With a lover’s hand,
the wind strokes the hill’s glossy green flank.
She glows in response,
“I love you.”
The shimmering reeds swoon
under ardent caress of sun and wind,
“Water, wind, sun, earth and air,
I love you.”
The sunflowers tilt back their heads to say,
“I love you;”
the sycamore sings the same.
The cornstalks in precise military formation chorus,
Flocking above the fields of flowers,
the newborn monarchs setting sail,
astonished, cry, “I love you.”
The pond, alive with every shade of leaf and fin and wing,
opens her arms to the sky, “See how beautiful you are.”
The poplars cast their shade over somnolent cows who mumble,
Sheep drift like cloud shadows across the meadow,
munching their agreement,
The sun slips lower now,
as I find refuge in your arms
and add my voice
to the chant of millions,
“Good night, good night,
I love you.”
The Spirit sings so beautifully through the world
the light must dance, dance on every leaf and wave,
red roof tile and edge, as if to draw the music,
outline solid shapes, brush them in with color.
I take my cue from them to sing
I love you, husband, partner, friend–
paint joy upon your hand,
dance the smile you offer me,
dance each shining second we have had.
Still the music rushes on,
a torrent tumbling to the sea,
is gathered up to ride the wind,
chansons to fill infinity.
We, the heirs of Spirit light,
not death nor illness stops
our mouths from joining in the song,
nor feet from leaping through the air.
We were born to mirror this,
reflect it back to witness’ eyes
full-fill our elder days with laughter.
Good morning, sun.
Good morning, mountain,
sleeping in the sun.
I am newly new this morning,
and so I sing,
good morning, precious world.
No matter now, mares of night,
dragging me through hell.
No matter cold, chomping my bones.
No matter my aching throat,
fighting back barbarians.
I am alive on this very newest of mornings,
and so I sing, as I am bound to do–
swallows playing with the rough winds;
overseeing all, the heavily pregnant clouds;
fragrant garden panting for their parturition;
beloved, welcome sun,
sparking color to life–red flag,
green field, yellow wall, sea-blue sky,
neighbors’ dogs like white mops,
picking out random terra cotta tiles,
clean laundry, yellow taxi,
Ilumán’s* roofs rising from the shadows.
This mountain morning opens to me,
in silence, drenched in possibility–
What shall we play today?
*neighboring town on the side of Vulcán Imbabura
The earth endures beneath our unconscious weight,
and the feet of elephants and crocodiles,
earthworms, ants and eagles.
Its love pours forth in waves of gravity,
of connection and belonging
for all of us.
Earth has held our many secrets,
changing some of them to bread.
She yields roadways for the water,
and shields from deadly rays,
makes food and homes for all.
We seldom think of her or what she needs,
calling her mother and ignoring her.
Urgent now, she calls to us–look, listen, care!
We bend our hearts to love her in return.
Family circles grow, link, form rings,
including all whom earth sustains,
extending to the stars. As we join hands,
drop our weapons, feed the soil, the circle holds
for all of us.
Mountains, like big-shouldered angels
guard this valley from drought.
Rivers run chortling down their arms
at some aqueous joke only they know,
to plunge down the canyons
wetting montane feet.
I adore these potent energies,
the gloss of green everywhere,
and it seems to me we humans
can’t help but be happy here,
where all things conspire to pour life
down our open throats and tug our strings
to dance, dance and sing.
Early fog drew me from sleep
to bind me at pond’s edge,
awaiting the slow slither of light
up pearlescent curtains of morning.
Mesmeric motions of radiant mist
set the scene for the sun’s slow ascent,
moving from flat gray to pulsing gold so quickly
that I must stay to see the sky fill
so that I can believe the magic.
Green appears from the darkness,
lightens, begins to sing over the water,
soars into the blue, brandishing sparklers
like kids on the Fourth of July.
Here and there thin stalks of last year’s grass
cluster in fading clumps of memory
while the colors warm, leaving resonating shadows
beneath the trees. Clouds briefly blush rose
then hurry along to shake out the morning
over the marsh. Birdsong and insect buzz
begin to fill the remaining cracks.
Heat stirs the breeze while the scarce-grown sun
dallies among the pines, and the scents of dry twigs
and cool damp make their small bicker for my notice.
I myself am the canvas for the small sounds and smells,
for the day’s colors and forms,
the antenna for the waves of well-being and care
that envelop me and this place and this world.
All day the clouds have been
rearranging the furniture.
Now we see the gorgeous blue,
now we don’t. Now we see bright peaks,
(of course they’re peeking out!)
Now they’re draped in lacy antimacassars.
Whenever the wind washes the celestial windows,
my mood does high handsprings and soars.
When the dirty gray laundry lines lower,
I burrow deeper into the mattress
to hide my eyes from gloom.
Gray doesn’t go well with green,
I long to shout, but the misty figures
ignore all remonstrance.
I was satisfied
with how it was this morning.
Why couldn’t they leave it alone?
Golden daisies present themselves to me;
lupine, forget-me-not, blue as dreams,
standing straight and tall in their green uniforms.
Wrens and warblers serenade,
asking if my ears are pleased (they are
wallowing in delight).
A contortionist pine asks for my attention
to its complicated search for sunlight.
Though my sergeant-major mind has many plans this hour,
my soul counts it sacrilege to ignore
the world’s pleas for my applause.
Soul rises up, itself singing, takes wing
for heaven, whose attention, in turn, it has caught.
March 17, 2017
St. Patrick’s green lies all around on this auspicious day.
Trees and bushes, fields and vines are all decked in their best.
Emeralds spark on every leaf as clouds descend to play.
Tranquility makes stealthy march, whispering to us, “Rest.”
Something ancient in me longs to graze those swathes of grass,
and roll as cows do, edenorton flaring nostrils wide.
Ensconced so high in crowded bus, behind specked panes of glass,
an ache begins to rise in us: Why did we choose to ride?
There must be better ways to go than riding in a box;
ways that let us touch and taste and feel our glad limbs wake.
There must be better ways to live than hiding behind locks;
ways our forebears knew but lost, unable to re-make.
Our culture’s such a hungry thing, devouring rest and joy.
Inertia keeps us all benumbed, we watch life slip away.
The only hope of leaving here where comforts cling and cloy
is choosing feeling what there is, not keeping it at bay.
When I was five, I gave no thought
to who I’d be at seventy-one.
But now that age approaches me,
shadows flit both fore and aft.
The depthless clouds that trapped me then,
made me fall straight up to blue,
do so still.
I no more draw with sticks in sand
the mysteries thrown by cathode rays
for wind-lashed waves to wash away.
My father casts his lure from other shores
beyond my sight, yet Another’s gaze
warms my cheek, folds me under warding cloak
Hoyden then and woman now,
seeds all spilled, yet still mind-bright,
I wonder what the pain and all between have meant,
when all I really know is gratitude,
which like the teasing waves back then,
smudges tracks laid out too straight
and pulls me to infinity.