Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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There are days I see the broad shape of earth in the clouds
arriving ahead of wind and snow, tails feathered to a point
evaporating ether like in ice clear sky
We can only guess at the cold they announce
racing battle pennants for a promised storm
The rattle of their casting bones driving us to shelter

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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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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 rising shapes,
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.


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.

sunset in a small town

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passing through town to home

the day has changed from bright
to scrims of clouds washed sky blue pink
backdrop to summer quiet playing fields

further south a sidelong glance
at underbelly clouds thick swathed peach red
flying over marshes at the river curve

in town the day is winding down
cars and people move intent on fuel
and food and rest for it’s been hot

and by the time the single light releases me
to turn due west deep pink to purple blasts
are shouting over pines and spires

I steal a look into our cafe’s glow
observe last patient walks for dogs
church supper signs and flags

the colors quickly leach away
though day’s end light remains enough
to cover hilly rattle roads

then rollercoasting mountain arms
a final sling to home beside the pond
in time to greet a rising moon

even though going through town takes longer, I love to observe and watch along the way. the other night the stages of what proved to be a spectacular sunset were a marvelous backdrop to my small country town in the middle of summer.

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the way light plays

there is wind this morning,
backed by clear bright light,
just enough to move
the clouds I see
along the mountain arm.
they are solid burghers,
nothing flimsy, without
wings or tails in flight
yet they are bordered brilliantly,
as though the light is urging them
to weightlessness and speed,
to dance across the day
and play there with the sun

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clouds observed

at three miles up
ahead of our approach
clouds lie below
in lakes and ponds,
captive in still water
then morph to rippled
mercury from overhead

at four miles up
there is a gathering
of shapes and streaks
that overlay
emerging spring
and new sown crops
in game board green
and brown

at five miles up
the cotton candy skeins
and contrails loop
their downy shards,
above a layer
of pillowed white

at six miles up
we climb to leave
some windy bumps
from storms well masked
by gray, swept into
comb tracked dips

at seven miles up
there is a view of
earth again, at dusk,
our flight path is a
well lit layer.
we chase the sun
and distant clouds
between the deep blue
dome of space above
and purpling land below

I wondered if a poem would come on this flight. it did. For day 24 of NaPoWrimo 2014