Thursday, April 19, 2012

Well into April, 2012

Of light

Let this then, meager as it is,

at least begin to approach

appropriate praise:

It plays, it lays, it bounces and beams,

it warms and glows, grays and dims, and dazzles,

it glitters, sparkles, drenches, and it shines,

it blinds and awakens.

It permeates, it penetrates and it presences

—it announces the absence of darkness,

whispers discernment of shadow and shade,

reveals every nuance of color and depth.

It informs as it knows, spreads in itself

and sustains in its touch—its songs are in tongues

as varied as weeds, and its voice is as silent

as the enlightenment it shares.


Well, it could be said, many things might,

but to no real end except

the unraveled meaninglessness,

whereat joy is somehow unwrapped

as foundation—what then, really,

is there to say?


So easy here…

with a few strokes

I could produce a rooster.

I mean, who would know?

They were plentiful

in Philippine mornings

like this, dark, rising early

to remind us of things

needing doing soon! And so,

why not—I‘ve heard one here

time to time, fleeting.

A gesture, almost,

here, where things

are not as pressing, perhaps…

and so, we still sleep.


The third month of the new year

has slipped clean away

and we find ourselves early in spring,

in the wake of so much

already underway, so much looming,

all somehow so sudden, yet simply

ongoing movements

of not so hidden currents

in the shifting tides of earth energies

awash in the sway of the heavens.

Here, where we stand,

that lean and tilt

toward extending light.

That’s it.

Do you see?


Unhurried hands, slow strokes,

peel the carrots clean

to peace of mind.


Fog lingers in pines

already heavy with rains

—much loved company.


All day, all night, rain.

In the pause of first light,

the birdfeeder sways.


Finally, a hummingbird

at the feeder—it’s empty.


So sharp the blue

above the green

hills alive

with blossoms and buds.

Hidden cocoons.

Between here and there

only steps

not yet taken.


Hard-blown sunbeams

fold and dapple in light

covering itself.


Were we attentive enough,

we might hear;

but we can still follow

the fulsome sphere

of the waning moon descend

below the horizon,

only to leave rising silver

quiver its goodbye

to dimming stars.



in the gentle pull of attention—

rain slow to drips, hanging things sway,

anticipation settle, soft rivulets

run their course to doubt relieved, body

and mind return cleansed

of all but trust, native, blood-carried words

broken free into breath

to find their own way.


Where philosophy falls short…

after a long night and slow morning,

leaving my wife resting, recuperating,

I turn to the ancient poets

before preparations

for the day’s many tasks,

seeing in their lives and concerns

the mirror of my own,

the sweet sorrowed treasures

of tradition that reluctantly savors

the honeyed milk, the many and beloved

shortcomings of our shared humanity.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Meetings with teachers

Meeting with my teacher

looks like this:

like morning fog

brushing canyon tops

releases streams

that lead the way back.


The old masters wrote

of winter’s long nights,

of emptied trees, of snow’s weight

sighed away in spring streams,

rivered trickles of dew drops

carrying oceans carrying

sun-lit moon light.

Of these things, I would write.


Can’t say, even at this age, I know who I am.

Keep writing, walking, and the rest follows, mostly

work of love. Incense at day’s end, a song,

moments of quiet, together—as all comes to rest,

the wish for justice in a troubled world.


For Juan Carter

--Spring Equinox

Half way through my walk,

half way, crossing the black top,

a banana slug….


Fluid and porous:

the distinctions we think

hold and frame our lives.


Curious, that those

with heart beats, resist both change

and its presumed end.


After meeting with the teacher,

relief—he doesn’t know, either.


I write and people read. Amazing

and no small thing—liberated horizons

mean everything.


Tending as we do,

as a matter of habit, toward loneliness,

we are in fact never alone.


Looking closely, I see my living

largely haphazard, unfulfilled intentions

and broken promises…



Any place will do

Truth-seeking poets seek nowhere to stand,

pass away their time watching

for flashes and flickers in the flow,

following what catches attention

for the moment—leave it all at that.

Just a life.


Night rains slow and cease,

darkness holds still,

and doves wait their signal.


The pause…

It’s often the first words, fresh

off the tongue that are most telling,

even while we’re not so sure

what was meant to be said.

Is it possible to rest there

in the question, savor the uncertainty,

before circling, tightening?



Cool morning. The pine

lets its scent fall

to the street.


Why poetry?

Fundamental to human spirit is unity,

thoroughgoing correspondence within

the entirety of energies of the universe

—which is why we can’t catch it.

And neither can they.