AFTER A BUSY DAY, WE SIT

Photo by Muhammad Murtaza Ghani on Unsplash

I have an ear for silence, the not-said and almost-said
of a voice in the room
 

or the once-said so long ago it’s gone to the stars and back
like a plucked and quivering string.
 

Call it the music of the spheres, that insistent ringing
of a divine bell

 or the toll for living: thump and blood-hum of a heart’s
undisclosed lives—

 no yawning matter for the mouth that opens only to
close without a murmur.

 Call it an old couple’s secret handshake, and keep it:
after years together, no need for words.

This poem won honorable mention in the 2017 River Styx International Poetry Contest and was published that fall.

May I just add my apologies for “disappearing” for so long – on top of many other events, we took our usual 6 weeks on our boat, mostly media-free, soaking up life on the water, emails and news unavailable in most of the little bays we stayed. And I forgot to post that.

Cave Without A Name

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Here’s another of my poems included in the wonderful anthology “Through Layered Limestone”, edited by d. ellis phelps and available for purchase from Amazon here

I’m honoured to be in the company of Robert Okaji and Stephanie L. Harper, and many others who know the Texas Hill country well.

Oak Tree

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Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

Its aged roots like umbilical cords
never severed,
still pushing into the womb
of their earth mother.

Its stalwart trunk
at the centre of the dancing
leaves, belled
with acorns.

Its free splay of limbs
that invite
no posturing of the soul,
human or not.

The buried questions
that find their way here,
some even answered
in a mutely mysterious way.

This is the great oak
whose address I remember
whose gnarly throne of silence
I ascended once in a dark hour

when the moon, with a fatherly hand,
drew an amazing gasp
of stars
down around my shoulders:

the light by which the bark of my body
listened, then became the listening
of lobed leaves
for more than wind or rain,

became the long roots
longing,
until I too reached from the earth that held me,
with praising hands.

This is a poem from my first chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.

Morning Blessing

Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

One large glass of water daily
before the endless cups of green tea,

a glass that stood wrapped
a long time in my father’s two hands,

head bowed to it, eyes closed
to the rest of us at the table.

I didn’t know what he thought
or felt or said to himself right then

nor how thirsty I was
for a silence so meant

until I felt it filling me too,
slaking the cracked creekbed

of rushed and ordinary days.
Fifty-five years old and home for a visit,

back in the cradle
of his slow kind hands.

This poem won first place in Pandora’s Collective 2012 contest and is included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”. Only two weeks left to reserve a copy here!

“Clear Night Over Treadwell Bay” – Nominated for Best of the Net 2017

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

A couple of hundred miles up the coast
two weeks into a summer of cruising
we end our day of fishing with a movie.
But the shouting and shooting carve sharp
initials into the tree-deep silence here,
so I step outside, right onto the glittering
dance floor of an olive-black sky
on a clear, good night. My mind whirls,

words falling far away, then my fears,
then even the best of the best in me, all
dwarfed by this lavish sprinkling of stars:
confetti of the gods, tossed long ago upon
a lifted veil—marrying me now to the
faintest glimmer of worlds beyond ours.
I gaze, it seems forever, a moth burning
to remember a dream wings can’t forget.

I am thrilled to have this poem nominated for the Best of the Net 2017 Anthology by editor Cristina Norcross of the Blue Heron Review, where it appeared July 2016!

Stealing Eternity

Waking up in the night
before the bugling of birds,
no child’s screams
tracking the 3:00 a.m. train,
no trucks or buses
bellowing into the valley
from the mountain highway,
no siren, for once,
gathering all who can hear
into its grief,

just silence
so deep
it speaks
to your stammering
heart,
sinking past the debris
of words,
washing over you
like a river-rich sea
the rocks.

Your family sleeps, unaware
you are stealing eternity
for an hour.
By the time they rise
you will be ground into sand:
a beach that can hold
the jump and jaunt
and slow toe-kick
of all their footprints,
until evening’s flood-tide.

This is the title poem from my chapbook, “Stealing Eternity”.