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2023  Poems

January-April

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ADrop

A Drop            Print this poem only

This room lives in sun

mornings I’m here with the plants

life springs from my light

planted in me by a muse

a drop of eternity

Written 1-6-23

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A Nap            Print this poem only

 

It was too late to take a nap

twilight squinting into night

but I needed to loosen the grip

of the day.

 

The twisted tautness in my gut

had risen to my shoulders

into my neck through silent strings

that played a blue elegy.

 

After half an hour I opened my eyes

thanked the darkness for the rest

picked up a small volume of Rumi

who woke me to his dawn.

 

Written 1-13-23

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ANap

Anchor            Print this poem only

 

What is this dark anchor in me

holding me in my present comfort

when I know there are dirty dishes to wash?

Do I forget I’m a mere steward of this wealth

in a lavish open-hearted universe?

 

Breathe in free oxygen

swept in by unchained wind

wake up to its fragrance

swim in its musk

abide in its love

for the moment it takes

to decide to get up off the lounger.

Written 1-7-23

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Anchor
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Heart of a Woman            Print this poem only

 

Slender and humble in its youth

the oak grew in moist earth near the bayou.

Roots pierced the dark land

ate the rich gumbo

silently morphed facets of soil

into a heart

with unexposed power and poise.

 

Across the bayou

on a screened porch

a young girl watched the new rain

make puffs of dust in the dirt

she daydreamed in the drifts of clouds

and wondered where they were born.

 

A young man and his friend

off the beaten path of their travels

found the town pool.

Swimming, he saw the beautiful girl

perched above the deep end

and across longitudes and latitudes

of loving, laughing, and weeping

they birthed and raised a family.

 

The bark’s ridges and gaps reveal

centuries of storms and floods

the oak’s long limbs laden

with life, wisdom, and altered environments.

 

These two entwined lives enriched

by learning and prodigious practice

their wine a vintage

of passionate enchantment

imbibed by thirsty learners

across decades beyond ordinary borders.

 

But she like the oak

with open arms

her strength born in good soil.

Hers is a rare power of gentle love

hers a courage born

of some cosmic connection

at the heart of her beautiful humanity.

 

Dedicated to my cousin Melanie on her eightieth birthday. Both of us born in the Durand line in southern Louisiana not too far from the Evangeline Oak with lives seemingly divergent but somehow parallel and ultimately connected, I think, by a power greater than ourselves.

 

Written 2-7-23

HeartOfAWoman
Anchor

Limits of Friendship             Print this poem only

I went to my friend

almost afraid to expose the need

not knowing if he would be deaf to it.

As I spoke of my father

who was not there

to show his boy how to be a man

I recounted my losses

and the load of grief I felt.

 

My sadness clung to me

a heavy suit of chainmail on a dark knight.

I could feel my face

drooping in lamentation

unable to be the smiling grinning buddy

I normally showed with him.

 

Seemingly unable to enter into my pain,

my friend, a man of great intellect, character and conviction,

responded only with a litany of his own.

I tried to listen but my burden

made it a mighty climb.

 

Now I know my pal is only human

my expectations too great

and I am wrestling

with my self

sweating MY

deafness.

 

Written 1-28-23

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LimitsOfFriendship
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My Problem with Religion            Print this poem only


I thought religion was it.

A gnarly piece of wood

always trying to fit,

I ran and ran as far as I could

took the road east then west

to find the one that was best

jumped in with both feet

since daddy always said

do what you do

work and sweat til complete.

My problem was I couldn’t stick

to this branch

whittle til nice and slick

that other branch looked too good

so I took it -

my piece of wood!

But it wasn’t

so I quit

to search again.

I had to seek

and find something new

risky steeper deeper

and true.

Written 3-9-23

PprobWithReligion

Train into Night            Print this poem only

 

I took the train into the tunnel

the car lit with candle glow

there standing just so

my brother with a wan look and a slight grin

I leaned to kiss his forehead, felt the taut skin

Mom across from him,

I placed my cheek against hers

two tears from the deep cavern of her sadness

fell on my constant brow  

Dad faced me with dazzling cheer

eyes full of joy that his son was here.

