Friday, December 24, 2010

The Festival of the Last Minute

Another year come and gone; another fifty-two poems on the (metaphorical) page. This next shall bring big changes for me - momentous, earth-shaking changes - but this poetry blog, read or unread, will steadily chug along. I can only hope that it brings you as much joy as it does me. God bless and merry Christmas.

The Festival of the Last Minute

With Christmas close upon us and the rush
of shopping, should it come as a surprise
that charity is buried in a crush
of acquisition. How we idolize

and gather, like a flock of silly sheep,
and straightaway surrender every scrap
of will and wit and intellect we keep
to toe the latest trend. This honeyed trap

entices both the plebeian and prince.
What better way to show your tender care
than with a gift? How better to convince
of love than by the offerings you bear?

But as for me, I'll spend the eve in rest
and seek to be an honest Christmas guest.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I am tired and this poem is quite nearly late. Thank goodness for Christmas break. May your last week of Advent be blessed.


I had a little speck of worth
within me from the start,
established in the fallow earth
that occupied my heart,

but now that heart has been rebuilt
into a fertile bed
and all the worth that used to wilt
is blooming overhead.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Can it be that time is passing so quickly? Sometimes, the seconds are an eternity, but other times, weeks hardly seem a sufficient measure. I can't say I mind the latter state, so long as things slow down come May.


When winter eases and the willing earth
awakens to the legacy of snow,
when shoots are swelling for a sudden birth
and all the land is fit to overflow

with liveliness, as just as sure as we
are set to sow our happiness, a song
is on our tongues, a wild reverie.
Though we are here, we shall not linger long,

when longing couples liberty to pain
and makes the hours agony to bear.
Our servitude is certain to be gain,
our mingling, a joyful affair.

For on the day we join soul to soul,
we make our native deficit a whole.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


How pleasant it is to burrow under the heavy weight of blankets, when the temperature and sun are sinking fast. The only grief of sleep is how quickly it passes, and the time for rising in the chill morning air is upon us as, day and night, we play the sorry Persephone.


The night approaches, dim and deep and dark,
an inky chill that clambers at my toes.
That old December sky is bare and stark
and stippled with the stars. I do suppose

I'll wander off to bed, and to my dreams;
they warm me, and the burly blankets, too,
as other warmth unravels at the seams
and slips away. How pleasant to pursue

my bounding, old bellwether and his flock,
who number out the enterprise of sleep
as surely as a counterweighted clock.
Within my waking mind, the moments creep,

but, sure and sweet, a somnolence takes hold
and, sooner than I know, the night is old.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wet Winter

Winter in the Midwest is a quakingly cold, arctic affair. The snow piles up in huge, tar-black mounds in the streets and parking lots, and the daily low temperature readings are rendered entirely void by harsh and constant windchill. For all its severity, however, those winters are easy to bear. Firstly, there are no fluctuations. When winter comes, it is to stay, and for six months, the land is locked in comfortable hibernation. When things finally do begin to warm towards that fabled 0° C mark, it is not uncommon to see the braver residents wandering around in shorts and tee-shirts. Secondly, and more importantly, it is not, in the end, utter cold that makes winter uncomfortable, but, rather, the pervading damp of a temperate chill. When the water settles on your skin and coats your car with ice and works its way into every crack and crevice, where it can quietly wick away all heat, that is when winter is truly painful. For all that, though, it is still a stunningly beautiful time of year.

Wet Winter

It isn't the chill or the chafe of the air
on a frigid and blustery day
or the ice as it glazes and kindles a glare
every morning that keeps me at bay;

I can suffer the frost through the swirling snow
and the nip and the grippe and the squall,
for the roar of the winter, all buffet and blow,
is an impotent rallying call.

No, the heart of the hardship, the bestial hold,
is that treacherous creep of the damp;
it invests every breath with a waterlogged cold,
every move with a crippling clamp,

as it burrows through fleece to the flesh and the bone,
not a nerve to be spurned in its spite.
I could weather the winter if left all alone,
but the damp will endure tonight.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The time for uprooting old foundations is fast approaching. Of the things that must go, I will miss the juniper and wisteria most of all. They've done well for themselves, and it's a terrible pity to see their slow and steady progress so swiftly concluded. What must be, must be, I suppose, but I dream of the day I can establish a plant and watch it grow for decades to come.


Our barrel tree has barely made a man
in height; his roots have labored for the earth
forlornly, hindered by an iron girth
and sentenced, just as soon as they began

descending, to terminated lot.
We'll turn him out, all sod and sorry dirt
and limbs askew. The effort we exert
to extricate his skeleton is not

inordinate for what it took to bed
his youthfulness so many years ago;
so many years of sun and bitter snow,
and, through it all, he kept a noble head.

But now, we move our transitory home;
no rooted tree was ever meant to roam.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Working Morning

As Autumn and Winter progress, it grows more and more difficult to get up each morning. Hot showers help, when there is time, but even that shivered dash from the bedroom to the bathroom can be a sufficient impediment to activity. We should count ourselves lucky that Oregon is so temperate when compared to the Northeast, but suffering is subjective and, from November till April, Summer can seem an all-too-forlorn hope.

Working Morning

A brisk wind blows
and blights the trees
above an icy sheen.
It burns the nose
and bends the knees
and wipes the gutters clean,

as weary folk
with heavy eyes
would rather stay asleep,
when each awoke
to inky skies,
so hesitant to peek

from underneath
a cozy hoard
of blankets rallied round,
a heavy wreath
of leisure stored
within a woolen mound.

But constant calls
of duty rouse
the lifeless to a hint
of drafty halls;
each dusky house
grows vital with a glint

of lambent light
and covers drawn
and coffee in the cup,
and so the night
is quit for dawn
and labor, rising up.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Human Faith

Human beings are inconstant, mercurial creatures. This is the crux of almost every broken relationship and failed love. How can we trust, when the ones to be trusted are inevitably untrustworthy? To be called to love, however, is to be called to trust the untrustworthy. It is a terrible gamble, but the surety of it is this: though the risk of failure is great, the reward of success is infinitely greater and, while we may escape the possibility of misery, it can only be at the cost of every hope of appreciable happiness. So, a million might fail and one succeed, but this is the burden of human life, and a world in which even one can strive for happiness is far better than a world in which all are condemned to indifference. We love, and so we put our faith in others, and this is the blessing and curse of our existence. Only remember, the suffering of a broken faith is transient, but the happiness of a proven faith eternal. Search always for a worthy human faith, no matter how often your confidences are abused. Accede to no less and, while you may endure much suffering, you will find, in the end, extraordinary happiness.

