We met in a wilderness,
by a waterfall’s roar,
forcing us to shout
in order to hear
what the other said;
we grew hoarse
with the effort,
and began to laugh
at the absurdity
of our need.
We walked higher
onto the rooftops
of the granite Earth
to throw our camp by
a crossroads where
two trails diverged.
By the sparking fire,
our voices fell lower,
like leaves on water,
swirling on the surface
as our currents fled
downhill without thinking.
I took you in my hands,
cupping your heart like water,
bent to drink its coolness;
the taste was sweet,
made sweeter by…
Your casket of coppery wicker,
bathed in amber morning sunlight,
is all I can see, all I will remember,
of this brisk and bright spring day
when I interred the girl I love,
the warrior nurse who fell
to her greatest foe, an invisible
acronym, a microscopic thief.
You returned home a number,
tallied and routed, a perishable
love-letter marked “fragile.”
Soldiers delivered you
and they fought — but failed,
to convey their compassion
through the steely haze
of sorrowful fatigue
that blurred their broken hearts.
As the eulogy’s last words
ceased to vibrate the air,
ten of us turned toward
A poem of questions
Who holds words to steer us on?
What poet or politician dare
be a new pied piper and lure
the false fear from people’s hearts
and drown it in a holy river
of clear, deep water?
Men and women suffer and cry
words that creak with broken hope
children cannot live on.
Young dreams ache with hunger
for food to grow strong.
Who holds words to steer us on?
Angry action often forgets
what really needs done.
Without a guiding voice or song,
fists, tight knuckled and red,
cannot themselves do the work
that needs delicate fingers
and touches that recall
My Aunt Sarah played the violin,
but not like anyone else.
In another world, past other choices,
she’d have played for presidents,
scholars, and the privileged,
while critics sat dumb.
Single and alone,
she lived with us,
and summer evenings,
after the dishes were done,
she’d lift her hourglass instrument
from its velvet-lined case
to join us on the porch
where the light fell
like a pastel rain
and cicadas sang
their spare and single note.
Sarah would tuck the body
under her sharp chin,
tilting her head
like a lover listening for the sound
of her beau’s beating heart,
lost in the desire and…
Stand beside rippling water
running shallow over glacial sand.
Feel your blood fall into steady
rhythms to match the low whisper
of water moving through the reeds.
Breathe deep, expand your caged body
into fall skies etched with cirrus,
expand beyond the branches
of ash and cottonwood that stretch
sleeping buds into the distant blue.
Fall into the slow march of this world,
where time slides by and nothing cares
where it’s from, nor where it goes:
grasses go dormant; water turns to ice;
rocks grind to loess, and bones turn to stone.
Taste this tiny sip of God’s eternity…
Wrapped in my soft blanket,
a mug wrapped in my palms,
I wish out my window
that the scene would somehow change.
That the brilliant, sparkling hills
would return to the friendly green
I remember from last summer.
That the tall glistening trees
would loose their translucent tesserae
and fill the feathery window
with my favorite supple mosaic
of leaves and sunlit sky.
I wish the frozen silence
would melt into the ground,
and stay where it belongs,
and a cheery robin’s song
might drift through the screen. …
Within any seed, building blocks decide
what will grow and when it’s time
to push leaves into the sunlight
or thirsty roots below the ground.
After that, it’s anybody’s guess
whether the miracle will succeed.
Rains must come. Sun must shine.
And not too much of either will do,
nor too little, I’m sorry to say.
And if a wind blows strong,
a stem may yet break apart.
Nevertheless, the gardener plants
his tiny, hopeful seeds with love,
and tends them as best he can. …
Poet, Writer, Rock climber, Fitness Coach. I live in the present — breath by breath.