Friday, January 25, 2013

The new year

Just before taking you to the emergency room

From the beginning, the new year opens
without looking back.
Stars last night, Starbuck’s tonight,
tomorrow’s promise of blue skies,

and the slow working magic
of hot green tea,
sipped to the release of tension

into attention—the real work forward
gifted from a paper cup,
and  your hand

on my shoulder.



Sleeping on your side,
waking to the empty space
where I should be.



The crescent moon
slowly loosens it’s grip
on the night sky.

Muted streaks of pink appear
low in the east.

And straight up overhead, beyond
the glare of street lamps,
the last trickles

of star light

pull a smile and a prayer
to these lips.



Forgetting to close the curtains,
I turn out the lights
and suddenly see stars,

patches of fog rolled over the horizon,
hillside street lamps, and lighted windows
where people are awake, late.

Quiet beauties, here
where we sleep, missed
simply by circumstance.

We should do this together one night,
you and I—I’d give you your side back
for that.



Ushered by owls,
morning light reveals winter
oranges—a soft one
for your breakfast.



Learning from the pen

I lie in bed
in a swim of thoughts,
not just barely breathing,
but holding my breath, breath
held in abeyance, for,

for something other
than the swim—like a pen,
held over waiting readiness,
a pen held back

from certain resolution
as affirmer of the stream,
resolution in continuing engagement
with the body, home-place of its breath,
the open page.



Brief thoughts

You’d go
their room
at night,
to their

than you
then, I
am still,
to yours.


one, ten
of times
Each one,
one, one.


If not
me, then
who ?

It’s not
the world,
but it

their own
light my




Of course
we ride
waves of

stoke counts.




The telescope pulls the craters closer to the deck,
here where I stand, just above sea-level,
where the moon’s pull back is so readily felt.

And there too, through the glass, a few clicks higher
to the left, the bright glimpse of Jupiter’s moons,
three of them.

Pull on pull, the responsive calls of heaven’s works,
the recurring, heart-felt tides
of healing harmonies.



William Stafford’s poems comprised various fragments,
seemingly errant tributaries that passed through
each morning, which he followed, or not,
seeing where they might lead, what lessons
might be learned, all the while listening
for the foundational source, the deeper river
he trusted most.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Year's end--2012

and what can any of us do but dream
of peace and act accordingly
and once again begin ?

                  Sam Hamill,
                   Awakening in Buenos Aires

Brisbane CA

As morning’s darkness
falters, an owl calls softly:

another end in sight…


Approaching Buckeye Canyon 12/20/12

The willows along quarry road yellow their leaves,
moist air lifts soil to smell, a jay glides,
swoops, gathers,

again glides.

Beneath my boots, softened earth
sounds its internal song,
but quiet holds.

I don’t know how we find peace, except
places like this, times, given
like this,

speak its certainty.

Tomorrow marks solstice, prospects of storms.
But now, today, that blue sky
swoops low enough

for us to touch.


Rainy day riff

Rain drips. Bamboo leaves
shudder under the trellis.
Roots take every drop.

What a life this is.
The morning whiffs of incense.
The wooden Buddha
from Bali next to the stone
monk from Thailand—both silent.

Sam Hamill’s poems,
five or seven syllables
per line, float the air,
drifting thoughtful kindnesses,
hard humilities.

Quiet presences
felt in the trail of the eye,
the turn of the page,

deepening shifts and 
hints of recognition of 
friendship, trustworthy
counsel, gratefulness he’s here
in the working of these words.

We’re the same age, he and I,
paths that cross, not match, meeting
in the landscape of common
tongue, nourished by the music
of rain-soaked bamboo.


How the afternoon’s
perfect feel of aloneness
breaks, with company.


Slow down enough to sit,
to come to that wider place
where pulse speaks, to listen

to the larger conversation,
there where words just begin
to do their work.


In the front garden,
white-petalled blossoms
bounce on the breeze


As we lie in bed,
together breathing the morning light,

rains flash away
into the waiting silence

of heavy misted horizons
holding still in their place.



It comes like a leaf,
sprouted and mothered,

nurtured and exposed
to all its needs,

then let go
into everything

that’s ever been
there, finally whole, free.


Angkor Wat-Angkor Thom-Ta Phum
Cambodia 11-23-12

As we walk these old and sculpted stones,
imagining the fullest scope of human ingenuity
and expression,

cicada sing their whistled songs,
from within the leaves overhead, all around,
from before the rocks were brought.


Bangkok 11-30-12

The last day of our stay here
and thoughts of returning home
attempt to turn this day
into something other

than itself—“do something hard,”
the teacher says—“nature’s already
taken sides, the small things.”
Squeezed by limitation, 

the unlimited makes
for tasting that lingers, but will not
last. Do something hard, but
“not just anything.”

                              fom Apichart Sakdichalatorn,
                                   Every way is a way


Real teachers often carry
suggestions of weight so pervasive
their every gesture founds a ground

upon which all else appears to stand.

Not that they know everything,
but that their knowing is unequivocal,
not needing of anything but itself.

This can be as startling and as subtle
as the well-sounded poem
and just as meaningful

to be a part of.


Scottsdale, AZ  12/28/12

Well, we wouldn’t yet call it evening,
vibrant sun still lighting the clear blue sky,
but notions of softenings begin to gather

in the fabric of the air—birds, noticing,
gather too, worry amongst the leaves—perspective
is important when witnessing the falling sun.