Life With Horace

poetry & essays


The Stuffing Bowl

Once spied up on a dusty shelf
and brought home as a prize
the stuffing bowl sits quiet
holding memory in its curve
The sisterhood of early rising cooks
assembling the ingredients
of timeless celebrations
ingatherings of family and friends
all linked by common filament
It waits for careful hands
to lift it down and fill its heart again
with love and thankfulness

My sister Annie and I have always called each other on Thanksgiving morning, up early, cooking.

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finding joy

in a redwood grove
the sun’s arm lights the ferny floor

in the company of beloved children
there is nonsense and wonder

in the winter marshland
there is texture more than color

in the midst of singing
the voices tell me stories

in the simple potent thing
there is splendor waiting for me

it feasts my eyes
and I am full of joy

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Doors through grief

I stand on the newer side
of grief not knowing what
that opening will bring
but trusting my intent certain
that this journey must be made
God help me there is still love
a garment long worn thin
I do have hope the gift
of help caring hands to clasp
many loving words
Mine only if I ask and
swing this new door
wide to admit them
Today new portents fly
the sky great cloud wings
that form a goose
A love borne gift
come from the past
to urge the leap of faith
to go fly free
It whispers trust your spirit
it will guide you
trust your strength
it will not fail you.
A new door opens
hope is thrumming
and I step through

I truly think the goose-shaped cloud was my spirit guide the day I saw it.

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soaring westward

coastal waters giving way
to hills and mountains
peaks of pebble shapes
wings bear me over
valleys growing wider
and farmlands stretched out
along rich river leavings
and now the hills form islands
in patchwork green and brown
where trees fill dipping borders
and mark land’s edge
the grand Ohio, blue sidewinder
undulates through city silver
plumes and open space alike
sister rivers and streams in tribute
blue grass with horses running free
overland to unexpected forest
painted rust and gold
and bright blue water exclamations
the heartland begins in earnest
this place that feeds the world
and as we cross a mighty river
echoes of Woody’s ballad
touch my heart

watching the terrain change on my way west to California inspired this poem. that and some of the photos I took as the flight progressed.

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The new path

While colors fade and drop
as browns and grays emerge
upright leafless spare
The sun finds a new path
closed off before the change
This new light is a gift
an opening of space and beam
delights forgotten while
the world was green
There the gold of larches in the marsh
a roof line now exposed
a barn or field with open sightline to the hills
All these a balm to ease our journey
into winter and the snow

My cousin, the writer Jack Skow, gave me invaluable advice when I showed him this, still not sure if I got it right since then.