Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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foreglow

the old moon sliver
hangs branch framed
in white pine pins
and looking out to scout the day
I know the birds will fly in soon
to perch and wait
for signals from some
fulcrum’s tip
then swoop to take their food
but now there is no color
in the rising sky
the light shape cold
and wrong
time almost shrunk
and hope waned with it
until a shoulder glance behind
reveals a spreading rose
across the pond and to the west
a foreglow gift of elder mornings
stoking up the sky


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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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mountain mantle

cloud blanket from the mountain top
reaches all the way down to me

gentle gray in ebbing light
enwraps the shoulders of my soul

the night and what awaits
are gone and I am hid

a shiver in response
at best cloud rain is gentle

settling on the skin
its spider weight unfelt until too late

deed done a feather light ganache of truth
glistens over every inch

just as tight shut childish eyes
imagine invisibility

this passage through no more than respite
as I emerge so does the world

______________________________________
driving home last night after a day’s most welcome rain, at the last steep open hill, most of the mountain was hidden by clouds and mist, reaching low, a thrilling sight.


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countdown

there is movement
in the daily flow of green
to full on spring
as bud fists loosen grips
or fern nubs thrust up clumpy heads
and hillsides morph to verdigris

reminding me of childhood nights
spent time-stretched
jumping tick to tock
wrapped in wild impatient
longing for the morning
and its gifts to come

in truth the journey
through that wait
or days lived blossomless
are weighted to the same degree
because this moment’s beauty is
the only certainty we have

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a shortling for 5/5. spring has been excruciatingly slow this year for us. yet even as we creep along, just knowing the apple tree will blossom, or the lilacs bloom, is such a gift.


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night lit

my woods are hung
with lamp lit moonlight
shallow beaver wash
turned into opal pools
picked out by
beams that launched
diffused through
vapor rings we know
are ice but touch
us softly

__________________________
Day 22. We have just had a full moon, fitting for the week of Earth Day.


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green dreams

the catalog arrived today
injecting green into my thoughts
lush garden dreams now underway

vast lettuce rows not puny pots
rich hills of beans with tongues of fire
espaliered trees of downy apricots

splashed color stokes my fierce desire
until the bubble pops and I fall back to earth
my garden plot is small, the barrow needs a tire

a reset needed for this year’s rebirth

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NaPoWriMo Day 5: the prompt was exotic seed names, using one in a poem. I had a yen to dabble once again with rhyme and a bit of humor, and chose the terza rima: aba bcb cdc d. A simple yet rewarding form. Enjoy!


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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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really

outside my door the guard has changed
a day of wet and gloomy gray
whisked off by racing clouds
abdicated winter steps in minuet retreat
the sullen blue gray glow of rained on slate
is caught by short lived slants of morning sun
and wind, a small all-hands treetop voice
is loath to roar (for now)
the dripping cloak that wraps this house
begins to dry and shed small gleams
the morning raven fly by
lacking winter urgency
green daffy blades push up
brash in return, migrating from the soil
no longer threatened accidents
almost time to prune and clear a way
for the celadon and smell of spring

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I’m mindful that March in New Hampshire is fickle, and for a good long while snow will be a possibility. the path to spring is never straight up here.


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haiku for return of light with notes

morning light in eyes
beams peek past the window edge
a friend has returned

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this morning the sun returned from its winter sojourn away from my window, continuing the slow dance from solstice to equinox, right to left. shining across the bed and into my eyes. a welcome thing in the pit of winter.


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looking through

the apple tree has given up its leaves
sightlines to the treescape skyline
of the mountain ridge are visible again
skeleton beauty skirting stripped down
lilac oak and beech, embracing stolid
pine arms, needles feathering
this morning’s straggler sun
a wedge of brown and gray and light
this small world peaceful
waiting for the snow

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this is one of those mornings when the contrast between the world outside my kitchen window and places of violence and sorrow is very stark. I am grateful for this peace, even as I mourn another shattered night and pray for France.


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letterfeather

another zooming bird
yawping canny xenophobic
dipping wings eager
voyager flying unfettered
gliding the heather
sky in random
joyous quoits kitelike
over lambent ponds
nimble marvel

____________________________
for Day 10 of NaPoWriMo 2015: an alphabetic poem using words starting with the 26 letters of the alphabet. instead of going straight through the letters start at the ends and meet in the middle by the finish.


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the other forest

my flower beds are throwing off
their compressed dimpled white,
and there are windy days
with teasing warmth
and vanguard migrant buzzards
chased by crows.
even as I gladly face the sun,
there are some things
to miss a little while
that left me breathless
in the cold, choked with joy
at seeing sudden beauty.
a first glance to the eastern ridge,
and brilliant blue first light
across a clear late winter sky,
blots of flemish clouds
that never come in summer,
scudding low and changing shape,
new snow like moonstone dust
lit by a full moon’s glow,
my other forest,
traceries of crystal frost
inside the windows on our porch,
mimicking the solid shapes
of tree and bush.
oh I am more than ready
for the squelch of mud,
and branches swelled with buds,
soft leaf and frond,
assaults of tender green,
the songs of
snow melt freshet streams.
it will not be a hardship
to accept all this,
no not at all.