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Meditation

On this sunny
breezy afternoon
I stare through half closed eyes
at the leaves
full glory
brightest green
knowing full
well that fall
is just around
the bend
with it
rain
and soon winter.

I pause
to note
that in
this changing world
I barely recognize,
nothing
is as it
once was,
not one thing
because
change
is as constant
as this breath:
from its
unassuming
inhale
to conscious exhale:
here
one instant
gone the next
as impermeable
as light
that moves from
full spectrum
to shade
changing
leaves
with its sly shifts
impermanent
like these
shape shifting
moments
we pass through
year to year
instant
by instant,
taking little note
until it’s too late,
then bow
our heads
toward earth
silenced
falling
into
the abyss
from which we came
into silence
we knew
in our bones
as our grace song,
as our last dance.

I take solace
in the leaves:
they will fall
wither
feed the soil
only to birth
once again
in  spring
as constant
as my breath.
For today
that is enough.

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Falcon’s Blessing

186-1866413_falcon-png-peregrine-falcon-png.jpg

Our old 1906 foursquare
is getting a facelift:
literally lifted
4 feet higher than its
foundation.
A new look,
old siding torn off
revealing several layers
of faux brick
down to original wood,
dingy yet sturdy
after all these years.

Now,
our porch is up
as high as the branches
of an old maple
which blesses us with
shade
crows
squirrels
a rare raccoon
and drops its
airplane shaped
samsara
a constant
whirr
come spring.

Early today,
before the city rose
I snuck
out onto
the bare frame
and took in
my hawk’s view –
only to be
greeted
by two peregrine
falcons
swooping
in unison
over me
followed
by dive bombing
crows
squawking
an eerie alert.
In an instant
they peruse
the scene
for unknowing
tweetie birds,
land on the street
like barons
of the city scape,
shake off
the silly
crow mayhem
lift off
alighting on the tree
less than 2 feet
from my amazed
silly
grimaced face.

Oh magic
terrorists
of the sky
come to see
new heights
a top
our once modest
foursquare
in “garlic gulch,”
from this height
Italian mamas
could call
their children
in for dinner
and be heard
all the way
to the Steele bridge
and see the muddy
streets of downtown
across the river
horse drawn carts
pulling
timber
to the railroad tracks.

But, I’m the
master
of this modern catwalk
where I can
listen
to rain
hit the eaves
and smell
fall
just around the corner.
As fast
as the wind
rounds the corner,
the falcons
are gone.
I stand dazed
dreaming
of sunset
when
they might
grace us once again…..

 

 

 

Intuition

My son’s say I am a witch,
calling them
just as they reach
the phone to call me,
guessing the surprise
they have held
for months,
saying the words
they think
just before they
stream out.
More importantly
following my instinct
to the perfect spot
for us
to heal
after so much grief –
our hidden grotto
near a river
I never once had visited
but knew
was to be our healing balm.
This little voice
third eye
all seeing
has served me well,
led me
through my life journey
one twist
at a time,
and saved me
in too many ways
to count.
It’s brought me
to the right place
at the right time
like an invisible hand
over and over.
And when
I fall to doubt
I breath deep
and trust……
today
a breezy summer
day it took
me on an unaccustomed
path
at an irregular time,
so much so
that the dog
lagged behind
half hearted
in our walk
to find the 4 perfect
chairs
for my dining table-
just when my
desperation
and discomfort
was at its peak!
Alas, signature
turn of the century chairs
for a song and dance!
May this beacon
shine on
bright
through many more years
and guide me
as my time nears
so I may
quietly follow
into the fog
fading
softly
into the arms
of what we mostly fear
knowing
I will be held
tenderly
by my duendes.

The notion of “duende”―a demonic earth spirit embodying irrationality, earthiness, and a heightened awareness of death- helper of poets

They say a picture
is worth a thousand words.
I beg to differ:
I’ll trade
you one word
to describe
any moment,
chosen
thought
felt
tasted
from the heart
the eye
the mind.
In my mind’s eye
I can recreate
the tens of thousands
of images
lost to the years,
yellowed
in photo albums,
indexed
filed
hoarded
in boxes,
in books
under pillows
torn in anger
recovered
bits
at the bottom
of an envelope,
or magically
stored
in the cloud
somewhere in the ethers,
floating
to never be held
or touched ,
kissed
brought tight
to the heart.

I’ll trade you
boxes
of colored paper
volatile
fickle
crumbly
faded
by the years
for one
well wrought
phrase
that says it all:
but better
yet
the moment
suspended
in time
to be
enjoyed
year after year
in a poet’s eye.

Lone Fir Cemetery

I often lay on earth
by a river
on a mountain
in the forest
on grass
in a city yard
and look up
through leaves
bushes
trees
buildings
searching
for sky
my spirit
yearning
for
heights
flight
open space.

Here in this
cemetery
lodged
mid city
giant firs
shading
graying
names
on gravestones
leaning
toward
light:
tired
rock
gnomes
where
squirrels
perch
and
crows
congregate,
I ponder
darkness
close my eyes
and
listen
to the wings
of the dead
loud
as
geese
above
headed
toward
the horizon’s
edge.

When I die
burn my shell
free my heart
and let me fly.

Sometimes I doze off
having given
me the perfect
excuse:
hours of up
and down,
playing
singing
dancing
diapers
lunch
snack
books read
shoes
on
off
on again.
But not today.
I stare
past the feeder –
it’s only customer
a lone nuthatch
whose orange
gray little
cigar of a body
darts
nervously
carrying
a sunflower
seed deep
into the sea
of oval leaves
our walnut tree
dips down
onto the window’s ledge.
I ponder the state
of creatures
great and small
whose
lives grace ours:
gifts of total
wonder
that I share with you.

How the crow’s fledgling
is larger than his mom,
and follows
her shamelessly
cawing
for his share,
how she teaches him
to lumber up
the roofs
to drink
fresh rainwater
from gutters
and use his beak
to drill out
insects from
crevices in bricks.
We watch scrub jays
wrestle peanuts
from the fence
beating out
slow red squirrels
who stretch long
in the afternoon sun
on the tree’s thickest branch,
un aware they
are our funniest of shows.

In the milkweed
we see the sacred
weave of life:
coarse
and rustic,
but then
in weeks that follow
watch the magic
spectacle
as the wings
push vivid
colors
against the chrysalis
all in a moment
turn your back
and she’s gone.

We watch the neighbor’s
cat
weave stealth
down the street
wary of the dog
who sleeps
in the afternoon sun
unaware,
dulled by his years,
but in a flash
his nose
catches the scent
and he’s up.
We laugh
because it’s way too late –
she’s safe
enjoying her afternoon
bathing ritual
on the porch.

These are the tomes
of knowledge
that we share:
the pages we turn
in this city scape
where even
a peregrine falcon
swoops
at dusk
just past
our squinting eyes
hunting
confused
swifts
as they swirl
down
into the Chapman School chimney.

These gifts:
may they linger
full
and strong
long after
I am gone,
and you too
have grayed
body
slower than you’d like,
eyes duller
but not yet
blind
to the beauty
which surrounds us
in the grit of this life.

 

Nap time

The business of the morning
comes to a total halt,
feet stop
mid airIMG_9754
as if caught in mud,
eyes
begin to sway
slowly turning
away from the light,
the mood becomes
heavy
like the rain threatening outside,
a few short stories
and a light kiss
seal the deal:
soon little feet
heavy
on my thighs
move one last time
and I hear
the sweet
throaty
song
of sleep….