Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Mist

This morning’s tide arrived slowly
Bits and pieces of the day gently
Lifted from their slumber
Until the world looks nearly real
The landscape caught by morning’s surprise
Has forgotten details of its own awakening
Under the soft and heavy drape of mist
That hangs still and silent in the air

The space around me is sealed
A glass lid on a glass casserole
And I am on the inside
Soft slaps and plunks of ocean
Here and there played on sandstone
Unravel a string of shoreline
Below my feet
In front of me and beside me

Everything is grey
Still ocean and sleeping sky
Blended into one
Joined across the horizon
Of their forgotten separation
The mist at a distance has become fog
It has eaten all the color
From trees across the bay
And stolen trees completely
From the more distant forest

Ferns and Salal
Hold their breath with me
And listen
To sounds normally lost
Under the ocean’s soft blanket
Of white noise
A stream splashes
And a dipper calls

Even the soft rusty hinge
Of a widgeons wings
Settles on me softly
From somewhere
Inside the damp mist above
Wing beats drifting in the wake
Of that bird’s blind flight
Even my thoughts
Want to chase after birds
This morning

The half splash of a loon
Frightened by its own eerie call
Magnified in the empty silence
Disappears into its own circle
Entering another world
Safe from its own call
But bound by need to be
A shadowed predator
Of others

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Passing by

Walking by the river
Watching boats pass by
Noticing their wakes
Carried as waves
Toward the shore
Joining the hull
To the land
So they
Can know
One another
In this landscape
Where everything
Is connected together

Narrow waves
Speak of narrow boats
And wide waves
Speak from wide boats
While our feet
Leave silent footprints
Always touching
But very seldom feeling
This landscape

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Walking through
The forest
Sunday afternoon
In moist and quiet air
After the storm

A beaver pond
Leans heavily
Against its stick dam
Half broken
By heavy rains

Broad old trees
Here and there
Some toppled
Some Shattered
By strong winds

A stone path
Leads us
Through trees
Past the pond
To a church
Near the forest

Its rounded roof
With singing voices
At its walls
Through its roof

A muffled chorus rises
Aimless at the heavens
Hardly penetrating
The forest where we stand
Silent among sword ferns
Welcomed by strong trunks
Of tall and ancient trees

This place among the trees
Is more a cathedral
Than it ever was before
Even when the church
Sat silent - parked
In its own empty lot

Pleased by wind and rain
The tops of living trees
Standing tall above
The rounded roof
Their gentle joyful song
Whispered unending
From high above us
Drifting down
Like autumn mist
Our gratitude rising
Like winter steam

Sweet blessings
Showered from trees
Bathed in love
Even in that moment
Beyond the storm
That took old friends
And changed their world forever
Forgiveness woven
Into their song

Monday, November 16, 2009

Winter Storm

Today was traveled by a storm
That was born during the night
It took hold of the ocean
And tore branches from the forest
Then it came rushing for me
But it could not squeeze through
The narrow gap in my window
Yet it was so full of sound
That it woke me

Early in the morning
I walked through the forest
To a point of land
On the edge of the sea
To meet the storm
White edges of broken water
Along the sharp folds of waves
Were nearly eight feet high
And half a mile long
The waves ran in straight lines
At an angle toward the shore
The surface of the sea was white
And the whole ocean seemed disturbed

I looked out on the water -
Not a single boat
I wondered about the sealions
And the seals and the otters
And the seagulls and eagles
Everything was missing
Or waiting somewhere
For the storm to soften
It just wasn’t happening

I noticed the cove
Just north from where I stood
The water in there
Was quiet - its opening
Was angled so the waves
Passed by without entering
And the wind ran overhead
I thought of that still place within us
That may be rippled on occasion
But can stay steady in the storms
That challenge our own shores
It’s gentle truth invited me to smile
Then reminded me to breathe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


All that we are not
And all that lies beyond
Already knows us
As self

One day we will
Greet our self
As those things
Already do

If not here and now
Then beyond
Death’s threshold
Where blindness
Is left behind

Friend and Lover

Friend and Lover
Fused together
Love and
No half
Can survive
Without the other
They need
To live
With us or
Without us
We can not
Separate them
They would both die
Longing for

