Sunday, July 31, 2011

That divine tug

Fireworks at the Res last night,
booming across the water;
the dog refused to go out
and so, this morning, he is desperate;
as desperate to drop his load
as I am – having been
fed by an evening of poetry –
to set pencil to a page.

Hoping for a quick turnaround,
I leash him up and take him to the beach,
and yes, even as the lines in my head
peck like fledglings at their eggs,
struggling to be free,
he squats, and now I’m hoping to turn back
but he pulls me forward,
straining at the leash
even as these images are pulling me
back to my desk.

The zen companion in my head
is whispering, barely heard above the din,
the wordwaves crashing behind my eyes,
“it’s a beautiful day, and you’re not here”
and so I pause and listen, not to the fledglings'
anxious squawking,
the frantic flapping of their damp unfeathered wings
but to the full-grown gulls
squabbling over coveted clams;
the bright green hiss of seaweed
the dog has paused to water,
the sky, so unexpectedly blue, reflected
in the shells at our feet,
and now he’s off again and I’m resisting
the pull of the leash
while he’s trudging forward,
nose to the sand, each of us
following some invisible trail,
the thin black line between us
stretched to breaking as we poke at piles
of phrases, or of bones,
following the fragrance to the source of delicious,
each dragging the other off the scent;
each drawn by that primal tug toward wonder.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Beside me on the ferry, a gaunt young man --
a bottle of corona beer on his t-shirt --
steps from his car to lock the door,
then leans inside and snarls "Get in the back.
I mean it.  Get in the back!" and I'm wondering,
is he speaking that way to a child? (parents seem
so young these days) and then he locks the door,
leaving windows up, and walks away.
Two dogs press faces to the window, watch until
he disappears, then leap into the driver's seat,
but he doubles back and yells at them again,
fury twisting his mouth into his hollow cheeks.
They wait longer this time, until he's really gone,
then jump into the front again. I picture them,
curled together, tucked below the steering wheel,
licking one another for comfort
in the increasingly stale warm air...

Friday, July 29, 2011

A friendship rose

Twelve days ago you brought me twelve
roses for my birthday; they were
such a lush assortment -- buds
of red, and yellow, white and peach;
two pink; two cream with crimson tips --
and two this salmon color,
already open, and each morning
I've come downstairs to find more buds
not opening but sagging, and soon all
had bowed their heads and left my world
but this one: see her glowing still,
her petals lightly curled but smooth,
as if to say this friendship will last forever.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A willingness to play

Like fish, or cats,
circling around
some unexpected addition
to their environment --
a periscope, perhaps,
or, for the cats, a paper bag --
I'm eyeing some new concept,
assessing shape
and sniffing for resilience;
diving in and rattling around.
Does it fit?
Do I?
How can I use it,
and where might danger lie?
How curious this is, I think --
so much of life and growth has roots
in our willingness to play...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That perfect love

But soft - what light
through yonder window breaks?
It is that perfect love
that promised rescuer
hovering in the distance;
not even Juliet on her balcony
had cheeks as fair as these --
O Romeo, Romeo,
the women all are wondering --
sick and pale with grief --
wherefore art thou,
and when will you climb down
from your distance
surrounded by and covered with
hearts, roses and ribbons --
all signs of love for me,
only for me?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dune grass

Gray skies today,
a fine mist falling,
and the dune grass --
yesterday so high,
taller even than I am --
is bent  now,
its sharp green shoulders
bowed with the weight
of dew
and fog
and mist,
or perhaps that is its back
arched awkwardly,
for a sip of light.

Monday, July 25, 2011

However long the tunnel

However long the tunnel may be
there's always a light at the end --
we just need to be willing
to keep on walking through;
to not get stuck in fear,
or caught too long,
gazing over the edge
at the treacherous waters below.
Stand close to the wall
if you must,
or clutch the guardrail
if you can
but keep on walking:
each step
will bring you closer
to the light.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The lilies know

The shadows I'm seeing
are often my own;
the light from my hull
is simply reflected,
and yet I am often convinced
that the shadows
are cast by others,
and it's I who am bringing
the light to the story...
it is the lilies, floating gently
above the deep
who know the truth.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What do you see?

