Life With Horace

poetry & essays

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A kiss when it’s clear

I was convinced she would never leave
even though the truth of it
ran alongside faster
as she slowed
in the end a quiet moment
took the comfort of her large dog self
and tucked it in the sky
now her gaze is a soft kiss on clear nights
when the stars are watching

For my Newfie Aggie
July 23 2009 – August 28, 2021

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Mountain top

Stars begin to drop
into the growing dark
of a clear night sky
as I come down the
mountain to our woods
the path familiar
my feet sure in waning light
I went up alone craving you
the burn cleared granite
comfort warm at sunset
words escaping
into the rising drafts
as song
wait for me
I will be there given time

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For the taking

Perhaps the stars hold memories,
diamond pinholes punched in winter black,
life stretched across infinity, expanding
overhead, even as my focus
might be squeezing in and
only looking back, no counterweight
to shrinking time.
Well nuts to that, I’ll take
the milky way with thanks,
refusing blinkered days
or thoughts, and will not shut
all possibility away.
This heart and soul are
slated to remain
open for business



morning light slants through spring woods
and the grass grows green again

three blue bags of roadside trash
and the grass grows green again

air is soft at dark’s approach
and the grass grows green again

screams of trees ripped from the earth
and the grass grows green again

early birdsong noisy joy
and the grass grows green again

news of rising hate brings dread
and the grass grows green again

summer stars the hunter gone
and the grass grows green again

prayers whispered for the world
and the grass grows green again

truth is not a skin we shed
and the grass grows green again

Day 26. A call and response poem.



last night I knew a dream
within a dream
waking from the first
yet still asleep to see
familiar pinpoint
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
was memory

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.

she sent a shower of stars

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journey to my tribe

the sky’s first star night’s scout
piercing the scrim of fading light
that hides the spirit dome of heaven
once seen it must be wished on
our lore never for ourselves
to make the magic work

my heart stored its wishes where it could
in the beams of other stars
under the wings of catbirds
in the warmth of sleepy dark
deep in thrush song
or layered in the lamp hung blue of early night
all forgotten over time
in the flow of life away from wonder
wearing down the prickly instincts
of a younger self

walking in my wake unseen
there was a dream gatherer
Ninhan my ancestor of the Mohawk people
taking wishes to her heart
against a future need she knew would come

some years ago my heart connected
with the force of messy life
in a nearby marshland
talisman and refuge
where my feet felt rooted
its spirit cloaked my shoulders
settling on my skin and filling my eyes
the very heart of life

seeing this she knew the time had come
and sowed the air with a wish become a dream
and so I sang again
another as a glowing drop to open up my eyes
rejoice once more in line and color

my deepest wish was to create without restraint
to find the headwaters of my soul
almost buried by the dark paned windows of an early time
faces of blank fear following me from age to age
until I went there in a dream
to vanquish them and bring back light

her answer was
to shower me with stars
a million wishes worth
that set me sparking
whirling to catch words
and once more find my voice
to shout aloud with joy

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sky shapes

the night’s first star
has always drawn my wish,
a bit of time connected
rite passed down to me,
hopes for others only
was the rule.
I learned of stars
eyes looking up
to summer brilliance
thrown across the sky
searching out the simple shape
of seated vanity, of bear,
or clutch of distant sisters.
now, when summer lushness
fades to cold black night,
my champion comes,
a hunter standing winter watch
the brightest stars his prize,
and knowing that he sees
and guards my far flung clan,
I have no need to wish
for more

for day 2 (a day late) of NaPoWriMo 2015. The prompt was to write about the stars, no hardship there.

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Down to the trees

This old house sits well below
Monadnock’s western arm,
embraced by friendly woods
above a part-time stream,
where sunrise is a straggler
with extra feet to climb.
In winter, light leaves fast
East Hill, across the pond,
brings sunset much too soon,
but night time is a glory, with
no clouds or dimming light
the brilliant heavens send us
our reward, a rain of stars
down to the trees.