2021 Poems: January-April
Poem List: 2021: January thru April
A Spicy Plea Print this poem only
The sage bush
waves in the wind
spreading its subtle scent
like incense for the Earth
a plea to passers-by
to pause and breathe
Winter Senryu Print this poem only
Gently softly now I float
a small wispy whitish cloud
unto your ocean
Author’s Note: A senryu, like a haiku, is a three-line 17 syllable Japanese poetic form that focuses on human nature, usually consisting of three lines, with syllables as follows: 5, 7, 5.
Arrivals and Departures Print this poem only
I am grateful for all the arrivals
at campgrounds in mountains
retreats and desert revivals
landings in marshes and lowlands
casinos, theaters, and even dirty dins
where I learned the distance yet ahead.
To see me now I look settled
yet my father’s son is always on the run
riding the winds
finding sages in pages
for worthy crusades
seeking fellow travelers
steeped in joy
All the miles searched, and books read,
all the places and races fled
led to the simple truth
the answer was right here all the time
deeper found pausing inside
the vaulted skies
of the divine.
Author’s Note: Written upon finishing The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton.
Take it Print this poem only
Here it is right at hand
nothing startling or grand
but it seems such a climb
to simply take….. my……... time.
A Letter in Time Print this poem only
Every letter I type is a drop of me
eyes so full of life
they drop a tear
and in that bead
that pearl rolling down my cheek
is sadness, joy, care or grief
the sweat of my heart.
Thirsty Evenings Print this poem only
Missing our talks made a yearning in me
like morning longs for light at midnight.
Our shared visions and sorrows
rest in my memory
dust upon sacred volumes aching to be read.
My heart has been thirsty for Christ
who lives on Thursday evenings
when we search and celebrate Scripture
and the thoughts and writings of saints.
The small spark you get in your eyes
when you are joyfully professing
your earnest faith
is incense permeating the room,
incense gathered from icy climes of Russia
low mountains and plains of Oklahoma
lead mines and flat rivers of Missouri
and the splendid peaks and streams of Colorado.
Christ our precious Lord
created these moments of grace.
His cross and rising
reverberate in the play of our words,
the play of our thirsty evenings.
Author’s Note: Written for my good friend, Brother, and Pastor Kevin. We gather regularly on Thursday evenings to study the Bible and other books, but due to circumstances were unable to meet for a while. And especially during the COVID pandemic, these conversations were real important to each of us.
Written on 1-13-21
Gift of Time Print this poem only
I sink into this sweet moment
not of lightning and hail
but soft unveiled convection warmth
of the south
in early afternoon
I find my center
here in time
more precious than rubies or sparkling of diamonds
what a crime
I will persist
Have your way with me Print this poem only
I cannot resist your wriggle
your movement wrestles me awake
from my routine slumbering lumbering day
your wind are my oxygen
telling me I’m alive
you move from heart to fingers
and dance on the floor
of this keyboard
with your partner
pen on the smooth flat surface of paper.
It is more vital to write my heart
to write write write as I MUST
than to obey some poetry manual
or imitate Longfellow, Rumi, or Frost
or any other.
Writing your movement is like breathing
I cannot go long without it
you impel me to this place
this pure land
where I let you speak
and have your way with me,
you my magnificent muse.
Momentum Took Us Print this poem only
We were both feeling a small joy
at some long-awaited good news
our conversation crept in a soft light
but then you drifted
into your dark valley of anger and angst,
overtaking you like a black cloud
full of rain and lightning.
The momentum of this moment
thrust me into your pain
but how could I leave you now
and still say I love you?
Author’s Note: I bow to Frances Raeburn and her poem, Ten, for the inspiration for this poem.
Link to “Ten” by Frances Raeburn: https://hellopoetry.com/Frannieraeburn1/poems/
Virtue of Winter Grass Print this poem only
The drab day is clothed in gray
lays silently soaking up rain
patiently awaiting a distant spring
not yet ready to sing its lively green.
Hoping for inspiration
I almost overlooked your present virtue -
Sustain the Weary Print this poem only
The wizened old man told me -
sustain the weary with a word
for many a one has none
to bring love and light
into the blight of their dreary days.
I asked which word
and through a wan smile
he said - you figure it out.
A Strong and Tender Heart Print this poem only
Precious Jesus here and now
tell me, teach me your heart
I know my will but I know not how
to stay tucked inside you not apart.
You walked the dusty rocky roads
you sweated in afternoon heat
trapped by a crowd on sandy shores
you had no place to retreat.
Jesus make your way into me
through my arteries and veins
make this vessel what it will be
when you are all that remains.
Release me from bondage of pride
take this dense, protean clay,
and fashion it to keep you firmly inside.
For your strong and tender heart I pray.
Heaven on Earth Print this poem only
The ghosts float about
sometimes above my head
sometimes in my chest
they wrap themselves
Oh to be lycan
I saw a wolf in the northwest covered with snow
blue eyes looking right through me
as if to say wake up you stupid human
stuck in the mud
float in snow my man!
I feel the heat on my inner thighs
creeping upward tickling enticing
as if the summer is trying to peak its head
through cold winter soil
a shiny black snake coils
around my ankles
squeezes telling me to be not afraid
of the primordial divine impulse
to take my earthiness and embrace it
bring it to the heavens where it belongs
with my spirit.
The long thin silk scarf around her neck
flaps and flies off her left shoulder
like angel wings in the wind
caresses my cheek and neck
wants me within her feminine self.
Ah! what sweetness to behold!
her soft skin gentlizes me
takes my hairy clunky body
lifts it into my dreams
into her moistness.
And now I am awake
to spring in its irrepressible green
daffodils at the base of the pear tree
direct my eyes from earth to sky
like an organic gothic arch
long puffy clouds stand still
against the bright azure sky
heaven on earth.
