Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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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

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


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stepping onto grass

a sip of camomile to soften nerves
as though a quiet moment on the porch
observing fire flies punctuate the trees
could travel through cloud rain
to touch a friend
like me a score or so ago
now waiting for the sun
to shiver start the day
mind’s eye reaching for
the girl child of my heart
lace tokening her gaze
unruly brother brought to sudden tears
on catching sight
of unanticipated beauty
tethered by her father’s arm
last moments as the impish girl
who stood upon his feet to waltz
then stepping sure on sea scent grass
to speak her promises
and dance love wrapped
as woman, on her way

________________________________
twenty three years on, that lovely day still resonates, the union it produced a loving one. for Lisa.


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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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longing for blue

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

lunch on a glass table on 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


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in place of

in place of tender walls of green
hot sunrise vibrant pink
flamed above bare trees

in place of overwhelming days
unblinkered eyes and free range thought
released to roam at will

in place of broadbrush turning trees
yellow leaf sun catchers glow chrome
against the rising dark of hills

in place of ready touch and nights spent close
quiet gratitude for unweighted joy
I am whole to dance again

in place of trees wrenched rudely from my woods
nightly sunset glory offered up
its afterglow on every side

in place of childish blankets of regret
unflinching truth accepted flings me up
to land as newly tempered steel

and then


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and then

standing still
feet feeling steady rock
in unfamiliar balance
time stops it seems
a blink really
the stream
of then to next
flowing over and around
and somehow through
bones in a shiver
of recognition
no longer straining
to spring free
of oz like cages
revealed as
weightless frauds
their power merely dust
looks ahead
so curious about
what comes next
but firmly rooted
in this moment
and leaps from
rock to rock
given over to
joy at last


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next

I wear the cloak of having loved,
not tightly but clutched light,
threads of life thrown on
to walk the path of next,
companion on the loops and hills ahead,
the grains of my allotted scores
falling through the hourglass neck of now
their descent soft breath to kiss my cheek
then drop away to join the humus
steeping just behind.
what colors must it hold, this cloak,
to lie so soft against my skin,
what memories all skeined,
though some were nettles
leaving welts and tears,
others joy that grabbed me by the nape
and shook my soul awake,
then weaving strands of love
presented as a gift, no toll required
or so I thought, glowing rich and warm,
elusive dancing beams
that stayed a while to walk among
wild golden flower fields
communing with my heart, until we faced
the sunset edge of certainty.
in dimming afterglow I saw
the dark cast Janus face of fear
instead of love, mouth open wide
to swallow all my peace.
abandoning this portent of a frozen life
I turned away before full night
without a backward look,
Eurydice sans Orpheus
shedding petal tears
but never love
walking fast toward the light

________________________________________
I have always seen time, carrying its map in my mind’s eye, a form of synesthesia. Personally I think it explains the sometimes weird but welcome linkages of time to physical space that pop up in my poems.


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waiting for the hunter

many days since I have seen a moon
both night and dawn obscured by cloud or rain
days of leached out richness
lacking diamond clustered white
and so creep fingered winter reaches out
to shackle and restrain my thoughts
till sun regains the upper hand
and tosses me the keys that come with
fledgling green and tender smells of earth
(around an oxbow bend of time and out of sight)
tonight at last, we have thick clotted blots of snow,
flake armies blanketing the world, scouting
morning’s aftermath of shapes stood bright
against fresh blue
a constant roar of moving trees,
teeth of the north wind auto harp,
deep ink heaven once again blown clean
diana’s slivered waxing moon
emcees emerging stars, until he comes,
a reaching leap of arms and sword and strength
his belt the perfect anchor for my eyes,
standing watch, protector of the frozen skies

_______________________________________________________________
I look for Orion each winter, knowing he stands watch over our frozen nights.


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the onion revealed

with all its skin removed
and moonstone lotus arms pulled back
the onion has no center
only tear provoking sharpness
seeping from its pores
but you and I have hearts
that feed our souls and break sometimes
laid bare in throes of love
or simply listening to the echoes
of a whispered thought
a memory of longing sweeping back
to fan regret at loss
we wear our years like onion skin
the proof of who we were opaque
of how we danced or soared
looked at the world from eyes that saw
time infinite us invincible
too quick to jump into the flow
of forces greater than our will
to hold them back
where war or danger
grabbed us by the throat and shook
tossing what was left aside
or living tamer slower lives
bumps and buffets taken as they came
no matter what our start
we all arrive at later’s trailhead
wondering where our eagerness and joy have fled
energies no longer at our ready beck
resignation sometimes held at bay
and yet our beating core
holds all of it on layaway
to draw on if we can
so when I lie with moonlight
shadows raked across my skin
and you reach out with forge hot hands
time falls away leaving elemental us
certain only of this moment
and its gift


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tiptoe to a full on run

it is my turn to jump
into the hero’s journey
face first two miles up
but with no roar
of penetrated air
drawing every sense
as I fall free, knowing
this a dream to ease
my heart’s reset.
I rip the cord,
look back,
there is no prickly
pilot chute
of skulking anger,
only honest tears flung up
to join the clouds
my testament to
innocence and joy,
the early days of
rose tinged hope.
a silken arc of honesty
slows me to a gentle float
compelling truth,
namely, that this jump
will save my soul.
earth comes up fast
and I begin to walk
on timid toes,
then gaining speed
I leap and raise my fist
exulting, thankful
to have known great love,
running on to meet
my warrior fate

__________________________
a nod to my inner tough chick


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how is it?

how is it
on the mountain, friend,
your spirit free
to roam the peaks
while others only visit,
awed by your home?

can you see
the wonders that
your children are,
carrying you forward,
best parts mostly,
through life’s flow?

do you know
I miss you still,
regrets dimmed,
a mind’s eye memory
of boundless energy,
on the night we met?

is that you
beside me in the woods,
silent escort through
the marshes, dogs in hand,
then safely home,
here for the asking?

yes

_____________________________________
for Mike, whose birthday was today. the photo is of Mount Lafayette, where his ashes rest.