Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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Connection

When I sing, music puts
its hands around my heart.
My words think tears
are a puddle to splash
through shoeless.
Color often stops my breath,
and I am held its willing
prisoner. A sudden memory
might need release.
Any of these call up joy
or tears, and I don’t mind.
When the signal comes
they might glide to me
in a waltz, or whirl up
on the skirts
of a wild mazurka.
Better yet, ride in
on the smoothness
of an alto sax.


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Waiting

She pried my eye open,
brilliant Venus did, balanced
just above the pine spikes,
tired of waiting for me
to get on with dreaming.
Around her clear sky,
meteors done,
still hours away from light.
Deaf to her message, I went
back to bed and snoring dogs,
to dream of love
across a bog reached
on a path of floating stones,
until I balked and jumped
to solid ground.
She knew this one
was in the queue, and
did not want it buried
in the dreamless part of sleep,
but felt vividly, and
have me wake, warned.


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Seeing them off

Today they are still here,
and I am too, in late September.
My hummingbird pair. One darts in
to feed, the other perches
drinking deeply, tipping her head back
to let the nectar slide.
I feel that energy sweet and cool
down my throat.
Their absence looms, a large bell
with muffled clappers tolling
unopposed, reddening the trees,
exiling light, ushering in cold.
Lately the question, will they
visit me again, or will there be
someone else looking out my window
twelve months on?
Each year it is harder let them go,
as if there were a choice.


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The morning watch

He sits behind the screen,
the sun’s minute hand
remaps his curves in warmth.
With not much else to do
his morning’s work is
out there, living traffic
he will watch and note.
Force marched ants in
single file, small brown toads,
leaf rustles out of sight,
the swooping zizz
of dragonflies.
A hummingbird returns
to drink, then preen. This
makes him smile. Even they
must stop and rest.
The small world quiets, starts to
wait for shade, when high sun
moves away, raptors drafting
on its currents. He sees
and understands. Feeling
stiff he’s up to find another
patch of sun. A whoofing sigh,
then head on paws he sleeps.


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Flat light early

Some mornings present themselves
before my second eye opens,
no warmth, flat light,
featureless gray untrimmed.
Tight woven canvas hangs
edge to edge at the top
of the sky, and the living world
makes a new plan,
carrying on oblivious.
My patient dogs don’t
care a fig about the sun,
arriving bedside to present
mouth-damp slippers,
and we go out
to open up the day.


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The Scarf

The eye sees silk,
watered green perhaps,
hanging loose over
oiled bamboo, and waits
for a breath to set it floating.
A sail slowly calling to the skin,
conjuring weightless cover
settling without fanfare,
suddenly warm when it rests
on cheek, or arms, or flanks,
then sparking shivers as
a hand pulls it slowly away.