Dreamer, your midnight river
is only navigable in an old
leaking canoe, a torch mounted
to the bow, casting shadows
across the fathomless surface
fluid ribbon of darkened waters.
Continue reading “Dreamer”
If there is a passage
that leads to the stars
then to open the door
music is the key.
Continue reading “Elevator Music”
It was midnight when we saw
the solitary buck
parading down the suburban sidewalk
his crown of antlers reflecting
the pale moonlight,
head held high, as majestic as a king
deposed, in a realm unworthy
of such grace.
Watching the wind grab the snow
with bunched fists
and scatter it across the lapis sky
above the distant ridgeline
it’s like the breath of some god
made manifest before our eyes.
And indeed, the breath of some god
is what we are all waiting for
here, in the hospital,
where the chemo patients sit
in armchairs looking out
through giant windows
at nature’s cruel majesty,
which is cell by undying cell
gradually doing them in.
Continue reading “Waiting Room”
A rocky path twists through the mountain’s chill
clouds gather and part
revealing distant homes.
I stop the cart amid twilit maple trees
frosted leaves glittering more red
than any of spring’s
most brilliant blooms. Continue reading “Traveling in the Mountains (Du Mu)”
you call out
from the dusk,
an eerie song
my daughter’s ear.
Is that death you sing of there
or a pledge to protect the souls
of the not-yet-dead?
We follow the hesitant notes
into the yard,
a chorus of insects
expanding into the empty space
while we wait.
We know you owl,
we listen to you outside the window
sometimes, when darkness falls
but this is the first time you have shown
your tufted head.
The children creep closer
thinking they can capture the moment
with their hands
or perhaps steal a closer look
that will somehow unveil
in the shadows.
Occupying the same fence post
as hawks and larks
a perch shared by the winged,
I wonder: if I could balance there
what would I see?
Not the play from my current spectator’s seat,
but the inherent role
that’s played inside the things
a mouse scurrying through the grass
the silent wings
that swoop down
and the talons that squeeze
What does a day of work really cost
How much is a dream forever lost
What do you gain from a stranger’s smile
At what price comes the unseen trial?
How much for that magic eye
Spells that work and tears that dry
What would you pay to spare another pain
How many drops in a sky full of rain?
Where go feelings thrown into the deep
Sleepness nights, no soul to keep
What cost to silence dogs of war
To have the rich count the poor?
How do you reignite love’s lost touch
How much for a kiss from Lady Luck
Would you do anything to right a wrong
Or is it enough to remember in song?
Which way to the Temple of Accumulated Fragrance?
After several miles, nothing but clouds and peaks.
No trail that passes through old trees,
Just a bell that tolls, somewhere deep.
A spring’s gurgle in a jumble of rocks,
The sun’s light cold through green pines.
Empty by a pond’s twilit curves,
Quieting dragons of the mind.
Continue reading “Passing by the Temple of Accumulated Fragrance (Wang Wei)”
flit by his nose, the old dog
lame in the meadow.
If growing up was like a ladder
that you had to keep on climbing
for ever and ever
then you would be scared to fall
and maybe that fear
would keep you frozen
and you’d never go anywhere
But life’s not a ladder
it’s more like a dive
into a cold pool
there’s still a fear of falling
but it’s swirled together
with anticipation and delight
like the bitter and the sweet
in a square of chocolate.
And the first time you are falling,
but again and you taste it:
freedom in flight.
You can twist your body
into some exquisite silliness
let loose a shriek–
you are flying toward
the water’s enveloping embrace.
A momentary glimpse of transcendence
that can be relived
just as soon as you pull yourself
up over the edge
skin your knee in the rush
run back through the hot sun
–who said anything
about being scared
to fling yourself
into gravity’s arc–
It’s so much better
when you’re jumping into it
So much better than tumbling
frozen in fear
from way up high
on a make-believe ladder