Poems from June 2009
Looking back, good friends, I see that June was a rich month for me. Hope you’ll find something of value.
We pause to restore ourselves, to rest,
to drink deeply of the stream, anguish shed
like receding echoes, feint imprints slowly lifting
in the dampened air
above the sands along the edge.
Through the fourth floor window,
leaf filled branches swing in shadows
occasioned with flashes of blue.
Sometimes even the smallest drift of air intrudes,
an uninvited guest, lingering at all
--too long—virus spreading in a shuttered room,
locked from the inside.
On training for ordination
The personal turmoil challenged the feeling
I wasn’t there—only later
did I see I’d already gone.
If I lay this old vow down
one more time without use,
it’ll crust over in the sun like a dried up turd.
big winds come,
up and down the canyons
So much empty talk, so many empty words, words
spewed now even from digital tongues.
How much less can we manage, how little
are we likely to become, buying intentional insincerity
for the sake of convenience?
William Stafford, ever teaching…
If we truly cherish each other, he said
—so deftly revealing the inner voice of ordinary words,
the inner voice, the spontaneous push to the search for the true,
behind those so ordinary words, as heard.
Points, in his off hand way, to the core common
to Pure Land life and the poet’s vocation,
to hear the call
to trace the contours of the truth in this life,
to discern the inner voice of ordinary words
and then to speak,
is to hear and speak nembutsu,
remembrance of the source, ever remembering the source
When asked what he did when his work
failed to meet his own standards,
was that he lowered them.
What, after all, did the music
that carries the words
have to do
with his will,
he, the listener, trying only
to trace the contours
of the true and real…
The first of this season taken on the open deck,
watching first light slowly peeling night away from tree tops
and the tiny, harried birds hidden there, shifting weights,
from shadow to light, revealing everything anew.
I know you were here.
Your feather, inside up on the ground.
What is it of me
that you will see, left behind ?
Morning’s come warm through open doorways,
and dogs bark, and crows, and crows,
the houses collecting between,
from these calls,
the memories the sky refuses to hold.