Human Faith

My faith I put in winter and the frost,
in summer and the rampant meadow-grass,
in things begotten, even as they pass,
and so my merriment imparts a cost

of mortal and perennial decline;
this is a mild charge I gladly meet,
for treasure freely tendered is deceit,
but death and reawakening, divine.

My faith in sempiternal loss and gain
is sound; these underpinnings shall abide
through age and age, long after we have died,
and, with another certainty, remain,

for, of the fleeting fancies I pursue,
I put my final human faith in you.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Tempest

In one short week, the leaves have flushed, shuddered, and flown, and the trees are left quite bare. I enjoy this change in scenery, but it does evoke a quiet longing for the gentler days of May and June which, for those of you who wonder, are only seven months away.

The Tempest

How high the wind will blow;
Aeolus in the trees
rehearsing for the show
in prefatory breeze,
and all the earth, below,
an overwrought tableau
and ill at ease,

and then the wind, a song
in timpani and string
and crashing on the gong,
no arias to sing,
unchains a surging throng,
as turbulent and strong
as any king,

to devastate the leaves
that linger on the bough;
their ebbing grip receives
a buffeting, and how
they hurry to the eaves
with indecisive heaves.
Will you allow

this long-awaited coup
and mutiny begun?
No more the morning dew,
no more the gentle sun,
as tempests run askew,
so eager to pursue
their seething fun.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Falling Leaves

All summer long, the trees are swathed with intense mantles of green that serve as much to beautify as to obscure the amazing landscapes that pepper the Northwest. Now, the leaves are turning and falling, and, for once, I can see the Willamette River and distant Mt. Hood from the comfort of my living room.

Falling Leaves

The summer leaves obstruct our view,
the river and the range;
they hold an autocratic coup
against a steady change
and charge the overwhelming light
with shade and shadow-sifted sight

so rife with viridescent green.
This is a gentle cage,
and we observe, ourselves unseen,
a histrionic stage
of runners reaching for the stars,
a web of pliant prison bars

that we will never overcome,
as often as we try;
their branches make a burly sum
and dare us to defy
the fixedness of supple shoots
that take their spirit from the roots.

But no offensive is compelled;
inertia is our sword,
and, as our peace is surely held,
that lush and leafy hoard
shall fall before the rising frost,
a mantle shed for meager cost.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Every morning is a blessed awakening and every evening, a happy rest. It is the hours in between that are most difficult to bear. But as it is bounded by restive time, I am able to endure till the next day.


Do you see the dawn as I?
Do you watch its steady burn
escalating in the sky,
tireless and taciturn,

till the subtle shifts of light
show the city's hidden face
in its full, diurnal might,
such a guest is morning grace?

Do you live the busy day?
Do you yield to the din,
girdling your head to pray
that a peace may enter in,

emptied of the endless hue
that suffuses every beat
with an unremitting cue,
interdictive of defeat?

Do you greet the weary dusk?
Do you cheer its dim caress,
slow to come but ever brusque
to accrue and coalesce

at the slacking of the strain
that compels our industry?
Comforter of earthly pain,
I await you eagerly.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Hours

However much time there is in the day, it is never sufficient for my wants. I fear that I will only be satisfied when I no longer look to leaving, but only to coming.

The Hours

The hours that we make
are not our own. The few,
apportioned and awake,
erratically accrue

and dissipate, again,
with similar caprice.
If we could only pen
a well-established peace

or sleepy solitude,
our longing could abate,
and I should never brood
the hour, ever late.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On a Bearing

There is a great gulf between that which we think will make us happy and that which truly will. We are impelled toward both possible objects by our desire for happiness. Unfortunately, our desire only indicates, like a compass, what direction to travel, and not where to stop. So, stopping all too soon, we believe we have found true happiness when, in fact, we have merely found a pale imitation along the way. Therefore, do not let yourself be distracted by any earthly possession that alleges to provide happiness. The only object which can realize this claim is God, and the only earthly objects that can share in that realization are the ones that bear a likeness. That is, you can look for a measure of happiness in this life as long as you look for it in those you love.

On a Bearing

Desire is a compass spinning free
of all impedimenta, pointed true
and rooted to the stratum of the sea.
A fitter apparatus never drew

so fine a tack, and yet our hasty hearts
are sorely lacking prudence, for they seek
direction reft of purpose. Pale arts,
intemperate in season and oblique

in counsel, lead us ever on a vain
trajectory, untutored in design.
The necessary consequence is pain;
the predetermined eminence, decline;

for satisfaction never held a sway
upon our native bearings, run astray.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I suppose every child dreams of flying. I know I certainly did, and to little surprise - what better way to spend a lazy afternoon than freewheeling high above the tiresome, busy earth? Also, this is poem #150!


For once the hills were high
as scuffed an ashen sky,
established summits swift to spurn repose
from eyries, hid in cleft,
and stony haunts, bereft
of brush and bramble, clouded from the crows,

where only eagles flew
upon a lonely skew
of eddies running, brisk, above the earth,
but now the land is worn,
the weary hummocks shorn
and shackled by the gravity of girth.

A better home for souls
who make their measured strolls
across the even alleys of the ground
could hardly be conceived.
And yet, are we not grieved
that fate has made us terra-firma bound?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Muse

I find it much easier to write in the winter, when it is cold and dark and I am driven indoors. Summer is far too overpowering, both to the mind and the senses, to allow for much creative work. Still, I putter on, though I find that I do most of my summer puttering at night.

Summer Muse

In winter, words flow like the chill
that clambers at the window sill
and looks to undermine the hand
against the roaring grill,

and inspiration, ever rife,
is bedded, as a tender wife;
the moments make their own demand
upon a dormant life.

But in the summer, what a spell
of arid thirst. An empty well
and desiccate expanse of sand
suppresses, in a swell

of heat and sun and humid light,
such words the hand would hope to write,
and so I wait, alone, unmanned,
my muse upon the night.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Guide

It is an inhuman, almost impossible, task to love that which is not immediately before us. Fortunately, we are given intermediate, imperfect creations, so that they may guide us to a love which has, as its object, the most perfect lover of all.

The Guide

What are the things we know?
The wind-bedraggled leaves;
the apples as they grow;
the water off the eaves;

a miniscule sphere
to complement the mind.
Whatever else is here,
whatever else we find,

is only but a shade
of silhouettes unseen,
and ever we invade,
and ever fall between

the outset and the end.
The only fecund guide
is fathomed in a friend,
a lover, and a bride,

in charity to wed
the mortal and divine,
to stitch a constant thread
in visible design,

that weaker hearts may sew
the happiness they yearn,
impossible to know,
but possible to learn.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dog Days

This warm spell seems to have broken at last. There was a week or two where no supply of ice water and fans and cold showers could relieve the heat. Even now, the occasionally torrid day pokes its head between the rain clouds. I'll be so very glad when Autumn has truly begun.

