I'll need to keep him Bobby more than ever.

I walked into my life with him always around somewhere, background mostly but around.  He came and went, like most men in my life, but had a way of showing up fresh and with something important to say that had not been said that would make me love him all over again.  Like the time a couple of years ago I turned on the radio to hear him singing about having stayed in Mississippi a day too long.

Every part of me broke hearing those words.  How strong the hold a place can have on a person. Especially a place like the South, where there's never been a really good reason to stay.  I cannot adequately explain to myself or anyone else why I have or the price I have paid to do so but I didn't have to when I heard those words.  He knew.

He knew too, all the terrible and beautiful prices we pay to love, how ridiculous the whole affair, take your pick, so often is. All the same, he knows the wondrous storm and soothe of our bed. He knew the madness of war, of greed. He knows exactly who the monsters are with their eagerness to tie you to a dreadful life just to turn that dime.  He knows who has been betrayed and why. He knows all our stories, which ones are true and how important to us the ones that aren't.

After all these years I'm still walking into my life, into my story.  And Bobby... he's still here.  I won't be at all surprised to find him writing out these next few chapters.  Both of us making them up as we go.



Friday

Peary Gates of Glory




Six pears,

blushed red over yellow
straight stemmed, hand sized
carried back to the valley from

the city of the dead from which

not only have we returned intact
we are victorious, we have plundered
the magnificence of pear.

One of the six, through a bite,
through a lick, through the sugary
smack of a lip, have consumed me

as I, in turn, consume the day, also
blushed red over yellow and waiting

for rain.



Tuesday

Anniversary Poem



A smallish yellowing
has married brittle edge
to a still mostly green leaf
softened by yesterday's rain.

Softening, too, my heart
whose edge had also gone
brittle, skitterish in my chest
after too many days moving
on indolent, indifferent asphalt
whose only blessing is speed.

Anointed by dinosaur grief
the mountain itself moved
back and forth, up then down
and finally up again
depositing me and mine
under leaf married yellow to brittle
but still, at the last, mostly green.




Thursday

Untitled



this is not bread
you cannot eat it

this not-bread
nourished me,
it was your gift
and now I give
this not-bread
to another you,
and to myself
knowing you

and I cannot eat it but
hope for nourishment

all the same.



Tuesday

Green



Light, moving quickly
thorough the day, has
begun eating  the

green.

A branch or two here
and there, then suddenly
yesterday an entire tree

gobbled and left yellow.

Beguiled by carnival colors
we are easily seduced.  Flags
waving over hideous music,
the more hideous the better,
does the trick for the human

century after slow century.

As for me, I'll be dancing
singing colors in a week,
maybe two, sorrow all but
forgotten for my beloved

green.







Saturday

Untitled Cloud Poem


A small but well-made cloud
has chased the western ridge
of Stone Mountain for days,

white and green with bits of blue
patching in hours reduced by late
summer's orbit into September.

I think the cloud may stay
through the now cooling
nights as well, enjoying the
darkness as all lovers will.

Their time together clearly
has a limit as a cloud will
and must go and generally
sooner than later but today
the small well-made cloud

stays, just a little bit longer.






Just a Little Bit Longer


A small but well-made cloud
has chased the western ridge
of Stone Mountain for days,

white and green with bits of blue
patching in hours reduced by late
summer's orbit into September.

I think the cloud may stay
through the now cooling
nights as well, enjoying the
darkness as all lovers will.

Their time together clearly
has a limit as a cloud will
and must go and generally
sooner than later but today
the small well-made cloud

stays.



Thursday

Icarus


the blue sky chased
great Stone Mountain
out of the cloudscape

and back into the
land where she thought
he, by rights, belonged

thereby keeping the
enameled space
claimed as her own
inviolate as set forth
in the agreement made
long ago with gravity

which permitted passage
to the winged, the blown,
the cloud, rain, lightning
and the mad, for whom
she had a special fondness

considering the price payed
for such a brief embrace
of her periwinkled blue.




Occurrence Appearing



the

long lean light of late
afternoon carries hundreds,
thousands of gossamered
beings, tiny and winged

all in a great do da
a who ha as gay as
a Siberian day finally
thawed and turned may

in this august afternoon
however many miles from
spring the party, it would
seem, is just

beginning.





Wednesday

In August




me, you and a marriage of high hill to cloud
and endless sky.  Leaves heavy in the last
green bitten now and then with small dashes
of yellow touched ever so lightly with red.

winds still warm enough to turn my face
into, glad for the sweet caress.  A foot slips
into river water with ease, glad to be cooled

as careless as a fish way too small for the pan.



Thursday

Bee Balm










bee balm
30x40
oil on canvas





the summer delights
as we fret and vex
delights in an outrage
of color indifferent to
all but the bee, whom
she loves much more
than me or you except
of course when we're
lying on our backs 
considering the cloud

listening to the sea.

z



‚Äč


Wednesday

Queen Anne's Lace



I've missed being up to enjoy the sunrise these past couple of mornings, more precisely I've been missing daybreak.  How easy it is to say the sun rises, to speak of a sunrise when that is not at all what happened on this mid-August morning.  We spin.  We circle.  Moving at fantastic speeds we chase, then flee our great and utterly still sun cycling in and out of a long-standing engagement of 24 hours.

A remarkable swathing of Queen Anne's Lace has bethroed our landscape to the sun in this season of summer's engagement.  She lifts a face crowned by yet another circling, this of small white blossom, to her golden lover.  A great explosion of heat will marry them one day, or so it's said. We pray the engagement will be a long one.





Tuesday

Poem



A yellowish moon has settled onto the surface 
of the pond as stars settle onto the surface of  
evening.  Frogs sing through diamonds

calling beloved.

Softened by citron and rain the canvas brightens,
then darkens.  A black line settles on the surface

also calling beloved.

I have so little I want so much, beloved.
I have so much I want so little, beloved.

A pretty little wind lifts the leaf filled arm
of the tree.  Lift then sway but only a bit.

