Snow on the lilac — my mother has already forgotten that day. Poems, Slightly Used, April 27, 2008 What Kind of Flower? A couple of days ago, I straightened up our woodpile, which isn’t really a woodpile, but a collection of trimmings too thick to recycle. There are some nice husky lengths of fig, a few pieces of fir and maple, a rhododendron stump harder than a rock and […]
Archive for April 2019
If I truly love the absence of pain, how can I not also love its presence? I am not above life and unique to choose. In this transient human disguise, I cannot even reliably, or consistently, distinguish between the two. Indeed, it might well be, and it might be well, that they are one. April 5, 2019 Coming of Age A light supper, a thunderstorm, and a sturdy hut. […]
During my San Joaquin Valley childhood, there were still a few boxcars used as homes, tucked away in odd corners on useless bits of land. Nestled in mounds of chickweed, with old blown tires and chickens in the yard, they seemed like seeds scattered by a giant’s hand, or fruit fallen from a tree in a homegrown fairy tale. Life inside could not have been comfortable, too cold in winter, […]
For weeds in tight spots, I use an old folding grape knife we brought from the farm. It was given to my father back in the Seventies as an expression of thanks by a man for letting him work for a short time to meet a few immediate bills. If I remember correctly, his employment lasted two or three days, and was ended not by my father, but by the […]
There is, for me, the feeling that they have always existed,
and have only been waiting for me to notice.
Their patience is a lesson in itself.
Knowing we may travel a time together,
and that they will likely outlive me, are things I love.
And so, if this is drawing, it’s from a deep, hidden well.
A reservoir of dreams. The fragility of health.
[ 340 ]
A friendly neighbor out walking is glad to see us. After exchanging greetings, he reaches out as we pass, and almost touches my shoulder. Someday we might even know each other’s names, and then forget them when we’re older. And someday when it’s warmer, we will be colder. Oaks Remember Poppies Sunflower sprouting in a paw-print. A pot on the step by the door. Oaks remember poppies. We forget […]
They arrived almost immediately after I had awakened
from a surprisingly deep after-lunch sleep.
Or maybe they were already here,
and I am the one who arrived.
Or it might be all of us were away,
and fate arranged our simultaneous return.
March 31, 2019
[ 338 ]
The crocuses we planted near the sidewalk and which had their first bloom last spring, doubled, tripled, possibly even quadrupled this year. Like love, the bulbs are spreading, and in so doing, they are making their own fertile ground. Wobbles a squeaky old tricycle and a squeaky old man love is the child who gives him her hand [ 337 ]
The cherry blossom part of me flowers and falls.
The part that is a cloud stays awhile and goes.
That which is the earth is mud upon your shoes.
And now I am your cup, waiting to be filled.
Recently Banned Literature, March 22, 2017
[ 336 ]
Immersed as I have been in the humble, candid, beautifully written memoirs and letters of the great Civil War generals Grant and Sherman, it would be odd indeed if this old poem of mine did not come to mind. And then there is the biographical, historical masterwork by Carl Sandburg, the six-volume Abraham Lincoln, given us in two parts: the two-volume Prairie Years, and the four-volume War Years. Sandburg, born […]