Dog Days

What good an open window?
The sun ignites a blaze,
and all the world akimbo,
a muddlement of haze

and heat, a melting mirror
in which the earth is held
and sufferance is clearer,
the sooner we are quelled,

and everyone is waiting
for Autumn to arise,
but, ever unabating,
the sun besets the skies.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Enduring Bridge

I wrote this many months back - at least four, although I can't say for certain. It's a billet-doux to telephones and emails and handwritten letters and all those other sundry things that make distance in equal parts manageable and maddening.

The Enduring Bridge

So curious, that we must live apart
and only find liaison in a word
or two that tells the tenor of the heart,
but leaves the fundamental song unheard.

This firm division - necessary rift
of strict materiality - must hold
our minds in segregation, till the swift
and independent melodies unfold,

and unity discretely yields one,
as in an old duet we persevere.
Although they argue two apart is none,
a subtle harmony is all we hear,

for, long as living voices span the breach,
I have no fear our words will cease to reach.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Sometimes, I grow tired of constantly moving, yet never moving forward. I don't believe the things I want are overly ambitious, but somehow the distance between where I am and where I want to be always seems so great. In my heart, though, I know that these things would never make me truly happy. And to be fair, I could not possibly be happier than I am now.


A little space is what I seek;
a little space, no more;
a shelter from the manic week
behind a modest door;

a breath of time to pacify;
a tender breeze to stray
across my notions, all awry,
and limber limbs, asplay;

and silence, silence over all
to carry me to rest;
a respite from the teeming squall,
and I will find me blessed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Last Rites

First coffins and now funerals. No, I'm not on a death-kick. In fact, I wrote this poem quite a while ago, and only now, finding myself rather dry and wanting of inspiration, have I pulled it out and dusted it off. And while it may not be as fresh as the morning paper, I still stand by its words. What do those words say? Well, have you noticed how modern funerals are frequently made into celebrations of life? Whether or not a man has lived a good life, we feel impelled to praise him in his death. This praise becomes simply the reward of living, rather than the just recompense of a life well-lived. And even if one seems to have lived a good life, who are we to judge? It is a particularly thorny issue, however, thanks to our trivialization of sorrow. Sorrow, we say, is bad, for it bears an uncomfortable likeness to depression. "Don't be sad," the preacher comforts the bereaved, "he is in a better place." Firstly, it is a conceit to think that we know when one is 'in a better place'. Secondly, we must allow ourselves to be sad, to feel sorrow. Sorrow is just as necessary as joy and each is appropriate to its own time. As the wisest man in the world once said (no, not Pete Seeger), all things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die; a time to weep and a time to laugh. So weep in times of sorrow and laugh in times of joy. It is all we are able to do.

Last Rites

A joy is contraband
to heavy-hearted woes,
as if an artless hand
would offer up a rose

to take the lily's place
of honor at the tomb;
a delicate disgrace,
indelicate in bloom,

when sorrow is the seed,
uncertain of the end
as certain of the need
for which it will ascend

to supplicate the guilt
that stains a sleeping head;
to bury, to the hilt,
petitions for the dead.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Know

Nowadays, conjugal love is equated with sex. The undeniable bond between the body and the soul, a bond which once subjugated the lesser to greater, has faded, firstly, into the correspondence of equals, and then into a revolt of our animal half, which has left the soul derided, and even ignored, as the useless trappings of an unfortunate puritanical history. And so, love is now affixed to feeling, urge, hunger, lust, et cetera, but never, ever can it be called knowledge. This was the way in which the Old Testament spoke of conjugal love, and the truth of this is paramount. If love is simply a feeling, then it is as weak as the hormones and chemical reactions that produce that feeling, for feelings are, in the end, rooted in the body, however amorphous and incorporeal they may seem. Love that knows the beloved, however, is immeasurably stronger and immeasurably more meaningful. And where is this knowledge? Why, in the intellect, of course. Any meaningful love - any real love - cannot reside in the emotions, but in the reason. The difference is this: when love is based in a bodily feeling, you love the object of that feeling, which is physical and psychological pleasure. On the other hand, when love is based in knowledge, you love the object of that knowledge, which is the beloved. Then unless you can first love with reason, you will never truly love with feeling.

I Know

If loving were a longing, barely held
within the flighty confines of the heart,
that joy would as quickly be expelled
as nurtured by our fluctuating art,

for sentiments are fickle as the wind
that daily alters over land and sea,
and such a love would surely be unpinned
by every altercation of degree.

But love that undergirds the heavy weight
of centuries in melody and verse
is ever more than orotund estate,
unfitly nurtured by a feeble nurse.

The truest love to occupy the soul
is knowledge of the deficit and whole.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


So much of what we undertake in this life is done to satisfy expectations. Is it not best to do what we know to be right, regardless of the approval of others? Whether this be schooling, work, or, in this case, burial, the argument is always the same. Do not waste effort pandering to the expectations of society. The truth will be found in following your reason, your heart, and your conscience. In this particular case, I see no reason why my survivors should spend thousands of dollars to bury me in a box for which neither they nor I will find any use, and which will serve only as the bed of my decomposition. Far better to return as I came, wrapped in cloth and unmindful of the womb in which I will lay.


No man was born to occupy a box;
his billet is the bounded mortal sphere,
and when his life has superseded clocks
and compasses, no home will find him here,

alone and lifeless in a velvet bed,
his carnal heart concluded, as a new
and fitter heart is founded overhead.
To sorrow for the former is askew

of immortality. So lay me low
in linens, leaving better homes for those
whose hearts are still enlivened. Let me go
as I arrived, and all bereft of clothes

and dwelling, for I need no earthly nest
when I no longer play the earthly guest.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Saplings

Small trees are never taken by the wind; only the large, whose boughs have far outpaced their roots. The little trees bend to nature, while their elders keel over, and so I have never walked in the woods after a windstorm to find all the trees still standing. The persistence of those yet upright is measured not by the girth, but by the limberness of their trunks.

The Saplings

The wind is like a lioness;
she furrows in the wheat
and makes the supple saplings press
their temples in defeat,
to curtsey for the watercress,
their lofty spires ever less
than lesser in retreat.

