Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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I’d rather think of
ripples curving smoothly
from a starting point of action,
than of progress, a patched together
plastic shape, often cloaked in force and
negative pronouncements stoked by fear.
movement as the path of thought
takes on the form and palette
of decision, effort made whole
by many different voices,
each at their own beginning,
listening, open, ready for
a mote of truth, floating
weightless in the light,
until in recognition
and with eager hands
they hold it safe,
linked together,
solid in intent,
flowing forward,
made real.

I’ve been thinking recently about how agreement is achieved, and the difference between change by consensus vs the forward march of progress by decree.

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where it lands

precious drops of rain
rest in a scoop,
their surface
flinging hints of
life collected there
back to observant eyes,
their mass a seamless joining.

there is no certainty
of friendship as we meet,
no formula to join
both like and opposite
to make a whole.

recognition, kindred
souls, kindness
melding without seam,
like bits of nurture
from the sky,
these form a precious bond,
only if we allow ourselves
a look, a breath,
and see its landing place

friendship often seems a purely random thing, but it is necessary to be open to it, wherever it is found. sometimes it presents itself smack in our face, not to be ignored. this poem is for two dear friends I have known for but a year and yet forever, both Deborahs, who celebrate their birthdays this month.

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sitting in

walking into warmth and welcome
with a close held friend,
we find a solid place,
crafted lovingly
of wood, and glass, and hope,
the love of neighbor,
dignified by quiet repetition,
faith made real,
seen in face and heart,
heard in voices raised in song,
those who come once more
to hear a gifted preacher’s words,
sharing his belief in purpose
and God’s love,
of the journey into faith.
all this I see, from number 31,
(an alto seat), gladly sitting in,
sending up my hymn with theirs,
in deep appreciation
for the gift of wisdom,
ours that day to
keep and savor

for Tom Atkins, the preacher Deborah Rahalski and I heard that day, our friend and fellow creative spirit, on the occasion of his birthday.

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light at an angle

it is a gift I take for granted
with no remorse or hesitation,
as it is given freely
to any open eye.
angled early light,
shadows cast ahead of its arrival,
backlighting leaves and shapes,
opaque and glowing
slanted blades cut through
the woods filled up with morning haze
left over from a night of rain,
all seen in passing
on a backwoods shortcut road,
chosen not for haste but beauty,
and the joy I feel
when passing by

I am a light addict. once I learned to see light, not just crave it, my view of the world changed forever. for Jon Katz as he heals. his vision has opened many eyes.



What visits me today?
A lullaby in baritone
and funny bits of song,
dreadful jokes
in nuanced tones,
bearded bristle paired
with a million kisses,
all too human shoulders
I thought and hoped
were everlasting granite,
long held friendships both
a gift and an example,
the pungent scent of cuban leaf
lit anywhere but in the house,
a feel for speed and open road,
the skies he loved and flew so well,
laughter books and music
with the color light and form
he looked at every day,
these brought him peace,
the certainty of love
from open eyes,
straight told advice
his caring deep,
his spirit so ingrained,
that now whenever
need is great
I conjure loving echoes
of an imperfect
perfect father,
to see me through
the dark

My father died at 89 in 2005, suddenly, but blessedly not alone, my sister was with him. His legend looms large in our lives, to quote a beatle, and I know we all miss him, need him, still and always.

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walking in dew

there it is
outside the door,
in the grass,
drops and spangles
for unsuspecting toes
to wander through

once I would have
gone around
or though dark spaces
to avoid it
and the sand
it would attract
like limpets,
gritty, stubborn

but not this time,
when my
allotted moments
will surely
tumble through
the hours,
grain by grain,
knowing I will sit,
away from sunlight,
without breezes,
birdsong, sweetness
from a tree in blossom,
pesky gnats, a sighting
of a passing fox,
the melody of water
over stone

today I choose
the path through dew
and will not waste
whatever small,
but precious
sensate gifts
an unseen hand
puts in my way

this has the benefit of being true, as my southern grandmother used to say, in that I did choose to walk through the dew this morning, only to get to work and realize that I’d had a major brain fart, and was two hours early. yes. sigh. after running a couple of errands (where I did see a fox in my bank’s parking lot), I spent a blissful hour beside Nubanusit Brook, in “downtown” Peterborough, on a granite bench. near the perfume-rich tree in the photo. writing.

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warrior (for the light)

fist raised to the sun
in soft salute,
a signal presence
with intent to grow,
unfold from chrysalis
to full formed frond,
radiating energy
at every bladed tip,
proof that light
will foster growth,
atoms racing out,
stronger when they
touch and ping
their fellows,
moving, nurtured
on the journey
of creation

for The Open Group at Bedlam Farm and for Jon Katz who saw the light, and told us it existed.