 

Awakening from the abyss of night

I arose with a smile inside

grateful for an intimate ride

with that poignant cast

an interlude to abide

and flutter in the sails of family

arrived from a pulsar of the past.

 

That day visiting with friends

I hugged every one tight

cherished the lush

precious

present

of the living.

Written 3-12-23

TrainIntoNight
RipeTomato

Ripe Tomato            Print this poem only

One thing about being this old

is the volume of things I need to know

for another day

grows thinner and thinner.

 

When the uses of my days

are fewer and fewer

I wonder if it’s a benefit

since I’m closer

to peace and glory.

 

On the other hand

the present moment

is a ripe tomato

ready to be sliced

its sour meat and juice

sucked into my mystic imagination

and spit out like a Mozart concerto.

 

This present is a cornucopia

a Marti Gras of bright beads

and sparkly gifts thrown my way

from the passing parade

sounding with the teenage vigor

of trombones and flutes

piccolos and drums.

 

Therefore

I choose the abundance

of the juicy now.

Written 3-18-23

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A Few Seconds of Now            Print this poem only

 

I hear the deep soft clanging windchimes

and catch their movement in the wind

a sad flute sings an elegy

the green plants gently strain for rays

the sound of the heater

its warmth on my left leg and thigh

the wide body of the hawk

gracefully swoops down beyond the windows.

 

These seconds abiding

in the intense present

make long hours and ennui days

worth any minor miseries.

 

Written 3-20 23

AFewSecondsOfNow

Ready to Dive            Print this poem only

 

My slightly shaky fingers

rest steady on the keys

poised to open my heart

to make room for 

a deep dive into the red fibrous

muscle of the cosmos.

Written 3-20-23

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ReadyToDive
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Going Gold            Print this poem only

 

The flute played a lullaby in the distance

calling the man and his horse into desert’s blanch

where even tumbleweed had vanished.

He saw the streaked banks of the arroyo

that told a tale of currents

whose power clashed and hurled taut soil west

where the sun was going gold.

 

His face etched by storms

in many forms

he tried to ignore joint moans

by whistling Cohen’s Halleluia

that wiggled forth a salty mist

in his eyes.

 

Halleluia for all the years.

He hummed the line

he heard Leonard say:

don’t dwell on what’s passed away

or what is yet to be.

 

The flute again cast its spell

not a knell but a psalm

of praise to make

and create what he could

be it on paper or carved in wood.

 

Written 3-16-23

GoingGold

Expecting a Fire            Print this poem only

 

The cloudy mucky morning

portends this winter’s end

whatever dawning light

needs importing from within

to burn away

the showers aborning.

That’s why I’m here with you

so you can hear and I can read

the plot arising.

 

I’m awaiting

a vessel fit for floating

a song worth singing

a fire to light the candle

to connect the spirit in me

to the flame in you. 

 

Written 3-22-23

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Expecting a Fire

Fear of Fog            Print this poem only

 

Traveling the dusty winding road

I reached the rain forest

heard the Macaw sing

saw its flash of glory in air

and I mused what I’d missed

in the dusty doctrines and dogmas

leather volumes

safe and secure at home

a home I feared might morph

into a wooly gulag

or a colonial province

where freedom groaned

and dragged like an anchor

in shallow water.

 
Written 3-25-23

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FearOfFog

Angel  Years            Print this poem only

 

Hurricane Katrina ruined the lives

of countless souls

and blew into ours

an Angel. She’s eighteen –

many cat years older

than her octogenarian daddy.

How long will her purrs gentlelize us?

How many mornings

will we awaken to her blue eyes

and white whiskered adorable face?

 

I assume I’ll outlive her

but what happens when you assume?

Maybe I should do as she does

and soak in the present moment

without a single care for the future.


Written 3-26-23

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