August to September
That slivered moon there
to the east, doesn’t share much
of its fuller story.
the stained-glass rainbow
in the corner of the window
arched in blue
in broken layers
like the fog at the ridge
the window frames
in front of the couch
set so to see
the shapes that take
day to day
Peace work: something true
that sets your place
Sometimes a rush of recognition
both settles and excites,
sets the tentative to certain,
relieves. Body and mind revived,
open palms hold the same mystery
that grips needles north.
Solitary flowers signal celebration
of the work of multitudes.
Stanislaus National Forest,
First day, first night, five miles in,
eating after dark—Lilly Lake, unnamed
on the map; no one knows but us.
Day two: Gem Lake, atop a scrape
of dome, looking down:
the dark, the moon, the owl.
As impervious to our presence as to
passing winds, deer and bird tracks gather
at the muddied edges of Jewelry Lake,
waiting what’s been promised.
to add ?
Moon makes claim
by light alone, silent
giving, never taking.
Over the lake,
a long-winged raptor,
and the rhythms
of breaking camp.
Dinner with the Fisherman, on a rock,
sun on our backs, over-looking the lake.
Watching fish feed, he speaks of breakfast.
By day five in the high country,
I pee mountain streams.
Wood Lake to Piute Junction
In the meadow in the pass,
aspen quiver hello—fields of fern,
shading pines, and willow.
Full moon watching
throughout the night
gives me the light
to write this.
I made the lists, sort of,
that the teacher suggests reveal
essentials, and found nothing
I didn’t already know, suggesting
the teacher already knew too
the most essential of them all:
get off your ass.
Some mornings I sit
in the front room, summer light
reflecting from sun-struck hills, releasing
what had been hiding in cycled-out darkness,
a bright quarrel of glare clearly wanting in,
not at all like the light that falls the other side
of the house, monotone, a whispered wrinkle
of suggestion I sometimes sit with too,
aside a lit lamp.
That old sage Shinran discerned some twelve
dimensions of light. These are three
that I know.
only the heart
to tell what’s true
Night turns in the quiet cry of daylight’s loss,
till morning revives the only promise it knows.
Darkness stays its secret, until sky cools
its fire, and we circle ours.
Seventy-five years unfold untroubled
in a troubled world; low clouds and cold currents
call favored flannel back to play; Buddha’s names
dance with morning songs: living having its way
with a smile today.
those wondrous one-off free-flight lifts
of precious imbalance, slivered insights
into new horizons held steady till the next
A certain courtesy of heart
I tried today to live-stream
an inter-faith service for climate
concerns, but was soon pulled away
outside to listen
to the garden’s work, to sit, for me
to sit and to breathe to learn
what earth has to say
of all of this.