Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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heart of the matter

heart (hart) n.
chambered, steady
quiet presence
of love’s river
laced with
and courage
lost sometimes
mended often
freely given
ready always
for encounters
with joy
my soul lives there

Day 17. A little behind, but no matter. A definition poem.

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Formerly dear Molly

So it began
another opening salvo
written grapeshot,
sibling letters
masking fury longhand
weighted by a lifetime’s
alkaline asides,
presupposing mal intent
in every word,
an older generation
hamstrung by
paper clad

Day 16 of NaPoWriMo, where the prompt was an almanac poem, one of the items being a scrap of a letter. clearing out my family’s place in Rhode Island (emptying a place filling my soul) we found hundred of letters, one of which began “Molly, formerly dear Molly”. While I found this amusing, clearly the writer, and one supposes the recipient, did not.

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san san for aggie

sitting up her eyes meet mine
a dog, she cannot hold the stare
full of love, she can but try
trust earned, love gained a certain sign
my eyes smile back with soul laid bare
this gentle dog now surely wants to play
we run the grassy hill my dog and I
eyes search for sticks, she loves to lead the way

Day 14. a san san, seven lines with three images or words repeated three times abc-abd-cd.

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haiku for nearly

each day brings more green
apple tree buds grow fatter
the bear is nearby

Day 12. each day brings us closer to an explosion of green. there are five bears up on the mountain flanks behind Bear Farm. they tend to visit this time of year.



the wind has yet to shift
and racing out toward our spot
and green umbrella shade
I know the grainy sand
will burn until my feet delve down
to meet the remnants of
cool night and seepage
from a moon tide
long fled back toward the deeps

the slap of rope against
the few remaining masts
plays metronome for waves
that curl and thud
against the offshore gusts

quick voices giving way
to silent contemplation
of a prize well earned

small bodies bent to summer work
of finding crabs in shallows
rimmed by treasure rocks
and seaweed drifts

the simple arc of shore
embraces islet archipelagos
that make approach
by keeled or daggered boat
no easy thing

and at the western end
a point of land pokes out
its pines shaped by
prevailing ocean breath

it boasts a solid shingled house
set into skirts of green
downsweeping lawn
and chimneys waving
out to sea
the focus of siesta dreams
I try to live without regret

Day 11. the prompt to closely describe an object or place and finish with an abstract line that seemingly has nothing to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does.

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Golden Hour

Consider the lilies Kim,
in the garden behind the moon.
Enchanted place
of skylines and horizons
outside our house of light.
Drifts of common birds
skim the river flow,
returning north
from life in mexico.
Following the imprint maps
of Prester John perhaps.
Light dimming,
the day’s play over,
our precious fairy book in hand
we turn for home.
The song of hiawatha
echoing like fog
upon the land.

day 10. a book spine poem, of twelve titles, with my own words the glue.

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corpus musicorum

to sing with my friends
brings joy to those
who hear us
but shoulder to shoulder
we who give voice
have earned
the greater gift
we stand inside
the living body of music
connected by
sublime resonance

Day 9. A shortling about the gift of singing in a group. Day 9. The words wanted my attention, but not for very long!


against the grain

like clouds washing in
to butt against prevailing winds
close on the heels of rain
my path through time leaves more behind
than there are miles ahead
and I now gladly shed
the layered skins of reticence
once meekly worn, redundant chrysalides
freely spreading mind and heart
to net a cloud of lightning darters
filamented possibilities
imagining the shape and heft
of those not evidenced as yet
and make them real, ripe thoughts
such easy fruit within my reach
to smell and taste and feel
their juices staining lip and memory
the gift of years is freedom of the heart
to move the other way

this evening, clouds coming from the east seemed to move contrary-wise on the heels of rain squalls, making me think of moving against the flow. A poem for day 7 of NaPoWriMo, and a present for my youngest sister, Julie, who understands the flow of life, and whose birthday it is both today and tomorrow, down under.

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Dark voice in silence

There is quiet now
where rich color
had been heard,
deep and sensuous
His turning notes
of fluted california
honky tonk remain
a potent legacy
Rest easy
we will hear
your echo.

day 6 of NaPoWriMo. RIP Merle Haggard, who left us today. Singer, brilliant songwriter, early voice of Bakersfield.