Transition

Standard

The generals line-up, war-plans
in withered hands, ready to strike
the children.

But do not fear this transition!
For above the black clouds, know that He lingers,
Ready to strike!

Then will the blind see and the deaf hear.
Then will we leap for joy
As the mute break forth
In song!

Isaiah 35: 1-6A – 10.

(10 Dec 2016)

Winter Tree

Standard

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)

Changes

Standard

Bird song rises
in pure, liquid waves

as golden leaves
arc, twisting
to the ground.

Heavy gold
must fall.

October heat
will give way
to winter rain.

Yet inevitably life flows
like the breeze
rising from the broad sea
to the high Sierra;

grey clouds rise
and heavy snow falls.

All living waters
give praise.

She sits in the old, red chair

Standard

She sits in the old, red chair
feet up, the red crush of the ottoman
giving rest to tired ankles.

At ninety-nine, her face is lined
and thin, cheekbones jut beneath
piercing young eyes, as hands,
thin, pale skin barely concealing
vein and bone, lie in repose in her lap

as we talk, remembering all the days
and find her mind a crystal stream
vibrant, alive with a life of love

filled with places past
and people gone.

Deep in Grey

Standard

Deep in grey
we wait
as black night drops
suddenly
and completely.

At the end of our day,
hope is measured
one careful procedure
at a time.

Night is not kind in winter.

Too early It comes,
and stays too long,

brings fear,
red eyes and stinging tears.

lit by red numbers
night measures our lives
one pulse at a time,
in dim blue bars
gleaming in the distant ceiling.

Clasping hands
In the fading day’s light
we wait
for one more

morning.

(28 Oct 2010)

Three Poems for My Father

Standard

i

When I last saw you
Your hands were clenched
With a rage foreign to your voice
And you were rushing inward
Away from the moon, beyond the glowing
night
Of my grief.

Yet on my way home
I saw the moon rise.

Where have you gone, then, If not
to that land behind the moon?

ii
In the emptiness above the earth
In the terrific clashing of jet with atmosphere

I heard your new voice
I saw your new hands

Tearing at the cold, hurtling steel,
Casting off silk shroud

For dark soil
And even darker rivers.

iii
If stars loom too large
Is not my window too small?

(11/24/1980)