Thursday, January 12, 2012



I should be content
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not as a comment
on my life.

--David Ignatow

[Photo with famed Cerro Fitz Roy to the left. El Chaltén, Argentina.]

Thursday, August 18, 2011



Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

(trans. by Coleman Barks and John Moyne)

feliz cumple, querido.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

at blackwater pond

At Blackwater Pond

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is the beautiful thing that just happened?

--Mary Oliver

photo by the ever-lovely marta: "
Because there's always a moment of a Mary Oliver poem out there." love and miss you too much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

walking across the atlantic

Walking Across the Atlantic

I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.

Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.

But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.

--Billy Collins

No, I'm not in Spain. I've been in Argentina since the end of January. Today I,
la mochilera, will be finally heading home. I booked a flight for 11:11 (in all seriousness.) Besos!


Monday, June 6, 2011



Suppose I say summer,
write the word “hummingbird,”
put it in an envelope,
take it down the hill
to the box. When you open
my letter you will recall
those days and how much,
just how much, I love you.

--Raymond Carver


Happy birthday, Reagan. Love and miss you too much.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011



Suddenly this defeat.
This rain.
The blues gone gray
And the browns gone gray
And yellow
A terrible amber.
In the cold streets
Your warm body.
In whatever room
Your warm body.
Among all the people
Your absence
The people who are always
Not you.

I have been easy with trees
Too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
This rain.

--Jack Gilbert

another winter on another continent, but i know that rains pass and old habits are easy to find again.

Monday, May 30, 2011

breaks free

Breaks Free

I just want to be
where the earth breaks free
of concrete and metal and glass,
of asphalt and plastic and gas,
where sun is king
and water is queen,
where cactus grows tall
and the air is clean.
I just want to be
where the earth breaks free
of fences and alleys and walls,
of factories and traffic and malls,
where owls sleep
in the heart of day
waiting for sunset
to hunt their prey,
where mountains rise
in seas of sand
and coyotes roam
across the land.

-- Frank Asch

buenos aires, you are glorious, but there are some times when i would like to be in a non-city-place where i wouldn't live surrounded by strip clubs, which are even popular on sunday nights (judging by the volume last night.)

Photo: View of Cachi from within El Parque Nacional Los Cardones in Salta province, Argentina.

Monday, May 23, 2011

ghazal 2214

Ghazal 2214

Blessed time! when we are sitting,
I and thou,
With two forms and only one soul,
I and thou.
Fragrance, song of birds, they quicken ev'rything
When we come into the garden,
I and thou.
All the stars of heaven hurry
to see us,
And we show them our own moon,
I and thou-
I and thou without words, without
I and thou-
In delight we are united,
I and thou.
Sugar chew the heaven's parrots
in that place
Where we're sitting, laughing sweetly,
I and thou.
Strange that I and thou together
in this nook
Are apart a thousand miles, see-
I and thou.
One form in this dust, the other
in that land.
Sweet eternal Paradise there...
I and thou.


(Red bird of paradise photo.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011



Understand, I'll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I'll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

(Photo from Laguna Nimez in El Calafate, Argentinian Patagonia.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

casida of the rose

Casida of the Rose

The rose
was not searching for the sunrise :
almost eternal on the branch,
it was searching for something else.

The rose
was not searching for darkness or science :
borderline of flesh and dream,
it was searching for something else.

The rose
was not searching for the rose.
Motionless in the sky
it was searching for something else.

--Federico García Lorca
(translated by Robert Bly)

this rose went all the way to
el fin del mundo and is beginning to name those something elses.

(Image: Salvador Dalí's "Meditative Rose.")

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



The dust motes float
and swerve in the sunbeam,
as lively as worlds,
and I remember my brother
when we were boys:
"We may be living on an atom
in somebody's wallpaper."

--Wendell Berry


Sunday, May 15, 2011



The boy at the far end of the train car
kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone

and then she appeared in the glass door
of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in

and she entered the car carrying
a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.

She looked like an angel with a high forehead
and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.

