We’ve changed, sure, the age part easy after forty years,
now two old men fumbling around dark roads off the airport,
two white beards flapping into morning hours
over wheat beer long gone warm—we’ve changed,
to be sure, but been given more
than the flash of an evening
to figure how much space, time,
really mean between friends—that first meeting of eyes
having already told how little.
Sweet, the light the morning lays among the pines, needle thin
touches of sunglow green against the brown, barren slopes
of winter’s restless waiting for a fickle spring.
Stocking caps, open coats, day packs, pass over cemented walks,
tracing movement toward the endless stretch of high mountain prairie,
matched only by the arced mantle of cloud-brushed, pale blue sky.
Time collects in times like this, mountain sentinels at watch at the edge
as past pushes to present, sends signals to a future just beyond reach
but just there just the same—a soft yet certain immediacy
where regret holds no weight and the simple nod
or bow are the work and the spell of wonder.
The walks are clear at first light,
last night’s snow on porch rails, in patches
on the grass.
High clouds whisper of future blue and the pen
threads thanks for the myriad reasons
that bring me here.
Here in Red Rock Canyon Open Space,
where Sand Canyon Trail loops to another
known as Contemplative—where deer watch.
The Knowls at Sweetgrass—4/18
At 6,000 feet, boiled water doesn’t hold its heat,
so cups of coffee shouldn’t be let to linger too long.
At 6 A.M., pink brushes the sky, frost the shingled roofs,
and bared branches search the air for signs.
I’ve chanted Buddha’s name many places, many times,
and there’s always a resonance in the chest.
Though it couldn’t be said it’s always the same,
there’s this resonance deep in the chest.
It feels like the sounds of home.
Mt. Cutler Trail—6,000-7,200’
Walking slowly up through the rise of red rock,
he says ashes will be dropped here one day—the few
who know now include me—snow falls.
Garden of the Gods—4/19
Wheelchairs have their own way,
pulling at times, and at others
needing a push. Either way, though not testing,
they let you know their mind and thus expose to you
your own—strengths and weaknesses
turned in the touch of the same sun
ready the path for the new work—no one let go,
no one left behind.
Most always, Pike’s Peak hovers.
Sometimes it hides as passing clouds
find their way around. Sometimes,
on days like today, it glistens
while along the streets, in the corners
of earth-scratched yards,
trees begin to bud.
As grey turns to light, the sky
restates its promise; as the lamp
behind my head reflects its shadow
in the window looking out, the pine
lets go to stillness; as the petals
of the flowers on the table at my side
open, songs of renewal return;
as the hands of the heart
spread the wish to restore,
old friends dream of healing;
as the scratch of the pen
marks the swirl of prayer,
birds take to the air.
North Cheyenne Canyon—for Ted
are you brothers,
Yes, we said,
The full around completeness of hour
upon hour fully lived
resists even the most well-intentioned
attempt to word—fractured
fragments, restless guesses, flutter
mute—tongue and pen
gone silent—nothing left
old man, but to bow.
end note…and yet…
the match in flame is as fire-full
as forest ablaze, water’s drops whole
as ocean, a single breath, a passing thought
complete a silence as sky.
Ask, if you must, where
the moment takes us, but not