Monday, October 1, 2012

September 2012

September Poems

I think of recluse masters a century away,
I nurture your secrets. Your true nature

eludes me here, but taken by quiet, I can
linger this exquisite moon on out to the end.

                                            T’ao Ch’ien

Preparing for my 69th in the Sierra,
Freemont Lake at 8,000 feet

Leaning against the rocks,
wondering at the movement of the years
and the certainties gathered here—ablutions

on a bouldered slope, chanting in trees
in the coming dark, in the unfolding entirety
of the life I’ve known as my own.

I write, but poems don’t find the page. So I listen
for the wind, for trees turning to shadow, for the stars
to signal of sky life

as clearly as I hear the waters 
on the shores of this lake.
And they come,

one, then another, and another
of that silence so ancient, so subtle
that time can’t capture, nor distance determine

the closeness so thorough
as only a poem
can know.

And I’m here, so I write, in the headlamp’s light.
As a breeze from the lake lifts the edge of the page,
I’m here, so I write.


Day three

We hike the lake’s perimeter today,
first the overlooking outcrops,
nearly a thousand feet above,
then descend

to slow-walk, explore and fish.
As we rest in the shade, from among the pines
on the other side, an aspen waves,
its yellow wave.


Evening prayers

Clouds streak pink,
westward peaks shadow,
the lake grown still

and soundless—we speak
of the sacred, of the day, of early departure,
then slip into our bags for the night—

on a scrape of rock, aside a mountain lake,
in a sea of slow-turning stars.


I’ve learned much from the scholars,
and stand indebted as such, but it’s been the poets
who’ve taught me to watch

the misted push of ocean air
along this drift of ridge, through the window
of the place we’ve together built and call home.


Morning comes gray
with heavy fog,
Saturday sounds
from the street out front.

Sluggish, as well as
the usual foolish,
I pad around bare-foot,
looking for my favorite cup.

To write something new,
or prepare a few of the old
for the world at large—indecision,
that old friend

suggests both.
So here I sit, over a cup of coffee,
celebrating sixty-nine years
with a song.


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