I have so much I want so little, beloved.
I have so little I want so much, beloved.

The words of a Swedish poet, two years 
dead, settle on the page of an opened book
to call and sing through my hand. 

Forty words. So little so much.  Beloved.




Wednesday

At 90 Degrees



Dogged by heat our day drifts
though the heat of the afternoon,
a small boats circling small waves.



Monday

Without Warning

the forest was suddenly thinned three days ago.  An enormous blow of winds roared through, reached into the trees and took what it wanted, which was some of everything.  Root, limb and branch were tossed and shaken into the slapped and dashed puppetry of a maddened god. Leaves were given what must have been one of the wildest rides of their life. Water - pond, lake or stream - whitecapped and roiled, swirling and feverishly turned dervish. All we could do was watch in wonder and awe as it passed over and through our valley, as it bent every living thing to its willful power.

Afterward, we stumbled through piles of leaf-filled branches and climbed over downed trees, thinking ourselves much like photographs of people sleep-like walking through a seemingly instantly and irredeemably altered landscape.  The silence was profound.  Birds were not singing.  There was no sound of traffic in the distance.  All machinery had come to an absolute stop.  We had entered a newsreel of disaster's aftermath and in that film were cast most fortunately as somewhat dazed survivors: glad to be alive and glad to have a house still standing.





Friday

More Rain



Wet.  Mid-summer  has come wet and heavy to the Bethel valley.
Winds start, stop then more rain falling into the great greenery.
Onto also the great piece of machinery bordering our outlines of self:
a country, a county, a city, this town. You. Me. This race. That race.

It seems the revolution has begun.  Will it be violent or peaceful?
You  and I decide.  Every day.  In word or deed, everyday.
Then more rain.  We are so small here, even so.....





Sunday

Transparent w/Crow



Six black crows have flown in and out of the apple tree this morning, coming for their annual harvest of transparents.  They've been watching the tree for a week, waiting for the perfect pitch of ripeness, and this morning decided delectable was the day.  So far they have been plucking and carrying the apples to the bottom of the nearest meadow to immediately devour the green feast.

There are probably four or five different varieties of apple trees in our small orchard but the crows have no interest in any but the transparent.  I, too, share their preference for these above all others. The apple is smallish, pale green and very smooth.  They are tender from the start and that is why they have little or no market:  they do not last long enough to ship and refuse to ripen once off the stem.

The green of the skin is pale and flawless.  The inside is white and juicy with just enough of a crunch. I think surely the painters of the Renaissance did not know this apple, otherwise the one Eve offered Adam century after painted century may not have been red at all but brushed lightly and delicately green; a celadon, if you will.  As for the snake...might that have been a crow instead?




Tuesday

portrait



stamper
tosser
snorter

this woman
she thinks
thoughrbred
nothing but

i know better
i have seen the
wild mustang

stamping
snorting
tossing

better dead than
in any ring rigged
up and ridden

snorter.



Saturday

these scraps



The long day
rolled into night
leaving scraps
along the edge

a bit of love here
some hate there

we gather
these scraps
we cherish
these scraps

we create
elaborate
containers
for these scraps

will often
fight to the
very death
to preserve
these scraps

while yet
another day
rolls into night
green then blue
then black and

filled with stars.




Wednesday

And a Dinosaur



Circled into the day
through the day
then into the darkness,
wherever I may be

I will be standing
precisely above
the very center
of the earth.

I share this trajectory:
beetle and earthworm
underground waterway
bones of the dead
root of the tree
an occasional vole

dirt dirt dirt
fossil embedded strata
which could include
a perfectly preserved
woolly mammoth
a tiny horse
and a dinosaur.

Then the molten juice.

Everyday I ride
circled into my life,
ignorant as hell
like everyone else

but happy to be
here on the topside
covered this early
summer day in

green.




for Arthur Isaacs


Sunday

Pulse



We catwalked to the dancefloor in the shortest skirt
                                                     in the highest heel
with the reddest lips
with the longest lashes.

Our earrings dangled and called.  We were answered.

I danced with a man who had just kissed a man.  I danced
with a woman and laughed at the men who watched.  We

were all laughing.  We were all drinking.  We were all
snorting cocaine.  We were all shooting poppers on the

dancefloor.

It was beautiful dancing midnight across the darkness into
the next morning.  We were beautiful.  I have no regrets.

Body to body we throbbed.  Body to body we tossed.
Body to body we raised our arms to our gods who loved
us.  We were adored by the night.  We were loved.

I have no regrets.
The only regret would have been not to have been there,

dancing.




This Other




A small boat painted yellow
could be a perfect thing
to move through the sea of green
Bethel Valley has become this day.
Splashing blossoms of  a green walled
hillside holds this sea, this tide of meadow
of birdsong, of berry, of rabbity thicket
in this small sweet hour of eastern light.

On this the other side of a mountain we call Stone
reality holds itself to the tree bridging earth to sky.

One perfect moment: written in green.



Thursday

Lush Life




As deeply dense as a forest can be is the passage through George's Gap on this early summer day. A friend in the north country writes that the green there is greener than any he remembers, and he is a very old man.  Meadow grass has become long enough to plait into itself and blackberry flowerings test the strength of their stem further with each passing day.  If this blossoming continues soon they will marry the ground.

There are worlds we have thought into existence, this green one is not among them.


Sunday

Singapore Sling



Up and out the window yellow brushes of gold are gathering in the poplar.  For these the tree was named, by these the tree is known to those of us behind the glass reading a long, complicated history of geographical society's survey of the deciduous.

There is something of the tropics in these flowers.  Something perched on the top edge of a glass filled with a cocktail typically served only in a grass thatched hut by the sea, a reflection of Cole Porter's tuxedo still lingering in a window of the adjacent resort.  Reflection of vast legions of dread-locked dancers have more recently moved into the glass and are also caught and held.

The infinitely slow movement of glass is said to never stop. Plenty of room in the infinitesimal for tulip poplars, me, the beat beat beat of the tomtom, Bob Marley, the sea, the mountain, a blue sky, the whiteness of clouds and you in your chair by the window.



