Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Drumpath


Drums beat steady
one upon another
not far beyond
a stone's throw away.

You wade into the river
and lie down
in its mossy shallows
the floating green
curls and shapes around you
like smoke
your thoughts fall
into the haze
dreams fill the places
your thoughts
have been.
They are just as vague.


Drums beat steady
one upon another
not far beyond
a heart's beat away


Drums beat steady
one upon another
true memory follows 
the path of dreams.



(in loving memory of Bryan Osper)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trees' Roots

each tear a story tells
every tree the story knows...

Lean your head against 
a tree to cry
 and know

trees' roots go far down
and take your tears
to all the waters

that carry all the stories
and tell them back again

so as to know
you do not cry alone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Self Adorned


I was once a rock embedded in stone.
Now, I wear rocks on my fingers
with the help of metal
pounded thin
in the hollow shape of a ring.

This one isn't heavy, that I notice.
It matches the solidity of my bones
the rock does. The metal 
bends and wraps around my finger
now that I've embedded 
a rock within its coil,
polished as a precious stone.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Magician's Robe



is it a cloak, a veil, or a shroud
or simply a likeness
of that which was
drawn before

...






Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pride in the Wind


Wind blows readily through the broken windowpane.
The curtain stands back from its gaze upon the shadows
its own lacy pattern makes upon the moon
because the moon
is high and big and yellow, pale yellow,
and perfectly round.

Broken bits of glass have been picked out of the wooden molding
so no one can tell at a glance the window needs mending.
At night, on a night like tonight, the curtain
puffs in and out the broken window.
 If one were not proud one could board it up
at least on a night like tonight,
 the wind is cold,
or tack up an old blanket
but it isn't done.

They pull on knitted caps. Push the bed away from the window.
Climb onto its high wooden frame under blankets,
many wool blankets, and watch the wind
back and forth
 cradle the moon
back and forth
in its lace covered arms.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Of Veenas (and guns)













Jya ghosha is ancient Sanskrit for the twang of the bow string. The crack of a rifle is the result of a sonic boom.


You can unstring many bows, stretch them along a neck attached to a gourd and make a veena. You can leave the bow strung, add a gourd, and you have a berimbau. Pick up another bow, draw it across a lute, and you are using a fiddlestick. You can place one end of a bow against your mouth and play the umgunga. What can you make from a gun? 

Scholars disagree over whether the bow's first use was as a musical instrument or as a weapon. They agree in the claim that the origins of the gun occurred with the discovery of gunpowder during alchemy's search for immortality.  

The more modern the civilization, the more actively it seeks immortality through the breaking of sound than through its flow.




Friday, September 2, 2011

Island




This is Island, a continent surrounded by the sea. Around the edge of Island winds a great river, called Rhythmic. The Rhythmic runs wide, fast, and deep. It springs from the high most center of the continent, flows directly to its shore, turns and winds once around land’s edge, turns again and empties into the sea, into the path of the setting sun.

Near the source of the Rhythmic, atop High Center, stands Island’s only city. It is encircled with stones, placed there by its residents “to maintain the boundaries of our plateau.”

Island has a road. It travels faithfully beside the Rhythmic on its inland bank, crosses the spot of land where river empties into sea, bridges the river at its first deep turn and continues full circle around Island. Always there is movement upon this road.

While the dwellers of High Center, faces to the sky, piled stones around its edge, those who walk together followed the river below. The movement within this procession was always greater than its forward sweep. Forwards, backwards, sideways, yet forever in motion they moved as one. On they whirled and in their passage they inscribed the Great Road. This is the caravan, the wheel, forever circling Island and always in sight of its beloved Rhythmic.

Enclosed between the Rhythmic and the Great Road is River’s Bar, a slip of land joining the two on their tour around Island. Green, and open to the sky, River’s Bar is the shore to those who seek land, the watering ground to those who thirst. To the traveler who rests beside the Great Road, River’s Bar is the land of dreams.

Gentle slopes and many trees of one kind and another form a hoop around Island. One tree standing alone shelters. A forest conceals. Islands inner hoop is forested. It is concealed.

Beneath the needled boughs, between the massive trunks in a mist of ferns and moss resides a presence so vast the living silence is its companion. The lightest foot does not tread, the tiniest wing does not beat, the slimmest twig does not break in the Forest without the attentive gaze of a fathomless eye and the resounding hush of silence.

