Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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countdown

there is movement
in the daily flow of green
to full on spring
as bud fists loosen grips
or fern nubs thrust up clumpy heads
and hillsides morph to verdigris

reminding me of childhood nights
spent time-stretched
jumping tick to tock
wrapped in wild impatient
longing for the morning
and its gifts to come

in truth the journey
through that wait
or days lived blossomless
are weighted to the same degree
because this moment’s beauty is
the only certainty we have

_______________________________
a shortling for 5/5. spring has been excruciatingly slow this year for us. yet even as we creep along, just knowing the apple tree will blossom, or the lilacs bloom, is such a gift.


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A line borrowed

For years every morning I drank
long drafts of the world,
without knowing
that words lay in wait
to flash like sunbeams
unable to dance quietly
until the moment of ambush.

For years I would tuck away
throat caught beauty
in dull green strong boxes,
to sit on bare wood shelves
until I could not wait
another moment of another minute
to feel and see again.

For years words found me,
some refused to leave,
sticky stubborn things,
and now, well now I recognize
them as old friends that held the dam,
until one day they stepped aside
to release the flood
as I surrendered.

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Day 25 part 2. The NaPoWriMo prompt was to borrow the first line of a favorite poem, and use it as a jumping off point for a new poem. I chose the first line of Mary OLiver’s Mornings at Blackwater.


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night lit

my woods are hung
with lamp lit moonlight
shallow beaver wash
turned into opal pools
picked out by
beams that launched
diffused through
vapor rings we know
are ice but touch
us softly

__________________________
Day 22. We have just had a full moon, fitting for the week of Earth Day.


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following awareness

coming up the hill
toward my kitchen door
on greening grass
almost tintless
in the growing dark
I chase my shadow
in moonlight
just strong enough
to make me glad
it is not chasing me

___________________________
Day 19. A shortling about coming home in fading light and a risen moon.


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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
civility

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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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Green Dreams

The catalog arrived today
injecting green into my thoughts
lush garden dreams now underway

Vast lettuce rows not puny pots
rich hills of beans with tongues of fire
espaliered trees of downy apricots

Splashed color stokes my fierce desire
until the bubble pops and I fall back to earth
my garden plot is small, the barrow needs a tire

A reset needed for this year’s rebirth

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NaPoWriMo Day 5: the prompt was exotic seed names, using one in a poem. I had a yen to dabble once again with rhyme and a bit of humor, and chose the terza rima: aba bcb cdc d.


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Snow Terrarium

I stand quite still, snared by
unaccustomed silence,
backlit in a pool of warmth
and kitchen candle light,
looking out at darkness
made intimate by thick
falling snow, soundproofing
all that lies beyond its edge.
Until a car appears, creeping
down the mountain arm,
headlights poking through
lace curtain flakes, wheels
soundless on the road
deeply masked by white.
A traveler almost surely blind,
determination understood
and much admired by me.
We share this moment
and our quiet space
until my door is shut again,
and he has passed us by.

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The world is well lost and soundless when it snows here. Like an infant’s view of life our boundaries shrink for a bit.


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stardust

last night I knew a dream
within a dream
waking from the first
yet still asleep to see
familiar pinpoint
allegory road signs
faces that I knew so well
this time we were adrift together
on a sea not visited awake
then turning, sinking back to lethe
as tingle echoes ricocheted away
and woke to see a brilliant slash
of sunrise pink behind the spiky pines
that dimmed so fast to flattened gray
my only capture yet again
was memory

____________________________
a shortling linking the fleeting vividness of my dreams last night to the transient brilliance of sunrise on waking. for Jane, who said goodbye to her beloved Alan this week, and for Candy.


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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.


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venus waiting

from my pillow, just awake
I saw the eastern sky,
spread clear and pale behind
still leafless trees,
hung with a glowing light
among their limbs

I first thought to deny
this star so close to sunrise,
then felt its beacon’s pull,
guiding me to daylight
from the darkness of a dream
so gladly left

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the first view of the day ahead is often evocative for me. This morning Venus was hanging in the trees, as though waiting for me to wake up. She gradually faded as the sun drew nearer and my dark dream receded.