Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting \ December Gifts

Alan: Alone, alone, alone... lonely.

                         for Nancy

I expected you home
before now.  All that long way
from Halifax, the roads icy maybe,
and empty at night.
When does concern become worry?
Worry take action?
I’ve enjoyed my time here,
alone with one dog and two cats,
reading Ryƍkan, gentle sounds of the woodstove
like his breathing of pines under Mt. Kugami
or drip of dewy eaves in the bamboo grove,
so long ago.
Alone enough.
Now the dinner I made for the two of us,
uneaten, grows cold.

Nancy: A year of gifts, a life of gifts acknowledged.

December Gifts

The tide in the high marsh,
the low sun, slow to stand over the ridge,
the sea smoke . . . 

I went out wanting the year to turn,
and turned myself instead, turned back
to today, glad to have received
water, light, frost blooming on dry stems.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December \ The Old Woman Refuses

Alan: Like the crows, we forage where we can, find what we can, and await the cold.


still green on the slope
where the sun finds it
despite the hard frosts

The crows
fly agape
each with a jammed-in apple
corking its caw
top-heavy with hunger

We have pawned the jewelry
the guitar and
my best coat

I have opened my hand
to what we have
to get us through:

a few dark seeds
a fleck of red
a little pulp

Nancy: Of course I believe words are magic, especially well chosen words.

The Old Woman Refuses

She won’t hear wind,
she hears the marsh grass singing
   songs, she hears sparrows
   sweet, sweet, sweet

She won’t say ice,
no, she says ephemeral,
ripples, mummichogs

She erases words,
leaves willow green, sap,

If you ask her, “where are the birds?”
she will tell you they flew out
early and far, and are bringing
the sun from the sea

There!  she says, there,
that light on the ledge?

The Sun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Is The Sound? \ If The Light Wrote A Poem

Alan: So much comes to us when we are still and simply listen.

What Is The Sound?
       for Nancy

What is the sound
of one poem sitting?
sitting quietly by itself
in a notebook?
in a computer?
in a folder?
in a safe?
in a mind?

What is the sound
of one poem? many poems?
a lifetime of poems?
a lifetime of sitting
quietly, sitting,
looking inward and
outward, asking,
seeing, asking,
and emerging,
poem by poem,
question by question,
answer by answer,
or no answer –

What is the sound
of one lifetime? many lifetimes?
a safe full of lifetimes
answered and unanswered,
held and unheld,
released and un-

What is the sound
of one poem, one lifetime,
released and rising,
floating away
into Time itself?
into the sound
of Time itself?

Nancy: Say it – make it happen.

If The Light Wrote A Poem

It might write rough branches
smooth buds, glossy bark

it might write ochre
charcoal, lavender, ice

or it might write an old woman
sitting on a stone
    looking beyond the horizon
    looking ahead of the light

and it might scratch out December
and write cerulean instead, celadon
green on the rough branches
blue stars
sky blue stars in the grass

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back \ Shifting The Year Uphill

Alan: Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, “Every moment, wonderful moment.”  Easier to accept at some times than others, but well worth the practice.


Until my back gives, I am immortal.
On my knees, I inspect my future home.
Rising, I am suddenly old.
Hobbling inside to lie down, I become a foundling.
So I recall that each moment holds birth and death,
and that both are framed in suffering.
You bring me tea, and I, grateful simply for kindness,
forget all wisdom, or why it was ever needed.

Nancy: If a poet can’t move the earth on its axis – who can?

Shifting The Year Uphill

so spare
the bay skimmed with ice
the apple tree empty
one small hawk haunting
the still air

and all the grey weight of
   the world notwithstanding
I brace my arms
my back, my long bones
on a shaft of light
and push