Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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the tree inside

here I/we all stand
our own distillation
helixed fragments
of the gene pool
simmered shards
determined memories
all but one disembarked
insistent immigrants
spread thin
through years of passages
via quiet windblown sails
or coal smoke belching steam
origins enough
for hands and heart
and feet and voice
spit out at landing
to be absorbed
reshape and move again
never stagnant,
hardly captive flow
sometimes I glimpse
a layered, pungent silt
swept down time’s stream
to keep my forbears
dreaming thoughts alive
and pass along
another twist of bone and flesh
in lovely recombination,
and in hope
trusting what comes next
and so we grow

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NaPoWriMo 2016 day 2: the prompt was a family portrait. Sometimes you just have to go small.


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a single voice

a single voice in open throated song
its beauty and intent a gift
can open hearts, tap into tears of joy
waves of brilliance sent out to meet infinity

a single voice can speak of love
tendrils creeping softly to surround the soul
spun strands of shimmering delight
to last forever if only as a memory

a single voice can crush
the spirit of a trusting child
or shower it with all it needs
to grow and light the world in turn

a single voice can stand against the dark
one simple flame of truth to push back
those who hate and would destroy
and join with other sparks to light a torch

a single voice can cry for help
from frozen valley shadows
faith laying bare all fear and need
certain that another voice will answer

I am here

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music often moves me to tears, and listening to a brilliant young singer recently started me thinking about the power of just one voice.


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catching the light

however it comes
we want it all, that light,
bright understanding
to open eyes,
illuminate and warm
our world, and free us,
so we think.

on light filled, sunny days
our spirits lift and soar
on updrafts,
hawklike, hunting
promise in those beams,
the source of what
is possible.

but with no sun and open sky
do we still sense
the light there for us
brought in different form?
that it still shines,
its power now diffuse
but no less ours,
and can we grasp
with raptor talons
all the glimmers due us?

much harder then
to have to work
for something often
free of effort, easy
to absorb, enjoy,
yet if we persevere
there is reward,
brilliance, no less a gift
for being indirect.

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this ornament was a gift brought by my sister from New Zealand. it always catches light.