But even they are unconcerned
as every aged bole
is overthrown and underchurned
to bare a ragged hole,
all roots and radicles upturned.
This sufferance is only earned
by yielding control.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Moon

At first glance, the night sky seems static and immobile, and the stars and moon appear fixed in their positions. Wait long enough, however, and you will notice that they have a steady, if miniscule, motion. Place a tree beside the moon, and eventually it will obscure it; watch the stars along the western horizon, and they will gradually disappear from view. Little motions seem non-existent in passing, but in truth they are the difference between night and day.

New Moon

The moon is a dimpling smile,
half-spun in the nebulous trees
and steadily striding an aisle
in minutes of motive degrees,

sidereal in their decline
and edged by the flickering stars.
A million pin-pricks align
to shepherd her onwards of Mars

and Venus, Olympian friends,
so firm in this evening dance
that ushers her as she ascends
and sinks with a Cheshirish glance.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Soul Maintains a Smile

What good is it to worry about all the things we cannot control? Do your best in those which are given over to your will, and leave the rest to the mercy and foresight of God, Who is a far better architect of the future than you or I.

My Soul Maintains a Smile

My soul maintains a smile
at the fickle path of fate,
as I walk an endless mile
and arrive forever late,

for to worry is levy
I cannot afford to pay,
when the happiness is heavy
that would see me worn and grey

and a pauper, with a pittance
of the wealth that men revere.
I would rather a remittance
that is not so dim and drear,

to escape the earthly measure
we have made prosperity,
where my solitary treasure
finds me joyful and free.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


We are surrounded by a constant and catalytic spectacle of exhibitionism and voyeurism. We like to see and we like to be seen, and why? Almost always, it is founded in a desire for endorsement. Look around you at almost any display of physical beauty and ask yourself whether said displayer is confident in said beauty. The answer is almost certainly no. The truly confident have no need to display their wealth. It is the insecure who make their facilities visible to the general public. They want to be told they are beautiful, smart, witty, et cetera. And this is why the rarest and most irresistible beauty is the hidden beauty, that beauty that offers itself only to the chosen few. So, do not make displays of yourselves. The wealth you possess is worth far more than that. And do not worry on endorsement and acceptance, for those who would appreciate you only when you are made a spectacle merit no attention at all.


What beauty ever was as rare as yours,
to rest within a chamber, veiled so
from scrutiny? Such spoils of wars
as others are would make a feeble show

of passion, less requited than repaid.
The heavy lacquer of a thousand eyes
has settled on this stale masquerade
and set the striving higher than the prize.

But you are ever spotless as you were,
and eyes have not despoiled your wealth.
Your confidence is elegant and sure,
your poise, prepossessing in its health,

your vessel, irreplaceable in worth.
Spare vintage is a solitary plight.
Among the brazen pickings of the earth,
but one alone sustains a vestal light

and longs to see a longing flame return
the signal fire, manifest and pure.
Or have you found a sympathetic burn,
a conflagration worthy of concern,
to token in the realms of the obscure?

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Time advances far too slowly in anticipation. Minutes seem as hours, and hours seem as days, and by this count we shall be much in years before ten months are done and past.


This absence wounds, and I, a wounded beast,
am barely left alive. A lonely cry
petitions for the sun to crest the east
and crown the crescent earth, to break and fly,

for stars no longer hold a lonely sway,
and early hours urge the glutted moon
to deviate in deference of day.
This eager heart is covetous of noon

and all the airy physic of the light,
remedial, mercurial, and fair,
till suffering, inspired by the night,
is settled in a beautiful repair.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Some say that opposites attract. I say that unless there is a fundamental likeness there can be no attraction at all. Of course that which is different from yourself is interesting and intriguing, but such difference must rest on a foundation of similarity. To act otherwise would be akin to drowning yourself for the excitement of living underwater. You first must find your basis within the realms of the necessarily familiar before you seek the balance of the disparate. So, we search for the unknown above water, where we can live and breathe, and we look for happy relationships with those who bear a true likeness to ourselves in the essential ways, and only differ extraneously, for, in the end, little differences are fun; big differences are destructive.


No happiness, unburdened and divine,
was ever found in difference. The seed
of love allows a modicum of wine
to supplement the promise of the reed

in genesis if only like assents
to like, for when did likening betray
the counterpart of comforting intents?
The sun could sooner disavow the day,

and so, the errant soul will never rest
until it finds a doppelgänging peer,
and quietude will never be possessed
until a much of muchness persevere

and opposition fail to enthrall,
the constancy of semblance over all.

Friday, June 11, 2010


For a long time, the focus of my life had been my evenings. Now all that has changed, and whereas I once measured days by quiet hours under the stars, I now find myself most alive in the sun and rain. This has little to do with the circumstances of day and night, and a great deal to do with the people that populate those circumstances.


The night was once a friend, but now the day
is better, for he holds my only heart
in consequence and ornaments the way
I ought to walk. A fitter compass chart

I could not hope to follow, for the stars,
though radiant in shadow, show a flaw
when likened to a sunny light, as ours.
Upon the glowing vision, they withdraw

and linger till the evening. The night
is only now a guidance in the gloom,
but this is not my portion, this, my light,
illuminates the corners of my room

and pledges joy ever it began.
Then I await, as only wonder can.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


When we are children, we reach for things as children do, with grasping and seizing. A child's world is very physical, and can be had through exertion. There are no facades, and the surface is an expression of what lies underneath. When we grow up, we find that things are not as they seem, and the world is full of pretenses and charades. Nothing can be had by simple taking. We adults must first dig down and expose the truth, and then decide if that truth is worth possessing. All too often, it is not. But Christ told us to be like little children, and this is what he meant. Let our yeses mean yes and our noes mean no. Let the exterior life be no different from the interior life. Let the reality we see be the reality that is. Then, we will once again be like little children, and our simplicity will be our happiness.


I built a bridge to span the stars,
but found it fell too short
to reach the ruddy cliffs of Mars,
far less, a stellar port,

for in the sea-expanse of space
there was no tending-down,
no breccia to set a base
beneath my iron crown,

and all was left to drift away
upon the solar wind,
the residue of child's play
no longer underpinned.

Then from the earth I brooded on
that disappearing frame,
a sun, a moon, a star, and gone,
an arbitrary game.

