In Praise of Rain

file00093561951

In Praise of Rain

Which is not to say lightning or hail.
Sometimes I forget to open the umbrella

until my glasses remind me: Wake up, you’re
wet! If scarcity breeds

value, what is a thunderhead worth
in July? A light shower in August?

Even spreadsheets can’t tell us.

file8541339345592

Shutters XII

file9471340859235

The final of a series of twelve, originally published in Terra Firma.

Shutters XII

To, or for, in opposition, as in prayer,
as in declining an opened
space and accepting the edges’

offer, a history of minutes
held in abeyance. Limits unfold and present
options, remnants of incomplete


light, low clouds rising to reveal
a window’s apparition, the original eye
betrayed and released to reason.

Intent upon one, the others escape.

file1981233874390

Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

IMG_1951

Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

Clear autumn winds swirl
below the moon’s glow,
scattering the gathered leaves.
The startled crows return.
When will we see each other again?
This hour, this lonely night, my feelings grow brittle.

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Autumn wind clear
Autumn moon bright
Fall leaves gather and scatter
Jackdaw perch again startle
Each think each see know what day
This hour this night hard be feeling

I started this adaptation in the heart of summer, hoping that it would offer a respite from the unrelenting Texas heat…

Bird Fall MGD©

Shutters XI

file000694008911

The eleventh of a series of twelve written at a shuttered window. Originally published in the anthology Terra Firma.

Shutters XI

Witness the blade’s completed arc,
or hailstones brought to earth,
acts refined and balanced in delivery,

the results, specious. The sweet
onion, too, relies on caution, but once
halved loses the attractive measure of

entirety, the unseen grace exposed,
reverting to a core, and deeper,
within the layered heart, laid to rest.

That it may end, and in return, begin anew.

file2181255705743

Greeting the Moon (after Li Po)

file0001288535990

As always, I approach these adaptations slowly. This may need a few tweaks, but it’s close.

Greeting the Moon (after Li Po)

Wine conceals the night’s approach,
while blossoms blanket my clothing.
Drunk, I stumble to the stream and greet the moon,
thinking of birds, so distant, and people, so few.

The transliteration on Chinese-Poems.com reads:

Amusing Myself

Face wine not aware get dark
Fall flower fill my clothes
Drunk stand step stream moon
Bird far person also few

file0002143220456

In Praise of Darkness

P1460193

In Praise of Darkness

Night falls, but day
breaks. A raw deal,

no doubt, but fairness
applies itself unevenly. Who

chooses weeds over
lies, flowers over truth?

Last night’s rain fell, too,
but didn’t crack the drought.

Again, we think injustice!
Again, we consider falls.

file000313199234

Earth’s Damp Mound

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Earth’s Damp Mound
for P.M.

I. February 1998.
That week it rained white petals
and loss completed its

turn, the words finding themselves
alone, without measure,

without force, and no body to compare.
Though strangers spoke I could not.

Is this destiny, an unopened
mouth filled with

pebbles, a pear tree
deflowered by the wind? The earth’s

damp mound settles among your bones.

II. Count the Almonds
What bitterness
preserves your sleep,

reflects the eye’s
task along the inward thread?

Not the unspoken, but the unsayable.

Curious path, curious seed.
A shadow separates

to join another, and in the darker
frame carries the uncertain

further, past silence, past touch,
leaving its hunger alert and unfed,

allowing us our own protections.

III. The Bowl of Flowering Shadows
Reconciled, and of particular
grace, they lean, placing emphasis on balance,

on layer and focus, on depth of angle
absorbing the elegant darkness,

a lip, an upturned glance, the mirror.

What light caresses, it may destroy.
Even the frailest may alter intent.

So which, of all those you might recall,
if your matter could reform

and place you back into yourself,
would you choose? Forgive me

my selfishness, but I must know.

IV. Requiem
Then, you said, the art of nothingness
requires nothing more

than your greatest effort.
And how, seeing yours, could we,

the remaining, reclaim our
space without encroaching on what

you’ve left? One eye closes, then
the other. One mouth moves and another

speaks. One hears, one listens, the eternal
continuation. Rest, my friend. After.

Prentiss Moore influenced my reading and writing more than he ever realized. We spent many hours talking, eating, arguing, drinking, laughing. Always laughing – he had one of those all-encompassing laughs that invited the world to join in. And it frequently did. Through Prentiss I met in person one of my literary heroes, Gustaf Sobin, whose work Prentiss had of course introduced me to. Those few hours spent with the two of them driving around in my pickup truck, discussing poetry, the Texas landscape, horticulture and the vagaries of the publishing world, are hours I’ll always hold close.

Earth’s Damp Mound first appeared in the anthology Terra Firma.

file0001831388228