One Love.





Wednesday

Meadow,


In the barest of touch,
almost a caress,
a metal brush is held
against a large brass cymbal
and allowed to linger
for a long second
before being pulled away
down and across
the shining disc.

This is the sound
the long grasses make
as they touch one another
in the meadow today.
A swishing. 

If I could send you this sound,
laid over the silence of the valley,
I would.





Sunday

Revelry




Winds, small or large but steady, have blown morning into afternoon into evening here in this Bethel Valley.  Young leaves quake and shimmer, turning this way then that into their greenery.  And the butterflies!  Twenty or thirty yellow monarchs surround the barn, a jeweled revelry.  The party is on: all the birds of the neighborhood have been invited to fly about and sing, the weeks-old calves are frisking, young rabbits are on the move and everything that can bloom is doing just that. This is about as far from the world of human-made news a world could be and I have to stop and wonder which is real.  Maybe I've entered some sort of dreamtime, this greentime.  I could easily think to be sleepwalking but the winds are brisk and the chill of them keep waking me up, insisting, it would seem, that the green world is still the real world.  Who knows?  Not me, certainly not me.




Thursday

Eden



Green has gathered green
on the ferny hillside above
the cold water spring in this
tenderest of seasons in this
paradisaical time.  Eden,

an Eden.


Monday

White-Faced Red Bull


We are fully and gloriously green at last here in the calf and colt filled Bethel valley.  All the calves in our neighboring pasture are white-faced this season, all progeny of a white-faced red bull brought in for a lengthy visit this past year.  Everyone looks at him and smiles.  I think he may be smiling too. Like the song says, good work if you can get it.


Thursday

leafstruck chartreuse


all is shimmer
all is shine
in the leafstruck
chartreuse climb
into the blue sky
of this birdsung
spring morning

how to go about
a reasonable day,
how to go about reason
surrounded by this luxury
of sight and sound

may be beyond
my green filled grasp
my green filled eye
my green filled soul
lost at times perhaps

but not today.


Sacred Groves


One more blossom and our apple tree will surely fall to the ground from the weight.  Yesterday morning I looked out the window and was actually startled to see the tree in suddenly full and glorious bloom. They came in all through the night I think, under the proverbial cover of darkness.

The more I see of trees the less I know.  The ancients of Greece often referred to a sacred grove and I once was foolish enough to think this meant a particular grove: maybe here, maybe there.  Perhaps the one down by the river or the one holding court on the highest hill.  Did the oracle call out her prophecies from a forest hidden deep in the high valley, inaccessible to all but the truly chosen?

Nothing sacred about that little patch of trees down by the shopping mall, squeezed between this road and that...is there?  Or... that scraggly group of locusts waiting to be cut down as soon as the nearby construction site under way is finished?  Or those six or seven pines holding steady on the less-than-scenic spot by the local recycling center...ridiculous to even think such a place could be sacred.. isn't it?




Tuesday

Every Chair


Every chair in our house once had leaves who fed it. Every chair in our house once knew a bird flying over and around it. Every chair in our house, in a formerly root-bound life, knew a bee, a squirrel or possibly a deer. Or maybe had a raccoon raise her surly brood in a pocket, the small scratch of her nightly climbs perhaps satisfying a certain itch.  Several knew the pleasures of an egg-filled nest.

Some of these chairs once flowered, some did not.  All knew the wind and rain.  All had the sun come up over them each and every day.  All knew moonlight and the ecstasy of lightning. All knew the silence of a dry season and the terror of ice.   Every chair in our house knew these things.

And now they know me.  The curve of my body relaxing into them.  They know how I move. They know my many moods.  They have heard my laughter and felt the sharp needling weight of my anger.  I have drug and carried them across my floors.  I have polished them and beaten the dust from their cushions. They have known my tears, small and salt filled, hardly like water at all.  They have held my friends in a sure embrace.

What part of them may still live in the memory of tree I do not know.  I have let go the hands who brought them from tree to chair and by this dissolution into meaninglessness I am returned to the chair's beginnings in a time of leaf and blossom.

And in this leaf and blossom time I, too, am allowed  a life lived outside the window. Outside the biosphere. A life, it seems, I may have really never left after all.



Monday

Phacelia




Pale color rides branch and twig above the celia blooming high on Georges Gap.  A contrarian, this small white flower year after year proves herself indifferent to the law requiring spring to begin first in the valley then climb, slow and steady, to higher elevations.

Laws, she says, are made to be broken, as she lays white across the top of the highest peaks.  Laws are language, she says as she delicately perfumes the forest floor.  Laws do not laugh or kiss the back of your neck in the spring night.  Laws are for the dead, she says, and I am alive.  Climb up to me.  Come home.



Thursday

White Coat


No one wanted to approach the truck
immediately after the accident as they were
sure they would find a dead man inside.
That's what the woman first on the scene said.

How could it be otherwise with a dumptruck
sitting on his lap?  Some years of working
a firetruck prepared her somewhat for the
blood and mangled parts but not for the man

who looked up and asked her if  she could
please move his seat back.  Astounded she
ripped the rearview mirror, now resting
on his face, from the debris and apologized

for her inability to comply.  Her companion,
a nurse, removed her white coat and placed it
over him best she could with the dashboard
now swaddling him as closely as a newborn

by his mother. This white coat, how ruined
it must have been by the bits of flesh and
floods of blood, by the long machinations
required to remove him from metal's embrace.

No more tears for the man.  We've other work
required and tears hold only empty promise:
salt water but without the shells, the sun or sand.

For the white coat, however, I think I'll shed a few.



