Life With Horace

poetry & essays

BH in the field


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Elegy

And with his end all lifeline letters stopped
akin to clocks hushed at a death,
leaving smothered laughter or kind words
confetti-chopped to ricochet at will

Those daily orts grown into thoughts,
inked heiroglyphs sardined with scattered
pencil nonpareils, bright chrome
yellow sheets, they will come no more

He lived for wordy news, recounted histories,
rich mirrors of our minds, but people hanging
on a vapid phone were never tolerated
much beyond a minute any day

In all of this we saw and felt the gifts his
writing brought, quiet kindness in our grasp,
connection, palatable family glue,
admonishments or clapping hands

He never did hold back bursts of rant
against extinction of a simpler life
or razing of an older barn, sunblot
politic dizziness, or inept modernity

Today we hold those pages fiercely
knowing he is gone, and reread again
to briefly feel his warmth born of quiet
brilliance, a rich legacy of love disguised

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NaPoWriMo 2017, Day 3. the prompt was to write an elegy, and a particular facet of the person or thing mourned.

one (recipe) for a good boy


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one for a good boy

holding in the arms test
he found them a place for stillness
I felt his trust and knew everything

journey tolerance test
he had little for road rumblings howling all the way
I laughed at his protests and sang with him

introduction to the first dog test
she terrified him huge and dark
I smiled this would pass remembering others

favorite places test
he took her shoulderings still followed bravely
I pulled him from the squelching mud more mindful after

contemplation test
he sat by her and learned to watch the world
I heard my heart swell seeing this

first misadventure test
he thought all ice trustworthy
I stood thigh deep in frozen marsh to pull him out

listening test
he found joy in learning many things
I spoke softly so that he might hear

finding his work test
he decided it was me with slippers
I accepted his gift dancing

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Day 2 prompt was a recipe. this was a tough one to get going. it would not share itself with me yesterday. once I stepped back, like a contrary child it bounded into my brain.


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the first present

there are trees here too
grown out of deep soil pockets
heads above the hardy root dug
mountain friends of home
this gathered woody host a nest
to hold a house containing
every one I love
still sleeping as the light
creeps up all cloudy
through the rain
a christmas only minds eye white
no clear skied sunrise
catching tree tops
by surprise
red bronze briefly
glistened by those gone ahead
dropstrings of love and memory
beams creak awake
almost the hour
for letting loose small bodies
counting moments since last night
behind me thumps and sighs
two sets of eyes meet mine
my patient dogs
the first gift of the day
belongs to them
and we are kitchen bound

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a small gift of words, a time filled with more love than things, christmas as it should be. my heart is very full.


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Haiku for Elizabeth with notes

gift from love’s pilgrim
my words have danced in your heart
they leap free again

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Yesterday the Third Cousins Club met again. three cousins, Cassie, Elizabeth, and me, descended in separate lines from the same great great grandfather, knowing nothing of the others until an accidental discovery grew into a connection that has joined three family lines. Elizabeth’s sister Susan was there at the beginning with all of us, but she died this year. So Elizabeth has just made what I can only think of as a pilgrimage to the ocean places they loved together. What a brave and loving sister gift this was, saying goodbye again, ashes left to be a part of memories.

sun turtle moonstones


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moonstones

countless shed
in rage and grief
for loss of life
and love’s escape
but know my friends
that tears
rejoin the earth
to fall again
as rain
and with these
moonstone drops
comes life renewed
a moment’s chance
to heal and wash
the stench of hate
into the sea
and pray
the only swords
we need are
gentle arcs
of green
sun turtle lines
of remnant tears
safe havens
for our memories

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a poem for a day that always brings the echoes of a loving grief. I send these words to join those voices raised to shout aloud their sadness in the face of tragedy.

beauty of white against dark green


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litany

what don’t I remember?
my collier brother brain
hoards words and time
with colors joining hands
to sing their song

I don’t remember
any moment spent
without a color wash
intensity of thought

I don’t remember
understanding those who hate
preferring to destroy
instead of build

I don’t remember
living days or nights
without a music counterpoint
embers into torches lighting memory

I don’t remember
sunsets painted on the undersides
of clouds or nature come to flower
without feeling joy almost to tears

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A leftover prompt, from Day 29. Things remembered, and what they weren’t.


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How to mend a fence

It all depends, the farmer said,
on how high the fence and wide the gap
How tall is just enough to push thoughts out
or hold emotions in, and had I thought of life
enriched by feelings? Is the gap a full on
crop of breaks, or something less,
some oddly chronic stutter of disconnection
Fluorescence hindered by its oozing ballast
Can we glue chain split apart, or pickets
freed by loose, bent nails?
It all depends, the farmer said, on how we view
the things that we might do for love.

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Day 20. The prompt from NaPoWriMo Day 19. To write a didactic poem, instructional. No restraints.


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heart of the matter

heart (hart) n.
chambered, steady
quiet presence
headwaters
of love’s river
laced with
endearment
and courage
lost sometimes
mended often
freely given
ready always
for encounters
with joy
my soul lives there

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Day 17. A little behind, but no matter. A definition poem.


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san san for aggie

sitting up her eyes meet mine
a dog, she cannot hold the stare
full of love, she can but try
trust earned, love gained a certain sign
my eyes smile back with soul laid bare
this gentle dog now surely wants to play
we run the grassy hill my dog and I
eyes search for sticks, she loves to lead the way

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Day 14. a san san, seven lines with three images or words repeated three times abc-abd-cd.