Perhaps a bridge cannot assuage
my longing to depart,
but someday I will quit this stage
and make a mounting start

to gain the heavens overhead
where feet have never gone,
to rest upon a pilgrim bed,
my pearl and my dawn.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Some say that anticipation is the better part of happiness. I beg to differ. To be sure, opening Christmas presents is rarely as fun as wondering what might be hidden beneath, but that is only because of the disconnect between expectation and reality. If what you want does not measure what you get, of course there will be frustration. And if you expect anything to make you perfectly happy, you will never fail to be sorely disappointed. The trick, then, is to know exactly what you are getting, and the sort of happiness that it is going to give you, before you get it. It is a question of proportion. For instance, a trip to Disneyland is, in the end, going to provide little more than fatigue, expense, and sunburns, but try telling that to a young child. Or, again, a '66 Mustang is hardly going to make adulthood meaningful, but ten thousand mid-life crises would beg to differ. Our lives consist of almost-constant searching for the next missing thing, but we look for the wrong things, and in the wrong places. There are only a handful of things we need. Food? Shelter? Relaxation? No, we're not talking about comfort, here. We're talking about happiness. It's entirely different. What do we need for happiness? Faith. Hope. Love. And that last one is the key. Everything else in life is aimed at that one thing. Then, unlike all other cases, in which expectation always exceeds reality, the reality will simply blow all expectation out of the water. As I said before, it is a question of proportion, and the proportion, here, is the infinite to the finite. How could it not be infinitely better than we could possibly imagine?


You pass the earth in endless shade,
a burgher of the night,
unvarying by retrograde
or growth, by gloom or light,
and longing, always longing for
some undelivered rite

to draw your drifting feet ashore
and set them on the sand.
The hours that you laid in store
are staler than planned,
and, still, their passage obligates
such rigorous demand

for stoicism. Why the fates
should ask so much of one,
to bind your frail frame with weights
before you had begun,
I cannot know, but offer trade
of two in place of none.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Sudden Rain

We planted our annual vegetable garden last Monday. The thick soil, which was, until recently, a rough expanse of dirt clods and horse dung, is now neatly stitched with rows of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and swiss chard. On the way to the garden, it began to rain, and continued well into the evening. We came out of it soaked to the skin, covered from fingers to elbows in mud and manure, and, above all, happy. I'm looking forward to the crops-to-come.

A Sudden Rain

The rain is a welcome relief.
Its steady advance from the clouds
is soft as a fugitive thief
that scatters the spurious crowds,

and on each surprising descent,
the woody perfume of the earth
unfurls. No life is ill-spent
when lived in a waterlogged mirth,

where heavenly stoppers release
such brisk reliquaries of air
and water. What glorious peace
prevails within disrepair,

so long as the wolcen will shed
a radiant torrent of tears
that leavens our indolent bread
and opens our ailing ears.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Now and Then

In youth (not to say that I'm out of it yet, though it's getting harder and harder to maintain the facade), it often happens that the things we believe to be true are based on a little experience and a lot of conceit. If we don't know everything by high-school, then we certainly do by college, and parents are fools and authority exists to be questioned. Then, we grow up, and idealism and hope are replaced by cynicism and doubt, and all those starry-eyed liberals suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves walking around in the polished, wing-tip shoes of world-weary conservatives. It does not have to be so. Make no mistake, it is the epitome of naiveté to cling to the high-minded convictions of youth. All too often, they are founded on nothing more than over-excited intellects and narrow-minded views of reality. But, to slip into the disenchantment of adulthood is an equally grave sin. There is, thankfully, a middle ground, where the ideals that once nourished us can be married to the difficult reality that surrounds us. This happy mean can seem, at times, to be unattainable, and, indeed, many never find it. Our mistake, however, is to search for it by ourselves. Alone, we can never hope to reach it; it is only found through others. And what can those others do for us? They can love and they can be loved. This is where the idealism of youth and the realism of adulthood meet. Love without suffering is weak, and suffering without love is unconquerable, but, together, they can forge a happiness which is indescribably better than anything our flawed human intellects could imagine. At this point, I'm sure, you're beginning to question whether I am as distanced from my youth as I believe. All I can say to you is that these things are true, and that if you are unwilling to trust me in this, you will squander your happiness, even if it should be dropped on your doorstep, for when it does come, you will not recognize it for what it is. Love sustains us and love enlivens us, and there is no truer credo than this: the only real happiness we can hope for in this life is found in love.

Now and Then

I once imagined I could see beyond
the surfaces that held the world fast,
a water-weight of knowledge for my bond
and fetter, fitted tightly to the last,

but in my nonage, any scanty sense
was made a fool's wisdom. What is youth,
but seizing on indifferent defense?
To fancy that I contemplated truth

was such a sophomoric disregard,
that, even now, I smile at the thought
of certitude I judged exceeding hard,
but found to be far gentler than not,

and, even now, the axioms I hold
will fall before the truth when I am old.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


We Americans are living lives of gluttony. We spend more than we have and take more than we need, and then wonder why our banks and manufacturers and governments are failing for lack of wealth. Our lifestyle has far exceeded our abilities, and now we must face the realization that the solution to our economic hardship is not going to come from more spending and more bailouts, but, rather, from frugality. This suffering is not an evil to be suppressed. It is the necessary fruit of our extravagance and the symptom of a much greater sickness, and, until we address that, we shall never recover the state of health and vigor we once possessed.


The wild ones of Babylon
are dancing in the street
to strains that scatter fuel on
the fire in their feet.

They caper for a hollow death
and celebrate their sin;
they reckon on a rotten breath
to whisper illness in.

And who are we to crucify
the raptures of the crowd?
When all, alike, are born to die,
then let us die aloud.

This hunger is our happiness;
baptize us not content,
till all the wealth we've born is less
than all the wealth we've spent.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Wake the Morning

The still and calm of morning is an experience not to be foregone. An early morning makes the days longer, the sunlight brighter, and the nights deeper. It is easy to make a habit of sleeping in, but, thank goodness, my job has me up by 6:30 every day of the week, and I never cease to be grateful for that. The only imperfection I can find in mornings are their brief durations.

I Wake the Morning

I wake the morning to a tribe of birds
who make a merry twittering; a brief
apocalypse of animated words
is overheard from sediment to leaf.

Then, subtly, the sky is on the surge,
the steady march of hours is begun,
and retrograding shadows near the verge
of life and deed and escalating sun.

And where are all my birds, my early friends,
who reveled in the swiftly fading dark?
As others made their leisurely amends,
we restive ones brought closure to the arc.