Saturday

Late, Last Kiss


Last night late winter
wrote white kisses

into young greeny grasses,
into the yellow daffodil,

icy kisses for Spring,
who shivered, slipped into
a sweater, lamented her lost
magnolias then ordered up
extra apples, juicier berries
louder birdsong, and laughed

knowing she could be
slowed but never stopped
knowing this kiss would be

his last
her first.


for Jeff Gage



Wednesday

Both



Three tulips living
on the edge
of Spring Water Pond
nod east
toward three tulips living
on the edge
of an Amsterdam canal

yellow fracturing yellow in water the same
here as there, stems rising from earthdirt as
easily here as there.  Green leaves speaking the
same language as easily as the sun's rise over

both.



Friday

Opal


My father stole
a piece of early morning
opalescent sky,
set it in a golden band
circled with glittering
crystals of blue sapphire

a gift for my mother.

Was his young man's death
a punishment for theft
or his love of her?

The gods, they
say, are often jealous.


Tuesday

Suffering



Long before the human-made locked, stocked and barricaded,
long before we were pressed, wrapped and card-board boxed
into our currently all-the rage-included biospheric lives,

long before two sticks spinning circles on a wall, two sticks we call time,
long before rectangular pieces of paper decorated with numbers,
generally a hands length and green, this called money, came to rule our lives,

long before when our gods walked the earth, were the earth,
long before when our gods ruled the skies and were the skies
suffering wasn't part of the deal.  If we suffered we died and that was that.

But now we learn to suffer, we study our suffering, we understand
our suffering as an inevitable and perhaps even holy thing parcel-posted
by the universe directly to the door:  a custom-made teaching tool.

Shattered feet, shrunken heads, rampaging viruses, cancer cancer cancer,
or the bad backs graciously leading one to consider their scarcity issues,
lead poisoning the small nervous systems of children, worm-holed souls

and all in such abundance!  Just lucky I guess.






Monday

Landscape Painting



Blue puzzle pieces of sky have broken a cloud-packed day.
A moving, shifting puzzle no hand could possibly be clever
enough to paint.  A sketch of a piece here, there maybe.
An occasional panorama laid out in technicolor gathers
an ah that lasts only as long as the hillside isn't actually
climbed and the wind isn't actually felt on your face.

But we try.
Still, we try.


Saturday

The Rabbit's Tale


The rabbit never lost a race in her life and certainly not to a turtle. I asked her why she thought this story continued to make the rounds year after hundred year.  After a long and considered pause she leaned back on her notably large back feet, twitched her nose, smoothed her small ruff, considered once again the luscious bunched carrots I had brought and said

it was the sex.  We've talked about this quite a bit over the years and really the only thing we could come up with was the over-all envy of the joyful promiscuity of our young by the turtle clan.  They have a difficult time of it with the hard shell casing and all and we try to keep that in mind and not judge them too terribly harshly.  They tried shaming us about our pleasurable lives and we just laughed. When they saw a direct approach wasn't going to work they went for our speed, knowing what a great source of pride our world class sprinters were to us.

Well, the media got hold of it and there you have it.  What was a rather sad and malicious rumor became fact, turned into fable and now we have become a symbol of arrogance for hundreds of generations.  The more tempestuous of us wanted the immediate satisfaction of revenge. Unfortunately a few shells were overturned but cooler heads prevailed and their response, with its world-wide embrace, has been a great source of satisfaction to us all.

At this point she permitted herself a small chuckle.  All over the world tomorrow human children will be hunting painted eggs we have hidden for them.  Where do you think those eggs came from?  Turtles!  

And with  a flick of her cotton-white ball of a tail she (along with the bunch of carrots) was suddenly gone, completely disappeared into the tall green grasses. Walking away I saw a sparkle in the grass, leaned down and found a diamond encrusted blue enameled egg she had left for me...a Faberge no less!.  The note she had left with it read.. for listening but not necessarily believing everything you hear.


Sunday

Sings the Spring


A fine white porcelain vase
sitting pretty on a small green table
tames the madness
of daffodil yellow not at all.

I'm surprised the vase doesn't shatter,
spilling water and flower both
across the room, out the window
and back into the grasses loved by both.

The moon sings the tide.
This yellow sings the spring.





Friday

6:08 AM



Day breaks the night
in a slow fall down
the eastern hillside

the sadness of yesterday's
worldwind of confusion
and disappointments

swept into a suddenly
sweetly irretrievable past.


Wednesday

Political Landscape


We are under siege.

Crowds, of reddening buds, are forming in the treetops,
riots, of chartruese, are breaking by the river,
and gangs, of yellow, line the roadways.

Masses, of birds, gather without permit.
Voices, singing singing, increase in volume daily
and a dam's levee, rushed by rain swollen creeks
has broken the bank.  All is madness.

A heady, dancing anarchy is taking the day.
Good taste be damned, too much has become just right.

Springtime.




Friday

Frog Prince


An enormous bullfrog is holding court today on Grass Island.  This tiny kingdom appears every spring, rising from the depths of Spring Water Pond, replete with a population of one.  How lovely to rule, how lovely to sing the law of the land in whatever key one may please while long-limbed maidens circle his kingdom.

Soon enough a  floating beauty will entice him into the water and he will forget his small kingdom. He will abandon all for the splay-legged miss, following her as closely as skin will allow, living watery bliss until she leaves him and her small sac of eggs for an appointment, long-standing, with the mud she loves above all.

He will return to Grass Island when she leaves him.  He will sing.  He will sing the summer, sing the rain, sing the star of the dark night, sing the reflection of the cloud-wrapped tree top, sing  the ripple and sing the small wave.  Her...he will never speak of again.


Tuesday

Tossing Yellow



Tossing yellow across the day what could be more generous than the daffodil? Holding nothing back, fearless in the face of the sure possibility of a late come killing frost, this most common of offerings must surely be the most tenderly brave among us...must surely be me, be you at our loving best.




Sunday

Badger Cafe: Setback?


Here at the Badger we cannot help but wonder about the truth of this setback our 'guest chef' has experienced these past few days.   Granted, there are certain physical indicators but could those have been exaggerated or even faked in a seriously deranged attempt to return to being waited on hand and foot? I am partially to blame admittedly: who exactly could resist the delectable one-course meals prepared when I was in charge of the kitchen?  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches served round the clock! Lentil soups spiced ever-so-lightly with curry and of course my near-famous mac and cheese. Fresh food straight out of the box!

