Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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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

and then


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and then

standing still
feet feeling steady rock
in unfamiliar balance
time stops it seems
a blink really
the stream
of then to next
flowing over and around
and somehow through
bones in a shiver
of recognition
no longer straining
to spring free
of oz like cages
revealed as
weightless frauds
their power merely dust
looks ahead
so curious about
what comes next
but firmly rooted
in this moment
and leaps from
rock to rock
given over to
joy at last


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the flow

I dream of deconstructing beaver weirs
layered dams of branch and mud

fiendish things set up by stealth
to drown my woods

and work to draw up plans,
a personal peninsular campaign

fought in the boots of wellington
besetting toothy bonapartes,

guerilla skirmishes to win release
of chokepoint water pools

allowed to stream again towards
the pond beyond its sapling fringe

growing up we know some barriers too,
thrown up to block our childhood path
casual injected freeze,
anti action dollops of impatient noise
thoughtless shards from adult tongues
that carry all the power
of their world, and leave us
with no voice to tell them no
unconscious joy leaching from
young porous souls, replaced by dust
to render us no longer fully vested
in our birthright gifts

oh we will feel creative pull
and try to move toward its warmth

each with our signature routine
to step around the wall,

with time and luck that sidestep waltz
will lose appeal, prompting us

to search out understanding,
mighty antidote to doubt

and let it heal our hearts
armored with new energy and joy

thoughts free to wander where they will
we ride the flow

__________________________________________________
there is a vast difference between thoughtful words to guide and tossed off criticism. as adults we often forget the power of what we say to a child.


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how is it?

how is it
on the mountain, friend,
your spirit free
to roam the peaks
while others only visit,
awed by your home?

can you see
the wonders that
your children are,
carrying you forward,
best parts mostly,
through life’s flow?

do you know
I miss you still,
regrets dimmed,
a mind’s eye memory
of boundless energy,
on the night we met?

is that you
beside me in the woods,
silent escort through
the marshes, dogs in hand,
then safely home,
here for the asking?

yes

_____________________________________
for Mike, whose birthday was today. the photo is of Mount Lafayette, where his ashes rest.


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one way aubade

daylight prompts a kiss,
waking up my foggy
heart and brain
to sunrise clarity of thought

and know an echo cannot
keep me, having heard
and felt full throated love
if only for a time

flypaper’s hold, that ersatz
grace, lacks true regard,
whereas the fearless know
that reins kept loose hold tight

now looking out toward the sun
and craving freedom’s light,
I wave and turn away from here,
whispering goodbye to night

_______________________________
For day 6 of NaPoWriMo, the prompt being for an Aubade, or lovers’ morning farewell.