Tuesday, February 14, 2017

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, 2017

Rivulet Eroding Old Road

For Sylvia

The storms have knocked down many trees.
A spate of rain water digs a deeper chasm
In the old road. Fresh grass flourishes
In the ancient trails, the first fiddleneck

Unfurling near house pits. A newt plods
By a mortar brimming with rain water
And plops into the swollen creek,
The pounding stone under a fallen oak.

Newt next to Mortar in Pounding Stone

Suddenly I see a whole tribe of newts
In the shallows, some of them looking up
At me.  They seem to shout: We are back—
The world is fresh again. You are free

Of history. Whatever ill you have done
Out of fear or in the name of love
Is utterly forgotten. Go, cleanse
Yourself every moment in the world.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

HOW MANY HAVE SEEN YOU

for Sylvia



How many buildings have seen you
the way I've seen you? Do palaces view
your golden crown? Do churches
behold the glittering diamond

above your head? Do skyscrapers
know your ladder to the eternal? Have
observatories observed your sun? Do
studios capture the rainbow flowers
of your aura, the soft pink
of your heart? Do stores order
your golden cups and plates
or your pure white tablecloths?

Do doctors' offices examine
your golden caduceus or the light
of your sword? Have any
work spaces ever noticed

your golden, equal-armed cross
or the golden threads of your voice?
Have any, any at all, glimpsed
your eye that somehow sees me?

Monday, November 21, 2016

THE MAGIC WINDOW

For Sylvia


We've spent thirty years together gazing
through our windows. Before it's too late, I
want us to peek into a deep pool bordered
by fairy lanterns, walley baskets, larkspur,

and Chinese houses, where a snake glides,
eyes above water, and frogs, face-down, cling
to stone, where orioles and tanagers flash
through branches, where a deer peers at us

from behind ferns and a wildcat crouches
in grass near an outcropping of rock. Perhaps
a golden palace looms on some far-off cliff,
but the treasure we want abides in this window:

Path 12

a golden, equal-armed cross; golden cups
and plates on a brilliant, white tablecloth;
an invisible sun rising through a lemniscate;
a glittering diamond rooted in the depths.

This window remains too deep to fathom.
In some windows we have witnessed strife
and sickness, tawdriness and horror, reflections
and extinctions, yet in this pool, our souls,

with birds and massive trees and rocks, rise
into exaltations of the sun. If some day
I am gone, seemingly nowhere to be found,
remember, I will be there, waiting for you.






Tuesday, November 15, 2016

TREASURES IN THE TREE

Ithuriel's Spears, Fiesta Flowers, Fiddleneck



The day had come to say goodbye,
the rooms gathering their endings,
eyelids closed near worn-out paths,
my body a discordant, ravaged hive.

When I closed my eyes, buildings
emptied themselves of me, decades
of webs cleared in a moment. Free,
I found a path near a looming tree.

Leaving my knife on the shore, I
stepped on slippery, unstable stones
and plunged into a river. Pulled toward
its strongest current, I knew no lifeguard

nor doctor could save me, so I drifted,
still as a Buddha, free of thought, toward
slow currents in the crust of oblivion,
toward threads of the soil, tangled

Fiesta Flowers, Chinese Purple Houses

in light, in a flowing tapestry
of petals and tongues and wings,
my body tumbling and rising
to a simple mantra of creation:

Let go, let go, only know the sun—
In the void a great tree sighing
that I was climbing, like a child,
away from toil and destinations,

a tree with watery roots and branches
in a sky of water, a sea with stampeding
herds and creatures glowing in blackness,
each following their own paths.

Immobile, in a sunken bank
without currency, I could see
treasures that no one else
could see, a golden pentacle,

an equal-armed cross, a lemniscate,
a golden plate and chalice on a pure,
white tablecloth. In a deeper cavern,
I glimpsed the sun at midnight. 

Wind Poppies

In the deepest recesses, I drained
all darkness in myself away
and peered into—then out of—
a diamond, the jewel in the lotus.

I wanted to show all eternal children
these wonders that cannot be touched,
but I was anchored, alone in the sea.
In the last vision, far below mouths

opening and closing on the flowing
surface of the water, I could see
threads everywhere dissolving.
Not knowing if I was disintegrating

or approaching unity in a blazing light
of negative existence, I opened
my eyes, still breathing,
my hands together, my legs stiff,

returning to an incurable illness
in a failing body, knowing light
in the earth, light in each cell, light
in the deepest roots of the mind.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

THE FOUNDATION


Foundation of House near Kings River

For Sylvia


Some places have the significance of a dream
that surfaces again after many decades,
like the foundation of the house in the flood plain
of the Kings River. Oaks have grown where the floor

used to be, and brambles, on one side, have conquered
the concrete broken up by roots. When I was twelve, I chased
my brother through oaks and pines beyond a sandy beach
where our father was fishing and discovered

the foundation of the mansion next to the river. After I
inched like a tight-rope walker on the unbroken concrete
of the foundation, leaping across spaces where doors
had once stood, I stopped in front of broken, tilted chunks,

disappointed that I could go no further. My brother
dashed away, ditching me again, but I remained,
alone, confused and fascinated. Suddenly
I heard a male voice state that I would be back

Foundation Broken Up by Roots

in thirty-five years. I couldn't tell if the voice
was in my head or if it came from somewhere
nearby. I searched, but I couldn't see anyone.
The voice terrified me, but like so much in childhood,

I eventually forgot about it. Thirty-five years later,
I was driving on the narrow road along the Kings River
and happened to look down at the exact moment
when the foundation was visible through the trees

in the floodplain below; if I had looked down a second 
before or after, I would have missed it. I pulled the car over
and hiked down to the foundation, retracing my steps
along the low concrete wall. When I reached

the broken concrete, I waited to hear the voice
again. Why had I come back? Nothing. What
has survived the past thirty-five years
is my love for you and our children,

the oaks towering over the foundation,
the brambles still flowing
over the broken concrete.



Saturday, May 28, 2016

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, 2016



Wind Poppies, Chinese Houses
For Sylvia

Once I didn't know the blade of grass
is linked forever to the stars. I clung
to a story about crippling isolation
and misery. I have a new story

of light at the heart
of cells, light beyond the farthest
reaches of space. We
have stood together

every day in that light:
Because of you I know the light
at the heart of uncountable
atoms in a vast tapestry,

the two of us in our humble home
like atoms linked
to other atoms trillions
of light years away.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

FOR SYLVIA

Wind Poppies, Red Clover, Chinese Houses



You are mother to all
The flowers and stars
Within our children, to all
Their oceans and skies.
Your love is like the light
Within their children's eyes.