Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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truth bag

being somewhat deafer now
imagined sounds dodge out of sight
bird noises, then coyote yips
creatures speaking to the moon
beavers stripping bark
soft words at night
wood thrushes as the day begins to fade
those I care about and want to hear again
a ways away, surrounding me
ear uncupped, not straining
that would be a marvel, singular gift
tears come just imagining

there is sometimes respite, when
the steeply rising road
is muffled deep in snow
no one singing in my trees
and outside silence is complete
ears freed up to hear what’s close
damned mouse scratchings in the wall
dogs nesting into warmth
wood timbers easing into sleep
unfrenzied thoughts
words emerging into verse
I call a truce until it stops
and plows cut through to rescue, me
ungrateful for release

none of this is worth a moment’s pain
but silence in the face of
evil, senseless, stupid acts
everyone can see and hear
(the instant truth of emperor sans clothes)
becomes a drawn out screaming wail
that grabs me by the nape
and shakes things loose
my voice plinking rage
words landing on the floor
about to skitter off, afraid
I snatch them up
so many jacks without a ball
and throw them in my truth bag
to pull out at will, tamed
for my answer

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a prompt from last night’s writing group with Doug Anderson: silence


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not quite endings

the music stopped, shimmering
in dust beamed space
our voices stilled
waiting for the flood of response
I fall into the silence
all energy given away
to singing’s singular joy

what I thought was love
ok it was, no holding back
died, stabbed and poked
to rubble not worth picking through
a lucky escape it turns out
in time to save my heart
and savor all that’s left

a long goodbye jumps the queue
to sudden extinction
love lives on the mountain
ashes soaking into moss
his spirit coming back
to say that 40 years were
worth it all in all
and how are things?

the chatter quieted thank god
and in its place
a single sound takes shape
one note clearly formed on endless breath
much to my delight I find
it comes from me
I had been singing all along
and never knew

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a prompt from tonight’s writing group with Doug Anderson: endings

pond below the mountain


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a haiku for place with notes

up the dipping road
mountain arm is bear’s shoulder
my home lies below

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multiple joys of September, cloud fingers dip into mountain creases, swamp maples step forward, my pine flags flying, one more trip around the sun complete


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intentional space

there is a place in what
can only be my heart
now blank erased
by grief and purposed
brain reset

wild pigment bits of memory
color orts of what had been
a heady time
inevitable yang disguised
by yin’s rose lens

all well and good
the peace I’ve earned
is telling me
to recognize the
mis-steps scrubbed away

yes child snatch that
pink lensed pince-nez
from your nose
when new love appears
to see its necessary truth

then jump informed into its depths
with joy

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sitting on my porch in early morning, bird songs on all sides.

one (recipe) for a good boy


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one for a good boy

holding in the arms test
he found them a place for stillness
I felt his trust and knew everything

journey tolerance test
he had little for road rumblings howling all the way
I laughed at his protests and sang with him

introduction to the first dog test
she terrified him huge and dark
I smiled this would pass remembering others

favorite places test
he took her shoulderings still followed bravely
I pulled him from the squelching mud more mindful after

contemplation test
he sat by her and learned to watch the world
I heard my heart swell seeing this

first misadventure test
he thought all ice trustworthy
I stood thigh deep in frozen marsh to pull him out

listening test
he found joy in learning many things
I spoke softly so that he might hear

finding his work test
he decided it was me with slippers
I accepted his gift dancing

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Day 2 prompt was a recipe. this was a tough one to get going. it would not share itself with me yesterday. once I stepped back, like a contrary child it bounded into my brain.


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meringue

crunch under
my steps
over ersatz
spread snow
replenish
the feeder
cast seed
for the crew
doves hogging
the bounty
let others
go hang
this fool’s day
with icing
starts off
with a bang

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NaPoWriMo 2017 day 1! We’re off to the races, rabbit rabbit rabbit. This was a fun prompt since I’m not much for rhyme, but it always comes (slowly) if given some time.


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foreglow

the old moon sliver
hangs branch framed
in white pine pins
and looking out to scout the day
I know the birds will fly in soon
to perch and wait
for signals from some
fulcrum’s tip
then swoop to take their food
but now there is no color
in the rising sky
the light shape cold
and wrong
time almost shrunk
and hope waned with it
until a shoulder glance behind
reveals a spreading rose
across the pond and to the west
a foreglow gift of elder mornings
stoking up the sky


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for the taking

perhaps the stars
hold memories
diamond pinholes
punched in winter black
life stretched
across infinity
expanding overhead
even as my focus
might be squeezing in
and only looking back
a tempting counterweight
to shrinking time
well nuts to that
I’ll take the milky way
with thanks
refusing blinkered days
or thoughts
and will not shut
all possibility away
this heart and soul
are slated to remain
open for business
indefinitely


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the night ship

there are times the moon
invades my room
as opal fingered fog
touching eyes and skin
and as the night sets sail
around me into sleep
I sense joyous dreams
that dance just out of reach
or sober trailers on the fringe
unwelcome memories to push away
tear welded flashes
from the day just lived
but not now not yet
as life’s flow
starts to telescope
slow sinuous twisting
to its vanishing point
each night explodes with color
and a shadow life
of longing
whose breadcrumb bursts
stay with me
as the sun returns
in counterpoint
to unquiet rest


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first morning

the world is wearing snow
and early morning tracks
curve down from thicket
to the brook
imagination wishing fox
resigned to squirrel
doves and jays arrive
the platform feeder full
it took a while to lace
warm boots with pjs tucked
then clearing step and path
of weightless white
which even now begins
to fly from coated trees
as spoil sport winds
step up their game
a dove remains
breast puffed among the seeds
they gobble down so much
but do not stay
to crack and eat
(anticipating husk heaps
deep in the woods
come thaw or spring)
a friend is coming soon
to break new trail with us
ecstatic dogs and
snowshoes joining evidence
of daybreak journeys
annotating
this first morning


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aftermath

all eyes as one
single voices
become
this great body
balanced on
a razor thin
tipping point
we sing
full throat
to ecstasy
the music stops
I fall into
the abyss of silence
tears flowing

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the moment after the end of a great piece. for Cailin Manson, who took us there.


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the first present

there are trees here too
grown out of deep soil pockets
heads above the hardy root dug
mountain friends of home
this gathered woody host a nest
to hold a house containing
every one I love
still sleeping as the light
creeps up all cloudy
through the rain
a christmas only minds eye white
no clear skied sunrise
catching tree tops
by surprise
red bronze briefly
glistened by those gone ahead
dropstrings of love and memory
beams creak awake
almost the hour
for letting loose small bodies
counting moments since last night
behind me thumps and sighs
two sets of eyes meet mine
my patient dogs
the first gift of the day
belongs to them
and we are kitchen bound

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a small gift of words, a time filled with more love than things, christmas as it should be. my heart is very full.