Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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truth bag

being somewhat deafer now
imagined sounds dodge out of sight
bird noises, then coyote yips
creatures speaking to the moon
beavers stripping bark
soft words at night
wood thrushes as the day begins to fade
those I care about and want to hear again
a ways away, surrounding me
ear uncupped, not straining
that would be a marvel, singular gift
tears come just imagining

there is sometimes respite, when
the steeply rising road
is muffled deep in snow
no one singing in my trees
and outside silence is complete
ears freed up to hear what’s close
damned mouse scratchings in the wall
dogs nesting into warmth
wood timbers easing into sleep
unfrenzied thoughts
words emerging into verse
I call a truce until it stops
and plows cut through to rescue, me
ungrateful for release

none of this is worth a moment’s pain
but silence in the face of
evil, senseless, stupid acts
everyone can see and hear
(the instant truth of emperor sans clothes)
becomes a drawn out screaming wail
that grabs me by the nape
and shakes things loose
my voice plinking rage
words landing on the floor
about to skitter off, afraid
I snatch them up
so many jacks without a ball
and throw them in my truth bag
to pull out at will, tamed
for my answer

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a prompt from last night’s writing group with Doug Anderson: silence


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not quite endings

the music stopped, shimmering
in dust beamed space
our voices stilled
waiting for the flood of response
I fall into the silence
all energy given away
to singing’s singular joy

what I thought was love
ok it was, no holding back
died, stabbed and poked
to rubble not worth picking through
a lucky escape it turns out
in time to save my heart
and savor all that’s left

a long goodbye jumps the queue
to sudden extinction
love lives on the mountain
ashes soaking into moss
his spirit coming back
to say that 40 years were
worth it all in all
and how are things?

the chatter quieted thank god
and in its place
a single sound takes shape
one note clearly formed on endless breath
much to my delight I find
it comes from me
I had been singing all along
and never knew

_________________________________
a prompt from tonight’s writing group with Doug Anderson: endings


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Snow Terrarium

I stand quite still, snared by
unaccustomed silence,
backlit in a pool of warmth
and kitchen candle light,
looking out at darkness
made intimate by 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.


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Night Silence

In this old house
the winter night
is many things,
but not deep quiet,
never utter stillness,
both conceits of
humans in retreat.
With us at rest
it moves and breathes
in darkness.
Sighing wood and stone,
the whine and snore of dogs
feet twitching gently
as they dream,
Small colonies of mice
sensed more than heard,
Remnant memories
within its walls
merge with the energy
of word and color
line and shape,
collected and held close
to make this much loved place.
And so I head for bed
the last light gone,
leaving the plants looking out
at the night
to watch the snow fall.