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn Wind

Today as I walked, I noticed the green cottonwood leaves struggling to hold on to their branches in the strong wind by the river. But the yellow leaves from the upper branches seemed to let go so peacefully. I identified with the greenish leaves that were holding on to their branches and near the end of their useful time to the tree.*

The wind seemed to be very alive today and the leaves existed only in each present moment. There seemed to be no sense of past or future for the leaves. They seemed to hold no memory of ever being a small sweet scented bud and they never experienced emotional attachment to the branch they worked with so intimately through the summer to sustain the tree. When the time came for them to be free from their branch they just let go - full of peace and full of joy with no clue about where they would land or just how they would circle back into life. The tree was helping me understand that a feeling of loss or emotional attachment may be an artifact of memory - and it disappears completely in a present moment that is surrendered to wonder and gratitude.

* Deciduous trees have to let their leaves go as winter approaches because it just takes more energy to sustain them than they are able to produce and the tree would need to run on a deficit of food and water. The very waxy broad leafed arbutus tree and the native rhododendron leaves are both uniquely evergreen in our countryside. The needled trees like fir and hemlock and pine are also evergreen and can keep their needles through the winter as they don't stress the tree's resources too much. But I notice the cedar trees at this time of year - they shunt their wastes into 1 or 2 cedar boughs at the base of most branches which then turn brown and fall away from the tree along with its small cones.

Autumn Wind

Today took me down by the river
The sky was grey and wet
The river was the same
All the colors had run
To leaves on autumn trees
The wind is what I noticed most
It was playing with everything
It was touching everything
The clouds and the river
The raindrops and the grass
And the leaves on the trees
Asking them if they were ready
To surrender their hold
And fly toward the river

The summer sun gone
Green mottling leaves
Past usefulness to their tree
Struggling so hard
To hold on to their branch
In this colorful autumn wind
Slapping their branch and each other
While yellow leaves above peacefully let go
One-by-one or in handfuls
Surrendered to their season
Celebrating their color
With the wind and this moment
No sadness at parting
And no certain destination

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nature's Open Door

At nature’s open door
Apart but not alone
Alone but not lonely
No humans nearby

Emotional colors
Faint echoes
From past voices
Loosely tied
To arrows
Of intention

Silence helps us
Step naked
Into the present
Leaving past voices
Powerless and meaningless
Beyond the open door

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Forest Path

Walk slowly
Along the path
In the forest
By the lake

Every step
A destination
Every step
A Starting place

You can leave
The well worn path
Any place you like
The land won't mind

  A hill to climb
  A lake to swim
The path to walk
Just follow the wind

Subtle life emerges
In the forest every Fall
As people with their
Summer notions leave

To the world
As you tread
On bare earth
Along the forest path

Let your body breathe
Into its own
Sunrise of joy
Knowing that
It’s not alone

Feel the crickets’ ratchet
Your footsteps closer
And then fall silent
As they quietly drift by

A pileated woodpecker
Hammers and shrieks
From a big-leaf maple
While prickly sculpin
Swim silently across
The deaf lake bottom

The world inside is real
And joins the forest
That surrounds me
Inside and outside
Never were separate
Everything here belongs

The land listens
Patiently waiting
To dance with us
To join us in laughter
And carry us through tears
But it can also let us pass
In silence
Blind to its miracle

Monday, September 7, 2009

cabbage moth

Photograph by Stephen Pinkus

Two white butterflies
Fluttering tightly together
Rising from the beach
Across my path
Over a building
Into a world I cannot see
Or even imagine

They must have played
In reeds by the river
And through some way of knowing
Were sent flying together
Without hesitation
Into such a big world
Tying invisible knots
Of joy and freedom
Into tight flight lines

What could they
Possibly know
Of this place
Yet they seem to hold
All they need in their hearts
To find purpose and fulfillment
In these short days
When a cabbage
Can lead to heaven

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Do you remember
The experience
Of receiving
A gift

Do you remember
The experience
Of giving
A gift

Do you realize

That you are
The gift

Monday, August 17, 2009


Autumn's bright journey
Dreamed under winter snow
Warmed by spring flowers
Loved by summer's breeze

The place I am
Seems the right place
To be standing
Even though
I could be
Anywhere I wish

