Outside Providence 8/8/20

The bay empty but
for a swan with its head down
supports Wittgenstein’s

point that the self with-
out the world is not a thing.
Or, say you’re depressed

but only know it when
the flat gray water resolves
into the white swan’s world.

Outside Providence 8/7/20

The summer falters,
the air is less sticky and
has a polished look.

So hard to focus
on the reasons so many
die from the virus.

As Jaccottet says,
were light less enigmatic,
it would shed less light.

Outside Providence 8/6/20

Basho’s master, he
said, made sorrow his master.
Gift of the cuckoo—-

the cuckoo’s song turns
sorrow to loneliness. I’ve
been wondering why

I feel better when
watching the cormorant sun-
ing after diving.

Outside Providence (Weird) 8/5/20

Out of summer’s blue
when I saw two cormorants
at rest after a

dive, wings akimbo,
I heard a perfect rimshot
from my oldest dream

of perfection, high
school dance floor stunned by my
heroics. Now, ap-

proaching perfection,
I’m stunned by the cormorants’
motionless silence.

With My Copy of Izumi Shikibu nikki

My lady said no
with such force that my being
opened to her be-

ing. I have read through
her tanka—-not even a
footnote. She wrote of

others as the dew
on bamboo leaves. My absence
is conspicuous.

Outside Providence 8/3/20

In ripe August light
a yellow cottage across
the Bay talks to me.

By the twisted pine
I’m trying to read: Language,
the house of being,

is our dwelling. But
Basho says home is journey.
That squares with the pine.

H

Outside Providence 8/1/20

Why do I return
to see the egret moonwalk
in the shallows? It

too has perfected
going nowhere, ampersand
or “and” embodied

by its bright shadow.
A foot of water mirrors its
shadow to the moon.

Outside Providence 7/31/20

Continuity,
discontinuity. Geese
about to go some-

where. Some stand in the
water, some on the sand, some
preen, some stretch their necks.

All are silent. It’s
catching, the silence, the way
some stare as I stare.

Outside Providence 7/30/20

Out of the corner
of my eye spread the white wings
of an egret. Its

long legs trailed behind
into the green shadows where
I lost it. And it

made my day. There’s more
to it, centrifugal, art-
like, gift-like, other.

OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE (love)

Love’s violence comes
and goes, a hot wind fills our
sails out of nowhere.

Can God be surprised?
Not by love, you say, shifting
to the other side.

Voices cross the Bay,
colors brighten on other
boats, ours included.