Published on: 11/22/2015
The Inner Life
I want to feel this first, the cool thought
In diving, shallow as I can from air
To pool, then the toss of the head up
To breathe: water suddenly everywhere
Draws the mind taut.
The arms up and over, bent the way
They should, each hand out exactly straight
And every finger tight against the water
Make me believe there is a kind of fate
Of motion, or of play.
The body wants to keep its motion, knows
The consequence of missing any stroke
And so delivers every act in time
To rhythm so essential it would invoke
Time, and all it shows.
I can imagine the mind as song, its play
A counterpoint to the body's hard beat,
Pure sound riding the solid animal
Of muscle and bone, invisible as the heat
Rising with the day.
The body knows its elements of water and air,
Finds its ground in the restless pace of things
Changing, moment to moment. And I can feel
The pulse that balances all my weight and sings
Of everything it can bear.
Published on: 11/13/2015
Long before first light the birds begin.
Crows usually, and robins, the occasional jay.
So I lie there, listening to what occurs
In the chattering din before the start of day.
The world's still dark so I can't believe
That birds are stirred by the sun—
They must be moved some other way. Maybe
Something before dawn that can't be heard,
That's never seen, that we cannot name,
Something deep in the fabric of things as they are—
Maybe this makes the birds sing. I lie there
Listening for something behind the gathering hum
That starts the day. But the world just turns
And morning is filled with the sound of birds.
Published on: 11/3/2015
We sat in evening light, the stillness
lingering, we thought, as we lingered—
something of the light on the table,
like us, not ready to go.
Patterns of leaves deepened
into pools of shadows, and the shadows
of trees slanted steeply around us,
dissolving roof tops, filling the street.
Time is a motion, you said. Never ending.
Memory and motion: we know what's last
because we remember the first.
I said, look at this light like a pendant
in the trees— how only as light it shines
the same as first light. Shadows gather,
you said, draw closer: light fades.
Imagine light and shadow as moment
without memory: first and last,
I said, are the same irrelevancy.
This is the moment of time passing,
you said, the flow visible as light
waning. First and last light are splendors,
I said. The flaming red and gold of sunrise, sunset,
require nothing not of themselves.
Moments, you said, passing.
Your face, turned in the sunset as though
listening, for a moment in the sunset, shone.
And so we sat, lingering, something
of the light on the table, between us.
Published on: 10/28/2015
Reading Late, Alone, He Thinks of His Absent Lover
Somewhere the sea is calm tonight.
The moon is up, and holds its own.
A couple pauses in the firelight.
Here the wind begins its bite.
How it starts: the long cold drone.
Somewhere the sea is calm tonight—
On the farther shore the light's
Just out. All the birds have flown.
A couple whispers in the firelight.
The wind is cold: leaves take flight
Around a moon that climbs alone.
Somewhere the sea is calm tonight
While high against the cliffs, dreamlike,
The wind keeps up its distant moan.
A couple moves in the firelight.
Love, be true. The moon is white
And birds have long since returned to home.
Somewhere the sea is calm tonight
And a couple dreams in the firelight.
Published on: 10/20/2015
Look. There's no use talking about this,
The way moonlight shines on snow.
It is itself, the fullness of what it is and
Words are a waste of breath, sometimes.
It means the moonlight shining on the snow.
Reality is just what it is, the pure simple fact
Of what. I like to gaze out the window at dusk
In winter, at the trees, at the cold and all of it.
The trees bristle against the sky, impenetrable.
Never quite black, darker than brown.
A full moon, clear night and snow is a transport
To nowhere else. I'm not making an argument,
This is a poem, whatever that is. Not moonlight.
I open the door to the moon, rising from trees.
I walk outside to see it better, try not to shiver,
Try to be still, hold my breath. I try, I try.
I hold my breath. A car passes. If the world could be
Soundless, there is no sound. Cold penetrates.
The moon in the trees makes me hold my breath
So I can find my breath, to make it stay, my breath.