Sunday, January 31, 2010

snowy romp

How wonderful to hike in the white stuff! Leisa, Jack & I jumped over the barrier at Holmes State Forest to climb Wildcat Rock trail--smooth, virgin snow--no one had been there since the snow started falling on Friday afternoon... Deep drifts in steep places were a fun challenge, and switchbacks hard to trace but we managed to edge up the hill. Little skittering critters' tracks lit up in the snow at the ridge. So peaceful. My favorite part was skipping down the trail, relaxed as a rag doll (except when a snowball was being hurled at me--I threw plenty, so I deserved what I got.) Meeting friends who were sledding at the bottom of the hill was fun too--that specially-designed snow inner tube is the way to go--spinning out of control is scary but thrilling! Thanks to Jack for the photos.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In some countries

it's pure ritual

in slow gestures, hands pour

and the cups are distributed

(tabletop ceramics, curlicues of steam)

in honorific process--

the subtleties of its yang

filling the ambient space

like a long-lost memory

for me, it's a kettle

that sputters like an enraged woman

and only a lowly bag

a hag filled with the shredded remnants

of a whole leaf

it can't hold a candle

to tealeaves releasing in boiling water

like a lotus, revealing

its thousand-fold petals toward the sun

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Who is dreaming of spring?

She begins to speak of spring,
and a voice cries out--
What do you know of spring?
Of the meadows overstocked
with flowers and delicate
chrysalises, the sun inching
higher at each noon,
the thrushes teasing the soft
warm breezes, or of the easing
of frost? What do you claim to know
about these things
in the middle of this bitter winter?

And she spoke a reply that left
no question:
I am the light in the forest
that sings the buds to life
and releases the furred,
the winged and the hard-shelled
alike from their sleeps--
I am the quickening in the earth
that kick starts the trees'
yearly thickening--
I am the sound of the rain
as it falls from noiseless clouds--
I am the restless drift of seed and spore
trusting in fruitful destination--
I am the trajectory to the longest day--
I say, I am the tender-footed stepping
that first wild step
into the green green heart of summer.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Now and again, the ordinary moment seems terribly beautiful


aeons of continental drift slip
and churn in continuous collision

the earth disks spin and twist
the hapless undercrust

temblors tremble their terrible tectonics
perhaps rearranging pangea,

maiming cities and citizens
or simply altering the everyday hillside

cohesion crumbles
as the landscape reinvents itself

without a care for its inhabitants
I spied this poem, same title as above, by Aime Cesaire (1913-2008), translated by Paul Muldoon, which speaks a bit more than my 'heartless' poem, above, speaks:

such great stretches of dreamscape
such lines of all too familiar lines
staved in
caved in so the filthy wake resounds with the notion
of the pair of us? What of the pair of us?
Pretty much the tale of the family surviving disaster:
"In the ancient serpent stink of our blood we got clear
of the valley; the village loosed stone lions roaring at our heels."
Sleep, troubled sleep, the troubled waking of the heart
yours on top of mine chipped dishes stacked in the pitching sink
of noontides.
What then of words? Grinding them together to summon up the void
as night insects grind their crazed wing cases?
Caught caught caught unequivocally caught
caught caught caught
head over heels into the abyss
for no good reason
except for the sudden faint steadfastness
of our own true names, our own amazing names
that had hitherto been consigned to a realm of forgetfulness
itself quite tumbledown.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ages of the moon

for ages the moon
just stared back at me
chalky, mute, and still
not willing to disclose its secrets
or unlock the puzzle of the waves and tides...
I forgot about the moon
and its cycles
until I felt rather chalky and still

I pleaded for the moon to sing to me
to sweep the sky while
writing my name in the stardust--
perhaps to even mail me a moonbeam
tucked in a silver envelope
so I could open the flap and smile
as light from a thousand orbits
made glowing patterns across my face

Friday, January 8, 2010

several haiku

Last night I finished reading the brilliant novel by Carson McCullers--Clock Without Hands--next to which these little poems pale, but they are fun to write...

January moon
suspended in a cold sky
radiating light

frozen flower pod
dark against the white snowbank
such brittle petals

icicles on cliff
exposed to a noonday thaw
the loud crash echoes

kitty cat heat seeks
curls into a round, black ball
quietly purring

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dream of the Disappearance

There were all around me monuments/tombs topped with glowing marble statues of all the animals that have recently gone extinct... Rare types of animals, with pointed ears, glossed back fur, etc. There was a polar bear, too. Each had the name of where they were last seen (one had the name of the hotel we stayed at in Mexico.) The dream took place in a past 'version' of a European village--a building that I knew had been restored was in shambles... No creatures roamed the hills.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Cove

We didn't do this, but in Puerto Vallarta there is a "Swim with the Dolphins" program you can sign up for, and now I know where those dolphins come from--they are bought from a town in Japan for $150,000 each, in the same place where around 20,000 dolphins are slaughtered each year... I learned this from watching The Cove, a thrilling, well-made documentary. Check it out:

Did we and the dolphins speak the same language once?

do you feel the moonpull?

Where have I been? Away from winter's icy chill... Staring at these mountains, Mexico's Sierra Madre, bordering the Bahia de Banderas. Can you see me flying above the coastline? Those birds joined me one morning...

It's my goal (a resolution?) to write a poem a day this year. Admitting this here will help my goal, right? Feel free to write and ask how it's going. Perfection is not the goal, just a continual flow... Here's yesterday's poem (by no means perfect):


the waves roll on moonpull
a metallic gravity of liquid feet

the mountains, jagged & stubborn
shadowed beneath restless cloudburst

even the trees get caught up in the rush, talking to one another
in their common language

we are not allowed to listen in
we have done too much harm

but one day, when we are accepted
once more, the trees will bend their limbs
and someone will fashion a boat: a solid-hulled thing

it will radiate the story of the forest
while skimming the waves-- the restless metallic waves
reflecting the moon's mirrored light