Everything gives way to something, even a primordial bower. Round topped trees with leaves that ripple in the wind slip out from beneath the tall evergreen spires and spill over the open field beside, blurring all distinction between the two. Here, silence is a stream, the stream of stillness between sounds.

And here stands the Woodlands, a place of roots and burrows and shape filled trees with leaves like wings. Warm, sun streaked colors and busy rustlings fill the gaps between their sheltering arms. Their trunks are the standing through which intricate layers of sound, scent, and motion burst and entwine. Their roots are the growing which prepared the soil for the forest to rise. A thousand eyes flutter through this wild profusion of foot, wing, and leaf, the shimmering eyes of the many-sighted spirit, the spirit of birth.

Beyond the outer banks of the Rhythmic, Island belongs to the moon. Twice every day, dim harbors and vague waterways disappear and reappear in the flooding and ebbing tides. Twice every day, the moon sends a slow wind coursing across Island into the face of the sun. Eastward every morning, westward every evening, the moon’s wind blows. Less than a whisper, unseen and unnamed, the moon’s wind blows.

Much of Island is yet to be seen. Much of Island waits for a name. Where imagination leads, memory follows and Island continues to emerge from the surrounding sea. Yes, everything gives way to something.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Into the Silence

Into the silence goes earth
the face of the mother
 who created a home for time.

We appear, disappear,
 a tear fallen from her eye.


...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trading Shadows With The Wind


sitting bodies shaded beneath the oak
wind is blowing leaves are falling
changing the shape of oak's shadow
upon the earth

rising arms lifted we catch the leaves
knowing for each leaf that falls
a shadow disappears
from the earth

spinning arms twirling we toss the leaves to the wind
knowing it is not the wind
that caused the leaves
to fall to earth

standing arms emptied beneath the oak
sun is setting day is ending
changing the length of oak's shadow
upon the earth

stepping arms lowered into the sun
knowing if we stand rooted
by the end of day
our own shadow will disappear
from the earth

running arms lifted we join the wind
knowing it is not the sun
that leaves behind
a trail of shadows
across the earth

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Triple Eyed Face




Give it a face. Whose face? Who amongst us when they first awakened were, of all things, so enraptured by their own earthly form they exalted their existence with incantations of superiority thereby evoking overtly inferior behavior towards everything not bearing their visage, that awful face they struck upon the dawn? 

Give it a body. Whose body? Whose rapacious havoc is awarded reason by those who seclude themselves within the oblivion of their own sanctified logic? Does anyone really think the intellect can endure those who ravage this body, this earth, this nature? 

Give it hands, if you dare.

Then, when this is done, give it a name.






Sunday, July 3, 2011

After We're Gone


Sometime, when the snow has melted
and the bare roots of the tree
show dark against the dry dead grass...
sometime, when the first flower 
crops on a green stem...
that time will open an iron gateway
in the darkened stone wall
black with mold and dead ivy.

Sometime, when the yellow chrysanthemum 
grows again in the sunlight beside the walkway
and the cat struts along the ridgepole of the roof,
that time will tell a riddle about a wall
of one thousand stories
held together with mud and gravel
and the roots of ivy, ferns and moss.

A wall that fences off nothing, stands there
in the middle of a field without reason, an insane wall 
balancing a roof above a gate on two tall pillars
cut each from a single stone, a hollow roof
where swallows nest in April.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Redwoods Mantra


In the heart of the redwoods
the living silence stands.
All else flutters, drapes, and dims.
If I lower my eyes
in no way obtrusive
I too am a veil
on the breath within.

...




Errol & Maggie's Porch


If I lived in a city, I would have a garden on my roof and so would all my neighbors.
 I'd cover mine with terra cotta pots and fill them all with dirt and flowers 
and scented herbs. In one of them, I would plant a lemon tree. My clothesline 
would be the spinning kind with umbrella spokes
 and my clothespins would be wooden. And if it rained on a summer's day 
the rainbow would be double.



...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Noumena


We bend the light 
from a sunlit sea 
and strum its colored strands.

We capture the burst 
of a fallen star 
bounce it betweeen
our upheld palms
and pop open seeds 
to speak like flowers.

We glide through rock
with aeonic seduction
whispering, “multiply”  
and it does
 into tiny grains of sand.

“Don’t tell.” we murmer,
and travel on...

We are so beloved 
the rock willingly 
disassembles
to its
molten core 
and does not tell.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

First Reverence


we were before time was drawn into a line
became shadow across the ground 
became something to use as a measure of worth 
became something the good do not waste or squander

we were before image became cloaked in symbol
carved across the face of stone
became something more profound than imagination
became something to adhere to with adulation, without respect

we were before the word

the word, one small sound
the word written, an even tinier transient imprint
found amongst numerous other tracks
upon the banks of the river called life

we are forgotten

for most of our being has been shaped
by those who seek memory, spirit, voice
in the word
as they have written it
those who in the end do not know 
who they are


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Eve of Idiocy


on the eve of idiocy
she saw children pressed between headlines
like dead flowers
loved ones go and never come back
from three wars


on the eve of idiocy
she looked back
upon the road to madness
she'd so much enjoyed
in her youth


on the eve of idiocy
the moon
eclipsed

.......



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ever A Child In This Garden


I was born in this garden
within its secret ways
amongst those who grow here rootless
and blooms that go unseen.

This garden's lapped by waters.
Its gateway is the sky.
And this garden always travels
by way of the sun
encircled by the moon.

I can play in this garden,
 grow gardens of my own.
I have only to remember
I am one of countless born here,
I am not an only child.

This garden is around me
everywhere I am and 
even when I fly I travel
in this garden, Earth's garden
by way of the sun
encircled by the moon.

.......



Monday, February 21, 2011

Feathers Flying


I cannot sleep, I cannot keep from chasing thoughts that lead to troubles, 
real or imagined. 

I go outside, I try to hide in the solace of the night, 
but my thoughts come with me.

A sound sweeps by through this night's sky, then another. It's the rush
of wind through feathers, flying, on the wing.

I leave behind my fretful mind and begin to dream that I have wings, 
that I am flying.

The sound soon fades, again the shades of doubt surround me. 
It was just the wind, or my imagination.

Then something twirls, it spirals, whirls into my hand, one small feather
fallen, fallen from the wing.

I close my hand around it and go back to bed. I close my eyes 
and soon I'm sleeping.

Again I hear a sound come near - the rush of wind, of feathers flying.
I must be dreaming.

A great wing lifts, it circles, drifts. It is searching for the fallen,
the one small feather held within my hand. 

The great wing fans, the sky it spans. The wing sweeps back,
scoops up the feather and takes me with it.

Now comes to me with mystery, in whispers like secrets, tales of now,
tales of old, and stories of tomorrow.

I listen to what dreamers do where they have flown upon the wing 
in the time between now and everafter.

And when I land in morning's hand within my own rests a feather, 
my keepsake of the wing. 

Oh, feathers fly, so can I, for it is the dream that is the wing
that takes us flying.

Yet I wonder...
as my dream flies through distant skies, should another feather fall, 
could it be my dream that circles back to catch it?


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We Ran Together Then

Lying quietly in summer's open field, eyes half closed against the sun, the hot yellow grass molds the majestic shadow of buzzards wing. How low will they drift, how near will they circle before they discover we are pretending at death and at last moment glide away?

If we had seen an eagle circling, or even ravens, we wouldn't have been so bold. We were small enough, we thought, to be carried to a high sky world and raised as eaglets or fed to eaglets. We couldn't agree on the intent of ravens. We were different, even then.

Beside the field, a thin river resounds on the rocks in its bed. A low wind shimmies down the willows along its bank, slides beneath the dead dry leaves at their feet and begins to spin. It spins skyward, it churns earthward, a dusty whorl of leaves and wind.

We jump up chasing, laughing, mocking. It spirals back and pulls us inward, keeps us running takes us reeling, dizzy in its wayward spin. Grabbing hands we leap together, headfirst blindly towards the river yelling, "Save us! Save us! Save us from this crazy wind!"

The leaves scatter freed across the water, stick, and become little islands for bugs. We drop between them into the one pool where the river is over our heads. We know the river. We know it loves us. It keeps our imprint at its side, the running tracks of an earthbound wind.

I remember the summer we were watchful of eagles. I remember each of our sun streaked faces. And I remember, we were barefoot when we ran. But I cannot remember...were we spirit or were we creature when we went running on the whirling wind?

(A childhood keepsake for Kathy - for all of us - and our summers together on the riverbar at Redwood Creek) Note: I made the large muslin doll. The Teddy Bear, Charlie, was a gift for my first birthday. The little doll was made years ago by a member of the Blackfeet Tribe.