Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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until then

there may still be
      wind, that has not kissed
            my face

or light on vernal
      water, not seen through
            my lens

or singing, that has
      yet to hum along
            my bones

or time with friends, dancing
      in green waves, sand on
            my feet

or words to share, flowing
      from the mouth of
            my heart

but, there was always love, with
      you, so if I skip the rest
            to waltz out in your arms,

it will be enough to
      know these gifts waited
            with me, just in case.

_____________________________________________
a birthday poem for Mike


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a single voice

a single voice in open throated song
its beauty and intent a gift
can open hearts, tap into tears of joy
waves of brilliance sent out to meet infinity

a single voice can speak of love
tendrils creeping softly to surround the soul
spun strands of shimmering delight
to last forever if only as a memory

a single voice can crush
the spirit of a trusting child
or shower it with all it needs
to grow and light the world in turn

a single voice can stand against the dark
one simple flame of truth to push back
those who hate and would destroy
and join with other sparks to light a torch

a single voice can cry for help
from frozen valley shadows
faith laying bare all fear and need
certain that another voice will answer

I am here

_________________________________
music often moves me to tears, and listening to a brilliant young singer recently started me thinking about the power of just one voice.


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things I didn’t know I loved

I didn’t know I loved the deep
soil spirit under reedy marshes
connected to it through my bones
by a vision of roiling changing life

I didn’t know I loved to sing
that songs we sang would make me cry
joy in a quick moment on the backs of notes
voices together light to dark

I didn’t know that I loved dogs, people, places,
color memories, until they were gone
layered goodbyes dimming
sunlight to dusty motes on gray air

I didn’t know that I loved touch
I thought it dormant, dried but not forgotten
only to find a fire so ready lit my blood sang
even as I would cry aloud

I didn’t know that I loved words
that they would fill me
pull me with them words from my eyes
words from my simmering core

I didn’t know that I loved life
sweet along with sharp and hard
rushing in over tidal flats escaping just as fast
that I could cherish it not just live it

_____________________________
this list poem is from a marvelous poetry workshop taught yesterday by the poet Doug Anderson. we read “things I didn’t know I loved” by the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. the exercise was to write our own list poem by the same title.