Author’s Note: I wasn’t sure I could allow myself the freedom anymore to just let my mental images take me, line to line. I have to say I am a tiny bit surprised. Inspired by M-E’s poem, Night of the Beheaded Flower p.03 Final
The gates of life are everywhere Print this poem only
I feel a little joy
to see the new growth on the sage bush
it survived the deep freeze of winter.
I join this subtle green creature
in this moment, in this piece of now
maybe I too will get through this season
with a small burst
of creative energy
enter the gates
and rejoin Life.
Swampy Yearnings Print this poem only
My heart keeps floating east
to the place of my birth
along the brown rushing waters
of the awesome Mississippi
the vast Atchafalaya basin
where the boys
of fishermen and hunters
Oaks drip with moss
cypress trees grow out of swamps
and exude a mystic charm
that pierces your mood
and captures your fancy.
born in centuries past
gateway to a new life
for my forefathers
who crossed oceans from France
made families for the generations
and planted their culture
amidst the rich foliage
and damp environs
of this magnificent mysterious place.
Yes, I yearn to cross the Sabine
make my way to Breaux Bridge
and other Evangeline towns
eat crawfish etoufee
by the Bayou Teche
speak my Texanized accent
to my Cajun cousins
who tell their stories
with a hint of French
and laugh in a universal language.
Soon I hope to make the trek
to quinch the yearning of my heart
hug my cousins
breathe the poem of my life
and the moist fragrant Louisiana air.
The Puppy Print this poem only
I got to wondering today
if I am an old dog
who can’t be taught new tricks
if that windmill going round and round
catching the wind between the blades
is really who I am,
if the universe surges
into the spaces still left in me,
if it is trying to wake the music
yet alive inside
in the curves of my heart,
if the blood pulsing there refuses to go down
in one grave path
and insists on a symphony of swerve
an inclination in a new direction.
If that breeze is really grace
then maybe I am being reborn
a puppy full of life
eager to be all the dog it can be.
The Jim I Knew
Looking at him with that long gray beard
and unruly hair, and listening to him speak
you would not know from the way he appeared
that he had books written in Hebrew, and Greek
or that he was a biblical scholar of sorts,
read theology and volumes of biblical meaning
and in those books went to many lands, embarked from many ports.
His mind brimmed with ideas and was inclined to dreaming.
His voice echoed Arkansas hills and streams
his eyes sparkled with humor and wonder,
his stories, full of drama and dreams,
of storms ringing with lightning and thunder.
He was a machinist, expert with a lathe
tamed metal into a rifle sure and true
he aimed for God with a heart full of faith
reborn in Christ’s Spirit that brought him through.
I’ve known few men whose heart poured tears
when he suffered fierce remorse for his sins,
when he told his mistakes in various spheres
he was sad for too many losses and too few wins.
How wrong can a body be about someone
who appears a mere lean country boy
but has a soul deep as the sea and bright as the sun.
Yes, I’m sad at his loss, but thinking of him brings me joy.
Author's Note: This poem was written and delivered at the funeral of my friend Jim Stacy who passed away April 7, 2021 he was 87 years old. James Oliver Stacy Jr. was born July 9, 1933 in Fort Smith, Arkansas to Burnus and James Oliver Stacy, Sr.
Ready to Soar (Finding My Muse) Print this poem only
Only twice this month
have I wandered into your soul.
I know you are waiting for me.
I know your heart yearns for my arrival
but I am too lost
in this world
until I come to this quiet place
and sit peacefully here
and wait for your still small voice.
Only then do I discover
the grand canyon
where your great soul echoes and humbly abides
waiting patiently for me inside.
Oh how I miss these moments in you
the times I come here far too few.
When I’m out and about drifting
as if it mattered,
my mind off-target and scattered
lights here and there in nothing
in smoke and dust
randomly finding a sprig of life
spotting in shadows a beam of light
and if I am lucky
that faint spark wakes
and reminds me I was made for you
you – a glint inside my breast
a piece of the universe compressed
an atom ready to be split
ready to explode
Sigh Print this poem only
Being here in this creative moment
shows me the power
residing inside of me
if I but pause in silence or with soft music
and abide in this space
for just a little while.
River Fog Print this poem only
A bank of fog
lays snugly upon the river
like a soft white halo
kissing the morning hello.
Author’s Note: Fog is one of the Creator’s gentle
gifts to poets. It never fails to inspire me.
Justice, justice Print this poem only
You lay sweetly upon our souls
after the turmoil.
I wish you were not so rare a visitor.
Rendezvous Print this poem only
I am holey,
At best an imperfect vessel
bearing light and darkness
but real good at sinning.
I wonder whether
the best I can do
is hope for a rendezvous
to touch and suffer together
in a place we linger where
we breathe common air
fresh and vital and bracing.
Maybe I’ll always be racing
from the desert
into your arms
to exchange our passion
me all holey
and you a mountain stream
flowing with melted snow,
me trying to capture
some of that clear water
that will leak slow
back into the flow.
But there we will be
us in good and bad weather
but in love and together.
I am always wrapped in grace
yearning for our embrace.
Saturated Print this poem only
Here we are again
in the presence of green
Life all around us
You saturate everything
It is good to be here with you
alive on Earth
I cannot leave you
even if I wanted to
But who would want to?
Those who live in pain
who wake up again and again
who cannot see
who - try as they might -
cannot be awake
and alive in you.
I ache for them
and I can enter their darkness
only because I am saturated
Wrapped in You Print this poem only
You just want us to cuddle up with you
be closer to you like all good parents
no matter how old I am
you are always my Father
wholesome and wholly you
ready for me
wholly involved with you.
This is just such a moment
when I’m wrapped up in you.