Monday, January 31, 2011


Gilded night sky
melts into braided milk
Black hands of oak
and blotches of horses on hills

Sun rising mountain born
and coppering down the long lanes
Crows taunting the early dogs
and a hawk flees from such seething

Spider webs jeweled
to bracken and withered grass
Fox padding the frosted track
with voles jawed in smoking breath

Milkman maddening down
the slick macadam
School bus stops
with red light flashing

Sunday, January 30, 2011

When the Sun Falls

When I sleep
I know you are there
with the world,
brothers and sisters
in my dreams of unity

And when the day comes
and I do not find them
safe and full of hope,
are you still there
behind the smoke and ash?

Be there tomorrow,
come back with your promise

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Curve in a Stream

Ahead of
us we let go
of the cold hand
that cradles the world,
structures can no longer hold
because we know that truth does
not harm, does not exploit out of self-interest
does not turn its back on the free will of a people, ever

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Skeptic

On braver days
my sad eyes do rise
to trace the Pacific main
where blue sky
touches the flat sea
like a bubble on a stream,
the arc of the world
made real before for me

Who has seen
the round Earth
from the vantage point of stones?
Those rare men who know
what I do not,
from space they gaze
upon my shore

Then in a moment
the lapping brine
runs cold against my shins
and the leap and howl
of careless play
launches me to stars
I cannot see

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The storm creeping up your back
will pass like petals
before your brother's eyes

Forget the darkness at your feet,
it is only the shadow of a child
who wishes to please

Get on your knees
and kiss the fair cheeks,
see the light on the road behind you

The stones where you stumbled
are scattered now with
your memories

Monday, January 24, 2011


Why do you follow me,
your song like metal in your throat
and your small black eye that
searches for what is dead
below the crumbling cliffs?

And there in the pastures of my own making
you laugh at my enterprise
Do you know how I follow you,
wanting nothing but your secrets
to shower me with a sensible rain?

You are the keeper of the poet's vision
that ends with stones and bones

In your forgotten language
all is dust

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Store

I adore you all,
the confident and free,
books like children
embossed with lyrical glory
inviting the touch of hands
and eyes upon the voice of creation
Toil and solitude bear sweet fruit,

exquisite gifts of divine reply
But what of me,
the gestation of my plums,
piquant flesh or withered husk,
my name engraved in gold on spines
or stacks of scribble
coffee stained?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I long to see through
the polished lens of truth,
escape the social dialogue
that wants to define
what is good for me,
for others

Freedom means to live
with what is real about us
when in the still moments
we hear John Lennon
for the first time

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just the Sea

I walk the verge of wetted stones,
salt stink and the dismembered limbs
of slaughtered crabs
Mats of sea grass, humped and shrouded
like something dead unseen
Flies and fleas and leave it alone

At the hem of the sea there is only that
It overwhelms me with breadth and mystery
humbles, steals the rank of me
Diminishes the land behind
as if the whole world is the sea

The lip of sky sips the unquenchable waters
there in the tension of elements,
the glide of sails illumined and seamless
I can only imagine the tilted decks
and briny spray, shouts of joy and forgetting

And at my feet
a bottle so green and perfect to greet me,
empty of wine and the kisses of lovers
I hold it against the pearl sun and wonder
how such simplicity can render tears
as if I have uncovered the secrets of the day

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Skaha Lake

I stood a man remote
at the edge of the earth,
leaned before the brittle bones
of sage rattling in the hot winds
that lathered the lake below
and flung pelicans
like a chain of paper kites

I thought to lift from that place
and set sail like I do in dreams,
but the earth would not consent
to a mystics whim,
no warrants to suspend
the burden of gravity
for a summer spree

So I dismissed the world
of all its silly conventions
and raised my arms
and followed the tethered wings
over the caps of folding waves
to the bounds of freedom and back

And there at my feet
a long cream snake
moved like the flight of birds
through the bitteroot and prickly pear,
hot blood pooling in my shoe
and I wondered where I had been

Monday, January 17, 2011


I would like to be a crow if nothing else
garbed in a sable cape
Huddled like a shrouded miscreant
eager to torment hawks and owls
to ease the boredom of liberty

I would join the ranks of grinning things
in flight like black arrows sailing
for the common places
Such joy to strut with royal clones
rolling chicken bones down wooden shingles
with an eye to the stupid dogs

I would bow before the sun
then surrender to the flighty winds,
rise like smoke with my shadowed fiends
Most pleased I would say
to chuckle away the permissible days

Thursday, January 13, 2011


In the shadows I did not see
them slouched low and wild beneath
the spruce boughs where the snow
was old and hard by their spectral ranks
working the margins,
out of sight from me,
my heaving in the drifts,
the yellow flight of their eyes
speculating my burden,
the burning in my thighs,
my breath in rapid plumes

They were gone when the snap of twigs
drew me among them,
black hair in course strands,
a signature freely given to me
from the alpha who pissed in the blue
wells of my passing

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Night Train

The train sounds at the crossing
and a roar from a steel mouth
forged and agape

The clacking goes on and on
and in the distance I hear it one last time
charge headlong into the future

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


weightless, the snow falls

soundless, the owl flys

sightless, the blind see

heartless, the world bleeds

Monday, January 10, 2011

Becoming My Father

I see the changes in me
in you
I feel you in my bones
and there in the mirror
A shadow walking beside me
a friend

Your life runs through me like a river
I feel your depths
your stillness
your courage
your good heart

I have your life in me
I am you
I am your kindness
I am the stars

I am

Sunday, January 9, 2011


How they stand to watch over me,
against a thousand years of rock,
great pines as solid as anything
you can count on

They grip the cliffs and refuse to let go
I don't blame them at all
for it is when the grip eases
that the world falls down

But there is a time when letting go
is the only way to survive in the end
And they will come down one day
as I will surely fall to my knees

Saturday, January 8, 2011

White Lake

In that space of snow
and endless blue days
there is what is still pure
and honest in the world,
an unmistakable clarity
in the dark wells where a coyote
stood to consider me

I heard him singing to his lover,
a song that still lingers in the cathedrals
and basalt cliffs if we stop for but a moment
to listen to our brothers

Friday, January 7, 2011


They hang like bloodied sheets,
a dripping crimson in the fall
there along the river thick with salmon,
a salute to them passing-by

Their colour so bright with life
that they seem to burst when the sun finds them

Red is but a word of visual expression
There is no word for them

There is only astonishment

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ponderosa Pine

I see them where the snow
draws lines like a fine painter,
where songs meant for ravens
tumble frozen from the limbs
Heavy with winter,
I imagine their language
of shaking

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Quaking hearts in the high crowns
disposed to golden autumn jaunts
and fresh and fruity days

Divinity in the illumined groves,
the sigh of an out breath
and the hymns of John Denver