Ansel Adams
was all about the light,
and Cartier-Bresson sought
the decisive moment.
Josef Karsh shot
the back of Casals' head
and stole Churchill's cigar
to make him frown.
Each photographer looks,
and each one sees --
light, shadow, shape, substance...
and you --
what do you see?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Swimming in light

You drew for me
a duck, out for a swim;
sponging on the mists of fog
in soft pastels,
striping the water
with just a suggestion of waves,
blurring the distant hills
with fuzzy evergreens,
a perfect puddle of light
for the duck -- a reflection
of the one you offer me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Unstructured days

Some days
don't need to have a shape
beyond the usual demarkations --
coffee, lunch, dinner, bedtime --
it's nice to let the form emerge;
the unexpected friend,
the eagle on the roof,
the tired child
who needs her comfort food
and a hug or two...
maybe even a few minutes
sitting on the deck
listening to the song of the wind.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Broken edifice

However beautiful
this colonnade may be,
at the end
(I've cut it from the picture)
there is a statue of a bishop,
shaking his finger
in admonition,
and so I find I cannot see
the lovely patterns in the floor,
the magnificence of the wide arches;
it doesn't speak to me
of the power of God,
but rather of the brokenness
of all the edifices --
both physical and spiritual --
that man has built
to house the Infinite Divine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Follow the light

No matter where we are --
outdoors, or in a room;
alone, or in a crowd --
There is a light
that fills the space
when we are doing
what we love --
which means
(if you are wondering
what it is you were born to do)
you'll almost always
find the answer
if you simply
follow the light:
watch for it,
wait for it,
pray for it...

Monday, July 18, 2011

That which divides

If only that which divides
what is
from what could be
were always this obvious --
a fence, perhaps,
that we could see,
and choose to step over,
or not; if only
we could assess in advance
what advantage might accrue;
what safety might be lost
were we to cross that barrier
or follow it
to its logical conclusion,
to the tree, or the cliff
that stands at the edge
of life as we know it...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Even as the tide recedes,
we are drawn to follow,
called to reach out and explore
that which pulls away;
born to run
from that which surges forth
for fear of being overwhelmed --
tossed by waves of emotion,
or stuck in the quicksand of connection,
watching, helpless, as the water rises
until we find ourselves at last
unable to breathe.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


When you and I
sit here beside
the sea or lake
and talk of this or that,
we're not alone --
I see that now;
there's always this third presence
holding our hands,
inviting us to speak,
joining us at high times and low,
in quiet and in noise...
if we listen, we might hear
the voice of Love.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pointing the way

Just in case
we might not have noticed
the moon up in the sky
(it is daytime, after all)
you placed this handy pointer
on the beach for all to see,
reminding us
that mother earth
is always with us,
always showing us
how she and we are linked
to all that lies above.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ordinary magic

It was only a simple errand,
I gave it little thought,
and then drove back
to my home away from home
without really seeing
until a patch of light upon a tree
cried "Made you look!"
and suddenly the road ahead
said everything I'd ever
needed to hear, breathing
your song into my eyes
until my heart and yours
beat as one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Under the red tent

Shielded from the noonday sun,
the harlot waits
in her small red tent
beneath the trees
beside the road
and breathes
a womanly sigh.
There is,
no one to hear
or misinterpret
her longing,
no parting of the veil tonight,
no sounds or scents or flavors
save her own;
only the warm sand
to press against her cheek.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This harsh reminder

Despite the heat, a chill emerged,
this harsh reminder that the days
won't always be -- nor have they
always been -- warm and sunny,
the road not always flat and smooth;
that our vision of the forest
may have been -- and might soon be --
obscured by the stark terror
of the trees; that we could get
stuck in winter, and never notice
spring, hovering on the horizon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

