NEAR PROVIDENCE 23.1.21

In the tearoom we

debate winter coats: puffers,

Patagonia fleece.

On the long walk home,

a cold wind proves reason’s

futility; I

watch swans swim around, small heads

in and out of it.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 22.1.21

There is poetry

in prose: Sato’s translations;

tenuous, wiry,

late Hill. Though today

is cold and dark, two swans show

up in the cove. This

happens: contingent,

beautiful, a shock to life’s

chiaroscuro.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 21.1.21

Sexual grunts, roars

and so on make good poems

some say. I’ve read them.

Primal, they say. To-

day icy milky skies re-

flected in the Bay

recall Du Fu’s still

mind as well as the white fire

of her shining thighs.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 20.1.21

I walk slowly to-

day. Today our tyrant has

flown into exile.

I enjoy the cold.

From dark clouds drift single flakes.

They melt on my face

and mix with warm tears.

Freedom comes and goes but so

do apple blossoms.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 19.1.21

The appearance of

the winter sun at day’s end

is worth waiting for.

To the gray water

and things across the water

absolutes of time

and space no longer

matter. You can see Basho’s

white chrysanthemum.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 18.1.21

My winter tanka

notebook on infinity

(open, immanent,

whole) includes how rak-

ing sunlight animates a

squirrel in the road—

its soft belly, o-

therwise not moving. Also

notes on clouds (of course),

immense, crystalline,

racing over the village,

going nowhere fast.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 17.1.21

A break in the clouds.

The gulls shine in the steep air

over the Bay and

on the rough surface.

It happens countless times in

the life of a gull.

It can move a man

to tears. It’s hard sometimes to

not reach conclusions.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 16.1.21

Out of the gaggle

the goose eyes me. I feel or-

dinary and ig-

norant. Buddha? I

breathed toward the orange nose

and tiny eyes. I

see in them a pure

self-negating compassion

and they don’t see me.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 15.1.21

How romantic! We’d

sit by the Piscataqua

as it got dark, the

night heron would croak.

So distinct. The night deepened.

Just two old lovers,

speechless. Beyond words,

what we felt then. Today I

reread Basho texts.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 14.1.21

Today geese jab the

winter grass with their mighty

beaks. The Absolute

God of cold is no-

where to be seen. No

snow. Let the geese

be geese, says the God of love,

from nowhere. Let them

amble, eat, converse

in low gravelly tones, just

so you let them be.