Category Archives: Poetry

After the storm

The ears ring with the echoes of the noise.

The heart still races from the fear and panic.

The storm is gone, but not the experience of it.

The leaves are down and the damage is done.

Time to start cleaning up.

But not yet.

First, the experience has to follow the storm and pass.

The storm isn’t really over until that passes.

Then we can clean up.

Tower of Silence

It is a land of the dead.

All white marble.

No color.

No joy.

No life.

Forced to cross Styx and spend time among the shades.

Each step brings up dust clouds of memories.

Did I really live here?

Is live even the word for it?

And when gone, the stench of death follows, pervades, lingers.

I hate the land of death and dead memories.

Food

“We fear,” argued the disciples, “lest the carrion kite should eat the body of our Master;”

to which Chuang Tzŭ replied:

“Above ground I shall be food for kites; below I shall be food for mole-crickets and ants.

Why rob one to feed the other?”

Assaulted by Memory

This morning, driving home from errands, I rounded a corner on the road.

I saw drenching April rains, grey skies, newly awakened bright green trees and grass, and the dark black asphalt cutting across and into the bright green.

In a moment, out of nowhere, I was assaulted by a memory from this same road.

Driving home at lunchtime to walk my new dog.

Same rains, same skies, same bright green tress and grass, and same dark black asphalt cutting across and into the bright green.

Pinned down and overwhelmed by the memory, I am unstuck in time.

Is it 2002? Is she waiting for me at home with her brother?

Or is it 2013? And she’s nearly two years gone, leaving just me and her brother?

As a youth, I wrote once of “Memora constantly encroaching upon reality”.

I’ve lost the pretentious words of youth, but the experience remains the same.

Sometimes, we are assaulted by memory.

The past overwhelms and overlays before we know what’s happening.

And as we reorient, reground and come back to present, we feel all we felt in between then and now in an instant.

All the joy, all the sorrow.

All the things that happened that you didn’t know was coming at the time.

I continued on the road, riding it to home.

I greeted her brother, remembered her and missed her.

I thought about how much longer he and I have together.

And then I walked him, because I refuse to let memory or fear of loss keep me from living now and building new memories.

Even if one day those same memories may assault me as well.

24 Views of Squak Mountain: Third Week of February

The time of the warring seasons is here.

Spring battles Winter in a long, drawn out fight.

The conclusion is inevitable. We know who the winner will be.

Perhaps that’s what makes the Winter seem harsher now: the desperation in its fight.

Spring days and Winter nights.

Clear, glorious sun giving warmth.

Drenching, dreary rain chilling to the bone.

Hardest of all is the sense of dislocation in this all. Am I in Winter or am I in Spring? Should my body be hibernating and hunkering down, or going out and expansively exploring?

Do I feel the joy of new life? Or mourn the death and destruction I still see?

It is a time that forces onto us a hard practice: to be present with the unresolvable conflict. To feel joy and sorrow at once, equally. To switch from Winter to Spring and back again with as much ease as we can muster.

I walk with my dog in the woods under the bright sun and hear the chirping of newly born birds.

I walk with my dog in the woods in the drenching rain and see the fallen trees and washed out trails.

Life within Death within Life within Death.

The season of infinity: the snake that eats its tail.

24 Views of Squak Mountain: Mid-January

The Long Dark.

That’s what I call this time now.

The Winter Holidays have ended and Spring feels far away. Daylight is increasing….but that feels theoretical: you won’t notice it until Spring.

It’s just dark.

And cold.

When the sun is out, we lose the insulation of the clouds and so it’s even colder.

When the clouds are here, it’s warmer but dark to the point of dusk all day.

Take your pick: you’ll get one or the other or sometimes both.

Most of all, everything is static, frozen in time and place (sometimes literally).

The death of the Fall and the destruction of early Winter are done. And the damage and aftermath lie all around us.

The mountain beauty is cold, severe, harsh. Reminding us that people really do die in the wilderness out here.

The harder the winter, the greater the promise of Spring. But that’s a long ways away.

For now, all we can do is keep moving, even against the cold, static background of Winter.

Because to stop is to die and to die and die a slow, cold, wasting death.

Sometimes the greatest thing we can do is just get up and move that day.

24 Views of Squak Mountain: Mid-October

Sometimes the seasons change like a switch is flipped.

Since July it has been dry.

A long summer dryness that, like a visiting parent, stayed far too long.

Yesterday, Nature flipped the switch, making the rains come, at last.

And so now it is fall, truly.

The high, light blue sky is hung now with low, light grey.

The spiders are washed away and are sleeping now until spring.

The leaves are starting to fall, bringing a beautiful and graceful ending to their days.

Night asserts her increasing dominance over day. Soon we will be into the vampire season.

For now though, the echoes of coming Samhain ring in the forest. The time of remembering and seeing those lost is nearly upon us now.

The mist that obscures the line between the worlds is coming, covering the forest like a blanket.

October. The Orange Month.

24 Views of Squak Mountain: Early September

The cloudless sky is a deep blue.

The sunlight more golden than yellow.

A gentle breeze blows against the Balinese chimes, tolling single notes, one after the other.

Two ravens fly high above the canopy of trees, so fast and strong their wingbeats sound like a breeze.

A bee flies by loudly buzzing.

Birds chirp away in the deep of the forest.

The sound of a lone truck off on the distant roadway reminds of the outside world of people, but doesn’t intrude.

The last days of summer, the early days of fall. Mixed and mingled in the warmth of the afternoon and the cool of the night.

All is on the cusp: endings and beginnings blending and mixing. Loss and opportunities. Grief and hope.

24 Views of Squak Mountain: Late August

The sunrise comes later.

The sunset comes sooner.

The sun becomes golden, less yellow.

The morning air begins to show the first edge of cold.

Amongst the overgrown green and dried brown, the occasional hint of yellow-green and brown-red.

Spiders everywhere. Orbital webs strewn all over to stock up for the winter.

The summer is ending. The fall is coming. And while the seasons move to endings, life moves to beginnings with new grades, new shows, new everything.

So strange: our society inhales while nature exhales. We start anew while the land begins its annual dying.