And because of all that,
he seemed a little awkward
in his happiness to see her,

whereas she was simply there,
perfectly existing as a creature
with a soft face who played the cello.

And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.

--Billy Collins

More photos of the stunning Wendy Sutter and Ex-Vatican Stradivarius here. I will ever be in awe of both of them.
This is another of those days where I miss being on the same continent as my cello (and those I love dearly, but that goes without saying.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

last night, as i was sleeping

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
That I had a beehive
Here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
Were making white combs
And sweet honey
From my old failures.

--Antonio Machado
(translated by Robert Bly)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ravens hiding in a shoe

Ravens Hiding in a Shoe

There is something men and women living in houses
Don't understand. The old alchemists standing
Near their stoves hinted at it a thousand times.

Ravens at night hide in an old woman's shoe.
A four-year-old speaks some ancient language.
We have lived our own death a thousand times.

Each sentence we speak to friends means the opposite
As well. Each time we say, "I trust in God," it means
God has already abandoned us a thousand times.

Mothers again and again have knelt in church
In wartime asking God to protect their sons,
And their prayers were refused a thousand times.

The baby loon follows the mother's sleek
Body for months. By the end of summer, she
Has dipped her head into Rainy Lake a thousand times.

Robert, you've wasted so much of your life
Sitting indoors to write poems. Would you
Do that again? I would, a thousand times.

--Robert Bly

I'm not sure what I feel about this one, but here it is.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

i don't want to live a small life

Eleven Versions of the Same Poem:

I don't want to live a small life

I don't want to live a small life. Open your eyes,
open your hands. I have just come
from the berry fields, the sun

kissing me with its golden mouth all the way
(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might

feed them, but no I carry these heart-shapes
only to you. Look how many how small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift

I will ever bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do.
Look at me. Open your life, open your hands.

--Mary Oliver

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the well rising

The Well Rising

The well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground
everywhere in the field –

The sharp swallows in their swerve
flaring and hesitating
hunting for the final curve
coming closer and closer –

The swallow heart from wing beat to wing beat
counseling decision, decision:
thunderous examples. I place my feet
with care in such a world.

--William Stafford

Beautiful cliff swallow photos.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

godiva county, montana

Godiva County, Montana

She's a big country. Her undulations
roll and flower in the sun. Those flanks
quiver when the wind caresses the grass.
Who turns away when so generous a body
offers to play hide-and-seek all summer?
One shoulder leans bare all the way up
the mountain; limbs range and plunge
wildly into the river. We risk our eyes
every day; they celebrate' they dance
and flirt over this offered treasure.
“Be alive, “ the land says. “Listen—
this is your time, your world, your pleasure.”

--William Stafford

[Photo: Rainbow over Perito Moreno. El Parque Nacional Los Glaciares: Lago Roca, Argentinian Patagonia.]

Saturday, April 30, 2011

indian caves in the dry country

Indian Caves in the Dry Country

These are some canyons
we might use again

--William Stafford

[Photo of El Anfiteatro up in Salta province, Argentina.]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That's why we wake
and look out -- no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

--William Stafford

[Photo from la Quebrada de las Conchas in the Andes of Argentina.]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

original sin

Original Sin

Well, anyhow, it preserves us from the pride
of thinking we invented sin ourselves
by our originality, that famous modern power.
In fact, we have it from the beginning
of the world by the errors of being born,
being young, being old, causing pain
to ourselves, to others, to the world, to God
by ignorance, by knowledge, by intention,
by accident. Something is bad the matter
here, informing us of itself, handing down its old instruction. We know it
when we see it, don't we? Innocence would never recognize it. We need it
too, for without it we would not know
forgiveness, goodness, gratitude,
that fund of grace by which alone we live.

--Wendell Berry

Happy Easter! I realize that Christianity may not be your thing, but I think we could all use a day of grace and life.

[Photo from Good Friday at La Catedral de La Plata, the largest cathedral in Argentina]

Monday, March 21, 2011

when faces called flowers float out of the ground

when faces called flowers float out of the ground...

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it's april(yes,april;my darling)it's spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we're alive,dear:it's(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring(all our night becomes day)o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

--e.e. cummings

Tuesday, February 1, 2011



Something came up
out of the dark
It wasn't anything I had ever seen before.
It wasn't an animal
or a flower,
unless it was both.

Something came up out of the water,
a head the size of a cat
but muddy and without ears.
I don't know what God is.
I don't know what death is.

But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement.

melancholy leaves me breathless.

Later I was in a field full of sunflowers.
I was feeling the heat of midsummer.
I was thinking of the sweet, electric
drowse of creation,

when it began to break.

In the west, clouds gathered.
In an hour the sky was filled with them.

In an hour the sky was filled
with the sweetness of rain and the blast of lightning.
Followed by the deep bells of thunder.

Water from the heavens! Electricity from the source!
Both of them mad to create something!

The lightning brighter than any flower.
The thunder without a drowsy bone in its body.

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Two or three times in my life I discovered love.
Each time it seemed to solve everything.
Each time it solved a great many things
but not everything.
Yet left me as grateful as if it had indeed, and
thoroughly, solved everything.

God, rest in my heart
and fortify me,
take away my hunger for answers,
let the hours play upon my body
like the hands of my beloved.
Let the cathead appear again--
the smallest of your mysteries,
some wild cousin of my own blood probably--
some cousin of my own wild blood probably,
in the black dinner-bowl of the pond.

Death waits for me, I know it, around
one corner or another
This doesn't amuse me.
Neither does it frighten me.

After the rain, I went back into the field of sunflowers.
It was cool, and I was anything but drowsy.
I walked slowly, and listened

to the crazy roots, in the drenched earth, laughing and growing.

--Mary Oliver

Thursday, January 20, 2011

in a country once forested

In a country once forested

The young woodland remembers
the old, a dreamer dreaming

of an old holy book,
an old set of instructions,

and the soil under the grass
is dreaming of a young forest,

and under the pavement the soil
is dreaming of grass.

--Wendell Berry

Monday, January 10, 2011



What is one to make of a life given
to putting things into words,
saying them, writing them down?
Is there a world beyond words?
There is. But don't start, don't
go on about the tree unqualified,
standing in light that shines
to time's end beyond its summoning
name. Don't praise the speechless
starlight, the unspeakble dawn.
Just stop.

Well, we can stop
for a while, if we try hard enough,
if we are lucky. We can sit still,
keep silent, let the phoebe, the sycamore,
the river, the stone call themselves
by whatever they call themselves, their own
sounds, their own silence, and thus
may know for a moment the nearness
of the world, its vastness,
its vast variousness, far and near,
which only silence knows. And then
we must call all things by name
out of the silence again to be with us,
or die of namelessness.

--Wendell Berry

Saturday, January 1, 2011

the journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

--Mary Oliver

Sunday, April 11, 2010



It's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

The theft that could have happened doesn't.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address.

-- Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the wild swans at coole

The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

--William Butler Yeats

(photo source)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

gloss for impatient lovers

Gloss for Impatient Lovers

I like a leafing-out by increments—
not bolting bloom, in sudden heat begun.
Life’s sweetest savored in the present tense.
I like to watch the shadows pack their tents.
--Robyn Sarah, “Villanelle for a Cool April”

I like a leafing-out by increments—
the pregnant swell of aspen buds before
they each unclench their small brown fists and pour
green licks into the air, like monuments
to patience, like slowly opened doors.
I like a leafing out by increments,

not bolting bloom, in sudden heat begun.
I like to savor pleasure leisurely—
a hint of yes, a swoon of we-shall-see.
The truth of the imagination runs
on thirst. It thrives when there’s no guarantee,
no bolting bloom in sudden heat begun.

Life’s sweetest savored in the present tense.
The mind, it wants to sprint ahead, to know
what happens next. And next. It says, “Although
these buds look promising, intelligence
suggests it still could frost.” And that is so.
Life’s sweetest savored in the present tense.

I like to watch the shadows pack their tents
when love resists the guessing mind, decides
to trust what is. And bright as green inside
spring buds, love leafs out in slow increments.
I sip on warmth and let reluctance slide.
I like to watch the shadows pack their tents.

--Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

un abrazo fuerte and love to all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

a potted plant

A Potted Plant

I pull a sun from my coin purse each day.
And at night I let my pet the moon
Run freely into the sky meadow.
If I whistled,
She would turn her head and look at me.
If I then waved my arms,
She would come back wagging a marvelous tail
Of stars.
There are always a few men like me
In this world
Who are house-sitting for God.
We share His royal duties:
I water each day a favorite potted plant
Of His--
This earth.
Ask the Friend for love.
Ask Him again.
For I have learned that every heart will get
What it prays for


Sunday, January 31, 2010

some fill with each good rain

Some fill with each good rain

There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that.
In one well
You have just a few precious cups of water,
That "love" is literally something of yourself,
It can grow as slow as a diamond
If it is lost.
Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a Stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.
There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far, far too deep
For that.


happy birthday, rajah. i love and miss you to pieces.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

but if you are happy...

But if you are happy...

When you whirl, your eye sees the room whirling, too.
If you sail in a ship over the sea,
it seems the seashore is running past.
If your heart is oppressed with struggle,
the whole atmosphere of the world feels tight;
but if you are happy as your friends would wish,
this world seems to be a garden of roses.

(translated by Camille and Kabir Helminski)

happy birthday, kathleen. i miss you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

keeping things whole

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

-- Mark Strand

i still love you, little blue house. you have good bones.

Friday, January 15, 2010

just now

Just Now

In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks

--W.S. Merwin

Friday, January 1, 2010

two giant fat people

Two Giant Fat people

And I have become
Like two giant fat people
Living in a tiny boat.
We keep
Bumping into each other
and Laughing.


Friday, December 25, 2009

little tree

little tree

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

--e.e. cummings

Monday, November 30, 2009

wild geese

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

--Mary Oliver

we all love you.

(photo source)

Monday, November 23, 2009

west wall

West Wall

In the unmade light I can see the world
as the leaves brighten I see the air
the shadows melt and the apricots appear
now that the branches vanish I see the apricots
from a thousand trees ripening in the air
they are ripening in the sun along the west wall
apricots beyond number are ripening in the daylight.

Whatever was there
I never saw those apricots swaying in the light
I might have stood in orchards forever
without beholding the day in the apricots
or knowing the ripeness of the lucid air
or touching the apricots in your skin
or tasting in your mouth the sun in the apricots.

--W.S. Merwin

it's a gray day. have some sunshine.

(photo source

Thursday, October 22, 2009

hippos on holiday

Hippos on Holiday

is not really the title of a movie
but if it was I would be sure to see it.
I love their short legs and big heads,
the whole hippo look.
Hundreds of them would frolic
in the mud of a wide, slow-moving river,
and I would eat my popcorn
in the dark of a neighborhood theater.
When they opened their enormous mouths
lined with big stubby teeth
I would drink my enormous Coke.

I would be both in my seat
and in the water playing with the hippos,
which is the way it is
with a truly great movie.
Only a mean-spirited reviewer
would ask on holiday from what?

--Billy Collins

happy birthday, luci. i wish you oodles and oodles of noodles.

Monday, October 5, 2009

late fragment

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

--Raymond Carver

happy birthday marta.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

appeal to the grammarians

Appeal to the Grammarians

We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we're capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we're ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn't bounce back,
The flat tire at journey's outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it—here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, "See, that's why
I don't like to eat outside."

--Paul Violi

happy birthday to the chief grammarian in my life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

you shall above all things be glad and young

you shall above all things be glad and young.
For if you're young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever's living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man's
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and(in his mercy)your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation's dead undoom.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

--e.e. cummings

happy birthday, querido.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

what we need is here

What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

--Wendell Berry

happy birthday mama llama. i love you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a standing ground

A Standing Ground

However just and anxious I have been,
I will stop and step back
from the crowd of those who may agree
with what I say, and be apart.
There is no earthly promise of life or peace
but where the roots branch and weave
their patient silent passages in the dark;
uprooted, I have been furious without an aim.
I am not bound for any public place,
but for ground of my own
where I have planted vines and orchard trees,
and in the heat of the day climbed up
into the healing shadow of the woods.
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn
and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

--Wendell Berry

Saturday, August 1, 2009



When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

--Mary Oliver

Friday, July 31, 2009

green chile

Green Chile

I prefer red chile over my eggs
and potatoes for breakfast.
Red chile ristras decorate my door,
dry on my roof, and hang from eaves.
They lend open-air vegetable stands
historical grandeur, and gently swing
with an air of festive welcome.
I can hear them talking in the wind,
haggard, yellowing, crisp, rasping
tongues of old men, licking the breeze.

But grandmother loves green chile.
When I visit her,
she holds the green chile pepper
in her wrinkled hands.
Ah, voluptuous, masculine,
an air of authority and youth simmers
from its swan-neck stem, tapering to a flowery collar,
fermenting resinous spice.
A well-dressed gentleman at the door
my grandmother takes sensuously in her hand,
rubbing its firm glossed sides,
caressing the oily rubbery serpent,
with mouth -watering fulfillment,
fondling its curves with gentle fingers.
Its bearing magnificent and taut
as flanks of a tiger in mid-leap,
she thrusts her blade into
and cuts it open, with lust
on her hot mouth, sweating over the stove,
bandanna round her forehead,
mysterious passion on her face
as she serves me green chile con carne
between soft warm leaves of corn tortillas,
with beans and rice–her sacrifice
to here little prince.
I slurp form my plate
with last bit of tortilla, my mouth burns
and I hiss and drink a tall glass of cold water.

All over New Mexico, sunburned men and women
drive rickety trucks stuffed with gunny sacks
of green chile, from Belen, Beguita, Willard, Estancia,
San Antonio y Socorro, from fields
to roadside stands, you see them roasting green chile
in screen-sided homemade barrels, and for a dollar a bag,
we relive this old, beautiful ritual again and again.

-- Jimmy Santiago Baca

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



While I stood here, in the open, lost in myself,
I must have looked a long time
Down the corn rows, beyond grass,
The small house,
White walls, animals lumbering toward the barn.
I look down now. It is all changed.
Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes
Loving me in secret.
It is here. At a touch of my hand,
The air fills with delicate creatures
From the other world.

--James Wright

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

a sort of song

A Sort of Song

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
-- through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.

--William Carlos Williams

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the summer day

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

--Mary Oliver

this poem's final question redefined my life.

happy summer. happy father's day.

photo by reagan, i believe, in our backyard.

Monday, June 15, 2009

road's end

Road's End

The roads have come to their end now,
they don't go any farther, they turn here,
over on the earth there.
You can't go any farther if you don't want
to go to the moon or the planets. Stop now
in time, and turn to a wasp's nest or a cow track,
a volcano opening or a clatter of stones in the woods--
it's all the same. Something else.

They won't go any farther as I've said
without changing, the engine to horseshoes,
the gear shift to a fir branch
which you hold loose in your hand
--what the hell is this?

--Rolf Jacobsen
(translated by Robert Bly)

aquareagan and i are in vermont for the summer as a cabin counselor at a music camp. there are posts scheduled sporadically throughout the summer and paul may put something up once in a while. i'll be home from one of the most beautiful places in the world in august. take care.

love muchly.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

a sonnet of the moon

A Sonnet of the Moon

Look how the pale queen of the silent night
Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her,
And he, as long as she is in his sight,
With her full tide is ready her to honor.
But when the silver waggon of the moon
Is mounted up so high he cannot follow,
The sea calls home his crystal waves to moan,
And with low ebb doth manifest his sorrow.
So you that are the sovereign of my heart
Have all my joys attending on your will;
My joys low-ebbing when you do depart,
When you return their tide my heart doth fill.
So as you come and as you do depart,
Joys ebb and flow within my tender heart.

--Charles Best

photo credit: