Wednesday, February 27, 2013

After You'd Gone \ Contra, Contra

Alan: We no longer haul our water from the shallow dug well down the hill from the house:  too many dry autumns; too much work.  The pitcher pump of our new drilled well squeaks and creaks and generally makes a fuss over its own importance.  But we still use buckets to get the water to the house.

After You’d Gone

I went to get water.
The wind was southwest,
the snow slick underfoot,
a little melting,
the buckets splashed and the light
swam in the well tile.

I made three trips,
and in the end
I drew up silence.

Nancy: Two worlds, the hot, sweaty immediate life of music and flying bodies, and the nagging wonder, the constant question of a child, "Papa, what's out beyond there?” (the horizon) and the frustrating answer that, "It just goes on and on."  (And after that???   "It just goes on and on.")

Contra, Contra

When the dance is over we face one another again,
and I want to say, “listen”
        this is not the way it is –
        listen – the sun is a variable star,
        and a cold song plays in the black of space,
        there is no silence anywhere
We face one another, panting,
this tune always catches its own tail
and brings us home again.  Everyone laughs,
sweating, impatient for the music to begin again,
and it does.  The music starts
and the couples turn, certain, whirling through space.
        the stars were born – it makes me shiver –
        they are dancing away from one another –
        I must leave, I must watch the mountains melt
        and run down to the frozen sea
Tomorrow, you say, tomorrow we will stand with you
as you press your ear against the black sky, tomorrow
we will listen for the cold star songs, but tonight –
        I want to say “listen”,
        I want to ask if anyone knows where we are going,
        if the stars will ever turn and face one another again
as we do.  You laugh, and I shiver, but I turn to the music
and take your hand, and pound my feet on the floor.
        Over our heads, the stars fly farther
                                                                                   and farther

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three Water-Element Poems \ Fog

Alan:  After weeks of cold clarity, a midwinter thaw, when everything softens, shape-shifts, tries on strange clothes.

Three Water-Element Poems


Mists of ablating snow.
Eagle flaps low
above the road,
chooses a snag,
becomes Raven.

Mists muddle vision.
Objects stretch,
Look again: Raven
turns Crow.


Once, hiking The Lakes,
we rose to valleys
sodden under tight slate lids;
climbed through downpours
into cloud so dense
it was like blind
burrowing in
dark, soft stone;
then! broke abruptly
free, as if newly, partly
formed (still un-
born from the
waist down)
to cheerful island-
peaks swimming
in endless white
under simple, perfect

If that day
we were True Awakening’s
analog, still
we descended
exhausted into
saturating gloom,
went separately,
never met again,
would not know each other
now if we


Buddha taught: “World
is a conjuration
and a dream,
made so by our ignorance,

Also: “Nothing exists alone.”
Viz.: Crow is a phantasm
of Mist; Mist the same
of Crow, of Snow.
Also: “All ways of saying
are amiss.”

Nancy: There's our landscape, familiar, and our world in the fog, unfamiliar.  Watching my world dissolve and re-form makes me understand how easy it must have been for fishermen to become lost in their home waters.


amplifies and conceals
denies and resembles
becomes the waterfall
and the mountain
            from which it falls
fog indiscriminate
envelopes rose/fishing boat/

here or there
it doesn’t matter
here or there
so different so same

When the fog lifts
I think, how strange
I dreamt I was a fish
I dreamt the world was
upside down, that it
smelled of roses, and old stones
or so I dreamt.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Big West Wind \ Coyotes

Alan:  Until we added on, our house would rock in the storm winds from the east, from the west.  It made for some long nights, awake, listening.

Big West Wind

I can feel the wind
running like a swollen river
under the cabin –

a river with ice in it
under the cabin perched on two old cedars
straddling the cellar hole,

the river of fast ice –

and me in the dark, wondering
if this is the time
I’m going to dive in.

Nancy: Nights in the high desert in December are cold.  Boulders heated in the noon sun contract in the cold, and the small crystals break loose and are free to ride with the wind.  The sense of the free flow of stone, and the howls of unseen animals makes nights a wilder world than prosaic life after sunrise.


My brothers howled.
I felt how the ground shivered
under their haunches.
It was a night of transition.
The rocks crumbled –
I heard them, outside my tent,
participating in time.
Riding the wind, they rustled and scraped
past my ear, past my thin wall.
Brother called brother,
and there were soft noises at the water hole.
All night,
the rocks hurried down the washes.
I wanted to howl to my brothers,
sit on my haunches and howl.
Under me, the ground shivered,
my tent breathed with the wind,
stones made a sound like rain.
I wanted to howl,
and all the stillness of earth
was caught in my throat.
Cold as a dead thing
I waited for light, and crept from my tent.
The stones were done with their trickling,
the wind slid off down the side of the world.
I tried to warm my hands on the ground
where my brothers had been.
And howled.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Whiting, Early February \ Boundaries

Alan:  After 31 years in our little house by the bay, the past two winters we’ve had to spend in whole or in part in another town, in a place with easier accommodations.  April marks the season of return, for the woodcock and for us.

Whiting, Early February

        could the sound
of water dripping
   through filter
         into your morning
reel me
         for an instant
                  to April
a woodcock
                            like a winged seed
into dusk?

Nancy: Days recalled at night, where sharp edges disappear.


Where the atoms are free in their movement –
gray, white, invisible –
we call it air.
I breathe it in; it becomes my boundary,
inside, outside.
I breathe it out,
and it becomes the edge of the goshawk;
it becomes that which fills the snow,
the footprints of the vole, the place where
air wing edge bird
becomes air wing edge snow.

The fur is dark, the blood red,
a few spots on the snow;
the gray white bird has flown
and the air, invisible, becomes
my boundary, inside, outside.