Even at the time, I felt I was living in a dream. My mother was eighty-three, and well on her way to being consumed by Alzheimer’s Disease. Our youngest son and child was eighteen, and beginning his self-guided exploration of music. In the middle of the night, it was common to hear him playing his guitar and singing. Tired as I was, I never once wished he would stop; indeed, […]
December is a wise old month — somewhat bitter in disposition, perhaps, but not without good reason, as so much of death is entrusted to its care. Its pride is earned, its beauty is often harsh, its lessons are many. What December Said to January Let the record show I did not go willingly. Nor am I impressed by the ruse you call “The First,” which you use to […]
My mother writing Christmas cards, late into the night. The darkest time. The greatest light. December 6, 2019 A Thimbleful of Ash If you don’t eat your supper, Santa won’t visit us tonight. All the cookies will go to waste, the cards, the toys, the bows. A fire in the fireplace. The front door left unlocked. Somehow, Santa knows. On the porch, a stack of wood. Long lives, a […]
Winter Poems. It’s a slender volume, and its design is somewhat crude. But what does it matter now? Did it matter then? No. It was a joy to behold, and to see in my mother’s hands. Now I find it on her shelf, between Harper Lee and The Grapes of Wrath. Life is like that. So is death. All is good. Nothing blooms by half. So Begins December There’s […]
Writing poetry all night. Some call it dream. Some call it sleep. In the morning the paper is blank. Snow has covered the ink. The graves. The hollow reeds. The bird tracks. Then you wake. Wolves I sweep the floor, but not beneath your feet. Your brow defends the shadow fallen there. Frail sun leaves ice unscathed and windows cold. Another winter just begun, bolder than the last. Remembered […]
Raking through the remains of mushrooms, their quiet cities dissolved of themselves, By tine-stroke their gray-purple thoughts entering the atmosphere in clouds, Scattering their soft lumps and particles, promoting their culture and furthering their aims, I am the ghost of the day; see me through your window in the soft yellow light of late afternoon; Tap on the glass and I will look your way — yes, like that — […]
Now we’re older;
some of us have died.
I see the vineyard in my mind:
the brush is tangled, leafless, waiting.
Songs and Letters, February 4, 2007
Winter Poems, Cosmopsis Books, 2007
[ 283 ]
There’s an abiding sense that this work will occupy me for the rest of my life, and I can’t help but smile at the meaningful, meaningless, childish pleasure it brings. But there’s no urgency in knowing the process can be interrupted or ended at any moment. What could be more beautiful and natural than a man struck down mid-sentence in a state of dream and delight, or realizing his life […]
Apples, persimmons, and a silent bamboo wind chime, between your mind and mine. And oranges, you reply in kind. And it takes time, we find, to peel December. So Much Like Now When you find this grave in the ragged ground, remember me to Winter. So much like now, it was cold the day I died: cold when a carriage rattled by, cold in bright Missouri, cold in Kansas […]
Before committing these poems and pieces to cyberspace, I go over them again and again, aloud, listening for meaning, listening for ease, listening for rhythm, listening for music, listening for truth. When in my limited capacity I hear them, I open the cage and set the entries free. Some fly off right away. Others stay here in my room, roosting on the bookshelves, or gazing out the window at the […]