of wirebrush on wood
smoothing the grain between my eyes
(be still cascading waters jumping
trout-song allow my heart ease
lovely image from the dream smiling invitation leave me
a moment in silence for completion...)
on the Kern River (in days before
uranium hunter's lust
made mud of flowing life between the rocks)
it was like this -
then i knew in a different way
as children know falling
on a hot afternoon to taste stolen figs
and do not crowd
the summer air with questions....
birdsong does not stretch me
through trees to find the singer
awake & sleeping at once
nesting here where i sit
StoneHouse, Big Sur
An old lion with no teeth
sits quietly at the mouth of his cave.
His memories are neither good nor bad, merely images.
The mind is not as soft as the body
and old songs are more than nostalgia
to the heart still open and beating like a spirit drum.
The old ones may look funny to you
and there is much more that is to be done;
but you will not find the trail in your dreams, or alone.
Our time is not simply over, you know.
It is burned into Mother Earth, leaving a trail for you to follow,
and all her creatures are waiting to follow you.
All your ancestors look into your time
demanding your eventual growth into maturity.
We can leave as legacy only everything we could not do.
The only acceptable payment for the gift of Life
is to live it fully - to say yes, and to mean it.
We leave you here with simple blessings and an awesome duty.
(4 June, 1995)
Poem For Fred
It is the 96th
anniversary of your birth
and I naturally want to write about grace -
grace being, not becoming.
You came to demonstrate,
not with words
but with a fluid body,
how gifts were meant to be given.
It is no longer
a matter of confusion to me
that my teacher had me sit and watch your old movies
for so long - I still do it.
I learned about
movement from seeing your dance.
Muscles dissolved into shape
and I tasted finally the sound of Spirit Drums.
was your native tongue,
the stories you told perennial, effortless.
I tell the ones I can remember, now you have retired,
as well as I am able.
...But today I
mainly miss the king.
10 May, 1995
in a favorite restaurant
in Place Pie
digesting a lunch I would not afford
in my own country
watching people pass
a mustard seed
floats in on soft
of fibre inviting
me to dance and my hand
begins a new relationship.
I am caught up
in summer fantasy
by the waitress returning
to end the dance.
and autumn passes quickly
for my dancing partner
there is no soil
no nourishment inside the room.
For this small
Death to enter
may be a poor partner
Avignon - Summer,