Saturday, November 16, 2019

How I Know Oregon is Home


I know this is home when I see
my soul writ large in the silver nitrate sky
autumn leaf confetti on a wet sidewalk
a collage of flame and gold
sprinkled with droplet worlds

I know this is home when I hear
the forest breathing in the Easter dawn
the sweeping cataract’s roar 
the bird-trill in spring and crow-caw in fall
and God’s hushed presence in the heart of the forest

I know this is home when I feel
rain’s mist on my cheeks
brisk air on November’s eve
my well-watered soul taking root

I know this is home when I smell
  life in loam-fed moss
  renewal in decaying fir-trees
  a thousand-years of springtime in a mountain-born stream

I know this is home when I taste
  ions in the air
  the dark, steaming presence of coffee on a chill morning
  and friendship delivered in a pot of home-made soup




Sunday, November 10, 2019

If We Are the Disease

I visited earth's heart yesterday.
Her moss-covered arteries shimmered with golden leaf-lace.
An afternoon visit,
  hushed intimate moments splashed with humanity -
    laughing children, barking dogs,
    jogging women, strolling couples,
    a chattering family taking selfies
  in the strong, thick arms of an ancient, overturned root.

I rested my hand on the naked trunk
of a bark-stripped tree
scarred with initials and hearts.

I love you,
  I said to the wild world.
Do what you must.

If we are the disease, do what you must
to heal your battered soil-fed heart.
You are worth more than all of us.

One thousand years from now,
you will find a way
for the best of who we are
to live on in you.

It won't be
a selfie.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

What Birds Know

The birds know something we don't know -
a change in weather, a coming doom.
One hidden sound or secret move
and they swoop or fly or flock or dive.
They have their reasons. They won't say why.

The birds know something we don't know -
when to rise and when to gather,
when to feed, when to scatter,
when to mate, where to nest,
which flowers brim with nectar as the sun begins to set.

The birds know secrets they cannot share
or if they do, I don't understand.
I can't read their language of sacred dance
that pirouettes across the skies
with their bright duets and their song-laced cries.

My rhyming is useless, my meter mute.
I lay my heart open and welcome them in,
but human beings are dangerous kin.
The gap between species yawns too wide
and loneliness lives in its canyons.

All the same, I will study the birds,
sit in their presence and try to learn.
In the monastery of my garden,
I will study with the birds.
They know something that we don't.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Bloom Like the Wildflowers

Bloom like the wildflowers,
as if you had no choice.
This wreck of a world deserves
rampant beauty and cascading love
and desire that scorches the flagrant banners of cruelty.
When did we lock our hearts in cages?

Our true hungers hide in our minds' cages
building machines to devour wildflowers.
These are the fruits of a nation's cruelty.
Don't pretend that the subjects of tyrants have no choice.
Songbirds and honeybees can still feed on the remnants of love
and build the intricate homes that the earth deserves.

A bare floor and a cold cell is all that a man deserves
when he turns away from children sobbing in cages.
How can this stark wilderness grow love
when our  combat boots trample children and wildflowers?
Count the moments on your rosary. Each one is a choice,
a momentous leap, a tango between kindness and cruelty.

When a tiger devours its prey, is that cruelty?
Is animal instinct all that the soul deserves?
How can we call it instinct when we have the power of choice?
Even animals twist into insanity when they are kept in cages.
If we poison monsters and devils, will they vomit up wildflowers?
When they die, can their rot and decay fertilize acts of love?

These days, people sneer at the idea of love
and feed on glorious visions of cruelty.
The streets teem with hatred and nobody hands out wildflowers.
The boiling ocean simmers  - the only soup our failure deserves,
made from the bones of sea-starved whales that become our cages
if we embrace despair and squander choice.

In a moonlit desert, pilgrims wander past the hope of choice,
searching the sands for wisdom, mistaking mirages for love.
This parched place needs no cages.
The landscape is its own cruelty,
a desolate and lonely shrine that no supplicant deserves,
a holy land too harsh for wildflowers.

One day fields and forests may overwhelm our barren cruelty.
The earth's great dance of existence deserves
nothing less than the partner of its choice.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Edges Dipped in Sunlight

I am in love
with the edges of growing things
dipped in morning sunlight

the post-dawn slow unveiling of translucence
on round and burnished leaves
or faintly feathered grasses
or gilded dots of nectar-heavy blossoms
awaiting the pollinating pilgrims
who briefly sojourn here
to make their morning devotionals
with me

The simple glory
of this light-kissed verdant place
can resurrect my fallen heart.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Haikus in a Summer Garden

Shadow of a crow
glides across my garden
mirroring the clouds.

The morning sun burns,
soaking my neck and shoulders
With noon’s misplaced heat.

Persistent breezes
tickle lilacs, whispering
Remember my kiss.

Blue heavens open,
welcoming hummingbirds. Trees
murmur soulful odes.

Peace in the corners,
like tender shoots in springtime,
grows only with care.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Trees Said "Yes"

        1

Walk with me, 
the shadows said.

And the trees said
Yes.

Watch with me,
begged the dark, cloud-marbled sky,
until the night is weary 
and dew beckons 
like honey-drops from the lancing thorns,
and the church-bells ring through the chill air
and the dawn lashes me with stripes of gold.

Watch with me.
Walk with me.
Listen.

And the trees said 
Yes.


        2

Were you listening when
the trees said 
Yes

and
the sky said 
please

and 
every singing bird 
fell silent?

Were you speaking when
the earth groaned

and
the fish burned

and
our frozen past
melted?

Were we weeping when
we drank ashes

and
swam in sand

and
the jungles collapsed beneath our weight?