At night the woods world rises up in vast formation as the dogs and I walk among giants in the cool cocoon of my headlamp They are eager oblivious of our escorts seeing with their noses unaware that we are not alone Sunless, the axis of this space has tilted on its side there are no open reaches to the mountain base well known trees or brook cuts calling birds or fresh snow yielding fox tracks The quiet that blankets sight and thought is only in my head this place is never voiceless even in deep winter I follow in the wake of wagging tails and steaming breath breaking trail into the dark
___________________________________ Originally published in Dancer in the Mist, 2015 Revised 12/2020
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
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.
I stand quite still snared by unaccustomed silence backlit in a pool of warmth and kitchen candle light looking out at darkness intimate in thick falling snow soundproofing all that lies beyond its edge until a car appears creeping down the mountain arm headlights poking through lace curtain flakes wheels soundless on the road deeply masked by white a traveler almost surely blind determination understood and much admired by me we share this moment and our quiet space until my door is shut again and he has passed us by
______________________________________ The world is well lost and soundless when it snows here. Like an infant’s view of life our boundaries shrink for a bit.
the still bright reach
of setting moon on snow
slender plum tree shadows
reaching from the west,
coyote yips and calls
caroming off the mountain
through black ice
ribbon wrapped woods,
my open window arrow slit,
rousing the defenders
of this sleeping winter bastion
to make their voices heard
our pennant flown in answer
nothing gets dogs up from sleep to full on barks faster than the coyote pack at night.
Many days since I have seen a moon
both night and dawn obscured by cloud or rain.
Days of leached out richness
lacking diamond clustered white,
creep fingered winter reaching out
to shackle and restrain my thoughts
till sun regains the upper hand,
tossing me the keys that come with
fledgling green and tender smells of earth
(around an oxbow bend of time and out of sight).
Tonight we have thick, clotted blots of snow,
flake armies blanketing the world, scouting
morning’s aftermath of shapes standing bright
against fresh blue. A constant roar
of moving trees, teeth of the north wind auto harp.
Deep ink heaven once again blown clean,
Diana’s slivered waxing moon
emcees emerging stars, until he comes.
A reaching leap of arms and sword and strength,
his belt the perfect anchor for my eyes,
standing watch, protector of the frozen skies.
I look for Orion each winter, knowing he stands watch over our frozen nights.
last night I knew a dream
within a dream
waking from the first
yet still asleep to see
allegory road signs
faces that I knew so well
this time we were adrift together
on a sea not visited awake
then turning, sinking back to lethe
as tingle echoes ricocheted away
and woke to see a brilliant slash
of sunrise pink behind the spiky pines
that dimmed so fast to flattened gray
my only capture yet again
a shortling linking the fleeting vividness of my dreams last night to the transient brilliance of sunrise on waking. for Jane, who said goodbye to her beloved Alan this week, and for Candy.