Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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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Haiku for a friend with notes

see each forward step
my own not for another
true gift of friendship



The way forward for a friend sometimes seems clear to me, but not for them. The hard thing is to step back, find the wisdom to make changes in my own life, and let them work it out. They already know that I care.

Horace, black on black


Haiku for tuesday with notes

accepting the muse
black head warms my foot again
reaching for note book




Horace likes to sit under the kitchen table when I write, with his head across my foot. I had planned to write later in the day today, but clearly my muse thought otherwise.

the green veil

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the green veil

a scrim of green now masks the woods
and blankets its recycling brown
and fading winter tale

with upstart life rolled out
to mountain slopes
I know are there

another green veil lives
across the timegone paths
that memories illuminate

backlighting those
just out of reach
until we call them close

a flash of thought
to pierce opaque divides
and fill the mind’s eye arms

then hold them quiet and at peace
sweet moderation’s gift

A poem for 5/8, mother’s day. The photo was actually taken much later in summer, when I was shooting the morning mist that comes off my garage roof after the sun comes over the mountain arm, and a series of remarkable night-built spider’s webs in the trees (one is faintly visible on the right).

beauty of white against dark green

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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

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

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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

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

squirrel pantry

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Haiku for wednesday with notes

red squirrel leaping
apple held fast in its mouth
single thought is food




Day 27. An encounter with a determined little red squirrel. I was outside eating a green apple. The squirrel saw me; I waved at him, apple in hand, then tossed it, almost eaten, on the grass near a rhododendron. Running around the back of the bush the squirrel emerged at the front, snatching the apple and ran up a spruce tree with it. Came back down a minute or two later. Looking for the nest I imagined to be in the tree, I came upon the squirrel’s pantry. The apple sat on one of the branches.


I am

the wires look thin
that hold me up today
but they will do,
it takes their strength
to float a legend’s frame
when truly whole,
I knew my soul and name
before he ever did
I would be adventure,
possibility, bravery, all of that

we left the meadowlands
a river’s span away
from spiky city spires
and flew out over water
turning east and north
a winged pack mule, I was
engined up, packed with
so much fuel to keep us
out of clutching waves
it left him barely room to sit
he held the stick to fly us true
although his word was pilot
imagining he flew for history
and felt himself a hero
almost fledged

my engine and my wings
flew on, god I was
brave and gallant
and did not let him down
when he lost heart
on fumes we reached
the ocean’s end, crossing
pitch dark coastline
almost out of spirit
he and I
exhausted homing pigeons
on approach, we coasted over
new green fields
to roars and cheers
and many dancing lights

he stepped down to claim his place
first as the upright man
I hoped he was
but empty of true heart
away from fame
pretending admiration
for an upraised arm that
spawned annihilation
he served us all behind the scenes
as we slid closer to another war

I hear he had great loss
knew sorrow, and perhaps
was even humbled at the end
but I never felt
an inkling of that truth
now peaceful and alone
I am at rest, suspended high above
the eager eyes or older memories
that know our history
and I bear witness

I am the spirit of st louis

Day 21. The prompt was to tell a famous myth through the eyes of a minor character. I chose a modern tale. (note: I have edited this poem tonight to correct my ill informed impression of Lindbergh’s “admiration” for the Third Reich, when in reality he was an agent of the US military, surveying the strength of axis air power. His personal life was a genuine mess, but I have only hinted at that.)

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following awareness

coming up the hill
toward my kitchen door
on greening grass
almost tintless
in the growing dark
I chase my shadow
in moonlight
just strong enough
to make me glad
it is not chasing me

Day 19. A shortling about coming home in fading light and a risen moon.