“No ‘path.’ Let us follow the sound
of our poems.”
Sun meets clouds,
the other side the valley
dull to silvered grey.
last season’s root bits
overflowing the potato box.
Lifted, the pen returns to the page to scratch
the padded past. Fingers pull forward
the unknown new, trusting that sound
always marks now.
on the hood
of the poncho,
low on the leg,
rolls off boots
into street-running streams,
here at sea-level—in the Sierra,
Mary Oliver says, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”
I say, attention is devotion.
Always, the pause between is always
there, always carries whatever
to whatever’s next.
Slowing down enough to consider deeply,
most of my life I seem to have missed.
So glad to have caught up today,
before too late.
Just now remember hearing
of Mary Oliver’s death, I take her volumes
off the shelf to bid farewell in that open warmth
of her poems of perennial hello—look, listen,
she said, over and again, and did over and again,
to show us well, how that might be done.
Clear intent is not a goal.
The gift of language is
how the world tells us our place
among the other things
fingers touch, eyes
and ears feel,
heart takes note,
Beginning to think absence
had become too obviously
conspicuous, then realizing
no one noticing anymore.
Were you there, wherever you were
this morning when the sun burst gold
across the horizon into your eyes
closing tight—were woodpeckers there
behind to signal the wild blue above
to open its eyes for you to see…
you were there, too, weren’t you…
a poem by Robert Lax: