Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Consider the Lilies

Consider now the lilies of the field

And then consider, too, the field itself,

The coarse high grasses wet with rain that catch

Against my calves as I pace the path to the pond.

Consider, too, the dark filled pond, the just passed rain,

The smooth-slipped rocks that line the muddy banks,

The slippery mud that sucks at toes

Of shiny frogs that jump and plop at my approach.

They neither reap nor sow, these lilies nor this field.

These frogs that hop at my approach, kings of this small pool,

They neither reap nor sow. The floating moon,

Only floating, shines up on me as light from some

Unseen deep new world. I must consider then the moon,

This same, riding gently on the ripples of the startled frogs

And glittering jewel-like on the rain stained grass.

I must consider then and hold this moon, this night, this field,

These lilies closed in prayer, these creatures deep.

I must consider what I did not sow and wonder if even Solomon

Could know what it is I reap from this array, what it is I reap

From this deep new world, this bright and shining deep new day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

autumn haiku

autumn’s distinction

reigns sovereign in subtraction

nectar gone to seed

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

lost haiku

I lost a haiku.
Somewhere on the way to work,
It flew from the car.

Somewhere on the way to work,

Between the dashboard and the zigzag lines,

I dropped a haiku from my mind.

I said it to myself and to the air

And to a clutch of crows

Astretch the power lines,

But somewhere on the way to work

Between the dashboard and the clutch of crows

Sitting on the power lines

Like exclamations on the sky,

I dropped a haiku from my mind.

I searched for it along the power lines

Between the dashboard and the hanging leaves

Bowing with the morning trees,

But somewhere on the way to work

Between the dashboard and the hanging leaves

Bending with the trees

Like supplicants to sunrise,

I dropped a haiku from my mind.

I hoped to find it caught among the boughs

Between the dashboard and the hills of green

Climbing to the rising sun,

But somewhere on the way to work

Between the dashboard and the climbing hills

Escorting me through morning

Like ushers garbed in green,

I dropped the haiku from my mind.

I sought for it among the climbing hills

Between the dashboard and the parking lot

Swallowing my car

Like an open mouth,

But somewhere on the way to work

Between the dashboard and the workday world

Waiting to devour my life

Like an eater of rhymes,

I dropped a haiku from my mind.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

going home

You can’t go home again, Thomas,

You can't go home again.

Too many things are at end, Thomas,

Too many days and too many nights,

Too many hills we’ve had to climb

And too many times descend.

We’ve too many stories lived and told

Then placed up on the shelves;

Crossed too many windows and too many doors

To go back where we were before --

You can go home again, my love,

You can, of course you can!

The apple tree’s grown bigger now,

With branches spread for reading;

The berries bear the scars of birds,

And grapes boast in their swinging.

The childhood circled magic ring

Stands open as it did;

The little house where we first met

And yet,

Too much has fled our grasp, Thomas,

Too many things have gone.

Too many days and too many nights,

Too many lives and too many doors

Are ashes of what went before.

You can't go home again, Thomas,

For all your words can say.

No matter that it breaks our hearts,

That life has passed away.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Leaving Dreams

These nights, rising softly from my solid bed,

I leave you to your even rise and fall

and pillowed burrowing in dreams

to follow the moon’s long reach

that gleams along the grass and mutes

the nighttime feel of cool dew crushing underfoot.

In the moongold glow, small creatures

sleek as seals swim across the dampened field,

startled from their peace by one that steals into their world.

They run, these families of skittish mice,

to hide among the garden vines, deciding

here or there to test a bite, and leaving ruined fruit

as if it has no use to them at all.

These nights, when I trade my solid bed

and the solid rise and fall of breath for cloudless skies,

I push into the moonshine meadow light, stealing

to the edges of the woods, searching

here and there for fruits to test,

and discarding pillowed dreams

as if they have no use to me at all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Name is West Virginia

When I asked my three-years old grandson if he knew my name, he answered without hesitation: “West Virginia.”

“No,” I said. “Grammy’s name is Karen.”

West Virginia,” he said with a smile. “You are West Virginia.”

I am dirt road hollers

and creeks without bridges,

glowing piles of coal

and coal black, lumbering bears.

I am Black-eyed Susans

and sticky, silky Milkweed,

swelling and bursting

in Autumn scented air.

I am whispered family secrets,

kisses beneath windows,

blanket-covered porch swings

and promises made there.

I am born of revolutions

and wars against my brothers;

I am apple faced women

and men who try and dare.

I am pinto bean weekdays

with iron skillet cornbread;

I am fried chicken Sundays

and sweet'ning if you choose.

I am Onward, Christian Soldiers,

on prayer meeting Wednesdays,

embossed zippered Bibles

and patent leather shoes.

I am Mother Jones marches,

the passing of the torches,

and American dreams

that somehow do come true.

I’m the boys from the coal mines

and the girls who learned to write lines.

I am West Virginia -

a majestic mountain Muse.