That sweet illusion

I'm always torn:
some part of me
longs to be on land --
grounded, connected,
integrated with community --
while some ancestral boat captain
hidden in my heart
is always taking off
and heading out to sea,
desperate for time alone,
craving that sweet illusion
of control...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Neck Point memories

Here in paradise we walk for miles
and never see a single soul or car;
our world consists of evergreens
and the seagull’s cry;
the lap of waves, and horizons
etched with the graceful curves
of madrona trees
and distant islands.
A pine cone falls
to land undamaged
in the grass at my feet:
an invitation to look up
and breathe the benevolent sky.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Some Divine Plan

It's evening --
in the day,
or the year,
or my life;
does it matter?
I feel the sun begin to fade,
the clouds and dark collaborate
for one last grand finale;
my ship is coming home to roost,
its journey nearing end,
and I still have this sense
that filled me with rejoicing once
and fills me still
(when I take time to look)
that You are there --
in clouds and shadows,
seas and silhouettes;
that through it all
some Divine plan
is bringing each of us
safely home to love.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Listen, watch and wait

Enlightenment approaches --
a hint of dawn beyond the dark hills --
but still it's just too dark to see
the ground on which I stand,
the steps that I could take
to draw me into the light.
Be still, then, and know
the sun will rise
without my walking toward it:
listen, watch, and wait:
Sink to your knees,
and feel the warmth
stealing into your bones.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Every blessing has its curse...

Every blessing has its curse, you know:
if you're in charge, well, great!
But then every decision
is your responsibility;
each choice --
the line, the color,
the shape, the composition --
all yours;
the end result, all yours.
And if you're not in charge,
you get to learn to live
with other people's decisions --
or die trying!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dancing in the fountain of love

When you're feeling exposed
or vulnerable; when you hold
center stage and the words won't come:
remember the fountain of love
that surges forth
from the root of being,
that warms and feeds,
soothes and comforts,
and bathes us each
in celestial light;
remember to dance
in that fountain of love,
and know that you are enough.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The privilege of wisdom

Ten years, this week,
that we've lived here;
each with its annual parades and losses --
the tower's gone,
and so are some of the cabins
(replaced by mcmansions)
and some of the people
(new neighbors,
though the dead are not replaced,
but rather missed).
The lagoon is shallower now;
a boat got stuck there yesterday --

someone who didn't know the channel
slammed into a sandbar
and had to leave his boat there,
high and dry,
until the tide rolled in.
It sat all day, center stage,
red and white against the blue sky
as we shot off our cannon
and paraded by, with flags and drums;
a symbol of failure, of newness,
to be gossiped about along the road,
the old-timers all chuckling,
even as their pace has slowed;
the pain of age offset
by the privilege of wisdom...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Good days

On good days I'm on the beach,
dancing on the lap of love --
that speckled shore
where separation and oneness overlap --
I dip my toes and feel the cool unity
seep into my hot parched bones;
sense your embrace,
and feel you waiting
for me to fall into your arms...
And then there are those other days
when I cannot smell or see the ocean;
when I've forgotten it even exists
and, longing for a taste of oblivion,
bury my head in the vast desert of sand.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I'm reaching for the pearl --
the pearl of great price,
the wisdom that awaits
in the lotus pool --
but fear I'll need to learn
to walk on water,
and, like Peter,
will lack the faith
to stay afloat,
not seeing that I'm standing
in that infinite well of being,
the Source, that is,
of all inspiration.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tide flats

and the tide is low;
in invitation --
not unlike
the invitation always there,
to explore,
to dip your toes
into the holy water,
to risk the pinch of crabs,
to browse the ever-expanding shore
between now and next
in search of truth
or the self that was meant to be...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Open, heart

Light falls,
the breezes slow,
and mist rises over the mountains.
The houses across the water
fade into the trees,
and the white fingers of the waves,
who've been drumming
their loud arpeggios
on my beach all afternoon,
subside into stillness,
sliding off the keyboard
into the lap of the ocean.
Breathe, I say, and breathe again:
open, heart, and welcome the dark.