For Eamonn

I was singing one
of my songs and my good friend
broke the silence: “Bach!
Bach!” he cried, stopping
the show. Perfection is like
that. I looked at him,
the perfectionist,
and my otherness and in-
tegrity — my self —
took a hike. I knew
then as now I am sustained,
if at all, as gift.

Desmond, G&B, 274; Eamonn T. O’Neill

Poetry Second Home

It’s snowing at home
again. Each time it grows less
the pocket gardens
locked in winter’s excess, paths
invisible, no
way out. Is there, then,
a second home? Wang Wei looked
back, wide water, clouds.

Procol Harum

Giving myself up
to the music’s whiter shade
of pale, the lyrics
forgotten, organ
part tapped out on the table
at Bread & Honey.
That Hammond organ,
my hand on a loved one’s face.
Time’s companionship.
My head in my hand,
ecstasy both now and then,
ahead of the beat.

Adjectives Adjust the Hours

On waking, sunlight
and the clock’s dragging of hands
in yesterday’s flow.
My body resists
DST’s official now.
I stumble into
a poem — its time,
its flow, its light, which is dark,
intimate, strange, kind.

Child Care

Rainy Saturday,
the cafe jammed with children
and paler parents.
My dad would maintain
his lead on the mountain trail
to the timberline,
his back glistening
with sweat and bronze in the sun.
I can’t say I cared
about getting there,
which left him cold, but I cared
about him, still do.

Cento: On Power

Hill: master of all
humility. Confucius:
fasting of the heart —

in dialogue I
roll these pious bits around
as I avoid wet

branches and puddles.
When power comes up
for those who know not,

a hole in the wall
suggests a room full of light
(vide Chuang Tzu).

Out of the rain, I
find the Master praises song,
the equalizer.

Hill’s unsung spirit
ends as praise, the absolute
atoned with the con-

tingent, good neighbors
all and each the master of
all humility.

The source’s are Geoffrey Hill’s poem “De Anima” and Merton’s version of Chuang Tzu, “The Way of Chuang Tzu,” iv.I.

Old Pond

To write a poem
is to sink to the bottom
with the giant carp,
giving up for now
your own perspective at
the pulse of the source.
The poem may rise
at times through the darkness and
disturb the surface.