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.

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