This poem is from Volume 3 of Songs and Letters and was written in 2005. There are twenty-four volumes in all. Back then, I did my writing at an old kitchen table from my childhood home. Our youngest son has it now. Since 2009, I’ve been using my mother’s old desk. If I remember correctly, she bought it from a retired school teacher who lived in the next town, about […]
Tag Archive for ‘Words’
I’ve been at it so long, I suppose it’s inevitable that often, when I sit down to work, I’m reminded of other things I’ve written. I’ve covered a lot of ground — not always well, certainly, but the old lines and images keep surfacing and reappearing, and it’s not unusual for them to arrive in the form of a lesson. One of the greatest of these lessons is, Don’t be […]
I’ve often wondered where drawn lines end and poems begin. Some will say poems must be made of words. Strictly speaking, that’s true. But I’ve lived long enough to know, I’m made of words too. And when you read between the lines, I read you. Of the photographic self-portraits I attempted several years ago, Roads, I think, is one interesting example. The image first appeared in Recently Banned Literature in 2011 and […]
Written very early in the dark on a Wednesday morning, the following lines seem more suitable for a Sunday — with the quiet half-understanding, of course, that there is really, and has only ever been, one day, and that that day has no need of a name. What happens is this: I hitch a ride, and for a while it carries me down the road. I smile when the driver […]
All these many years later, I no longer ask myself if I’m worthy, or if my poems are good. I ask, Is my life a labor of love? Then I shake my head and laugh. And then I sleep, and then I work. So goes this essay in the dark. So goes my funny little life. So it goes, even without words. What Will I Give You? Trouble, mostly. […]
One thing I love about this poem now, twenty years after it was written, is that it goes forth without a bit of armor — with scarcely a veil, in fact. It lives in sixteen simple everyday words, with no need for pride or courage or anything else to hide behind. Reading it is almost like passing through a tiny town you didn’t know was there. Once upon a time, […]
Every day, I notice how worn our broom has become. I suppose it might take a little longer to sweep the same space, I really don’t know. And when I finish, and the walk and steps are clean, I might be a little older than I would have been had I been using a new broom. Or I might be a little younger. Time, if it exists, is such a […]
Empty barns, dry grass by the door. A house once here, Not here anymore. And yet pigeons are old poems, of that I am sure. Pigeons, and grave stones, where once there were words. Who knows the dreams that lie here buried? About a mile down the road from the house where I grew up, there is a little cemetery situated on a corner knoll where the soil is […]
In the brevity of my long experience — reading, writing, breathing, thinking — smoke is one of those magical words that is almost impossible to distinguish from the thing it represents. Like the sting of my youth and the gentle gathering of age, it finds its way everywhere, as color, in scent, in memory. And what I can’t quite fathom on the page because of it, I know the more […]
Yesterday we had the good fortune of visiting the Grove of the Patriarchs
in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. Ancient red cedars and firs.
It was ninety-five degrees. Their bark was cool to the touch.
Old people there, and infirm. Little children with wide eyes and walking sticks.
The crossing of a suspension bridge one or two at a time.
A woman with a cane, a man with a long white beard.
Both were dusty, sweating, and smiling.
The Grove of the Patriarchs. The Grove of the Matriarchs.
Words. Names. Do we really need them, with so much patience around?