Where It Comes From A collection of 95 of my poems is now available in a single volume. A common thread runs through them—a celebration of the natural world and the human spirit as an integral reality. I hope you’ll find some inspiration and hope in this first collection of my poetic work.
Thanks for all the ways we are fortunate and strong;
and when our luck grows thin, or we are frail,
for the way others uphold us with their gifts.
Thanks for the flowing grace of our lives,
and the blessing of family and friends.
Thanks for the light and passion of day;
and when we are weary,
the way night comes like a kind
stranger with its calm moon and its balm of sleep.
Thanks for the bounty of food, and the labor
of those who grew it;
and when we hunger
in other ways, for the way we are fed by
a poem or a tune, a smile or a touch.
Thanks for the company of others;
and when we tire of speech,
for the renewal and solace of silence.
Thanks for domesticity and home;
and when we need
to be quickened and our blood stirred,
for the glory and trials of wild nature.
Thanks for the story that brought us here, for
eons of creative labor and countless being
who brought us here;
and for our home, this Earth,
whose seasons returning remind us of who we are.
Thanks for the air we breathe;
for the fire in our hearts
which when adversity snuffs the flame,
rekindles our courage again and again.
and for the water that flows
in our veins, keeps our cells moist, our bodies vibrant.
Thanks for the eagle, the wren, the sea turtle, the elm;
all the planet’s varied clan, who, were they to depart,
would leave a great loneliness in our souls.
Thanks for all, and to all.
In the praise of all that lives, grows, and has its being.
We give thanks…
ALL THERE NEEDS TO BE
When I think about the minuscule frog
that appears every spring in our backyard
pond, the one with the huge voice;
and of the hummingbird’s morning rounds,
burying her beak into the red salvia in
their pots on the deck, then I am
aware, again, of all of the seemingly
simple things that fly beyond
the stench of power and politics,
above the knelling, like a steeple bell,
of life’s unending losses. These little
praises appear again and again, free,
un-ownable, like sun-shadows shedding
delight—and we will always have that
together: the delirious sip of nectar,
the frog song buoying up at dusk
through the screen door, to remind us
of our imperfect love for each other
and for the world, to say, over
and over: it is enough. It is all there is,
today, and all there needs to be.
The trail crooks like a fiddle neck,
loops like a buttercup petal,
undulates like a soap
plant leaf, and the tongues of
miners lettuce release
their white blossomed
song into the February green.
Each step is a breath
coming up from the ground
to mate with the Sun.
Far off, just above the grey-blue
surface, white birds carry light
on their backs as they fly north.
The mother is gently rolling.
The day seems reluctant to begin.
Winter rains have spawned rare
and fragile hues — browns, reds,
yellows, too many greens to count.
Staring, the water plays tricks with
my eyes. To see is to live! The eye,
a long labor that learned to taste
color and movement. How can
I be somber amidst all this praise?
The effort – it’s always inexact, imperfect.
But it’s worth something, a residue,
a mark left for others to find
in the leaves of a book, like a footprint.
Or a beach stone, or a cairn awaiting a storm.
Writing is not what goes onto stone.
It is the stone, piled up, or smoothed
down, striated, en-colored, pocked,
heated and cooled into a pose. Often,
it’s quartz, sometimes shale
that crumbles into sand that slowly
marches out to meet the tide.
That’s why walking barefoot on the
sea beach tells a story to your feet.
With shoes we’ve chosen to forget
the language of stone.
Such a longing. Within me.
For what has always been here.
I yearn through the screen of
my ignorance. I’ve gone
asthmatic with the overlay
of a culture gone violent
with speed and pseudo-data.
It all passes as news, somehow.
But there are many songs within me.
To let them loose is to feel
the thunder of 100 horses.
They are bright arias draped on the treetops,
waiting for the fingers of the wind.