Saturday, August 13, 2011

Owl Canyon, San Bruno Mountain

It’s a soft gateway, slow rising slopes to either side,

winter wet-lands, now an easy stretch of dulled thatch,

a cushioned bed for the softest surprise of beige-green

blends of grasses, topped specific

with rich chocolate nuggets.

An artist’s pallet, to be sure, well beyond the range of this tongue,

and I wish for my daughter-in-law’s presence,

her depth of color-sense, to hear her words

over this familiar meadow, making itself

made known anew.


Dropping into the gully where the big bay lives and the stream,

I disturb some crows at rest in the high branches, who without showing themselves,

start up scolding and complaining back and forth in the shadows.

Startled myself, I say I’m only passing through, that I come empty handed

and will leave the same. But it continues, they continue.

The webs that grabbed my face along the trail

suggest few visitors of late, even the winter rains have run their course,

the stream dry now, gone—I have intruded.

I speak again, to offer a song, a prayer, and sit on the limb of that oak

in the deserted camp of the hermits. I chant so they can hear,

melodic as possible, but the crows remain unconvinced.

It’s only when I add the wish of peace

for all things living that they calm, only when I’m done with that

that they quiet and take wing,

leaving me alone to care for the silence of this place.


Coming out of the summer hills, where color

traces among mixed grasses, flies on petals and wings,

I arrive at the edge of the industrial park,

face to face with the red, white and blue, fully blustered

in the wind, beautiful, in its way

under the sun—I nod, so as not to offend,

but pass quickly,

quietly keeping my distance.

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