Who could resist and why should he?  Why should any of us resist the things we love?  How absurd. I'm sure not putting up any resistance to anything this beautiful man may want and if that must include a return to my special mustard-smeared sardine on saltine appetizer so totally delicious it turned into an entree...so be it.



Wednesday

Rocks,


Outcroppings of rock, both shale and boulder, have taken this thinly misted day as their own.  Most stayed on the hillside, but a few slipped their banks, shattering and crumbling onto the roadside. Gravity's invisible embrace.

There are signs to be read alongside the road; warning signs alerting us to the possibility of falling rock, but I have never actually seen one fall.  And I have never known anyone who has seen one fall. This absence of witness is probably just as well, being as to see one fall would, in all likelihood, include the witness to the fall in the fall itself. Much like a witness to a murder in an old-fashioned crime novel.

We know so little about the world we inhabit...were these fallen rocks caught up in one of the strings along which gravity is said to vibrate? Or, filled with joy on hearing the music played on those strings, did they simply abandon themselves for a brief moment to the air?

Yet again, the earth moving in her mysterious ways.


Tuesday

Badger Cafe Update: Super Tuesday


Since everyone seems to have joined in the fray, we here at the Badger are not only going to mark our slips (rather than slipping the mark, which at this time would put 'guest chef' right back in the wheelchair from which he has become increasing free) but urge our readers to same.

After much laughter and headshaking we have finally have a candidate whom we wish to endorse.  After his numerous attempts over the course of many years to capture the White House we are sincere in our belief that, once again, the much loved, the well-tailored and impeccably dressed Pat Paulson is a most obvious  choice.  Pat for President! We intend to write him in on however many ballots we can lay our hands on and include him in however many parties we can come up with. Oh how he did love a party!

Although dead for many years (well not that long-but exaggeration is the coin of the day) we do not think of him as especially mouldery and believe it would be safe to assume that because he was so youthful and well-preserved in life those attributes would follow him into the grave.  Also keep in mind that his so-called death may be yet another rumor planted by the opposition.

Mark the Slip for Pat!  A Vote for Pat  is a not only a Vote for the Right Party it's a Vote for the Right to Party!  Pat for Prez!


Wednesday

Forgiven


The largest, strongest of the evergreen,
weighted by white, pushed to the ground,
bends a sweeping bow, but does not break.

All is forgiven, February.  I am in love, again.
The great heart slips its chain of cardboard, of tinfoil
returning again and again to the now white covering
of even the smallest branch.

The Queen has come, and crowned her many brides.



Tuesday

February



And February slips slides away on snow patched ice.  Or ice patched snow. No one mourns the passing of this month. No matter the great heart slammed center tricked out in cardboard and tinfoil.  The great heart filled with chocolate and precious illusion.  The great heart we try our best to fill

but never do.

Unless we're teenagers, or like me, victims of a clinically prolonged adolescence ever bounced between hope and despair.  Makes my head hurt, this great heart business, stinks my feet, bites my nails and tangles my hair.  February.




Monday

BadgerCafe:Surrender/UpdateIV


Snowstorms, in near record-temperature-breaking succession, each a powdery snow followed by thin films of ice, have doubled the more-than-enough trouble we've had these past couple of months, but trouble lately seems to be lessening on all fronts.

After two months of David's slow progress we're suddenly much more optimistic than we have been. Challenge has become progress.  Visible progress!  The foot bones are knitting and the overall Byronic dislocation has been reduced, somewhat.  David is keen to learn to use whatever he has, whatever that is.

As for me, now that I've surrendered the Badger Cafe, I'm thinking about painting quite a bit more than even the usual lately. The 'movement' I was in at the time of the accident is still quite lively.  The writing has been lively also but is very separate, always has been, with its own exclusive needs.  One art does not satisfy the other.  Maybe like being bi-sexual, I don't know. 

DoubleMint!


Tuesday

White Wedding


The silence of now
white woods
smoothed to perfection
by five maybe six
inches of snow.

A prayer
if there ever was
one this would
be the one

for me.

Wedding earth
to sky.  Tree
to tree.  And me
to a most glorious

zero.


Saturday

Blue Ridge




Millennia of day laid over day
have thigh smoothed the blued ridge
of the eastern hillside.

How like women,
these ancient mountains,
young lithe childbearing women
cragged and crevassed here there

but not much.


Tuesday

Badger Cafe Update III: Coup d'etat, An Attempt


A coup d'etat has been attempted at the Badger.  As you know from a previous dispatch our guest chef program expanded to include a guest dishwasher with which we were quite pleased.  There was a bit of grumbling from the permanent staff but overall the entire program has been well-received in the community.  So much so we were actually considering accepting an in-kind grant for a few upgrades.   Today those dreams are in shambles!

The so-called 'guest chef' bit by bit, bite by bite, meal by meal has all but taken over the kitchen.  The occasional side dish grew into full entrees, lunch came to include dinner and now even the once simple breakfast offered by The Badger has been usurped by this maniac.  Yes, maniac!  Imagine three course servings at each and every meal and you may begin to understand exactly how far from the lovely simplicity of which we were so proud we have strayed. And the dishes, washed after each and every use. Washed! A good swipe and rinse has always been beautifully adequate but no -it's soap and sponge everywhere now. And, for the pans:  drying. Yes, drying.



Friday

this blue



Birds.  Birds everywhere flying high
into a blue whose name I have never
heard.  I believe them to be eating
this blue.

We look up, say sky but it could be
cake.  A cloud baked cake.  If Alaska
could bake a cake why not a cloud cake
this blue.

With no idea of who or how a cloud
might love I come closer much closer
to understanding the nature of blue,

this blue.



Sunday

Migrant



A large snowstorm came,
conquered a few long days
and has now left land

for the sea.

