Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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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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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

__________________________________
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

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

Copyright©2016 Kate Rantilla, all rights reserved.


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the sound that quiet makes

this day of gratitude
is warm
wrapped with a hush
across the wild place
outside my door
hours lived at stop action pace
intermixed with grace note quiet moments
two horses graze across the road
jay scrabbles punctuating feeder flights
cars mostly absent never missed
trees almost bared
their shapes old friends
I look out to woods and placid beaver ponds
where birds flicker as small animals move
darting in counterpoint to anchored brown
such richness.
such richness in this temporary state
layerings of memory and love
not quite speaking underneath the flow
from earth to foot to heart
gravity confounded by life
flowing to the sky
and thanks are offered up


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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


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witches moon

there is a moon
that reaches back in time
to sit quite full alongside
backlit clouds
that boost the light
cast onto curved tile roof
and night gray city street
our last call crocodile
glides on to bed and quiet dark
obedient walkers all
despite their adolescent hearts
raving under brown tweed shells
my mind afire I long for
for home’s imagined warmth
yet balance on the cusp
of life to come
un ruled un uniformed
and dream of flying free
certain of that magic
reaching out to touch
this lunar wave
a witches moon to rile
my adolescent soul
its glow a path
I’ve wandered
ever since

_______________________________
the title of this poem has been a companion for many years. I am very grateful that it waited for me and for the poem to catch up.


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over the hills

in and out of light
driving on a road into the hills
to the left a wall of rock
with innards blown away
to upright face
brief travel with a hawk
its shadow leaps onto the road
then passes over me
and for a flash
I follow him
to fly out over
still leafed hills
light footed mist
escaping from their folds
bits of thought deposited by rain
caught on the arms of trees
memory tucked into shadow
waiting for the sun to lift it clear
and dance again


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long shadow morning

the day starts clear
and weather sits the fence
undecided voter between
sultry and first frost
the hummingbirds have gone
and small flocks pulse
from ground to tree to air
some landing in the shelter
of my apple tree
across the road bright reds
appear to punctuate
short timer green
the usual pangs are there
as warmth and light
begin to turn away
but less robust somehow
each summer moment’s heat
soaked into bone and soul
defense against regret

_______________________________
for me seasonal change has always been about being observant, and the aggregation of small events. september has a clear, long slanting light. my favorite month.


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haiku for elizabeth with notes

gift from love’s pilgrim
my words have danced in your heart
they leap free again

_____________________________________
yesterday the Third Cousins Club met again. three cousins, Cassie, Elizabeth, and me, descended in separate lines from the same great great grandfather, knowing nothing of the others until an accidental discovery grew into a connection that has joined three family lines. Elizabeth’s sister Susan was there at the beginning with all of us, but she died this year. So Elizabeth has just made what I can only think of as a pilgrimage to the ocean places they loved together. what a brave and loving sister gift this was, saying goodbye again, ashes left to be a part of memories.