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Blinded by the Light

 

With a vengeance,
the storm stomped in
serious
sudden
obliterating
sage
slamming
roofs
riotous
little
tornadoes
furious
blinding
muting
even
the ardent coyotes
and grounding
all but
the most determined
geese,
ever so
late in escaping.

Over the days
the sun
never
lifted
its fiery
eyes
in our direction,
not one
stray
visible ray.
We watched
as snow enveloped
our scape
burdening
pines
devouring
roads
molding rifts
which hid
many inches
growing
hourly.

The dog
bounded
up to her
haunches
ice clinging
to her soft
underbelly
as if this
were
a minor
bother,
an insignificant
requirement
of her daily routine:
dotting
the landscape
with small
brown gifts
soon to be
obliterated
cleared
made unseen,
as if their stain
were too much
shame
for this virginal
landscape.

Once winter
was done
with its strong
prologue:
days in,
fire
burst behind
the mountains
to the south:
morning sun
defiant
in its radiance
re claimed
its long
lean meadow
with golden
touch,
with fervent
amorous
kisses
crystal
light
reflecting
in every direction
glistening
blinding:
diamonds
everywhere.

We were all
reverent
in silent
and grateful admiration,
except for the snowman
on the porch
who lost a charcoal
eye,
not at all delighted
to be blinded
by the light.

Up on the Mountain

 

Today a blanket
of deepest white
wraps
us
in winter silence:
the two of us
falling into
a luscious
stupor
of delight
childlike
in our abandon
smiling
too broad
too long
at the joy
of this frozen
embrace,
each step,
proof of life,
like the few
paw prints
scattered
in the deepest snow,
indistinct
too few
to know
for sure
what scampered
and hid
in the night’s long
freeze
looking for comfort.

This world is
turned to stillness
as the last
of the geese
escape
below the storm
clouds,
calling
announcing
declaring
“leave, or
stay at your own peril…”

But we stayed,
grateful
for warmth
and comfort
spooning
soup
with sweet bread:
its savory
scent
waking us
finally
to another
blessed
and
long day
where we linger
staring out the window
amazed
at the river
of snow
were once
was prairie.

But soon
night will set
early
and under
a full moon
our scape
will glisten
reflecting
back to the sky
an icy kiss
and in bed
I will listen
so see if
the undisclosed
owners
of tiny prints
have found
respite
in my kitchen…..

 

The Last Best Place

From this vantage point:
7,000 feet high
I can see the depth
of the Madison valley
gigantic in its scope
yet so small:
in my heart
hidden
held
honored:
a well wrought
crystal
that shines
through all
and any darkness,
this cherished love
nurtured in
dreams
tears
and endless walks,
where the sage
sings
its ritual chants
in sync
with my years,
harmonies
my heart
replays
to soothe the harshest days
of this all too real
world,
blessed am I
to hear your
tender
soothing notes
even as snow
begins to drown
all but the hardiest..
Here
there
a ponderosa,
its pine cones
still cling
to its highest branches,
knowing perhaps
they missed their mark.
Spring,
summer have come and gone,
now
the night falls silent
but for the
lone echo
of marauding
coyotes,
celebrating
these last
November nights
knowing
all too well
stars
will shine like
confetti
in the winter sky
and hunting
will get leaner
and leaner.

The days shorten:
birds are gone
all but the willy raven
who perches
on our highest beam
to peruse
his dominion
cackling
on cue
at sunrise,
knowing
only I will stir
from my warm bed
to laugh
at our shared
joke:
for now,
we love
this last best place,
just for now,
we bow before
its glory
hear its song
and hold our
spells
and potions
close
as thieves
in the night,
hope is our
guide
anger our sword,
we will not
bow down
without a fight
to the minions
of “progress,”
to the army
of asphalt
and greed
who
plunder in the name
of no one but
themselves.
This land
has its own
secret weapons
lest ye be warned,
its harshness
has worn many down
leaving them
wind swept
hungry
ravaged by bitter
relentless cold,
their minds
lost to long
lonely
nights:
listen to
their cries
in the winter wind.
They have left their mark,
and will not be forsaken.
Take heed,
the gravest cold
is yet not upon us
the darkest night
has yet to come,
and I for one
will fight
with a raven at my side
and well worn crystal
in my heart.

dedicated to the Madison valley – may the developers keep their grubby hands off of you

Gratitude

First things first,
breath
move
forward
in every way:
momentum
letting old
useless
fears
fall
deep into
an ochre colored
sunset,
step
thru sage
knee high grass
over fallen logs
past amber aspen
just a prism
gathering scent
into shadow
or sun
not too fast
each step
the first
perhaps
the last
swaying
dancing
along
happy
for the ride,
and the gift
of another day.

 

Return of My Tribe

With my pup gone,
I feel the need
for wild things:
yearning
to gather
my feathered
and furry
wards:
gone for a month
they’ve
found more reliable
care givers,
but I know
their cherished
wiles and treats.
Filling the feeder,
I wait like
a hawk
for any stirring
or rustle,
knowing
the brave nuthatch
will soon wander in:
first to find the seed,
soon followed
by goldfinches, juncos
and purple finches.