But now we rise in transitory flight;
your hectic sphere is calmer from a height.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


At last, the stars are beginning to break through the rain clouds and illuminate the nights. Few scenes are as beautiful as those evenings when the tar-black silhouettes of trees stand stark against a sky of scattered buttermilk clouds and pinprick stars on a navy blue sheet. I could spend - I do spend - a fair amount of time sitting in the dark, watching the night sky. It's a very slow, steady sort of beauty. What could be more reliable than the night? Even if the Sun were to burn out and the Moon to escape the Earth's pull, we would still have the comforting darkness and solitude of night.


You tread the courses of the sky,
arrayed about in vestal light
and utter as the arrant night
encompassed in your eye,

so youthful in your starry mien,
and yet as ancient as the gears
that guide the everlasting spheres
you gallivant between,

inscrutable to every soul
but mine alone, when I may bear
your beauty, singularly rare
and singularly whole,

and so we two shall intertwine
the earth and heavens in a wreath
that crowns the slumbering, beneath,
and humbles the divine

and makes, of us, a unity,
as man and oread are wed
to walk the orbits overhead
and anchor in the sea,

where we may find a solitude
untroubled by the taint of grief
and linger in our sweet relief,
unceasingly renewed.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


In the last several years, I have read quite a bit of modern metrical poetry (if such a dichotomy can be said to exist), and have found in it an unfortunate and almost universal tendency toward gracelessly long line lengths. It is rare enough to find ten syllables per line (though this still manages to hang on in the Shakespearean sonnet), and anything less is almost non-existent. Such wordiness is usually nothing but a crutch. That is, it can be quite difficult to express cogent thoughts in brief lines, and is far easier to let lines tend toward sentence-length, then tack on some quick rhymes at the very end. What is lost in this lengthy-line format, however, is the sense of rhythm and cadence that allows a poem to dance like a leaf on the wind, march like a battalion on parade, or whirl like an elegant waltz. Consequently, most modern metrical poetry has all the finesse of a 12-gauge shotgun. How I wish that we could find our way back to the grace of language we once had.


Beloved, consort of my soul,
you bare your heart,
unburdened of its bitter toll
by tender art
that marries, in a perfect whole,
the wanting part.

And in the greater aggregate,
these scarlet cords,
as lithe as fawns, as consummate
as cultured lords,
shall take a taste and pay a debt
that common words

cannot suffice. What interstice
is left unlit?
And what allure of this bliss
could I remit?
I find no former that I miss,
so let them flit

and fly away upon the air
of eras past.
Beloved, what sublime and rare
belief is cast
before us, in an answered prayer
of love, at last.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The sun has returned, and so have the birds. Every morning, they call out from branch to branch as if it were the first day of creation, which, in a sense, it is. On a separate note, I only recently noticed that, until today, the last post on my blog concerned Ash Wednesday, and the first, Easter. How odd, to see the entirety of Lent encompassed in one little place.


I never thought that I
was like unto a bird;
my wings are not as spry,
my warble rarely heard,

and though we both escape
our customary nest
when Winter strokes the nape
and clutches at the chest,

my bird will come upon
the turning of the year,
while I am fled and gone
and loath to reappear,

and so I shall abide,
and never bird to be;
he travels as the tide;
I linger in the sea.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

If You Were...

It's Easter Vigil, and the long 40 days of Lent have come to an end. I hope you all are looking forward to Easter as much as I am. Tonight begins the happiest celebration of the year, so be well, and I wish you all a joyful Easter season.

If You Were...

If you were as old as a hill
or endlessly deep as a sea,
as rash as a childish will
or stoic and straight as a tree...

If you were as sad as a keen
or vital and quick as a jig,
as fragrant as flourishing green
or sweet as a succulent fig...

If you were as soft as a lamb
or grand as a towering height,
as strong as a sinewy ram
or sultry as tropical night...

If you were the soul of the earth,
it still would not capture me through,
but these cannot measure your worth,
for all things and more are in you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


March, as they say, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and what a lamb! Sunshine and flowers and the babel of a thousand birds fill the world with the inevitability of Spring. It is my habit to love no one season in particular, but, rather, the season-that-is-to-come. So, I am exceptionally enamored with Spring at the moment, though I'm quite sure that when it has reached its fullness I'll be ever so ready for Summer.


The lengths of light are stretching out
to circumscribe the waking day
and ease the chill, incessant drought
that followed on the dreary grey

and dismal dusk, but now the grass
unbends and prospers on the lawn
and clouds that make a quiet pass
before the rosy-fingered Dawn

design a space to minister
a glimpse upon the sun's ascent
for eager folk who never were
so lively in their discontent

as now the frigid sleep has slipped
away and we awaken to
the goldenrods and thistles tipped
with coronets of morning dew,

and if we should persist to see
the slow decline returning, then
our solace and our hope will be
in life, enlivened once again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Over the centuries, poets and philosophers, alike, have claimed that there are many different types of love. Whether Aristotle or Tolstoy, Socrates or Dickens, they divided and conquered, separating the love of master from the love of servant, the love of fiancee from the love of wife, and so on. This is false. Need I say it again? There is only one love. It is our relationships that divide us, not the love that flows through them. The love of the master and the love of the servant are the same, and are manifested differently because the two cannot (and should not) perform the same acts of love. Even more critical, however, is the distinction between young and old marital love. It is a common supposition, in this day and age, that the love one has when one is young must necessarily change as one grows older. So, the first few years of marriage are looked on as the 'honeymoon years', and it is generally expected that the love of a wedded couple will cool and fade as they spend countless hours together, only to be (hopefully) recemented by the birth of a child - that is, a common bond strong enough to overcome their own petty squabbles. The truth is, however, that this change occurs not through the alteration of love, but through the alteration of the relationship between husband and wife. As Shakespeare said, "... love is not love / which alters when it alteration finds." How many couples truly know each other before marriage? How many couples can claim to be the best of friends? How many couples approach marriage with an honest and open eye, and see not a lifetime of marital bliss and carefree companionship, but a constant struggle alleviated only by the presence of one who fully loves and is loved? I daresay very few. Many young couples are in love with being in love, while others have settled for the 'good enough', and others, still, simply do not understand, on the most basic level, what it means to be married. Is it any surprise, then, that we are inundated by $40,000 wedding receptions and exotic honeymoons to the sun-soaked Greek Isles and the wine villas of France? These are our attempts to force consequence into something which should be consequential through nothing more than the reality of the love between man and wife. If you set one goal in life, then, let it be to love your spouse in the same way now as you will 50 years from now, and, when that time finally comes, you will find yourself with more wealth and happiness than you could possibly imagine.


