Saturday, December 01, 2012


Household Gods


What is praise that we may
Have morning once again,
That I may wake beside you,
See you there once again?  Speak

Your name and feel your sweet
Breath against me?  Oh yes, surely
This and more, so much that stars
Must be language for it, that flowers
Too must learn to speak, trees also,
Waves upon the oceans, as many as

Grains of sand in its forms and always
More.  One voice cannot tell this
Thing beyond a simple dancing or any
Exultation devised to say about
Such things.  How poor all poetry
Becomes before it.  So every thing

We do must become praise, a
Name of wonder, the light I see
In your eyes, this waking beside
You.  And morning, morning here again.
Praise, praise, praise, all praise.



If you stand closer to this edge
You will be able to peer further
Into the spinning wheel that is the morning.

A small flock of yellow birds
Move past us full of tiny sounds
And the blessing of color.

Fog has changed the place.  It rises
To just below the tree tops,
Capturing the entire valley in the dream-
Like quality of the place.

Now, I will tell you about lands
Below the fog.  The children are still
Asleep there.  Perhaps these mists
Rise from their breathing.  Perhaps
They are the dreams themselves.  We
Have no way of knowing
Until we too are among the sleepers.

The fog is a fog of purple horses, barely
Near to having form at all but nevertheless
Beautiful as they completely fill
This land below the fog.

Do we see them?  The plains growing
Pale.  A great dust breaks the dreamers,
Hides them, moves them from
Their supposed destinations.

We see gold, true gold descending
Over them, oblivion blazing away
Like an illusion.  There are no edges.

We push past all we know of art and
The making of glorious things to push
The light just that much further
Past our own vanishing.  We have no
Idea how any of this works,
Just that the fog returns.

Tiny droplets touch the hairs on our arms.
We begin to think of them as the
Planets, their satellites, beauteous.
They quickly disappear.



I should not stop to comprehend
How we are led by the moon or why
The journey is so far and distant from the town
Ot that we are transformed by it,

Obedient to its whims.  It comes.
It goes away. We clothe our
Bodies in an imagined bliss,
Find ways home across great water,
Beg ourselves witness the bright air
Filling our lungs with so much
More than we can ever remember.

Always the moon prevails, blows
Across the tremulous sky,
Always impossible.  We may be
Carried by one thousand hummingbirds
To our fine bed, dressed in robes
That angels wear and take residence
With our privilege of being here
With the great nets of our bodies

Moving away from us.
Oh yes, let us go.
I promise I will meet you there
Just before the snows.

And we will make the night cower,
Rename the stars and wear our
Joy like hearts, even as our eyes
Close to feel the hands of sleep,
The immaculate fingers of electricity.

And in these full and celebrated
Garments go back out to the night
And bring the moonlight in.


Tonight I will let the moon come
To me.  I will fill my poem with it
And sing into the early blue of night.

I will discuss the gardens
With Stevenson and Yeats,
Talk with Lang and Calvino.

We will speak as if we had all
Of time at our command, coins
Made of love of the stars,
The secrets that release the past
To the imagination only to be taken
Prisoner by words and uncertain
Dawns.  Signs for the animals of transformation
To dance among us and play to deceive
That we then cannot see, then see again
The golden fields near and far away,
The kind of language we must use
When handling the beating hearts of children. 


There were birds here.
One can see where certain
Kinds of grasses have been bent
Down to form places for their
Courting.  There are hollows too

Lined with feathers and nests
Made of twigs and string, of floss,
Bright bits and scraps of paper,
Forgotten by all else except them.

Here too are tracks upon the ground.
Here, a book of soothing gathered
From their shapes and movements
In the sky or by the nature of their calls.

Yet, when we come here now,
There are no birds here at all.  Only
Signs of them remain.  We must

Learn a kind of quiet, a special
Patience too and remain time
Enough for us to see them
With our own eyes, hear their songs.

They are like our own dear souls
In that souls must be regarded
In like kind to reveal and be
Revealed before us, full of colors, voices
Moving through the air, among the trees,
The shrubs, upon the waters too.  Looking
Deep into the heart, toward dreams, toward
Day that may find birds there,
And know them—that may be quite enough.



We talk bravely, measuring
The day.  Filling it with things
We must do, places we must go,
People we must see.  As if the
Whole of time were a fabric requiring

Action for each of us to continue.
Wave after wave meets the shore.
Ideas rise and dissipate without
Any consideration from any of us.

Some get noticed.  Some do not.
Ideas wander.  They have no owners.
The most unlikely circumstances
Arrange to generate marvelous

Occurrences.  There is no telling
If you or I may fortuitously
Recognize a particular melodic
Sequence, a chromatic change
In a blood sample, a notion
As unexpected as the sun being
Discovered in the center of our
Solar system as something of
Importance.  I watch a dove
Bobble as it lands on a power line.

This too seems a simple thing.  The bird
Coos in its unique way.  A line of com-
Munication opens up instantly.
I recognize a series of related
Vibrations.  They suggest great
Changes in the way we relate
To one another.  I decide to explore
This for the rest of my life.

             a poem to myself on my 56th birthday

I remain surprised that the ocean
Waves can repeat themselves endlessly
Without losing nuance and particular
Expression; a monologue interesting
Whenever encountered, full of sound
And fury, driven by the weather, its soul.

I remain amazed by love in its myriad
Forms: how it searches for us in music,
Dance, poetry, intimate conversations,
Displays of everything from architecture
To quick glances drenched in meaning,
Things we say to animals, touching.

I remain enchanted by the light moving
Through the afternoon, what it does to
Leaves, how it breathes each month into
Our lives, explaining everything as it does so.

I remain possessed by all of water in its
Forms and manners; for I too am water
As you are and the birds and the flower,
The great fields of grain to the horizon,
The trees themselves and the rivers
And the waterfalls and our poor tears.

I remain in great delight that all these
And more incite refrains, that I may
Know them still, that they have become
Gifts to my memory; allow me to recall,
Feel them as great forces driving every
Day.  All these are forms of grace.
I know this more each day.  May this
Be so my whole of life.  What bliss this be.


Today's LittleNip:


‘What do you have over there?’
‘It’s time,’ you said.
‘Well don’t wake anybody up.
It’s late and everybody will want some.’


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner, who celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving, for today's poems and photos!