The sleep of old age is heavy,
it lingers, holds on, even as there seems
never quite enough of it,
or so it’s been for me of late.
Except for those dark mornings of course,
the only alternative to rise before day break,
walk those slow breathing hills
that accept any careful step,
of any age,
and offer back a bedrock peace
that carries as weightless
as lingering starlight.
Six days in the Trinity Alps
Upper South Fork Lake
In first morning light, he slowly skirts
its western perimeter, surface
so placid it captures the entirety
of the tree-studded cirque
to the tiniest detail—I know
there’s only one of him, walking carefully
along the edge, yet I can’t decide
which one to watch.
The rocks hold their place
in sun and shade alike, tall pines
whisper or rush, breeze or wind,
either conversation enough.
And we sit and wait for shadows
and for the fish to find the surface, ripples
lipping stories of cloud-filled skies.
Later, we’ll walk back.
Fox Creek Lake is home
to fish, many fish, who eat
only what the lake serves up.
Since we have a signal, I’m photographed
by phone, which sends the photo to the wives, via
the net—place, date and elevation.
All the while, I write poems of this place and time,
will carry them with me from this elevation, to everywhere
I’ll ever go, signal or no.
The young eagle sits on the limb,
looking down on the lake,
like us…given enough time,
it too will leave.
We have a plan,
hatched over two
servings of soup.
There was a bite.
Wait for the sun
to fall behind
the ridge, shadow
the waiting lake.
Try once again,
to figure itself—
A poem’s worth
As if in response to the unarguable purpose of solitary song,
the setting sun suddenly illumines the lake’s eastern shore,
lifts the rising pines in witness
to the slow turn of summer
and the promise
of a cloudless night.
Mavis Lake Blessing
To wake with morning’s coming,
leaving dreams behind.
To see the pines
against the sky.
To feel apart of
Three poems from San Luis Obispo
They call it the marine layer here,
the ocean’s push, above the costal range,
past the vine-filled valley, to the low slopes
where we sit in the last of its reach,
a graced witness, breath against the face,
shoulders warm in first sun light
and the cradled flutter, the silence
about the beat of hummingbirds’ wings.
Over too many glasses of wine, a satisfying meal,
after a long day in the hills at the edge of the ocean,
we share stories not yet told, retell ones already known,
to remember separate journeys come together
to bring us this far, to this age, to these days,
still friends, still remembered.
Before the sun finds its way
through layers of misted cool, he walks
the length of the drive to retrieve
the morning paper, while hummingbirds
breathe their blurred and flurried dance
at near-empty feeders,
taking all that’s offered there.
Home is what it is, implicit in time and place,
in the varied contexts of need and desire,
a web, the stretch and reach of intention
and remembrance, a resonance as nuanced
as the glance of rustled movement
from another room,
as the crunch of gravel under a foot,
a well-known path in the echo of early morning.
Artless, the laying down
on the page
of words of the day
turned awake of its own,
its time unfurled in those
in turn concerned
to make of the day
what it of itself would make.