Winter Tree

Standard

winter_tree_leaves_alone

The winter tree
does not move.

Its wide trunk
plunges into graven earth,
unseen roots, grasping hands
feel deeply the living soil,
hold firm anchorage
against the coming storm,

but rising wood, thin
though strong enough
to paint slender lines,
trails into purer air,
gives shelter
to Christmas birds.

They hunch on stems, quietly
waiting to sing open
the dawn.

(12/23/2011)

Equinox

Standard

Driving down the arrow-straight road
I’m blinded by the sudden flash
in my rear-view mirror.

The burning disc,
orange flame
rises over low eastern hills,
I look away
into the dim west,

to the moon,
setting cool and deep,
hovering low
over Jamison Canyon,
soft
in the blue morning.

It was smaller
when I saw it last night
hanging high
over my gleaming roof.

Then the moon owned the night
and drenched the grey lawns
with mystic light
transformed
our pale houses,
into windy mythic temples,
sheltering whispering shades.

Now the fierce sun claims
his wide, waiting world
as the supple moon
coolly descends;

But for a moment
across the brightening sky,
they gaze like lovers

from horizons in equilibrium,

in this perfect movement
of time.

(12/21/2010)

Nocturne November

Standard

breathe deeply
the darkness,

listen to the rain
pounding drum-beat
drops, see glass streaming,
liquid streets glistening,

imbibe the stink of mud,
rot of moldering leaf,

as life
subsides.

(5 Nov 2011)
_________________

atmen Sie tief durch
die Dunkelheit,

lauschen Sie den regen
Schlagen Trommelschlag
Tropfen, siehe Glas-Streaming,
Flüssigkeit Straßen glitzern,

trinken den Gestank von Schlamm,
rot von modernden Blatt,

wie das Leben
nachlässt.

Fall Leaves

Standard

Wind-ripped leaves
cover my yard

severed flesh, leathery
fingers splayed
grip the brick walkway.

Flush winter roses
drop petals,
red shrouds cover
glistening gold veins
sundered
from ravaged trees.

Yet the trees survive.

mimicking death’s
grey angularity
oblivious to the wind,

nude limbs
lean into the howling storm
and dream of June breezes,
singing green afternoons,
the faithful thrush
thrusting new life to flight.

But for now
black clouds gather

the winter wind sings dirges
for these sacrificial leaves
nourishing the famished earth.

(11/18/2010)

Transubstantiation

Standard

Golden eyed, blazing
through summer trees
gently swaying
you blind me,
bind your warm hands
to my sluggish brow
and ignite me with your holy flame.

My heart, fiery and free
soars high, with you
always beside me

leading me
through dissolving mists
‘til pure at last,
at last I see

you’re filling me
with your eternal mind,

making of me your sacred bread,
your free-flowing
wine

(6/13/2011)

November Sunset

Standard

About five o clock,
the warm November day
just stops.

Bright afternoon
slams into evening
not even pausing
for twilight.

Blue sky
dims quickly
to violet,

but over ragged black canyons
the orange sun
lingers

and suddenly bursts
into astonishing gold.

Blithely ascending
the bright crescent
claims the cool
velvet night.

(11/16/2010)

The Homecoming

Standard

When you were in Vietnam
we got your letters, two or three at once
and then the whole house buzzed like a nest
of honey drunk bees as we poured over
your every word.

We kids imagined you, strong, tough,
blazing with righteous American fury
cutting down those dirty commies,

but Mom and Dad
read each letter more slowly
glancing at each other
with darker looks.

Then one day we got the recording you made,
tiny plastic reels, shiny brown tape wound
in fragile loops; your voice!
just like you were in the room, speaking
re-assuring, everyday chat about R&R
and shopping in Bangkok. Finally,
the tape nearly spent, you said that
you were coming home soon.

And one bright July morning
you came home! Your hat was rakishly tilted,
a Lucky cigarette carelessly drooping
from the corner of your grinning mouth,
all paratrooper swagger, gold braid running
through your buttoned shoulder loops,
colored ribbons and medals all over your chest.

As you walked through the door
I stood aside, awestruck, shy.
You sat like a visitor in your own home
and we opened the packages you brought for us,
Christmas in July, as one by one we held
our Asian wonders, and watched
as Mom held your hand and
Dad searched your eyes.

But you were tired, so upstairs in my room
you took a midday nap, and when Mom told me
to wake you up for supper, I nudged your shoulder
and you bolted,
breathless,
down the steps,
into the quiet street
and stood at tense attention,
(the neighbors all gawking),
as you waved your M-16
made of air
and memory,

and waited
for the morters
to fall
and kill us all.

Then the light returned to your eyes.
Slowly you walked back to the house
and gently took me by my shoulders
and told me to never,
never
touch you when you were asleep,

and I never asked you why.

(11/11/2010)