Saturday, June 21, 2014

New poems

Poems 2014

Late April

The window in the room where my books stay, where eveningtimes
I chant, is the only in the house that faces east, looking out across the street
to homes at rest on a slope that rises a hundred feet and more,

so the direct touch of east-coming sunlight happens only during this time
of long arcs of high sun, and even then only for a few minutes easily missed
for their quiet, unassuming passing.

But for those who attend, the season offers more, 
for as the sun drops to the last of its arc and begins to fill the horizon,
the west-facing windows on the eastern slope across the way

catch this final light and cast it back again in luminous moments
of shadow gold mosaic that glide and stroke their way through the room
like the vision of a lover’s breath leaving a departing kiss.


It’s not that I think
this is center universe,

but that nothing
ever goes by unnoticed,

except that
I think it does.


Their opinions…

strongly held or just passing,
are no more worthless

than our own,
good friend.


Slowly thinking, I see…

it’s only those movements true
to the human heart

that sustain —the poem

is not words, Buddha
not a name.


A prayer for Buddha Day, April 25, 2014

After days of unrelenting winds,
of trailing leaves and limbs, this morning

contains its breath in that slender light
before the coming sun

to lend itself to the single stalk,
the singular petal, to blossom 

standing alone

and to whisper to each
its name—Buddha, Buddha, Buddha...

Namuamidabutsu, Namuamidabutsu, Namuamidabutsu…



Opening the kitchen cabinet door
to find the heart at rest

is not a matter of finding more, 
but seeing deeper, clearer detail

that reveals the more already there
—like the sudden sight of dust alight

on air gone gold on sun gone down
that strikes a light behind the eyes

inside the heart

where space and time and ordinary place
are made to be known anew.



Because the streams of light
that touch the hand that holds the pen
that glints the words that glide the page
to scratch a smile to lips then kissed
by morning’s prayer.



the door lets
in the air

it carries:

be careful.



to retire, to retreat
to where Saturday or Monday are enjoyed
for no more than their sound
when spoken aloud: morning, waking, light.

The scratch of bird feet at roof’s edge,
your breathing—silent rivulets bob petals
open along the outside sill—the fluttered shadow
of last night’s dream come home,

the promise of stillness fulfilled.


California’s Natural History

Even at an age of ten to twelve million years,
scientists think of California’s Sierra Range as young,

still gaining in height and maturity—how silly then
for me ever to feel too old to walk its trails,

to think of my growth
ever being even near finished.



The spider web
outside the window
whispers with streams
that even bamboo leaves
have yet to hear.


6/13—a Friday

where even the most distant of  possibilities
seems close and at hand

and the silver taste of calm warms the mouth
with psalm-like sound

and appreciation deepens…



Can I know
that flower

but not know

its name—let me
count the ways…


Thoughts on revision…

to the extent attempted,
to find and to ride the breath
as light and clean as it allows,
to follow that trail, where it leads,
and no more…



In the dim light of early morning,
the crinkled turn of the last of the journal’s pages
spells melancholy anticipation,

like breath unburdened
in open-handed sky remembers its source
in letting go,

its deepest nature always working through, always
working through the lift and delight
of the myriad questions posed

even in the face of the answer
already freely given.