In time enough, when every youthful flush
has fled, and fleeting years betray their weight,
and, even now, the days are growing late,
remember what was whispered in a hush,

and how these words that stirred the morning air
have kept their comeliness, as we decline
and drink of less intoxicating wine,
for, though this vessel may not be as fair

as in the bright and early blush of life,
it is as faithful, and as fit to hold
its ardor, as your beauty waxes old,
and thinks it not on jealousy, nor strife,

but only happiness, in full supply
and charity, as this, alone, you know,
if ever was there certainty below:
our love will flourish, even as we die.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Accord

Life is full of suffering, and so much of it is beyond our control. Even as it attends us, we seek to mitigate it. And so we struggle alone against our fate, and there is no greater loneliness, no greater wretchedness, than to bear these struggles alone. Yet, while no simple man could ever relieve our suffering, others can share it, and so make bearable what was, before, impossible. It is only through others that we find such comfort. We must not live this life alone.

Our Accord

What worries have you? What exhausting weight
is hoisted high upon your bowing back,
which burden I cannot alleviate?
You shall secure the complement you lack

in time and season, though it tarries long,
forestalling what was preordained to be,
ere was the earth. This augury is strong
and sure enough to offer liberty.

Then take a wing upon a higher wind
and leave your mortal trials far below.
Among the living, all, alike, have sinned,
but we, at least, have found accord. And know

that, though I cannot shelter you from grief,
our happiness shall furnish sweet relief.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Dream

Would you like to see my dreams? I doubt it...

A Dream

Of where we are and where we ought to be,
too much is left unspoken. Here, a span
of glassy rime and misty mantled sea
extends before me, ever further than

my eyes can tell. I enter, not to sink,
but, stranger yet, to float upon the brume.
Down from the briny bed, my fingers drink
so delicately of the tidal flume

that ferries me along this open spread.
I sift the gauzy strands of fog and stir
the crepitated floe, and far ahead
the facing shore recesses to a blur.

I cannot compass what these tokens mean,
for truth is never fathomed in between.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Come Lie with Me

It is not what we say that proves our intentions, but what we do. Words can certainly help to clarify, but they can also serve to confuse, and it is all too tempting to disguise odious action with a false word. That is not to say that words cannot build trust. What they lack in certainty, they make up for in efficacy. All too often, actions require excessive time and effort to interpret and, even then, sometimes wrongly. A forthright act, however, paired with an honest word, is an irreproachable thing. So speak your thoughts, and follow them with action, and those you love will never be disappointed.

Come Lie with Me

Come lie with me, and in the mead
we'll make our bed beneath
the silver-swelling clouds that speed
across the amber heath.
There shall we whisper, lip to ear
and subtle tongue to teeth,

a word or two, that you may hear
sufficient prophecy
for wistful dreaming, drawing near
with every guarantee.
The promise is not in the oath,
however, nor the plea

that presses for assurance. Both
are only words, at best,
and understanding is a growth
that thrives on act and rest,
alone. And if the words that pass
between us are not blessed

by more than murmurs in the grass,
they are no better than
the idle breezes that harass
our tangled hair and span
the little lengths, from bract to bloom,
of dandelion. Can

I prove the things that I presume?
I shall not ask your trust
to make its bed within a room
as empty as a gust
of wind. Adjudge my every deed
and, so, I will adjust,

then lie with me, and in the mead,
as truest lovers must.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ash Wednesday at Mount Angel Abbey

Have a holy Lent.

Ash Wednesday at Mount Angel Abbey

Alight, as lancing shadows line
the cedar-stippled field,
cross-cutting dells of foggy wine
decanted from a yield
of water sifted from the brine
and ocean waves. The mountain spine
has split the sky and steeled

the stony face of Benedict
as, from the tower, sounds
a brazen chorus, chanting strict
and antiquated rounds.
The brume may dull the derelict
before it spreads its interdict
across the lowland grounds,

but we are near the narthex wall,
and nearer, so, to God.
No mist can mute the solemn call,
nor check its ring abroad.
The carillon will conquer all
in claps and volleys from the tall
and eminent facade.

Yet, this is not an endless hymn;
the monks may only pull
as long as morning light is dim
and dew is on the wool.
So, clapper rests against the rim
and we proceed, subdued and grim,
until the nave is full.

The service is a whispered chant
the brethren barely pace,
and organ music drowns the cant.
The abbot's even face
regards us in the dawning slant
of tinted light. That God may grant
us forty days of grace

is on his lips. An ashen brand
is on each earth-bound head.
The host is elevated and
the sacred words are said.
This Lent, as soon begun as spanned,
no more, nor less, a holy hand
to lift us, ever longing, from the dead.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Portion

Is there any task more difficult than distinguishing our wants from our needs? We tell ourselves, day after day, that our wants are our needs. We want good health. We want trendy clothing. We want organic food, and pay raises, and houses with three bedrooms, two baths, and a two car garage. All that these things serve to do, however, is alleviate suffering. Somehow we imagine that we are entitled not to suffer; that nothing could be worse than suffering. How wrong we are. We need to suffer. We need to see that this world is not enough. Yet, the more we sink into our comfortable and self-satisfied lives, the harder that becomes. We all have the means to pull out of such a fruitless existence and, more importantly, to fill our lives with happiness. Not pleasure, but happiness. Pleasure comes from the things we take; happiness, from the things we are given. So, as we near St. Valentine's Day, try to put aside the false materialism of the holiday and remember those things that have been given to you: friends, family, lovers, the beauty of the world around you. These are the things that are given freely, but, in the end, are worth more than all the wealth of men.

My Portion

What portion is my own? The earth
allots a share to each at birth.
A breath of air, a place to lay
upon, and each extends the worth

we reckon by our poverty.
If all our riches were so free,
then labor would not look for pay,
nor recompense. Our currency

is other, though, and too profane.
It supplements a noble gain
with idle wealth. I will not grow
into my manhood, nor attain

a happiness beyond this old,
intrepid striving after gold,
until I learn, until I know,
the value of the things I hold

already. What I wish to take
is in my grasp. And now, to wake
from long and lazy sleep, to grope
for more than mortal hands can make,

is, in the end, my portion. Less
than this would be enough to bless
my weak endeavor with a hope
of life. I ask a small success,
and God will grant success.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

O ă d Ōnāi!

I worried that this one might be a bit too long, but it just kept growing, and I couldn't cut it down. Sorry. I also hope it's not too confusing. It's about the things left undone that we put off, and put off, and put off again, until, at last, it's too late to retrieve them. I don't believe I'm too late to resuccitate any of my particular failings, but I'm certainly guilty of negligence, as I'm sure everyone is, in one way or another.

O ă d Ōnāi!

