Variable, the pastures hooved by lives
in full gallop, unbridled by time:
beneath the immutable drift of the sun
move the rounded and risen,
the angled and gleaming, the limbs,
wings, fins sweating with use.
Unstoppably given to their one life.
As the light gives unstoppably—
teacupped in petals, glowing
in a green persuasion of leaves,
slipping through salt-licked grains
of sand, lifted high on a spread
wing, in the flash and splash
of a salmon’s fin, between a deer’s
leap and a dog’s outstretched paw.
And this, the monopoly of earth’s
home star: a bright creeping
into the rooms behind closed doors.
This is night’s good pupil, daily bent
over the riveting texts of our world,
whose gaze, upon turning
a sudden last page, stays warm
on the straightening back of a man,
warm on his unstoppable hands.
She was lost and late and frantic
when she pulled over to ask me
for directions. And so close!
A block the other way lay her destination.
Discouraged, she had turned off too soon.
Sometimes it happens that way.
And sometimes the road simply ends
and you know you’ve missed
the turn. But when it’s late
in life, and it’s your turn that
you’ve avoided or can’t find,
when it’s your appointment
with fate you think you’ve missed,
or when the path you’re on turns
out to really be someone else’s, say,
who lives there, in that neighbourhood,
who could help you?
None better than the yardless dog
at your heels, growing wilder,
more wolflike by the second,
those nips of dissatisfaction
ripping your good pants,
the barks of disapproval
stilling the nice hand
that would have fed it,
the sickening plunge of your stomach
as you realize this is all wrong,
making you run now, run for the life
you meant to live.
stands like a bearded yogi
in the willow-edged stream
that runs under the main road
an easy block from the sea,
waiting for his own kind
At that intersection
of necessity and desire,
it is no accident when
the still life breaks from
its green-daubed canvas
with the long, scissored plunge
of his beak, and swallows whole
and writhing, the little fish
that almost made it.
Sometimes, in the rivering
silence between two hearts,
I am stalked by
an elegant longing
and taken suddenly
by its gleaming need
And hope I do not
reach too slowly
into the sea-deep amber
light of its promise,
like these bare and slender
branches that have crept from
their tangled weep of shadows,
This first appeared in North Shore Magazine and is included in my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.