Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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moonset

the still bright reach
of setting moon on snow
slender plum tree shadows
reaching from the west,
coyote yips and calls
caroming off the mountain
through black ice
ribbon wrapped woods,
snaking through
my open window arrow slit,
rousing the defenders
of this sleeping winter bastion
to make their voices heard
our pennant flown in answer

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nothing gets dogs up from sleep to full on barks faster than the coyote pack at night.


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next

I wear the cloak of having loved,
not tightly but clutched light,
threads of life thrown on
to walk the path of next,
companion on the loops and hills ahead,
the grains of my allotted scores
falling through the hourglass neck of now
their descent soft breath to kiss my cheek
then drop away to join the humus
steeping just behind.
what colors must it hold, this cloak,
to lie so soft against my skin,
what memories all skeined,
though some were nettles
leaving welts and tears,
others joy that grabbed me by the nape
and shook my soul awake,
then weaving strands of love
presented as a gift, no toll required
or so I thought, glowing rich and warm,
elusive dancing beams
that stayed a while to walk among
wild golden flower fields
communing with my heart, until we faced
the sunset edge of certainty.
in dimming afterglow I saw
the dark cast Janus face of fear
instead of love, mouth open wide
to swallow all my peace.
abandoning this portent of a frozen life
I turned away before full night
without a backward look,
Eurydice sans Orpheus
shedding petal tears
but never love
walking fast toward the light

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I have always seen time, carrying its map in my mind’s eye, a form of synesthesia. Personally I think it explains the sometimes weird but welcome linkages of time to physical space that pop up in my poems.


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aftermath

in the end the day
brought almost nothing
waiting for the thrash of winter’s fist
to stop us cold
a flick of indecisive wrist
arrived instead
a shadow of much bigger kin
spewing this and that
a weaving mincing minuet
danced by a drunken storm
that in the end
picked up its skirts
and ran away to sea
shouting gaily
flipping off
the solemn
weather seers

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a bit of tongue in cheek this morning. we got off easy yesterday during a noreaster that could have been much worse.


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opaque dawn

light lies flat and gray behind my pines
no emerging blue with morning star
nor sailing clouds with rosy blotted core
a morning to rejoice because it’s mine
and I am able to give voice

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a shortling gift from an early morning, with gratitude for another day.


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waiting for the hunter

many days since I have seen a moon
both night and dawn obscured by cloud or rain
days of leached out richness
lacking diamond clustered white
and so creep fingered winter reaches out
to shackle and restrain my thoughts
till sun regains the upper hand
and tosses me the keys that come with
fledgling green and tender smells of earth
(around an oxbow bend of time and out of sight)
tonight at last, we have thick clotted blots of snow,
flake armies blanketing the world, scouting
morning’s aftermath of shapes stood bright
against fresh blue
a constant roar of moving trees,
teeth of the north wind auto harp,
deep ink heaven once again blown clean
diana’s slivered waxing moon
emcees emerging stars, until he comes,
a reaching leap of arms and sword and strength
his belt the perfect anchor for my eyes,
standing watch, protector of the frozen skies

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I look for Orion each winter, knowing he stands watch over our frozen nights.