Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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more alive

walking from
machine cooled dullness
into hot sunlight,
mid July high noon
even if I could
there is no avoiding
this cloak of
fecund summer air
settling on my skin,
the scald of
gentle lover’s fingers
prompt me to accept
their gift, and dance
in the heat of the day

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signals from the bird world

flashes in the lilacs
after days of rain
semaphores of water drops
silent signals
from the master singers
are they warnings of
our imminent arrival
at the cliff’s edge
or waves of vibrant
ecstasy sent
to heal a broken heart

she sent a shower of stars


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journey to my tribe

the sky’s first star night’s scout
piercing the scrim of fading light
that hides the spirit dome of heaven
once seen it must be wished on
our lore never for ourselves
to make the magic work

my heart stored its wishes where it could
in the beams of other stars
under the wings of catbirds
in the warmth of sleepy dark
deep in thrush song
or layered in the lamp hung blue of early night
all forgotten over time
in the flow of life away from wonder
wearing down the prickly instincts
of a younger self

walking in my wake unseen
there was a dream gatherer
Ninhan my ancestor of the Mohawk people
taking wishes to her heart
against a future need she knew would come

some years ago my heart connected
with the force of messy life
in a nearby marshland
talisman and refuge
where my feet felt rooted
its spirit cloaked my shoulders
settling on my skin and filling my eyes
the very heart of life

seeing this she knew the time had come
and sowed the air with a wish become a dream
and so I sang again
another as a glowing drop to open up my eyes
rejoice once more in line and color

my deepest wish was to create without restraint
to find the headwaters of my soul
almost buried by the dark paned windows of an early time
faces of blank fear following me from age to age
until I went there in a dream
to vanquish them and bring back light

her answer was
to shower me with stars
a million wishes worth
that set me sparking
whirling to catch words
and once more find my voice
to shout aloud with joy


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o chippie my chippie

bright sunlight this morning
coming home I leave the pond flats
almost turning in
you run gaily out across the road
right in front of me
from the gap in my fence that
all you chippies race along
and drive the dogs mad
(stop oh stop go faster)
fast but not fast enough
a tiny thump small pebble sound
(oh no oh no oh no)
one of my own maddening
sleek sloe eyed chippies
and come back fast to get you
I know your markings
pale backed curious explorer
(tears flow helpless geysers of regret)
only a glancing blow
no crow carrion not today
you are part of this place
I gather your warm soft body
(the child inside my heart wails
oh no chippie why why oh why)
with a poachers spade dig a hole
by the door it needs a guard
now that is you safe soft shrouded
under a small river rock cairn here in eden
(I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m so sorry, I loved you)