On the Source of the River
On the mountain rain falls, snow melts.
The source of the river is the sky.
So it is that the source of love is not within reach
But flows over me and carves my every direction.
The source of the river is the spring. So it is
That I can never go back to the source of love
but it spends itself constantly on my behalf;
So it is that the very earth is between us
but the very earth gives a way to us in the shape
of a river. The source of the river is a bog.
Like energy, love has no direction. It can be hidden
as potential until the porous ground can hold
no more and it breaks into acceleration
embanked by our lives, carrying us beyond
ourselves towards a wider body evaporating into the sky
Nine Things That Happened In Dreaming and Waking Within Twenty Four Hours of the Last Day of My Fiftieth Year
I left everything in a hotel room on my way to another
An eight year old boy rode his new bike with no training wheels
On the street I caught a blue pouch thrown by a stranger
I knew by how it settled into my palm it was a string of rosary beads
A butterfly fighting the gentle morning breeze on the hill again
and again to land on a dead squirrel and feed
Two early fireflies high in the ash tree’s night canopy
where earlier in the day hundreds of white flowers
Floated down, tiny parachutes onto new grass
The moon sparking off a tin roof like a match
My wife lay her head on my chest to listen to my heart
as I awoke from a dream of laughing
from Spring Songs (12)
Midnight. In a corner of a room
a few days away, a half century crouches.
In the dark the corners of the years round up
certainty into the smooth black mast
against which direction flaps without words,
a trunk removed from its roots.
In the morning it is the maple and its shadow
unwinding along riverways of air and light.
The maple is old but the leaves always young,
the hours of the year, the half million
minutes through which we extend and end,
define the canopy of entirety itself by the shape
of what we miss. We shed time but are shaped by it;
wine on a quiet night, before crickets.
In the night the unseen stretches out.
Grass growing just before dawn.
I think I see the moon in my window
but it is the ceiling lamp’s reflection.
At lights out, the windowframe relaxes.
We spread downhill, and into the air a giant
centimeter. The real moon shakes hands
with every cloud. Even without eyes it
does not miss a single one. When morning
light crawls down from the treetops
and you are out with the dogs the grass
cannot believe how much you have grown.
Nothing gets done by paying attention.
from Spring Songs (11)
Upstairs in my old house I find a bat
sleeping off a warm May morning
I usher the cats from the room
open the windows and let him rest
Toward dusk I come back his eyes are open
so I gather him up in a pitcher and in slow
motion pour him into the cooling air
from Spring Songs (10)
No moon. God has no early evening plans.
Oak and walnut leaves spread across the neighborhood,
A planet whirs like a lime between the new leaves.
A bright spot. A memory. Gone in the morning.
If there really is a time to be still it is now: a cell
splits, reforms, comes whole, continues,
is cut out, spins like a leaf into a space
of no-being, hard matter. Alone on a bed
you will suffer the speed of being observed
as from afar while the world spins, they lean away,
your loved ones, into the dark, come round again.
In the mean time, when your light winks or is blocked
by the slightest breeze against a leaf, we will know
and run with you to keep you in sight, at the speed
of the day’s suffering itself to be tracked by shadows,
and together find the time to be still.
from Spring Songs (9)
The weather came from the east this time
as low as the sun in the west and the sun
And the weather crossed swords over young leaves
glowing green against gray. And the tulips held.
The gray face came down and looked into the street’s eyes
and this was the first of May. Swallows follow a storm
like they have just won an argument with God
and the prize, so small we can’t see it, is everywhere.