O ă d Ōnāi! My knees are slack
and trembling. My heart,
it flutters under this attack,
a kite struck by the dart

and dropping from a height. If I
were blameless as a bird,
perhaps to plummet with a cry,
to perish, though unheard,

I would not, then, begrudge an end
so swift. But I, a thief,
must struggle simply to ascend
and look to find relief

from longing, vicious as a flame
that parts the cloth and flesh,
alike. I play it as a game,
but, soon, the staffs that thresh

the grain from off the splintered stalks
will reach me. To submit
a fruitless harvest, chaff and rocks,
cannot suffice to quit

the reapers from their rigid task
or turn their calloused feet
away. The only fruit they ask:
the yield of the wheat

that was implanted years ago;
that I cannot return.
And all the labor that I owe
will perish in the burn

and blaze, impartial consummate
of saint and sinner, both,
as, trembling, I must await
a final, fruitless growth

and hope that it can flourish, fair
in wealth. A thousand-fold
could never be enough. A prayer
to keep from growing old

betrays my lips. My knees are set
and holding, yet. To die,
and never to discharge my debt...
Forbear, O ă d Ōnāi!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I love the night. Daytime can be so ordinary, so tedious. That is not to say it doesn't have it's pleasures; it certainly does. Yet daylight, with its sun and sound and motion, serves to reveal the world, and in the process of doing so, obscures myself. It is the night that I truly enjoy. Then, my thoughts are my own, and are free to run at will. The world still awaits, but now it is a quieter place, full of a deep, infinite blackness, and dappled with points of color and light which no longer obscure my thoughts, but focus them. It's only too bad more of humanity doesn't operate on such a schedule. As it is, work and friends and other such things tend to keep me firmly rooted in the daylight hours.


The weary stars grow dimmer than the dawn.
Their luster fails, and they loose their hold,
fast-slipping from the firmament, then gone.
What happy night can keep from growing old

and merging with the edges of the sea?
We stony sailors of a fathomed sky
make fast our cables to a guarantee
of opiate repose, till, by and by,

the muted moon precedes an errant sun,
who glares, pretentious as a Persian king,
upon a languid world, shaped and spun
of filamental dreams that scarcely cling

to drowsy lovers, as they curse the day
and bid the lurid light to run astray.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


One semester down, and one to go. I really shouldn't say that until I have my grades and papers all turned in, but I can hope. At least it's generally cold and wet, so sitting inside with a cup of tea and a stack of papers won't be too much of a sacrifice.


A smile never showed a winsome heart
as easily as hers, or held a breath
as firmly as a fetter; learned art,
to capture life within each little death,

as if a tethered bird, whose debt is owed
to she who brought captivity. So stirs
the ache, inamorato, now bestowed
upon your longing. Absence, thus, incurs

a deficit, a slow and steady sting.
These thorns will cripple even as they give,
but will, in giving, guarantee to bring
a cure for one full-riddled as a sieve,

for none is near as baffling as she;
to starve and slake, alike, a mystery.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I've grown quite fond of this rhyming pattern (ABABAAB). It has appeared in a handful of my poems, including the one just prior to this. I think it manages to merge the rolling feel of alternate-line rhyme with the slow and steady damper of a repeated rhyme, much like one might find at the end of a Shakespearean sonnet, and I'm quickly making it my own. Interestingly enough, I can find little or no evidence that it has ever been a popular pattern. This can mean (in order of desirability) one of three things: 1. I am pioneering a new and unique poetic form; 2. I am a poor internet researcher; or 3. this form has been 'discovered' countless times, but subsequently cast aside by real poets for its simplicity and failings. I'm currently being optimistic, and aiming for #2.


A wind arose an early day
and, trembling, she spoke
a word, as soft as ocean spray
against the weathered oak
that scans the sculling terns at play
and stands, a sentry for the bay,
before the earth awoke.

It was a whisper, passing hint
of hours yet to come,
when light was barely but a glint
of color climbing from
the secret spark, spun off the flint
of distant mountains, scarce a tint
and purple as a plum.

And down it drifted through the green
and dewy undergrowth.
It chilled the the air, although unseen,
and made the small ones loath
to rise and greet the quiet queen
who slipped a ghostly breath between
the sky and soil, both.

So fresh and heady from the first,
my timely morning kiss,
as finches bared their breasts to burst
into a warbled bliss
and dusky dreams, at last, dispersed
before a daybreak, unrehearsed
but never yet amiss.

Then, on and on and to the strand
it wound a fluent track,
past flowers in the hinterland,
unbuttoned but a crack,
and forests, somnolently grand,
until it rested on the sand
and let its bellows slack.

And, finally, expressed in full
and fastened with a flush
of rosy luster, as it stole
across the lands in rush
and ramble toward a distant goal,
her lonely word was rendered whole
and happy in a hush.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Why is Oregon devoid of thunderstorms? Oh, how I wish for a tumultuous, end-of-the-world tempest...


A reckless breeze, infrequent burst,
as fickle as my mind,
dramatically unrehearsed,
though never unrefined,
foretokens - but a paltry first
and furtive warning for the cursed -
the onset, close behind,

as roaring wind, ungodly wrath,
arises on the sward
and surges down the staggered path
abreast a howling horde,
though all too quick to cut a swathe
and drench the fields in a bath
and burst, unduly poured,

till restive breath, bare residue,
now carrying the train,
is left alone, of all the slew,
a remnant of the rain,
to make of it a morning dew
and nerve the worsted world to
receive a storm again.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Coming Chill

Although the temperature is quite balmy for mid-winter, those few December weeks of intense cold gave a taste of things to come. Hopefully, we will not experience a resurgence of the powerful winds and icy snows of yesteryear that crippled the city for a week or more. Still, I look forward to at least some substantial snow before Winter comes to a close. On a separate, technical note, I maintained the same pattern of sounds in the three primary verses of this poem - 'th' in the 1st and 3rd lines, and 'm' in the 2nd and 4th. I really don't know if it adds anything, but it was a fun experiment.

The Coming Chill

A polar raw lays mantled on the earth,
a heavy fetter fallen on the bloom,
and I am found confounded in my mirth
and firmly muzzled. What a bitter tomb

of hard and heavy dusk, foreboding death,
as if a resurrection cannot come,
and rearing, mouth agape with withered breath,
in wait of mortal marrow taken from

the fallow bed of fading undergrowth,
where little flecks of life are stricken lame
at last, for now the winter keeps its oath
to fell each leaping stem, as if a flame

that casts a feeble glow of candlelight
were then extinguished, ere the day be night.