Looking at Sticks in Winter

winter character

Looking at Sticks in Winter

After a light overnight snow grounded things stand out
like a character for winter

autumn’s fallen sticks seem arranged
a gentle alphabet of dropped and windblown things

are all alphabets constructed of things that no longer grow
snapped or broken things until the world made sense of the drift

do I know as I look down on them they are looking
past me pointing to all that is still living above our heads

to all that will be green again whether I look or not
are all languages a message in relief or is it my own relief

that words will never be in season the spring they sprouted
from long gone the spring yet to arrive as forgetful

as we are with each other with growing and shedding
that even my name is an accidental landing

To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written

To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written

 

The sun departs through a throng of clouds
on the horizon– an overexposed photo

of an old explosion. Did it happen in our time?
the cold street wants to know. The street

which is always asking, asking! An amateur’s
snapshot, I tell it. I am always on this street

that happens to be going the way
I am going. It knows only one question

but has the patience to repeat it.
Without that question to what purpose

could a street put itself? I know eventually
the pavement will give way and the question

through the voice of dirt and rocks
and sun-warmth escaping long after dark

will sound like a song without words
or the faded caption on an old photograph

someone took of us looking at the sun
standing still against the pathless sky

Morning, After the Ice Storm

Morning, After the Ice Storm

 

The bluejay’s query from the previous twilight
hangs in the mostly empty air between branches.

On a brown maple leaf last night’s tear
has still not fallen. Though in a few hours

this moment will be gone like all the others
even grief sometimes has to wait its turn

Eschatology

Eschatology

 

The end of the stem
is where a flower starts. At the end

of a ragged leaf a sated bug steps.
The end of the trunk is where the tree

plunges past seeing and the roots’ ends
commence the purest conversion.

The river turns out on the ocean,
the sky turns over the bowl of stars

with no end to the spilling space.

Humble Poem #1 [Garden Drive]

Humble Poem #1 [Garden Drive]

 

I’m grateful for this quiet night, and sleep
and waking from a dream of my children

in my childhood home they’ve never seen,
staying up late singing “Dance, Dance, Dance”

with their uncle my brother around the living room

Readings: Bridgewater International Poetry Festival Wrap-up & Alumni Page

We saw it all in those four days at Bridgewater. Poetry in other languages. Poetry in English that appeared to be in another language. Poetry in another language that appeared to be in English. Spoken word performances. Amazing stage presence and outlandish stage props. Cellos and calls from Paris. Wildlife and the deep internal horizon. Minds coming together and all the space in between.

By Sunday afternoon, invigorated and exhausted (and I did not even attend the evening workshops and readings because of family stuff back down the road in Staunton, so I’m not sure how some of you survived it!) I stumbled back to my house on the hill, unburdened with several hundred pages of new reading material, a couple of CDs, business cards, scribbled emails and even a draft or two for new poems, and a feeling that the world was now wheeling around me in a slightly different rhythm, with a palette of new colors I could suddenly see as if in a new landscape not quite winter and not fully weather either.

So still dizzy with the event, I’d like to bottle a bit of that magic and cast it forward. I’ve changed the title of the Bridgewater page on the top menu of this site to the Bridgewater Fest Alumni page, and I hope some of the poets I have met in the last week will use that page to continue to announce new publication of their work, be it in print or online journal, limited edition letterpress work, or big ol’ book publication events. Maybe some of us will see each other again in a few years at the next Festival, but in the meantime let’s visit and share the news with each other, and with the wonderful community of poets and readers who regularly visit this humble and grateful site.

Attending a Poetry Festival I Wonder What A World Full of Poets Would Be Like, And As I Leave the Building Into the Mid-Winter Afternoon Air I Hear the Late Migration Of a Canada Goose

Attending a Poetry Festival I Wonder What A World Full of Poets Would Be Like, And As I Leave the Building Into the Mid-Winter Afternoon Air I Hear the Late Migration Of a Canada Goose

In a room of a hundred poets my ego diminishes. My name grows so small
I can no longer find it on the program. But it turns out I am everywhere,

in every poem I hear, someone is calling my name! In the parking lot, in the cold air
above me a lone goose is calling as he flies, looking for companions traveling

his way. I look—no, he is not alone after all. There is one, silent, flying beside him.