The fish still come
The snow still falls
The flowers still grow
The summers breeze
Just as they will
When I am gone

When I feel so lost
I let the ocean help me
Arrive and smile in joy
Where I should be
When I should be
I have no other
Way to know

Monday, August 10, 2009

By the River

I made it to an old favorite spot along the river today
I went alone and passed beyond the place
My legs have stopped before
At that bench half-way here that sits alongside the gravel path
Where I can only see the river from a distance
But can clearly feel the people passing by
Words in my head help me understand the people on that path
The river is just a background that they move by
But from here on the eroding edge of the river
I can feel the thunder of the river and smell the wet clay of its banks
I can hear the cottonwood leaves, electric in the breeze, promise new weather
And smell all of the things that are here and all of the things that will come
Under the eagle that stretches high in the sky
Crows and seagulls, close to the ground, welcome the breeze
Waves on the river find their own way to shore not needing to be seen
Sitting in that moment I notice the words in my head
They scatter like birds at being found
They mean no harm and are only there to comfort my mind
It so needed them – just to hide from the pain of being unable to feel
Unable to help me understand the mystery of this place
I cast the empty words away as others before me
Tossed away cigarette butts or chewing gum
Hollow habits that can block the joy or sting of a present moment
A place that is unpredictable and where truth is evident
A place where we cannot hide from what we truly want
A place where longing can take root
Although not rare, a moment is unique and precious
Just for emerging into the light of consciousness
Words will come later when I sit and invite this moment to flutter by again
My mind will help me in that task with all but feelings
They only live within the magic of a wordless moment by the river

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bird Song

Swainson's Thrush photograph by Larry Bond copyright 2005

What bird sings
In this forest
And what branch
Is he perched on

Does he sing
To me
Or call
To another

And rider
Passes silently through
Forest leaves

Among broad trunks
Of quiet

Under the blessing
Of a bird's
beautiful song

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Winter Morning

photograph by Carl Deal copyright, all rights reserved

Ducks in darkness
Glide silently
Perfectly together
Sliding to a stop
On dawn’s heavy pond
Settling to rest
Like two slippers
On a fabric floor

Their soft swash
On the still pond
Draws brash calls
From crows on branches
Tangled in the darkness
Awakening the day
Like a fire stirred to life
From overnight embers

Morning’s light ignites
Its wash of colour
Flooding the eastern sky
Tinting all things their Hue
Black withdraws from all
Except the crow
Who keeps his morning
Colour in his call

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Deeper current

google image
The ocean
Was never afraid
The loose end of its bieng
A dream unseen far beyond
The beginning of time
Long before life
Paid the price to seek
Its own ransom

Mortality, is common
Pennies rolled as money
Every wave spent on its shore
Finds one moment to be heard
To sum up all of its travels
To name all the birds that rode its back
And all the fish that silvered its belly

The water that carries the wave
Is not spent on the shore
The water that carries the wave
Lives without judgment
And returns to the sea
Joyfully offering itself
To each new wave to be
Its body, to be its voice

Unseen to the waves
Are the ocean's tides and currents
Different from its waves
Tides only visit twice each day
But like the waves no two are the same
What we cast onto the ocean
On an outgoing tide
Is pulled apart, inspected and then
Returned to us or stranded
On our neighbor’s beach
While the waters are drawn once again
Through the teeth of the moon

Deeper currents aren’t known from the surface
They are hard to find and harder to visit
They are the engines of the tide
And are never superficial
We can’t just wade into them
Laughing with friends in delight
A false joy that overrides the truth
Spoken by each wave as it finds its shore
Deeper currents demand strength
And courage and commitment
If we want to visit

Sometimes our life seems
Little more than a wave
A grand experience
Ending in a single song
Sung upon our shore
A ripple on a sand bar
Marking us as over
Our watery essence
Returning to the sea
Offers to serve another

To find the deeper current
We must dress to prepare
With a mask and fins and regulator
Taking our own air in a tank
And our own suit to protect us
Dressed in this way
Behind our own mask
We know we are alone

Two divers together
Always have different experiences
Did you see the pair of angel fish?
Did you touch the green sea turtle?
Did you pass by the school of Barracuda?
It is different for everyone
So much to experience
But every so often
I float into knowing
We are not alone

