Sun’s first touch tells
and day unfolds
Doing poems, I’m not so certain how,
works for me like air does
The poignancy of passing moments, fleeting time,
need not be explained. The old live it, young
fight it—it tastes of meaning.
Along the ridge line,
whispers of last nights fogs
hint at heat’s demise.
The poem signals
our having received:
The poet’s experience
is the illumination
The clatter of our own voice
can confuse our hearing
of others’ asking.
—for Dominic Barter
all that happens next.”
Engagement is the mother
of transformation, vulnerability
her sister, question her lesson,
uncertainty her only answer
and experience the linen
she wraps us in.
That we stand
is evidence of the given.
Shelter need not
block the light.
Nearing summer solstice,
grasses have browned, scrub and oak
deepened green, blossoms fallen
and trails gone hard.
These canyons have names
that cling to the tongue
like lovers. A handful of flora,
scattered birds, berry-filled scat
tell of themselves too.
But the most common language,
the trusted currency here
exchanged for wonder.
Age, quiet anxiety
to angst—blue skies
flash stiff winds,
fogs and low clouds abide.
It’s difficult to determine
which that blows is strongest,
where the dusts will fall.
The surgery is simple,
“unremarkable,” as surgeries go.
Pandemic times demand drop-off,
and a return home to wait the call.
Still in the quiet light before sun
or breeze, long thin branches sparse in leaf arc
the sky’s pull above the still silent earth.
Deep-throated purple-centered blossoms
A single hummingbird, a shadowed flash
of touch, then gone.
The unnameable longing stays.
Outside the window,
there just now glistening
through the bubbled glass
hanging beneath the trellis
beside the bamboo, sun’s light,
slipped above the neighbor’s roof
to rush to add to the beauty
the wife foresaw
when hanging it there,
a fleeting, but certain
Emigrant Wilderness, California
—north of Yosemite
Tomorrow is summer solstice.
Yesterday, the Sierra high country met two old men
head-on, shattered expectations of bodies too aged
to go the distance gracefully.
A morning and afternoon of rest finds us
in a rocky meadow under darkening skies,
waiting the stars.
Old men don’t argue, they adjust.
Backpacks traded for day-packs,
we hear the lakes waiting, just need to learn
what the mountains have to say.
Dozing this afternoon
under a stand of tall fir
at 8,400 feet,
it’s my own breath that jars me
to return, a seed
on the face of the earth
floating in space,
given, as with all other,
place enough to be.
—Multiple centers of intelligence…
the rocks, the mountains, critters and trees, running water,
the breezes along the crests, open sky, distant peaks,
granite beneath the feet, the heat, the chill
at sun down, the promise stars deliver
Mosquitoes linger as best they can
in the last chilled moments of summer solstice.
Pink clouds scratch at the west, and this light holds,
so, so long, before giving day to dark.
Jerry reads aloud from John Muir, who was here, nearby, in his time,
his journals of poetry-prose transcending linguistic limitations
in streams aligned and imbued with nature’s “manuscripts,”
lines of nearly inexpressible awe, the ecstatic praise
and prayerful generosity of unhindered spirit, a free-fall will to live,
and the living inherent there.
And so it is, on this, the last of our nights of this time in the mountains.
Singular scattered trees among thick forest stands catch light’s last
from the west, that works the openings with all it has,
the all they most willingly take.
And come too, a time to refigure. Not so much coming years,
as the attitude with which to engage whatever it is that does come,
to come to that uncentered, unhindered, so as to constellate with,
to come into touch with.
That living. It’s time.