Saturday, September 8, 2012

First breath of fall
Came into my town today
Fresh and effervescent air
Like champagne tickling my skin
It tossed the trees
Outside my window at dawn
Calling me down to the canyon
Where the north-turning breeze
Was rattling the dry sycamore leaves
We hastened down the trail
Then turned off the close green way
And down into the creek bed
Where the open air flowed
Above dry white rocks
And we could see
Mockingbirds, cardinals, and doves
Eating seeds in the creek bed
They fluttered up as the dogs loped in
And the air was punctuated
With winged creatures
All of whom seemed to know
A change is coming
I saw a marvelous swallowtail butterfly
Huge, yellow striped wings
Purplish twin tails
His wings beat with slow deliberation
Resting on a leafy perch
How long will you survive
Once the real cold comes?
The beautiful ephemera
All the more prized for the fragility
Of their short hours
Look now and see them well
Late summer flowers
Faces turned to the sky
It was a big year on Barton Creek
For Triodanis perfiolata, Venus' Looking Glass
And everywhere their five-pointed flowers
Lined the trail in splendor
And the beauty berries hung heavy with red fruit
Soaking up energy
From a waning sun
That won't let go
It will yet burn the days
For fall comes to Texas in fits and starts
Hot and cold
Until the first real norther
Blows in with chill violence
And true autumn comes at last

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Young days
Nascent birth of a new year
We mark time with candles burning
Inside the man
Lives the child
Never much older
Play of light on inner walls
A laugh sounds across the years
Smile on a mother's face
Puppet hands dancing on the seat back
Three children in the back seat watching
Laughing to pass the long miles
Dry lands sweeping by
Sleep comes softly in a rumbling blur
And now, grown to middle years
The western lands still beckon
But now places of vast power and mystery
Precious water flowing in channels and springs
Across the great sere plain
The pull of the West
Not empty
But full of promise
Promise of finding
Somewhere in the many miles
Not to claim and hold
But only to truly see
To suck the sweet marrow
To cry with joy under the burning stars
And now the years have turned again
And the look back seems like the look forward
A circle spinning
The snake biting its tail
Past and present blend
In a gestalt of emotion
That is my life
This is it
Right now
It is what happens every day
It is the faces I know so well
It is the people, and the places
Thank all the saints
I love it so
I am grateful
I have lived well
I want more

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The sky fell
In a wet spring
And the creek roared
With clear rainwater
Sluicing down the many ways
Dancing over the rocks
And the rain came on
Into May, when the heat first rose
On into June
And the creek still ran
Down in the canyon
Below the thundering cars
Clear rainwater
Filling the cracks and fissures
Priming the springs
People in kayaks and tubes
People just swimming and floating in the stream
Braving the rocky run
Tumbling over the waterfalls
Small but violent with strong waters
I saw one group of young men in tubes
Laughing and wild
Towing an ice chest
Surely full of beer
They tumbled over cherry falls
The last man, the one with the chest in tow
Capsized in a foaming explosion
At the base of the falls
But he came up laughing still
Righted his craft, secured the cargo
And floated on to join his fellows
July came, Texas heat searing the land
And the creek still flowed
Buoyed by rainy days, here and there
Finally, in the dead heat of August
The rain stopped, and the creek died
We walked by dwindling pools
The last water holes
And in every one
(Five we counted in a row)
A snake swam
After the fish and water creatures
Trapped in the drying pools
The long reptiles hunted
Carefully we skirted the edges of pools
Watching the snakes swim
Marveling at all of it
At last, the creek dried to nothing
White rocks like bones showing
Dead for a time
Yet full of the promise of life
In the mud and under the stones
Sleeping, surviving in the heat
Ready to live again
When the first cold fronts of fall
Bring rain to the canyon once more

Sunday, July 4, 2010

To sleep
Descending softly
In floating footfalls
Drifting down
A green hill in spring
To a far valley
Visible as the quiet sum of wonder and desire
The outer world recedes
Clamoring war of urgent banality
Of imagined lack and ferocious scheduling
All fading, for a time
At first still audible
And real around the edges
But increasingly irrelevant
Against the siren pull
The seductive wondrous slide
As the body lets go
As the mind enfolds
Into the vale of sleep
Where a light breeze ruffles the sycamore leaves
With a sussurating static of soothing white noise
Where we never leave the womb
And the universe exhales
Transpiring the warm, wet stuff of dreams
Outer world now far behind
Darkness falling like a gray blanket
Over everything
Warm, soft, a shield and a comfort
And at last, in the quiet dark
Night now fallen across the vale
All withdrawn and seeming dead
The dark is punctuated by sudden sparks
Hardly remembered, the mind's trick
Each a galaxy in a sand grain
What transpires in the vale at night?
Only a sudden waking can sometimes tell
And cobwebs of drenched emotion tear asunder
As we emerge
Radiant thorns piercing through to the waking world
Half-remembered, so quickly receding
Back to the vale
A mirror life
Of chaos beneath the soft blanket
Gone now, fading, ephemeral
Even those who quickly scribble a few lines
Can never recall the full power and scope
Of the infinite majesty, joy, danger, and fear
That we all carry on our daily rounds

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our lives are defined by apparitions
Of shared assumption
My name
Fortress to contain my self
Built of thin gossamer
Yet imbued with power
Without names (could we even imagine it?)
Would we run free in new pastures
Like infants, or wild beasts
Knowing the entire world, always
The gestalt of now, created each moment
No individuals, only the herd, and the world
The sky and grass and singing wind
Eternal, ommipresent, exultant
And what of minutes and hours
Days, weeks, months
Demarcations of time
Parceling each piece of life
Fabrications all, mental constructs
Tyrant ghosts with solidity and purpose
That we have given them
To these we abdicate our lives
Soon with no concious consideration
Running like background programs set long ago
Forgotten, yet underlying all
They command the days
Sun rising is marked and measured
Today is only a place to see tomorrow
Could we ever truly forsake these now
To live fully in each moment
Alert to what is happening now
Right now
We walk like ghosts
Past towering constructs
Shadows of our thoughts
They hulk on every horizon
Naming the universe

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I took a razor blade
To cut away the strangling root
I thought was snaking up around my family tree
It was hard
I don’t like cutting
But I steeled myself
I was afraid: afraid to act, afraid not to act
It was not done thoughtlessly
But it was desperate
I cut the root
And the bleeding started
The blood flowed out
Pain and anguish and sullen grief
There was so much
I could not see, until later
It was not a root
It was an artery
I had cut the tie that binds

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The house of my spirit has many rooms
I can move through all of them
Some neat and spare
Some cluttered with delicate art
In some the psychic detritus of latent dreams
Courage is needed
To venture into the labyrinthine dark
Of nether spaces
Haunted by echoes of lament
Of fear
Of failure remembered, over and over
Of self-doubt, and self-hate, and self-persecution
Descending in slime and dark to places where hope dies
Yet other ways call to me
With brilliant power
The lofty rooms
Citadels of love
To walk like giants
To be as gods
To grasp and hold
No, to channel and feel
The living song of the universe
Of what it means to be alive
To replace the whispers of defeat
With affirmations of achievement
To choose joy, yet to own and understand the suffering
To be complete, as much as possible
It is all affirmation
It is the power of the word
It is the will for deeds to follow
It is understanding the power to choose
The house of my spirit has many rooms
Infinite numbers of ways
To seek them all
Is the road I long to choose