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Searching for Silence

Searching for silence
Dreaming of a quiet place
My mind plays
With a warming sun
The view of water
The fragrance of a dry forest
The taste of summer salt
And a mountain stream
Of gentle thoughts

I was wise enough
To trim all tags of obligation
Before I left to find a quiet
Gentle peace in this secret place
Then I drew myself out
From the middle of
A conflicted life

It was my mind
That was tired
Not my soul
Lightened by
Its loss of burden
Mind fell asleep
Exhausted from living
Its own well-wishing
But self-serving lie
Happy to leave this ship
In the hands of my soul
Alone for a moment
On the safe waters
Of a gently ordered nature

After all… what trouble
Could an other-worldly soul stir
On such a quiet and peaceful sea
And within such a familiar harbor
My mind expected
That quiet would come
So it slept soundly and safely
Outside of its storm

But not my soul
I noticed as I found
My peaceful place in nature
That although my stream
Of gentle thoughts
Seemed real enough
Before I arrived
It was as fixed as a written book
When floated against
The unrehearsed will
Of an authentic living world

A world that stood up
From its quiet seat of tiredness
To let the wind play the trees
Then push past my body
Hurrying with excitement
To answer its own question
That was rushed from the breath
Of a rising sky of cedars
Grouped at the edge of my yard
The wind ran by to
The orange colored lilies
Growing in the planted garden
Their faces new to the world

The wind had only this moment
To let the lilies answer the trees
In their very own way
With the voice
That the wind brought for them

No other moment
Could have answered this question
No other moment
Could have offered the same truth

Songs of birds were fit
Into the music of the landscape
Joining the conversation
Just where they belonged
Even the dry flutter
Of a red dragon fly
Was important to the piece
Each found note unique
In its purpose and its sound
Nothing wanting
And nothing wasted

I probably missed
More than I heard
And not knowing just when
A bird’s song would come
Or how it would arrive
Or what it would say
Never diminished the joy
That shimmered upon
Its unannounced arrival

For the first time ever
I didn’t long for a scripted
Flow of gentle thought
That painted a false world
For me to see
A place for me to die

Instead the music
Just became louder,
More full, more complex
And more magic
Until no voice
Could possibly be heard
Beside or within the music
In this peaceful and alive place
Where I found my own heartbeat
And my own breathing
Had joined this perfect music
Playing together with it
As if they had never
Been apart

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forest Vine

Everything is connected
Each word each leaf
Each poem drawn
And held together
By the thread
Of our own experience
And the longing of
Our own soul
To follow the vine
Back to its root

Even just to find it
Growing tangled
On a forest floor
A living string
Connecting all things
That we know together
Breathes possibility
Back into our dream
Of returning home
To find it lit
By our own heart

If we are lucky
A forest vine can be lifted
Cleanly, unbroken
And laid upon a page
As a painting, a poem
Or a song
There for all to see
Or hear and follow
For just as long
As its leaves stay green

There is nothing
As frustrating
As a vine found whole
But too fragile
To be withdrawn
From the weeds and grass
That lock it to the forest's floor
Hiding both the origin
And the destination
Of that vine from view

Bits and pieces
Of our unified truth
Stretched and broken
By an expectant pull
Silently denies the continuity
Of this simple miracle
The one that brought us
To where we stand now
Holding the broken vine
Unable to grow or change
In this moment
Unable to fuse itself
Back together again
Unable to lead us back home

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


artist: Ben Houstie 1995

How did you ever come to carry such a heavy pack
And why did they send you out to walk alone
Dressed in camouflage on such a very hot day
To walk along a path that follows our peaceful city’s beach
Where children play

Where adults invite warm sun and pleasant thoughts
To sooth their bodies and their minds
I forgot that our country is at war
130 have died in Afghanistan
Children is who they really are
No older than my own son
Why when there are so many lost items
Of real value to the soul must we fight till death?
It just buries what is lost even deeper than before

I am so sorry for my friends
Who are parents to children
And for their children who have died
Keeping this place; this land free
My heart is sad for that
As if it were my own child
That has been lost from view
And from change forever
You soldier; are so alone and you are so brave
In this burdened hike you make
Alone with your thoughts
I wonder what you think of me

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


A thread so thin
A force so subtle
How can I know
If it really exists

Unable to see
Over the top
Unwilling to plumb
To the very bottom

I hang
Between time
And timeless

My shoulder
Touching others
Instantly knowing
Unable to pretend

Bubbles of emotion
Lift me
Toward the surface
Of this pond

Just where the pond
Was shivered
By a whispered breeze

Drawn out
By the smiling sun
Cradled in its arms
And set down into life

On a jamb packed train
Of joy and pain
From start to finish

Flowering me
A new color
A new shape
As intended

The same question
That drew us into life
Becomes the stream
That carries us back

Into the pond
Where our center
Joins again
With all others

Is our truth
Quiet and strong
Or do emotions still
Lean upon us

The answer
Resting deep
Within us is clear
For all to know

Friday, May 29, 2009


A hallway of doors
Each one closed
Upon a life experience
That awaits us
In darkened rooms
Our pockets fashioned
Of curiosity and longing
Hold a growing fist of keys
Markers of experience
Doors that have been opened
And others yet to be

Happiness and sadness
Anger and fear
Pride and jealousy
Embarrassment and joy
All ingredients of life
Colors of lighted rooms
Each door unlocked
By an open heart
That fashioned keys
On a cutting wheel of longing
Pockets that jingle with intention
To use if we choose

To open a door is easy
Once we hold its key
The rooms rest quiet and unlit
So that all we can do is smell
The universe that lives behind them
Then choose to enter or leave
Each threshold is the same
Fashioned of a wood
Hewed from the forest
Of our own vulnerability
Each door leads
To a new and deeper place

Some of the rooms may lie
Beyond our own mortality
Yet if we find the courage
To grasp the lesson of that place
To know the truth that lives within that room
It will belong to us forever
And travel with us always
To light the world we walk in
Some experiences are pleasant
Some are not but each one shapes us
As a chisel fashions rock

How many keys
Our longing fashions
How many doors
We dare to open
And how many rooms
We choose to enter
Is always up to us

Thursday, May 28, 2009



Anxious to be calm
I just seek a place to sit

And to rest here on a seat
That seems so safely settled on the ground
But something I can’t see
And something I can't know
Just grasped me where I stand
So now I know I am found

What is missing

What has changedHas it always been this way
No familiar point of reference
As my compass simply spins
And the light is quickly draining from the day
Somehow I know I’ll follow
A moon of intuition through the night
Letting go of an old and storied past
To embrace an unknown
That waits shining in the stars


I don't know
Where I came from
I don't know
Where I am going
But my whole heart knows
That I am here
In the middle of a miracle
It sparkles in the air

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The River carries silt
In her belly during freshet
Hiding the fish
She holds as children
Until they cross
Their natal threshold
And enter a darkness
Between the worlds
Of fresh and salt

A fresh water past
May be lost for a lifetime
Unless the salmon is lucky enough
To survive and find and follow
The sweet thread of its river
That can lead it back
To the gravel bed
Where the salmon emerged
Into the fresh and clear water
Beneath a mother's belly

Just as silt filters
Through her fingers
And settles onto muddy banks
At freshet’s waning breath
Most of the river's fish are lost
Before they return to spawn
And so, circle back into life
In some other way

We so often fail to see
That most of the fish
That seemed to slip
Through life’s fingers
Still fulfilled
Some other purpose
And honored their river
In some other way

Just as there are a thousand times and places for a particle of silt to settle from its river - there are a thousand ways a soul can honor life

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Flowering plum

Is one of those
Warm sunny spring days
That spills on the ground
The waving shadows
Of flowering plums

Plum blossom's
Gentle fragrance

To perfume warm sunny air
As cool smelling shadows

Rest below
On freshly watered grass

Friday, May 8, 2009

Self comfort

Rest your head on my arm
Close your eyes
Don’t let your silky breath
Catch on the rough edges
Of past experience
Or on the jagged fears
Of an unknown future
Neither knows this moment

I am here to hold you
To let you feel
Your own love
To let you know
You are not alone
To help you want
These moments of breathing
The sweet breath of my words

You are loved
And the rawness you feel
Guides you back
Toward an older
And higher family
That loved you enough
To let you come here
In the first place
And tread on a slippery
Surface above your pain

