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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Four recent poems and a couple of my photos


Todd found the word near

The edge of the water. It was small.

Not more than a few syllables, hardly

Full of portent or deep meaning.

It was however a significant word.

What portent it had, it held delicately as

If in a handkerchief. It seemed to have

Suffered from too much time alone.

We stood admiring it, trying

It upon our tongues, finding sentences

Where it might open itself, exercise

It’s postures and explanations.

We are in love completely, without

Knowing quite shy, but without question.

Just as quickly, it began to change.

There was nothing we could do.

We made promises to each other.

We thought perhaps we should

Never know another such word.

Words such as this are rare.

We provide them audience.

We swear we will never forget them.

We part from them realizing mystery.


Years later we see it again,

rolling through a conversation,

Waltzes and gallops providing.

We realize we are still bound to it.

We attempt to find the old intimacy,

but it seems something other now,

As youth changes itself from

Year to year, to mean differently.

Once again we believe we are in love.

Once again we stand near the edge

Of the water, trying the same

Syllables in our mouths.

“I’m not sure.”, Todd says.

“I think it might have been

A place...or something else.

Perhaps we could learn to say it again.”


We drove up the road using it,

Believing we would once more

Understand the word as we once had.

Without meaning at all it suddenly sank beneath

The water very delicately. so quickly neither

One of use could remember it precisely.

We did not expect this to happen.

As with all words we realized only one

Word would be faithful to us at a time.

Morning would still come. We would still speak

To one another using it. We would recall everything.

Now, when we speak it, the slightest

Conversation is full of portent, as if

The word has at last found us. It is like

Feeling our bones being ground to powder,

Like the sound of dry leaves skidding away.

The water hiding its true identity from us

Forever, even as we struggle to explain ourselves.


You can’t just throw it away. It’s

Not like a morning on the water in the

West Indies, the glide of white and gray

Gulls across the small harbor, the air

Easy on the skin, a perfection of clear

Water. It is more like the night

Sky trying to hold all those stars,

Keep them in the right order and still

Convey the information of constellations,

Ancient stories and ships sharing the

Points of light to get from one place

To another. I will forget my way

Home eventually. Tracks in the snow, some

Kind of animal. Endless white

Plains. Fumbling through it looking

For a campfire, remembering a conversation

Not realizing the importance of it all,

Until the Northern Lights start up

Totally unannounced.


Now this wind was an old one,

Gray and wandering almost

Aimlessly, disturbed at the alley,

Unwilling to find its way down there,

Barely moving the paper littered

On the ground. And that voice...

I’ve heard better sound on the desert,

On the sand dunes where the marks

Of bitter winds show their pictures,

Show their stories with fabled

Hands and private dances

Owned by the night and the hare

And the coyote and the soft-footed lizard.

Still, we will listen to it. It is all

We have now and we are no longer

Ourselves young. We pull our coats

Closer to our throats pretending

It is cold or relentless. It is only

Old and finally we must climb

The trees discover where it

Has come to dwell in the high branches.


Spring to Summer, Summer

The vernal pools with their white birds

Gathered at the edges. The gold

On the rocks. That oak tells

Everything it knows. This is

The remembering wind. This

Is its time. We will see it so

Seldom we will try to touch

Its tall choirs swirled with clover

fields and flowers of a thousand colors.

We catch at its fine strings, shaking

Ourselves to believe. This is the

Remembering wind. It glistens

Like jewel stone glistens. We are

Learning to speak once again.

The tall ships move into our

Language, their sails full of

The Remembering wind.

It is morning.

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