Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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the stuffing bowl

once spied upon 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 beginning side of grief
not knowing what that opening will bring
but trusting in myself and my intent
certain that this journey must be made

god help me there is love still
a garment now worn thin
a sigh, an ache about my heart
it cannot bear to leave behind but must

I do have hope, and do have help
caring hands to clasp, and loving words
but only if I ask, reach out, show need
and swing this new door wide to let them through

today there were new portents in the sky
great wings of clouds that formed a goose
a sign, a love borne gift come from the past
to urge the leap of faith, to go fly free

it calls out trust your spirit, it will guide you
trust your strength it will not fail you
a new door opens, heart 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 is finding 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 is 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. not sure if I got it right since then, but I’m trying!