The beauty
Of this world
Lives in the freedom
That we hold
To deny its existence
Or to visit it if we need
Or to live in it every day
With every breath
In joy and in pain

Life will not judge our choice
And no choice must tilt the pan
More or less than any other
And no choice holds the will
To only be wrong
But after a time
Refusing to choose
Is like holding our breath
Just to spite the sweet wind
That caresses our face

A soft voice says
You will know
When it is time
To lay down
Your breath
So for now
You must practice
Living and not dying
For just as long
As your wind whispers

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Common Bird

Artist: Ben Houstie, Wood Duck 1996

A common bird
Seen for the first time
Heard for the first time
Seems anything but common
As we hurry its smouldering image
Sealed in the thin paper
Of an undisciplined mind
Back to our study

Often urged b
y need
I compare its image
To flat pictures
In a favorite book
Thumbed through
A thousand times before

So wanting to exist

So needing to be found
That image
Would even change
Its essence, its truth
Just to match
One photo in the book
And to live in that
And then
Be lost to that

As the bird flew
And I walked
Beyond our greeting
It was too late
To know that bird
Just as an image
For I saw it
And I felt it
Both of us open
In that instant

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Gift to the World

Infant arriving
Brings a gift
To the world
The bright color
Of new paint
Preciously sealed
Perfectly conceived
To bless and to heal

Under the lights
Of joy and love
The seal can soften
And the lid
Will fall away
Revealing its color
To all of our senses
A gift to the world

How long we sit
Before our blank page
Is always up to us
But only lasts
As long as we doubt
The purity of our color
Or the beauty
Of an intuitive
Brush stroke

Friday, March 6, 2009

Midnight Symphony

I awoke in darkness
Finding only the warmth
Of my own body
Under a blanket of feathers
My bedroom door open
To the cool fresh air
Of a nighttime forest
That stands welcomed
In my back yard

When the moon is away
From a nighttime moment
The darkness outside
Takes everything
Even eyes seeking to see
Simply give up
With quiet acceptance
When we realize
It is only our memory
That finds our own
Open hand three inches
In front of our face

Leaving eyes behind
Without sadness
I realize my ears
Were the handles
Used by my soul
To draw me from my sleep
Into the beauty
Of soft rain falling
Onto the world outside
Playing a full and beautiful
In the forest and on my roof
On the ground and in the gutters
Leaves and shingles
Drainpipes and puddles

Each raindrop fulfilled
By its own sound
And each note unique
Among all the others
Even the half-full clay cistern
Lets me know it is there
Catching the larger drops
That Fall from the roof edge
Into the joy of their own
Hollow-bellied sound

The gentle white noise
Of soft rain falling
Brightens a blue tarp
Covering dry wood
Waiting for its fireplace
To set it free
Washing with its whisper
In the background
Never overbearing
Just another sound
Uncovered by the fullness
Of the falling rain

My soul is smiling
As I lie there listening
Sharing the beauty
Of my own silence
With the richness
Of soft falling rain
As it plays with everything
That Waits just outside
My open door

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Winter Marsh

White snowflakes are floating
Where green bullfrogs bloating
Croaked their colored call to spring
Inviting bluebells to ring
And blackbirds to sing
But now in this moment
Marsh colors sleep sound
Under snow covered ground

Friday, February 27, 2009


So quiet today
No children
Feeling just a little

After so much busyness
Last week
I am missing all of us
Too much

Sometimes it seems far
To go
Back to where I was
So full

Knowing spring sunshine
Just the other side
Of each door

Trusting as I am drawn
Toward a place I knew

Lost and Found

She said
I live in a house
On a hill

By the sea
It is perched

On the edge
Just like my life

It was
Just a glimpse
But we both saw it
At the same time
I felt you standing
Under the weight of loss
Solitary but steady
With strength and dignity

There is more
Than one soul here
Against the crimson/violet sunset of loss
A boy is by your side
Mother and son
To your waist
Joined with you
Through the loving protection
Of a bare arm

Familiar touch
Is so important
Now that we
Can no longer reach
What we loved
As much
As our own skin

Standing side by side
Not looking at each other
Eyes set on the horizon
Glazed by the sunset
Is searched already
For what we lost
A vessel, its crew,
A child, a puppy, a father,
A husband, a lover, a self

