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.
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
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.
We hike the lake’s perimeter today,
first the overlooking outcrops,
nearly a thousand feet above,
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.
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,
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
So here I sit, over a cup of coffee,
celebrating sixty-nine years
with a song.