Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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morning gifts

this morning, safe here
in a house in sight of woods
that are my paradise, enriched
by nature, friendship
and by song,
I fly the carpet
of the past to places
rent apart by fear and hate,
cities come full circle,
back to the boil,
remembering too many
older furies,
scars of fire and rage,
spurred on by tragic news
that opened wide
the throat of anger,
again. and yet again.

is there a morning gift
to move a child,
in that beleaguered place
to see beyond, to hope?
perhaps a bud about to burst
rather than shattered glass,
a snatch of song
instead of shouts,
the momentary joy of play,
a quiet hug and loving words?
oh how I wish it were
a simple thing to banish hate
this way, and seed our future
with small scatter shots
of peace


How is it?

How is it
on the mountain, friend,
your spirit free
to roam the peaks
while others only visit,
awed by your home?

Can you see
the wonders that
your children are,
carrying you forward,
best parts mostly,
through life’s flow?

Do you know
I miss you still,
regrets dimmed,
a mind’s eye memory
of boundless energy,
on the night we met?

Is that you
beside me in the woods,
silent escort through
the marshes, dogs in hand,
then safely home,
here for the asking?


For Mike, whose birthday was today. the photo is of Mount Lafayette, where his ashes rest.

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any minute

the woods are almost
ready to go boom
and scatter green,
banishing the sight
of humus steeping gently
by our stream and up the slopes,
waving in (come right this way!)
the aftermath of ferny clumps,
slim wildflower tips,
red rhubarb nubs
to join (departing) snowdrops,
or cocoons of daffy yellow
still mostly closed
here in the north.
I shiver as the rising sun
floats by my skin and heats
the green fluorescent
that has taken much too long
to beat the cold and
shine full force.
spring is on approach
and I am ready

a poem for Earth Day and NaPoWriMo 2015 day 22.

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another zooming bird
yawping canny xenophobic
dipping wings eager
voyager flying unfettered
gliding the heather
sky in random
joyous quoits kitelike
over lambent ponds
nimble marvel

for Day 10 of NaPoWriMo 2015: an alphabetic poem using words starting with the 26 letters of the alphabet. instead of going straight through the letters start at the ends and meet in the middle by the finish.

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dialectic for dollars

cabaret’s repeated chant,
is this the root of all things bad?
if craving more, reptilian greed
is celebrated everywhere I turn,
then yes, I have to say it is.
when a day’s reward
for honest work
is not enough to live on
yes, I say!
when few of those
who have the lion’s share
will say I am enough,
I have enough,
and feel compelled to fill
their lives with excess that
the Romans would have loved,
oh yes, I shout.
when children wander
aimless in a wasteland
made of silicon and noise,
lacking book, or brush, or song,
no love of life or hope,
I can only weep, this is the harvest
of that root.

For Day 7 of NaPoWriMo, prompted for a poem about the dollar.

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one way aubade

daylight prompts a kiss,
waking up my foggy
heart and brain
to sunrise clarity of thought

and know an echo cannot
keep me, having heard
and felt full throated love
if only for a time

flypaper’s hold, that ersatz
grace, lacks true regard,
whereas the fearless know
that reins kept loose hold tight

now looking out toward the sun
and craving freedom’s light,
I wave and turn away from here,
whispering goodbye to night

For day 6 of NaPoWriMo, the prompt being for an Aubade, or lovers’ morning farewell.

Damselfly wings

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truth teller

halting steps along this path,
roughened slate set into
soft cocooning moss,
lead me out to healing sun,
air charged with anger fading fast,
dancing more with every stone,
why would my heart remain
when peace and light
live somewhere else
and it is time to
place the love we had
upon my sleeve
and let it go,
a badge to honor
early days and honest hopes,
frozen ponds in moonlight,
rich wetland life observed,
owls calling from our pines,
rock duets, slow dances,
sleeping in the curve
of loving arms,
voices raised in song,
poetry discovered.
some will remain,
those roots dug deep
that have become my own,
a life outdoors embraced.
mistrust and blame will not
be my companions,
though sadness and regret are
with me for a time,
I have no expectation that perfection
lies ahead, nor would it be
a welcome thing, but look for
an authentic life,
taken as it comes,
owning my reflection
without flinching,
clear eyed, eager (still),
open to creative joy,
grateful for rich moments
added to the flow
of every day

for day 4 of NaPoWriMo. the prompt was for a love poem sans cliches, and could be taken in any direction.