Sugar spun drifts left behind
wrap the edge of hillsides
eat all embankments and cry
weepy icicles tears
mourning the great migration
of which they will not be part.

An ancestral race, the snow, now lies
dying as deer stamp a code-written
text across the  white meadow, an ode

to the sea.


Monday

Dreamer


I walked into your dream,
dreamer.

The door was open.
I heard the music.
I saw the dancers.

I began to sing.
I began to dance.

I held the hand 
of a child. 
I became a child.

I was embraced.
I embraced in turn.

I drank.
I tasted elixir.

I ate.
I knew ambrosia.

I was black.
I was white.

For a brief
moment I
was shining.

Like the sun.

I walked into your dream,
dreamer.




Sunday

Vivaldi's Fourth Season


Delayed over
what river,
through
whose woods,
a late come snow
moves the day
into the slow opening
of Vivaldi's
fourth season.

Slow the opening,
sure the movement
of notes folding
into silence,

folding into me.



Saturday

Badger Cafe: Update



I realize to continue to portray myself exclusively as a loving, caring and kind person is to stretch the credulousness of those who know me to breaking point.  Oh, of course those traits are mixed in with the rest of what might be called my personality and we all like to put forward the proverbial best foot (we know which one that would be for David, don't we?) especially at the start of any venture.

In this case the venture would be the Badger Cafe.  Magic abounds, and must, but there is other stuff going on that I must confess (before I'm found out anyway).  First, yes it is true that we have not been charging our customer.  We have an unspoken agreement that those affairs would be taken care of by some sort of future settlement.  However, after seeing the line-up in progress for that shiny, coin-filled day prudence demanded that the customer in question start washing a few dishes here and there as a gesture of good-will.  Gotta pay to play and all that.

He is a decidedly better dishwasher than the previous and no-longer-with-us employee (whose slovenliness was responsible for a drop in the sanitary rating of 72 of which we were so proud to the current wretched low of 64).  And yes, it's true he has been asked more than once to heat up the pans as part of our 'guest chef' program.  To our credit these activities really could be considered a jump start on the physical therapy he will soon begin anyway.

These actions could be pushing the edge of what some of you might call 'taking advantage' but I can absolutely and categorically deny that he has been forced into service as a waiter no matter what he may say.  And please remember, no matter what his accusations he has been seriously drugged.  I would take all criticisms of the Badger you may be hearing with a grain of percocet.  Whoa, I meant salt.



Friday

Fog, and Rain



Fog, and rain.

An excellent day
for Li Po and Tiger Lily
turning a slow waltz
at the edge of Spring Water Pond.

A waltz.

If anyone should wonder,
if anyone should ask,
if anyone should need to remember

this is what peace looked like.





Monday

Ziggy



Oh Ziggy Stardust...you of Serious Moonlight.
I put on my red shoes and danced.   For you.

Saturday

Badger Cafe


Here at the Badger Cafe we're serving up enhancement.  From deep in the belly of the biospheric market:  cans, bottles and jars arrive daily in Bethel ready to be, how shall we say, 're-sourced'.  A tomato turned canned sauce turns yet again into the edible with an infusion of garlic.  Lentil soup perks itself up by way of  curry. Oh the potato!  Surely this most innocent of vegetables holds the essence of what it means to be recycled.

Serving up three meals a day (and plenty of snacks), it matters little to the staff at the Badger what number of customers we might be serving.  One or one hundred, we've come to actually prefer having just the one on whom we can lavish our full attention and care.

The staff of three, myself and two ever-faithful felines, perhaps a bit lazy but on the clock without fail, is also perfect number for a small establishment.  No water-cooler gossip on which to waste company time, no in-house bickering over the size of year end bonuses and very few worries about outsourcing.  Layoffs?  Not a chance.  Like Melville's Bartelby, we simply won't go.

The Badger Cafe, so named by our one customer who woke up yelling "is that some sort of badger or what banging around in there?"  Enhancement...enchantment...a little abracadabra.  We're serving up magic here at the Badger.


Sunday

Post-Op


David's foot was operated on this past Monday by the good doctor Fleming.  Two enormous screws are holding it together.   I was expecting small fine screws much like what might be found in a good Swiss watch but no -  these look like they came straight of a box of drywall screws and must surely be a couple of inches long.  Little wonder Fleming calls it 'bone carpentry'.

He is home and ensconced like a Grand Pasha in what had been the living room that had become my studio (lots of space to wheel around in).  He is as comfortable as is possible; sleeping, streaming netflix and cyber surfing when he can.  His energy level is, not surprising, low.

Domestic skills have never been my forte but I'm improving and so far what I've cooked has proved to be edible.  Tough going for a guy who enjoys food as much as he does but no complaints so far.  He has been seriously drugged so that could change soon.

Everything does.


David



Bright and blue this late December day in Bethel.

Everything changes.  Two  weeks and two days ago a large truck swerved into David's lane of traffic , striking and crushing his truck beyond recognition.  Fortunately he was not crushed beyond recognition. He is as handsome as ever.  My beautiful man.

Will he dance with me again?  Even better will he walk? Unaided? With the lovely soft grace that comes to him so easily? Tomorrow's surgery may make that possible.  Light candles, ring bells, cast your beautiful prayers.

Be with us in the morning.



Monday

untitled/lateNovember



pattering, then drumming
then pattering again,

the rain is in deep conversation with the house.

talks began late in the night
and have continued into the morning
an urgent murmuring, wanting
wanting what? from the house

nails?  boards?  maybe a window
or quite possibly a Queen Anne chair,
the one covered in brocade...
perhaps it wishes to fill a bowl,
a cup, a sink or a bathtub
perhaps its wish is for inclusion
in the boiling churning waters of the teapot
or in the millennial rumored pipings
said to be coursing through every wall

or maybe just to talk, like this, about rain?

pattering, then drumming,
then pattering again.

Tuesday

/Crow


A thin scrim of ice floating Cold Spring Pond
separates yesterday's late fall from today's early winter

bright blue
fringed in evergreen day,
a booted
in russet and grey day

a still day broken here there

by a crow's
rough cry shoved across the bare branched ridge top
down into a meadow now a sudden yellow

and brittle.

When they
consider us
if they
consider us
do they
consider us...

probably not
as we might wish
either in selective

admiration
or fear.

Such a bad reputation, the crow.



Saturday

A good place



This afternoon vexing thoughts
accompanied by serious plans
went murmuring up the eastern hillside

the one covered by rhododendron

and were wrestled to quietness
by the tangle of wandering roots.

A good place, this eastern hillside,
for taking important issues to resolve.



Wednesday

Outside


Fenced, this day
corralled between this season and that.
No longer fall... not yet winter.

A grey horse drinking
by a silver stream
vanishes into a pewtered sky,
never to be seen again.

The earth moving in mysterious ways.



Monday

Starless, The Night


Written in ink on a loosened bolt of dark silk, a small black creature slips across a country road made visible by a moving swath of head-lights. She was too large to be cat, too small for bear and entirely too graceful to have ever known the human world. Envious of her freedoms, as I always am, I am grateful for the glimpse.

Into a darkened, quiet night came a creature, a creature not yet named...and in that namelessness, in one brief moment, claimed the world as her own.  I will be her citizen.  I will be of her planet.  I will be pledged to her mystery.  I will be her flag.



Friday

La...My Friend, Lost in Grief


Brisk winds push this afternoon through bright skies with all the playful chase and blow of minor gods. Narcissus admires the eye-matching blue sky while Hermes considers the aerodynamic lift and tug of a signature scarf.  Io, engaged in cloud-watching, lolls about, careless on tossed grasses as Laurel weaves garlands nearby.  How could they know?

The Graces dance.  Another deity, who's name I forgot, spins out blue skied days.  One for me, one for you.  Two more? Ten? Thousands?  Whatever their number I'll take them and be glad. How can I know?  How can you?


Monday

Winking Gold


Our great oaks have loosened the last of the russets into air and onto the ground while the deeper valleys wink gold alongside rivers and creeks.  And the ever compassionate willows are still yet holding green among suddenly silvered trees.

These late fall days have been mostly about fog and a strangely warmish rain until today. Colder, but gentle this rain;  a consolation despite lingering confusions of the turned-back clock, despite anniversary confusions of both births and deaths.

This rain has becomes more insistent, less gentle, as morning turns into noon.  By this insistence I am saved.  By this indifference I am restored. In this watery earth magic I swim free of clocks, anniversaries and the never ending confusions of modern life.

So how am I this rainy day in these blue ridged mountains of Bethel?  Smiling.


Thursday

Falling


The falling, spinning and scattering of lovely things from the sky keep me company on this late fall day in Bethel.  I read the news and return to the window.  I answer the phone and return to the window.  I check on any possible cyber static that may have accumulated since my last visit to the computer and return to the window.  Laundry, mail and phone calls make their usual bid for attention, after which I return to the window.

Time to put myself on the other side of this pane of glass and visit the lightening-struck tree high on the western hillside where the falling, spinning and scattering of lovely things from the sky have never known...a window.


Conversation


I've been
talking
to the dead
for years.

The recently dead, the dearly departed,
the stone cold and the all-but,
the wish-I-were and the soon-to-be,
the grateful and the taken-before-their-time
come together on the level playing field
for which we are all, it would seem,
bound.

I have cursed these many dead.
I have praised them.
I have begged them and
I have betrayed them.
I have even laughed
at their once living follies.

I have spoken ill of the dead,
having become assured
of their silence
by
their long bouts of silence.
This silence of the grave
forbids an answer and for this
I have become, at last, glad.

All the same
I find I have less
and less to say,
even to the living,
from whom I have
honed my skill
in
talking
to the dead.



Saturday

Singing Green



A swath of technicolor green laid east to west  across the late afternoon stood in clear protest against the lengthening shadows of October's suddenly shortened days. Brief, failed and singing.  Singing green.


Wednesday

Yellow Leaves



Yellow leaves,
indifferent to the world's great armies suddenly
gathered for a fight, shimmer and shake dreams of perfect

landscape
paintings.

A deck of yellow poplar deals itself down to the ground.
Marked cards:  all secret messages, all marked urgent.
For your eyes only.  The great armies also dream of perfect

landscape
paintings.



Saturday

Wet


Our bodies have been civilized.

We have become
obedient to the rain.

We have surrendered
to the low moan of
a drenched cow
shuddering
through wet winds
through wet trees.

We have surrendered
to the overly-sensitive
solenoid switch that cranks
but will not turn.

We have become domesticated,
fenced by wet grasses strewn,
heavily seeded, along our walkways.

By the froth of tire-churned
water's ebb and flow
we have been bound
to the warm dry house.

The revolution has been postponed.


Monday

Aftermath



The lunar eclipse came in the night fog-banked; seemingly exhausting trees, grasses...even the birds are quiet today.  Overnight, the blood-mooned night, deep mustard yellows of goldenrod have browned to tiredness, as have the once sparkling citron ovals of birch.

Ten miles away it is raining heavily, and has been throughout the day, while here in Bethel all is merely damp.  Not exactly saturated but pervasive.  Perfect for the late blooming shaggy garden, spilling zinnia and cosmos across the sweet rot of fallen apples.  To resist such disarray, to attempt an ordering by the rake could only be madness on this day.





Sunday

Blood Moon



Wonderful things
are falling from the sky,
the soon-to-be
blood moon sky.

Yesterday,
I carried in
a wafer-thin
yellow leaf,
first of the season,

and slipped it
between the pages of a book.

Communion, I would think,
of one sort or another.





Friday

untitled



I have seen a bear, moving in a rolling run
across the road, into the meadow,
then up over the hillside.

The world became bear in that moment.
A world made by bear for bear: berry-filled,
fish-filled, cave-filled.

There were no other bears:  papa, baby or momma.
There were no beds:  small or big.
There were no little girls:  probably around seven and blond.

