A Worldly Lament
where are our brothers, our husbands, our sons?
tell us where the deeds were done.
piles and piles and piles of bones
tell us where our fathers have gone.
where do mass graves lie under the moon?
where women have cried,
where children have grown up too soon.
The Rogue Wave
for EE & JWP
it was the loud roar that made me lookup
from the sand, the tide line
and piles of kelp, stranded.
as I thought, it was a rogue,
so I turned and ran, I ran and ran.
but the rogue swept me up,
so I swam and swam,
I swam until the rogue, with his last push
pitched me on to the strand
and into the rest of my life.
@ This Point
"You are th@, Shvetaketu, you are th@."
The Chandogya Upanishad
"Truth is my God."
"And, th@'s the truth."
Edith Ann (Lily Tomlin)
@ this point on this sphere's surface,
@ the mid-point of infinite tangents in space,
@ the head of my contrail in time,
@ the offing on a horizon:
the natural universe dancing around it,
the sphere spinning like a dervish,
the stars are staring.
could I sit @ this point
mind in heart
heart in love
love in joy
@ one with th@
The Practice of Folding Blankets
for the mind settled
by hours of meditation,
the wraps of warmth
maybe neatly deposed
in anticipation of
the next sitting.
Collect Their Souls
they lay softly and sweetly
in the swamp and on the hill
covered in time and light layers of soil
And rotting leaves: the stuff of holy compost.
forgotten, lost, bodies uncollected,
sacrifices unsung, they lay
by the hundreds or thousands,
the residue of battles
and causes and ideas lost just as they,
like clouds scattered in the wind.
their nerves and bones and flesh
have grown green in lumps
of moss or grass in rain and snow.
A Winter Tangent
here is a point of dirt
with rocks sprouting out
and trees digging in.
here wet leaves cling
along the ridge to moss
and mud crackled grass, and
the twitter of birds blows
by in the wind. from
here the globe falls
away. bark climbs
into the sky.
Published in The Lyricist, Vol. XIV, Spring 1980
The Insatiable Maw
"Peace begins with the fork" -- a bumper sticker
not only by mouth
but by lifestyle
do we consume treasures of the earth:
animals, large and small,
green things from here and there,
tracts of land denuded and desolate,
bodies of water, spheres of air,
and bowels of earth mined and forgotten;
as if there were no end to the treasure,
and peoples' needs can be met
infinitely by finite things,
and our goal in life is to transform
biosphere into the trash heap and
consciousness into satiety.
for Forrest Read
slate tiles, deep gray
offer themselves to
the weather on
top of a lecture hall.
minds in a skyscraper molt genius
like crated chickens stacked on a semi
leave feathers in the wind.
fetal, pale gray
the teacher offers
his last self
to those who listen:
"I have spent my life
there are worse ways
to spend one's life."
the ashes of life we leave in our wake
can be nests of light and furrows for joy,
or beds of sorrow and rooms for disappointment,
corners of ignorance and caves of despair.
we leave trails of dead skin and wasted air
with our histories of love and journey,
days of trial, utility, sloth, and fun,
moments of terror, cruelty,
pleasure, compassion, and forgiveness.
the choices of life leave traces of ash.