Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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Thinning time

Seven mornings in a row
the early eastern light
has snatched me away from sleep
filling my eyes with huge slashes
of sunrise, dark angry and pink
The first was on samhain, and
I could see the hand of Rage
reaching slyly toward the thinning 
scrim of time’s divide
its camp follower Fire hoping
to slip through alongside
compressed to nothing
like the soft bones of mice
The whispers of my genes begged
shout No and cry many tears
They will thicken the dawn
refusing entry to this surfeit of evil
All you love depends on them

Audio: Read by the author.

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dawn reflected

unaccustomed light beams up from my small pond
a gift I grudge our downstream beaver cadre,
shermanesque repurposers of woods and mud
whose path had thinned the eastern trees
this morning’s sight was not the sliver moon
pendant under brilliant venus
that had called to me in bed
but dawn with spikes of leafless trees
in shadowed counterpoint

the possibility of future treats looms large
even as my mind resists this change
reflected moons and shooting stars
crusted ice or waves of snow
morse code tracks from there to here
so as I fight to deconstruct
the engineering feat that threatens
to engulf beloved trees
I whisper thanks for fallout gifts
and pray that what comes next is peace

the back boundary of my land is a named brook, with a small seasonal pondlet cum mudhole, which was quickly becoming a full on pond by the time I realized what was happening at the end of this summer. beavers are amazing engineers, cross layering branches and twigs to make their dams, and excavating existing banks for mud to wall new water in. taking all this down is not easy, and I was quite sad about having to do it, until I discovered that there was no lodge out back but only “land grooming” for future expansion. I suspect this is merely the latest skirmish between the beavers and the owners of this house since it was built in 1796.

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point of gray

after sun’s descent
with afterglow in slow pursuit
the light outside begins to fade
until one sees all hue has gone
a world soft palleted in gray
before deep purple
and true night

an oddness, this, I think
that with light’s advent or decline
the ordered spectrum has no steady march
but serves the sun and air, its masters
angled to the earth

at day’s beginning
the gears of light move
to reverse extinction
from the night before
black to grape toned whisper
I am coming, yes, believe
and like a drop of color into water
at a point so undefined and quick
the eye and mind are fooled
the gray point fulcrum tips
to show the world in monochrome
until God’s brush begins to paint again
and it is dawn

in Miss Entrican’s Fifth Form Biology at Channing we learned the eye sees color only to a certain point of diminishing light, after which everything is gray. decades later I still love to watch for that moment.