There was only bear and in that moment....

before I was returned metaled carapaced fossilfueled, mine yours theirs they say: alltogethernow despite individual proficiencies in late Stridberg and early Bergman from whose works the thrice-bedded, double-parented grimm folkworks girl also porridged and wheyed...


a bear, moving in a rolling run....




Monday

Trees are in the house

And why not?  The walls, flooring and floors, joists and joints, posts and studs that created the house are, shall we say, 'tree-sourced'. Tables, chairs, beds and dressers, desks, shelves and cabinets:  also tree-sourced.  So why shouldn't they come on in and make themselves at home since they did in fact create the house that became our home?

Rather than as building materials or furnishings, in this particular instance trees have entered in the form of cut logs.  Cut log, fodder or fuel: firewood by any other name would surely smell the same chain-sawed, chopped and split for the woodstove then set alight.

I like to think I prefer trees green-leafed and wind-swayed.  I believe this to be true.  In reality the warmth provided by a cut and dried branch burning in a metal container called stove in the room called kitchen on a chilled morning satisfies just as utterly just as completely.

Easy to think of Druids as simple-minded, brown-robed folkworks muttering incantation while under the power of a full moon.  Easy to think of them in a somewhat patronizing and condescending way.  Or is it?  After all...

trees are in the house.



Tuesday

Late Summer With Brief (and totally insane) Thoughts of Fall


O teasing leaf of early September.
Go away.
I'm not quite ready for you.

Come again in a couple of weeks.
We'll see about all that color then.




Holding Green


After  a week of small delicate winds we have moved into stillness.  In this quietness the trees are holding green, deeply sap with the barest flash of other.  No need for a calendar to tell me what's coming -  the sudden importance of the woodpile speaking its volumes, birdsong replaced by the bark of birdspacking- but for now all is green.

Somehow this color has entered the realm of the holy for me.  I embrace and am embraced in turn.  As a child my grandfather, Claude, took me to a logger's church deep in the woods.  Stretched out under the noble pines were ten orderly rows of benches split by an aisle, crowned with a pulpit.  Until this very moment, some fifty years later, I have never wondered what sermon that  pulpit spoke, I had no need.  The sense of immediate and living grace was overwhelming.  Wordless, without dogma,  the trees canopying green overhead and the grass carpeting green underneath were sufficient unto themselves.

That was the beginning.  Of green as a holiness, the deep soothing grace of green.  Holding Green.



Thursday

Still Countable



A cooling wind has blown through the valley this past couple of days, carrying the occasional, the still-yet-countable leaf. Mostly they are supple on the trees, the leaves, and fully deeply green.  The music of them in the evening- o lullabye lullaby.

Last night, this morning - these winds - these are the gifts. To be with them, a part of them as closely as possible, increasingly seems an excellent choice.  Many of my choices, especially those made in the tight confines of our human-made constructs, have been subjective: created by and accountable to circumstance at hand as much as any dogma, including as often as not those much loved by me or those simply imposed on me. Complicated, these processes.  I have often mistaken these complications as either being part of a living truth or containing one.

But the wind?  I've never mistaken it for anything other than what it is.

The one last night was especially sweet.



Sunday

sunflowers




Yellow has chased August into the valley.  Yellow carried by monarchs, carried by goldfinch, carried by by Van Gogh's sunflowers.  Plundered by auctioneers and false memory, the yellow endures.  Had we never seen yellow?  Before Van Gogh?




Friday

Sandra


Bee balm runs red and wild up through our small valley and is more thickly lush in this year's summer season than any we have seen.  A bee balm summer, the air above their Dr Zeuss-y heads is filled with raucous, sometimes fractious, hummingbirds who appear to favor this flower above all others.

Hummingbirds. I have been fortunate enough to spot an occasional small, messy, lichen-patched nest seemingly hung with  cavalier indifference to any possibility of predatory assault.  I have never seen hum-babies but I do think it safe to assume their existence.  Or maybe this tiny warrior sprang full grown from the head of the bee balm much like Athena from the head of Zeus.

Foolish thought, of course, but sweet to come near a fairy tale when considering the brutish rounds of daily news both near and far.  I can only hope Sandra Bland's mother has a garden.  I can only hope a glimpse of a flower blooming fresh and sweet may give her a brief respite from what must be overwhelming grief for her daughter's senseless death.

A truculent woman (my favorite kind) from some accounts was Mrs. Bland's daughter.  Feisty and not inclined to surrender the smallest bit of her dignity, of her right to be.  Just like the hummingbird. Much like the bee balm.

I did not know her but find myself grieving her brief life cut short by a brutal death all the same.  I'll remember you, Sandra Bland.  I won't forget you.



Thursday

Imaginary Lovers



O Atticus...exposed.   Yet another southern tragedy.

O Woe for the white southern dreamer needing some sort of something that would say something other than the something so terribly ugly we have come to expect to hear.  This ugly Something that would take much for the insanity of the few. We hoped they were few.  Nevermind that that very few comfortably produced our hero...Atticus.  Nevermind that his heroics are rights dreamsold down a dark river.

O starred field of white on blue...what exquisite minions!



Dreamhouse



In the dream I became afraid and cried out.  I knew my Mother lay sleeping in one of the dreamrooms in the dreamhouse and I was hoping she might hear me.  Soon I heard her footsteps on the staircase of the dreamhouse as she made her way down into the room where I lay.  She put her hand on my face and even though it was dark in the dreamroom I knew she was smiling.  In dreamtalk she told me there was a rabbit outside.  A beautiful rabbit.

As lazy in love as I am in most things,  I rarely am up early enough for first light but this morning the pleasure was mine.  Watching the mist-filled eastern light make its way down the rhododendron blossom covered hillside, I considered the message this strange dream held and realized that in my worlds, both dream and waking, as long as the world is safe enough for a rabbit to be out and about that I can be safe.  I can be sound.

And my Mother's hand on my face?  It was as soft as a rabbit.