We all search
Inside ourselves
To understand our loss
Outside ourselves
To find what we have lost
Beneath our search
We already know its truth
They are never coming home

When, as a child
I stood by your side

I was frightened
In that moment

But needed
To be strong for you
I put my pain aside
I said I was OK
It didn’t matter to me
That my love and caring
Were braided with my pain
Fused together
And cast aside as one

After many years
I found those
Long abandoned feelings
Entwined and knotted together
Frayed strands of colored rope
Living in the tideline
At the margin of the sea
Just where
I had laid them down
So very long ago

When, as an adult
I felt you at my side
I was frightened

In that moment
but still needed
To be strong

For both of us
I held close
To my love and my caring
Feeling the pain of our loss

I am
No longer a silhouette
My being
No longer blocks the light
This crimson/violet sunset
Penetrates and passes

Right through me
I see clearly
Through these tears
I am part and all
Of the living universe
In love and in pain
Free and whole again
Born into a sunrise

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Early Evening Sky

Tonight offered a sky to remember
For anyone who noticed it
Miracles of light, color, moisture and wind
No matter where you looked
There was beauty

Three rainbows arched
Over top of city windows
Into the Northeastern sky
Colored cups stacked in a cupboard
Light on rain-shadowed hillsides

While a cleaving wedge of clear
Surprised southwestern clouds
The deepest brightest blue
That I have ever seen
Was splitting a space
Between flame-edged clouds
That were hiding the sun from view

All the sky’s pieces
Were noticed by the wind
Nothing was out of reach
Perfect fleeting beauty
Overfilling its cup
Drowning time
Nothing seemed to care
If it was noticed or not
Just a simple blessing
Not less than everything

Monday, January 26, 2009

Redwood Grove

google image
I listened to David Whyte speak this past weekend at Mt. Madonna in California. I love what I learned about redwood trees by watching them in the fog and soft air during the breaks we had. The way they stand so still in the quiet morning mist. The way the mist condenses on the leaves into large droplets that fall to the ground around the drip-line of the tree. The way that young redwoods spring up as shoots from the roots of the parent tree and form a perfect circle around it – right at the drip-line where the water, distilled from the mist, falls to the ground to nurture new young shoots. One day the taller parent tree may be lost to lightening, disease or age and when it is taken back by the earth just a circle of trees will remain.

It made me think of the questions that David Whyte’s workshop acknowledged. The questions that are rooted at our own edges remind me of the circle of trees that establish around the parent tree – right where the edges of the tree meet everything that the tree is not. One day the parent tree may be gone forever but genetically identical trees remain firmly rooted at exactly the place where its own raindrops imagined them. Just like one day we may stand in that place where our own important questions have taken root.

Redwood Grove

Standing in the mist
A feeling so familiar
That without thinking
I gently open my heart
And hold loving arms out
Into soft morning air
Leaving me certain
It is my branches
That draw water from the mist
Distilled just from the edge
Of where the tree
Touches everything that it is not
Forming heavy raindrops
That fall and mark the ground
Where, one day, I will stand
At the edge
Of my own empty circle

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dragonflies Greeting

Did your gentle heart
Sense my presence
On the summer breeze
Sweet scent of phlox
And freesia stirred
By a bold stride through
A dew-drenched garden

That scent
First gathered
Then carried
To your window
As a kiss
By the morning sun

Did you watch me
From your window
Riding the back
Of a fresh sea-breeze
Forming playful images
In clouds as I passed by

Now gathered
To your window
By the powerful hand
Of a larger Ocean's will
We find ourselves together
In this fleeting moment

The River

We are
The water
In the river
That flows
Through this place
But for our faith

The world
We embrace
invites us
To be
That we can

The river
May look
No different
From the outside
But inside
The water's dance
It is as open or as closed
As confined or as free
As we allow it
To be

Sunday, January 4, 2009

cotton comfort

photo by Paula Stoeke copyright 2004 all rights reserved

cotton comfort
long a friend
still serves you
your secrets
and your scent


Your Hand
On soft pine
The richness
Of its
Graceful character

Wood grain
That shared
Its gentle wisdom
With a leather
Aproned craftsman
200 years ago

Raised panel
Still stands
With a polished dignity
That speaks
Of his

Knowing hand