Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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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.

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.


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haiku for a kiss with notes

gold eye of the sun
reaches over mountain arm
gentle morning touch

_______________________

the position of the sun in late August here makes sunrise a delicate process. you see, the sun has already “risen” by the time it comes to Bear Farm. We are tucked into one of the mountain’s arms and the first sunlight edges leaves and needles of the tree crowns. gently.


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mountain mantle

cloud blanket from the mountain top
reaches all the way down to me

gentle gray in ebbing light
enwraps the shoulders of my soul

the night and what awaits
are gone and I am hid

a shiver in response
at best cloud rain is gentle

settling on the skin
its spider weight unfelt until too late

deed done a feather light ganache of truth
glistens over every inch

just as tight shut childish eyes
imagine invisibility

this passage through no more than respite
as I emerge so does the world

______________________________________
driving home last night after a day’s most welcome rain, at the last steep open hill, most of the mountain was hidden by clouds and mist, reaching low, a thrilling sight.


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woods whispers

once home directly to the woods
downhill into the shadowed green
ecstatic dogs all tails and lopes

they move from spot to spot
datamining smells and sounds
and leave their marks

feet silent on the needle drop
my harmony almost restored
ankles softly kissed by ferns

_______________________________
a shortling to celebrate the gift of having woods to lift the day off my shoulders.