Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Poems, 2008


Teacher as Teaching—Listening to Joanna Macy
Land of Medicine Buddha, Soquel, CA

The maple aside the outside deck
creaks softly, bumps the surrounding rail,
large yellowed leaves turning in their falling,
as in their living, even if unseen;
singularly certain reminders, as such
as those drifted past her turned back
as she spoke her living, her working
singularly flowing windowed segue
to that there opening
just beyond.



Turning is toward

not away, toward the tumultuous,
true to what is then,
there the fountain of which the stream flows,
seeing it as it is, resting easy
at its edge.



The Link

How long I have overlooked this. How long.
That the poems are praise and that praise
is everything.

Callings, voices heard, bell-tolled words,
blurred dreams’ retreat in drifts of currents
of sounds of human longing.

Ephemeral as moon beams
cast first to carpeted floors,
dissipating darknesses,

the natural consequence
of the greater turning
carrying the songs.



Can’t tell at first glance
if they’re coming or going;
big tumblers of rolling fog
along the ridge at dusk,
unfurling lighted street lamps.



Just talk…

of one rag-tag-bag of a sentence
thought after itself,
spilt like a wave in space, silence taken
rhythmed nuance and hidden rhyme,
just so much nonsense, just the same
as wild birdsong
rising from behind the backyard fence.



It must be Tuesday

say scattered high clouds
adrift in broken sky speaking,
a world emerged
of Buddhas’ whispers.


The Acetone can
speaks to window-let sunlight
warming the work bench.



Of Naomi Shihab Nye

Her words shift and slide
inside my heart, just as if
they’ve always lived there.



With the grand daughters

Nutcracker takes precedence
this day of preparations and expectations,
of baths and hair,
of watery steps and sidewalk sculptures,

of so many maybe’s and someday’s.



Where I come from

I once followed my Grandfather
behind a mule-drawn plow, turning the Carolina earth
into brown skinned potatoes

and peered, for what seemed hours of awe,
into the cavern of his workshop and all its cacophony of stuff
needed to bring a thing to click
with its intent.

I’ve followed that redolent turning,
season over season, for the whole of my adult life

and have come to believe, of those
who made me, he’d be first pleased I’ve lent so much of my living
to bringing poems to light.



For Hayden Carruth

                          "The next thing could have been tears"
                                                 Naomi Shihab Nye

Ex-pat poet, Robert Lax once said
making peace is saying what is true
for you,

for so, so many have come that way too.

Not so much a matter of same or similar steps,
nor even of specific words spoken and heard

—so few of us ever come to meet that way

No, to learn of your passing now is to recall
the settled fullness of the quiet of the hours,

the familiar feel and press of silent rivulets,
the imprint of breath imbedded wishes

broken and scattered, and the matter of regathering,
of commonly held prayers, poised in reach
on the opened page,

this knowing you are no longer there…


A poem by Hayden Carruth, from his collection, Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey:

What to Do

Tell your mind and its
to the white bloom
of the blue plum tree,

a responding beauty
of the one earth and ground,
for real.

Once a year
in April
in this region
you may tell
for a little while.

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