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Archive for September, 2020

River Walk

When the days
begin to shorten
mountain sun
strongest
late
in the afternoon,
cloudless
air so still
one hears
grasshoppers
in the long
dry grass,
it’s time
to journey
down
to the river
where
breezes
round
boulders
lifting
waves
to lap
round
tired
hot feet
small pools
of clear
water
satiate
thirsty
dirty
dog
drinking
dipping
lapping
tail
a brown
thin rudder
weaving
bobbing
in riffles
while
geese
gather
plotting
their long
migration
saddened
to leave
this
rushing
generous
summer
home:
long gone
are sandhill cranes,
mallards
and buffleheads,
flying
to more
bountiful
midwestern lakes.
But the osprey
still
drifts
overhead
eyeing
river
pockets
for elusive
trout,
diving
with precision
many a time
for
the rare feed.

Here
we rest
shaded
under
cottonwood,
watching
the day
drift by
as
sunset
looms
toward
mountains
west
of us,
refreshed
we wander
home
past
a small
feeder
stream
where
baby trout
once
held
early in summer
now
deep
in the river
learning
the art
of ignoring
beautifully
crafted
flies
so to live
till next
season
all
the wiser.

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Slow
lazy morning
hoar-frost
new moon
tattooed
in gray sky
wet snow
cloaking
sage
translucent
shimmering
white
ready
for morning
waltz
with
northerlies,
clouds
too plump
and happy
to float
past
peaks
like
laying hens
sit
casting
shadows
on the valley.

The dog
stands
at the door
between
going
and
staying……

Inside
coffee aroma
pungent
sweet
announces
today
is a better day,
where
anything might
happen
on
our
ritual
morning
walk:
gifts
to be discovered
with
every step.

The change
in weather
doesn’t
disappoint
as the wind
shifts
sun finally
climbing
over
static clouds
warming
our necks,
the dog
stops
mid step
and
I hear
them:
10 elk
cows
with
calves
in tow
gently
single
file
meandering
toward
the gulley.
The dog
is off
as
they weave
down
like
a brown stream
toward
aspen
feeding
grounds.

Tonight
they will
sleep
under
the stars
and
new moon,
clumped
in a sweet
musky
circle of love,
dreaming
of summer grass
while the dog
grunts
with
tired
satisfaction
inside
and
warm.

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Strange Fruit…..

 

Today is the saddest of days
sad as the muted
hazy sunset
as the lone coyote
calling
past the ridge
not yipping –
humorous
light
chatter
but heavy notes
of longing:
descending
cello notes.
Slow drumming
northerly wind
tells
of winter.
Grasses
blow
dry,
now
few visitors
not even
light footed
antelope:
but always
bluebirds
circling the house
landing
on the porch
railing
reminding
me
of
one constant
irony
of life –
there is no joy
without
grief
no light
without
darkness.
No change
without
struggle
no laughter
without tears
no rain
without clouds:
we lumber forward
like foolish
fear
stricken
dolts
toward
some
supercilious contract
with life
understanding
little
of what really matters:
love unspoken
deeply
embedded
in the very
marrow
of our
bones.

In a nightmare
you died
violently,
struggling
in this
heavy
handed
just less
world,
I woke
wailing
crying
shaking
beneath
a new moon:
a dream
so real
I recognized
the scent,
of my youngest,
but it was
a message
I understood
all too well:
I cry for all
these children
of such dark times
I hold you
this night
praying
for a gentler world,
where kindness
is the coin
and love
the barter.

In the night
I see
shadows
in the trees
swaying
ghosts
of past
lives
who now clamor
for their moment
to be seen
heard
and
justified.
I see you
all too well
but today
I am tired
old
slow footed
too tongue tied
to free your souls.
Tomorrow is another day
over the ridge
the sun will rise,
bluebirds
chasing
invisible
life
giving
bugs,
dog
meandering
into
sage
sniffing
out
messages
from
deer
elk
or
rabbits,
and I will
lift my head
stare
toward the mountains
and do the best I can,
one step at a time.

