It is September and the corn is ready to harvest.
Driving through the Yolo County farm lands
I can see that it was a good summer.
Tomato trucks moving slow on the farm roads.
Tractors moving farm equipment.
In a pasture north of town I can see
That the colt that was new in the spring
Now runs and plays, sometimes even hopping.
The road is empty for a few minutes
And I pull the car over and get out.
Sixty-one years old with a birthday approaching.
I am no farmer, but I love good tilled earth.
White clouds float over yellow fields.
I scoop up some dirt in my hands.
Chilly dawn, jacket zipped up, on the patio
Typing edited poems and sipping
Black coffee from an old Stanley thermos.
The express commuter bus
Going from here in Davis to Sacramento
Zips by—the buses are quieter nowadays
With cleaner engines and better fuel.
In a way I have it all: poetry, strong coffee,
The workings of industry and science
Driving the economy, and a crisp sunrise.
All at the same time. Good morning, folks!
Walking in the park
Just after the rain ends,
I see an earthworm,
Moving slowly across my path,
Seemingly at one with the earth.
So I ask him,
"Why did Bodhidharma come from the west?"
He ignores me.
Absolutely perfect answer.
Putah Creek, west of the city of Davis.
I park my old Volvo in the lot at Pedrick Road
And walk down to the creek path.
Strolling east, toward town,
Less than a mile in I see a sweet spot
Under a valley oak and spread my mat
To linger for a nap among the roots,
In the cool shade. There are bright flowers
And the breeze smells sweet.
Hours later, I am still lingering.
Do you wish to learn how to live well?
Watch the oak trees through the seasons.
Glorious all summer, every autumn
They let go of all they do not need
To survive the winter cold.
And in the spring, rebirth.
Beauty, strength, persistence.
A long life followed by a graceful death.
Who could ask for more?
Lake Grapevine, Texas.
I held you naked in my arms
Under the dark, warm water,
Where no one else could see.
All the trouble that was coming,
I could see future pain in your eyes,
I could taste a delicious sorrow on your tongue.
—And I chose the trouble anyway.
Many, many years ago.
Yes, friend, the oceans rise
And wash away the land.
Yes, friend, the sun falls from sky
And pitiful man dies.
Yes, friend, the armies are ready
To attack and kill us all.
Yes, friend, things are happening now
That are ‘way beyond anyone’s control.
Yes, friend, the hungry.
Yes, friend, the homeless.
The poor, the weak, the victims.
Yes, friend, those who hate
Seem to outnumber those who love.
And yes, friend, I am still sitting here
And meditating. Try to remember—
Yes, friend, the sun will rise again
And warm the earth.
Yes, friend, the moon and stars
Will bless the night with light.
Yes, friend, a child was born,
And then another. And another.
Hope lives, my friend,
Because we still live.
Death will come, my friend,
But life is already here.
Be here with it.
Even your mistakes are grace.
Seek the middle way
With easy steps.
—James Lee Jobe
Good morning yourself, James Lee Jobe, and thank you for your usual fine poems and photos!
This morning, beginning at 9:30am, Writers on the Air presents Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, along with Sable and Quill writers Bethanie Humphreys and Heather Judy, plus open mic. That’s down at Sac. Poetry Center, hosted by Todd Boyd.
Then this afternoon, 2-4pm, Poetic License poetry read-around takes place at Placerville Sr. Center lobby, 937 Spring St. in Placerville. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.