NEAR PROVIDENCE 5.5.21

We historians

cite Basho’s frog poem to

argue about it.

A year later he

described himself: long hair, pale

face, in the May rain.

Follow nature and

your every thought will be

the moon. It’s child’s play.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 4.5.21

“In the finite world, one must be reconciled to the perplexity of the interplay of the particular and the universal.” Catherine Pickstock, Aspects of Truth, 110.

The mockingbird, high

on the wire overhead as

I pulled weeds for pay

in summer vaca-

tion. The ivy shone around

me. The bird repea-

ted, “Squeeze the sweat from

your eyes. In time like me you

will sing others’s songs.”

NEAR PROVIDENCE 3.5.21

How little I do

in the process of making

something to look at.

Only look, they say.

The cove is empty. No it’s

not. I see a duck.

It paddles between

waves of light, above and be-

low. It makes more waves.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 2.5.21

From my window, sounds

of rain falling on the roofs

below. I wake slow-

ly, having slept like

a child— that sweet nothingness.

As it happens, rain

in May is a good

second. So I just lie here,

counting syllables.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 1.5.21

A painter fendu,

these outbreaks of chrome yellow

forsythia stun

me to childhood slopes

near the Pacific. Rolling

fields of mustard. Far

out in the grey-blue

migrating whales one by one

stately as they pass.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 30.4.21

Everywhere I walk

apple blossoms blow; apple

blossoms line the path.

The cove appears, gray

and flecked with foam. An egret,

not about to leave,

stands in two-inch waves

and waits. No difference: sub-

stance and emptiness.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 29.4.21

Young, I studied my

self in Yeats’s many selves.

None survived my youth.

A day at a time

seems best, and walking around,

slowing to see things

as they appear. Care

for the otherness of things

is my salvation.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 28.4.21

Just one of those days—

not enough water at low

tide to float the ducks.

The horizon draws

the eye beyond desire to

the edge of elsewhere.

The distance erupts

with the tremulous outcries

of geese taking off.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 27.4.21

Polishing a ku

about my decentered life

made me wobble on

my way to the geese.

I prayed the Dao and settled

down. The wise faces

of the geese, inscru-

tible, greeted me, a drop

of red in my black.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 26.4.21

Solitary bird

moving with balletic poise

across the mudflat

you’re an illusion

of mine, I own you, empty

jesture. Prolonged watch-

fullness shrives me as

gathering wings, legs, neck, head,

my dream collapses.