Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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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, not even stray
rain clouds.

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


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until then

there may still be
      wind, that has not kissed
            my face

or light on vernal
      water, not seen through
            my lens

or singing, that has
      yet to hum along
            my bones

or time with friends, dancing
      in green waves, sand on
            my feet

or words to share, flowing
      from the mouth of
            my heart

but, there was always love, with
      you, so if I skip the rest
            to waltz out in your arms,

it will be enough to
      know these gifts waited
            with me, just in case.

_____________________________________________
a birthday poem for Mike


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sideways view

I can see you, all of you
from where I sit
a few thousand miles
up or out, take your pick
your lives are match flares
as we pass away from light
small bursts of color
flaming out, why green
or red or blue tonight?
my whims connect the dots
entertaining tales that may be
lies or just bad guesses
we know you watch us, singing
songs and writing maudlin verse
to our cold rocks and shifting shape
light breathed in and out to wax and wane
you could not know that we are joined
silly schizoid world, for you
it’s either his billboard smile
oddly neutered, hardly male
or country place of, me
who lives to hunt, a
woman with a wicked bow
one would never see us as
a pair much less coupled by
love up on our pockmarked
fluorescent lighted sphere
sling shot surfing
to the beat of star pulsed
fragments of forgotten gravities
we have a running bet to see
which way you leap as
we sail by silvering the clouds
our tote board running neck and neck
for half a million years

_______________________________
Doug Anderson’s weekly writing workshop has us all digging deep, and laughing a lot. the prompt: a myth from other lips.


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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

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

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

______________________________________
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
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
the peace I’ve earned
tells me straight
to recognize
the mis-steps
scrubbed away
yes child
snatch that pink
lensed pince-nez
from your nose
when new love appears
to see necessary truth
and only then jump
into its depths
with joy

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


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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

_________________________
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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longing for blue

longing for blue
for the swell of
waves at noon
wind changing
light flaking
on their crests

lunch at a glass table
over hot flagstones
flesh still warming
we rode ice sharp water
round the whirlpool’s
seaweed walls

wine in the blood
languid tune in my bones
we sit shoulders touching
shaded corners
of a sea green room
calling