 

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Even when I sit
uninspired
staring at the mountains,
he is quietly attentive,
listening for any
change
or
shift in breath.
He knows my sounds:
jeans being pulled on,
keys in hand,
boots laced,
shuffling in kitchen:
they all mean something:
some more than others.

We are aging together
sweetly
like an odd couple
who can guess
each others thoughts:
earlier to bed
he stands by the bedroom
door- glaring
but patient
if I take too long.
We both rise with the sun,
he stares
one ear cocked
ready to bolt
out the door
to sniff out
night visitors.

He sleeps more deeply now,
chest rising in rhythm
to his grunts
grumbles
deep snores
never too far
so that I can
enjoy his vague
popcorn scent
mixed with sage,
or his gaseous gifts….
ever present
like a ghost
spirit of all
that came before him:
the best of the best
now gone,
their lingering
gait
bark
gaze
present in him.

Just now,
he turns
and cocks his head
toward me
loving
brown eyes
quizzical
like many times
before
and more to come,
I whisper
I love you
he sighs
lowers his head
stretches
full length
like
a sweet cinnamon bear
satisfied
till dinner time.

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Golden Sea (for Karen)

Fall in Montana,
change in tide
wind from the west
daylight
shorter
coyotes closer
birds flying
south
daily finds
unusual
passerby’s
with names
like “butterbut”:
who knew
warblers
could be the size of thrashers,
Or that a barn owl
would roost
in a lone pine tree
nearby?

Sunrise slower
lazier
later
each day,
morning air
crisp
time for slippers
more coffee.
Dog
sleeps in,
bluebirds
skirt
the edges
of dry grass
playful
chasing each
other
flitting
round the birdbath,
their
blue,
wet
slick
coiffed for the day.

These are my favorite
days
when the biting
sun of summer
turns gentler
clouds clinging
round mountains
longer
and quiet
descends
in the valley
so you
can hear
a raven’s wings
flit
over the roof
landing
on the rafters
proudly
proclaiming
his provenance –
I’m here now
and still
will be
as white covers
this golden sea.

 

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Wild Fires 2020

           

            Here on the mountain
            I hide
            in plain sight,
            smoke blankets
            the valley,
            I  stare
            early
            as the burning sun
            emerges over
            a vague
            silhouette
            of the Madison range,
            scorching flames
            of light flash
            across the prairie
            like a shadow dream
            of the hell
            devouring California
            Oregon
            and Washington
            where Gaia’s anger
            has unleashed
            revenge
            on man,
            ravaging
            all in its path:
            a giant palm
            crushing
            even the tiniest
            of innocent
            creatures:
            anger
            doesn’t discriminate
            eliminate
            or forgive:
            it all gets
            thrown in the mix.

            I stare helpless
            listening
            to far off bellowing:
            it’s the last
            of the summer range
            cows 
            chased
            by cow dogs
            into a neat file
            down at the edge
            of the range.
            They too
            led into
            ultimate death,
            albeit
            mechanized
            ritualized.

            On this red day
            flames
            fire
            true
            despair
            in my heart:
            how
            fast
            years
            march
            falling
            into
            scorched
            memories
            of green
            verdant
            fragrant
            land,
            grasses
            blowing
            dew laden
            deer stepping
            light
            in the dawn
            like
            a song
            gentle
            comforting      
            and
            familiar.

            The sun 
            is full tilt
            now
            mad
            devil 
            fiend
            blazing
            in crimson
            glory,
            but today
            it is rain
            I pray for
            to soften
            the blow:
            and
            for some
            idiotic
            reason
            I think
            of the damn
            ground squirrels
            hunkered
            down
            deep beneath
            the dry earth
            oblivious
            somnambulant
            nose to tail,
            and
            wish
            them well.

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