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


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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

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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 a kiss with notes

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

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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.

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

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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.

gift of sudden light


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gift of sudden light

morning brings the flowering world
to wait outside my door again
its gift complete
an honest bounty within reach

I glance away, and in
that moment sun arms
leap above the mountain ridge
to cast breath stealing light

and startle me to unexpected joy
when happiness, no simple thing
arriving first was present
and most certainly enough

light’s twin is thought
conjoined with time
its tipping point
arrived at step by step

the pilgrim mind walks on
until the heart is open
and able to receive
the sudden glimpse of truth


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morning as palindrome

as words begin their dance
glancing out at spring
sitting down at last to write
confident of its receipt
asking for serenity
another day a perfect gift
reflecting and give thanks
I close my eyes to sip
hand cupping warmth
coffee and the ritual of smell
checking lilacs apple buds
birds scatter at the noise
opening the outer door
woods featureless and flat
moving softly hug the quiet
slightly damp delight
one slipper at a time
morning work for dogs
stretch sloughing sleep’s cement
a feather shawl to float away
night journey remnants linger
as clouds replace the sun
light diffuse and gray
dog nose to tail against my arm
first awareness as I wake
a dream departs

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Day 28. I loved writing this. The prompt was for an event or story in reverse.


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witness

morning light slants through spring woods
and the grass grows green again

three blue bags of roadside trash
and the grass grows green again

air is soft at dark’s approach
and the grass grows green again

screams of trees ripped from the earth
and the grass grows green again

early birdsong noisy joy
and the grass grows green again

news of rising hate brings dread
and the grass grows green again

summer stars the hunter gone
and the grass grows green again

prayers whispered for the world
and the grass grows green again

truth is not a skin we shed
and the grass grows green again

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Day 26. A call and response poem.


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pole stars

outside an open window
long slanting bones of morning light
stretch out across new green
and under petal floats
my mind’s eye leaping past
advancing spring
to still brown woods
snowdrops hanging white in quiet
broken only by the calls of jays
or arcing cardinal voice
I ache for home
those starker hills
and life lived on a wilder scale
with brook flow ambient song
in counterpoint
to raven growls and beaver slaps,
the shouting silence of the stars
that touch my trees
small-hours communion with the moon
cupped softly by the dark,
my homeward journey’s pull is strong
yet it will still be hard to leave
a house so filled with love
and people of my bones,
twin pole stars
anchoring the heart

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I love and miss my adult children and their respective clans and look forward to the chance to share their lives. Yet after a day or two the siren call of home begins its chant, and I am torn, no less grateful for these gifts.


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two days on

this morning life rose earlier
by minutes that felt wider
accordioning out the day,
winter’s pearl blue light
cut by blades of gold
cast from the ridge
revealed the snow well broken in,
squirrel byways clearly marked
seed leavings on white crests,
starter crystal stalactites
lipped from the roof,
evidence of romping dogs
mouse tracks
and my own red squirrel visitor
in a quiet moment

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immediate snow is always special, but some time out from its fall the evidence of life outside the house reveals itself.


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opaque dawn

light lies flat and gray behind my pines
no emerging blue with morning star
nor sailing clouds with rosy blotted core
a morning to rejoice because it’s mine
and I am able to give voice

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a shortling gift from an early morning, with gratitude for another day.