Moonlit Nights

The way to stop dogs
barking on a moonlit night
is to throw a cloud

over the moon. That
said, we try to end poems
with clear images,

but clarity
exposes the unfinish-
able task. Embrace

Flicker with the flickering.
Love your neighbor’s dog.

See Geoffrey Hill, “To John Constable” in CANAAN

Field After Field

High elevations
show diversities of grass.
Young, I filled pages

of sketches — severe,
tender, thin spindles of light.
Later at home I

turned to poetry.
Ezra Pound’s taxonomies!
Beyond that, haunted

by mountain grasses,
I see the light in poems
flood field after field.


Necessity’s hour —
loss of the sweet garden flat,
of the pleasure zones

in ear, eye, hand, tongue.
Suddenly you are out West
befriending local

crows. They follow you,
those eschata of old age,
your leading edge and

raucous joy in be-
coming. You can hear them o-
ver the Interstate.


Early on I saw
music was consuming me.
I gave my guitar —

itself a glowing
gift — to a friend, and turned my
self to words words words.

In retrospect, I
play these words on the guitar
I kept for myself.

Dante’s Example

I was very young
but Dante appealed to me.
The transhuman way

his Beatrice
spoke with him, her words — “telos,
seed and aim” — were not

only poetry,
they were about how poems
fulfill themselves in

the mind. That’s unchanged.
A poem’s activity
startles and consoles.

Love Poetry

Even small poems
can teach lovers how to tell
silences apart.

Those punctuated
engage the lovers’ souls in
a subtle dance. Those

arising from space
formal and necessary
should give lovers pause.

In such white spaces
others appear unannounced.
They depend on where

the relationship
is headed. The language they
speak is difficult.

It is always by nature’s grace that one knows something. Wittgenstein

Is there a grammar
of grace? As a student I’d
sit on the crab grass

outside the schoolroom
and diagram Ancient Greek
syntax. It made sense

of prepositions
and verbs. Hot afternoons passed
as I lost myself

in the wonder of
it, this order emerging
like grace in grammar.


A piece of good news
on a hot July night as
you twist and turn and

keep falling awake:
From an open window a
breeze wanders in and

cools down your body
which responds with happiness
to no one you know.


On hot nights I’d sit
and watch the night heron watch
the Piscataqua

where the tides collide.
What was I thinking? Nothing.
Death. Perhaps rebirth.

All far from my mind.
Watching the heron watching
in the dark prepared

me for sinking in-
to nothingness by myself.
I miss the heron.

Paradiso 1

A recurring dream-
image disturbs my waking
hours: a blank page wet

with a fresh poem.
Oh, that’s easy, says my friend.
Our flesh incarnates

good, she says. The field
of the poem is the space
we share out of love.