Every afternoon
the tribe grows
and life blooms
at my window,
with color
and song.
But my furry
waifs
are slow to appear,
I court them
with plump walnuts
and sunflower seed,
trying to compete
with summer’s cornucopia
of berries.
Over several chilly mornings
I see them begin to
scour the fence
for gifts
stopping to delicately
turn the nuts
in their young paws
and take small bites
with their baby teeth.
I recognize my brood,
their mother is gone
as of this winter,
but they carry her distinctive
red splotch over
their snub nuzzle.
She was the queen
of bird feeder robbery,
hanging over the caging
by her legs
and scooping seed
with her paw
guzzling it down
meticulous
in her aim.
She did this in lean times:
long cold springs
when I could see
by her weary nipples
she had a nest full
of hungry babes:
these are her legacy
and I acknowledge
her 10 year fecundity.

And then there are
the crows:
knowing me full well,
and how obedient I am,
they caw in the early light,
as if to remind me
they await their
bread, rice, nuts, cookies
and most cherished of all –
chips.
They swoop over the porch
landing on the chestnut tree
out front
like an army
of scolding
cackling
gossiping
busy body
witches:
heads bobbing
up and down,
as if to critique
my offerings:
but here nonetheless.

Soon winter will descend
and in the river of rain
we will tighten
our circle even more,
routines perfected
and bellies full.
I am the keeper
of this dell
in the heart of the city.

Sailor’s Song

 

This afternoon
when the sun finally
warmed my shoulders
I remembered how
soft your spine
felt curled against
my back
in the early am
warmer than this
better
because
we breathed
as one
in a rhythm
that felt
like love
like life
like the years
long
and
tender
as we sail
quietly
into our twilight.

For my Boy – Seamus

 

Castles
craggy cliffs
surging waterfalls
emerald meadows
winding roads
majestic mountains
glowing waters
secret hot springs
hobbit homes
ewes atop islands
wee cows grazing
in the highlands
steeples
castles
moors
bridges
cobble streets
crashing waves
sunlit cairns
ancient moss
volcanic rock
sea wind
ferry’s crossing
crescent moon
over valleys
sad bellows
of bagpipes
singing
a farewell song
for you
my well named
Irish lad.
All these
I gathered for your
passing:
a bouquet of love
constant
and
as trusting
as your gentle soul.
I whispered
an Irish ditty
our last night in Dublin
and we celebrated
you at Molloy’s
with a pint of Guiness.
You have lived
a good life
and now here
home
in this empty house
we hold
your gentle spirit
closer than ever.

 

There is nothing like
a dog’s paws:
such utilitarian appendages ,
but so unique:
like our fingerprints,
magical digits
each carrying stories
of the many paths
they’ve meandered,
“odour de la vie”
scent of
lavender
winter mud
spring rain
summer grass
sage hills
elk musk
best of all
clear cool rivers.

They tell it all
now
outstretched
from your listless body,
but how often in life,
did they carry you
on our great adventures:
hiking to our hidden
valley
wildflowers blooming
in strong mountain sun,
or down city streets
so rich in scents
where lifting a leg
was never enough,
paws digging to leave
their own unique scent
seducing the next leashed
fur toting bandit
to do the same.

Your prints are embedded
in three distinct homes –
less no one forget
you where and are loved.
A well traveled mutt,
In 13 years
you proved a Southern boy
can get lucky
enough to sail
and roam as many
as 20 states.
Unruly
gawky
stubborn
untrainable
chow hound
loving fool,
puppy who
healed my heart
from loss
only for me to
feel it all again:
you were so much more
than a” best friend.”

Before today,
I grieved for
all your slow loses
hearing
sight
your rear legs
wobbling half your strength,
I felt them with you
the slow decline,
tired eyes
fading toward
the light
sleeping
slipping
away from me
turning
toward a different adventure
where I was not welcome,
a walk without me
this one
not to the river,
but away from it:
time to rest
curl up in the earth
and sleep…

I remember holding
those paws
running my fingers
along the rough
coarse pads
and gently wafting
in their scent
so sweet
and musky,
how you would
gently stretch
out and turn
your underbelly
for me to rub
knowing
you were
all sweetness
and trust.

To the end
trust
to walk into
your last walk,
may it be filled
with morsels
of stinky meat
musty cheese
year old hidden bones
stale chips,
and the many hounds
you lusted after,
may it be joyous
like prancing
in high grass,
jumping to scare
field mice
and chasing deer
the wind behind
your sails
flying
into the twilight sky.
Fly
free
my doggie sailor.

Birth is the ultimate
creativity
a gift rendered
by forethought
and grace,
yet, not always:
what of sisters
tender,
too young
to chose –
gifted
nonetheless:
wrong way
wrong place
wrong time –
an unwelcome
frightening
gift,
or women
heavy with
the load
of life
bravely
tending
caring
for their sweet brood,
but enough:
where one more
fruit would
fell the tree.

What is unwelcome
is a sad gift,
not to be treasured
or nurtured,
soon to be discarded
fallen by the way side
like so much rotted fruit.
The streets are full
of these lost souls,
unloved
scarred
forgotten
roaming
aimlessly
in their pain.

Mothers
become such
in conscious
choice
not through fear,
intimidation
or mandates.
Their hearts
sing the song
of their unborn
and only they can hear it.
May it always be so…..

On this the eve of the Supreme Court decision on Roe Vs Wade

Cherry Blossoms

Time cures all sorrow
is a blatant lie:
hiding
in the deepest creases
of our hearts
it pulsates
loudly
coloring
this fragrant
spring day
with a quiet
grayness,
a flat
dim sense
of longing
for who
once was
and now
is gone.
Like the pink
carpet
of fallen blossoms:
a whole
vibrant tree
reduced
to tiny fragments:
a sheer
and sticky
residue
fragrant
clinging
to my shoes,
and yet
some petals
still
fall soft
adorning
my tussled hair
like the lightest
touch,
or better yet,
a distant kiss.