NEAR PROVIDENCE 2.3.21

I read Ryokan

who read Han Shan’s bare language

of transformation,

the self of cold wind

and snow mingling with your self—

‘mingling’ Watson trans.

Today going home

I was mingled with gusty

ice off the black Bay. .

NEAR PROVIDENCE 1.3.21

Levertov’s poem

on walking goes between dull

grief and ecstasy,

between doubt and praise.

It goes and goes. I feel small

reading it. My walks

stumble on moments

of ordinary grace—ducks swim-

ing up to see me.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 28.2.21

February gray.

Stones, water, horizon, sky.

Low tide. For now, I’m

glad I wasted years

on the reception of Lu

Ji, that old yuyan

on the true artist

who expecting the prince sits

at home stark naked.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 27.2.21

By the icy edge

of the cove two geese stretched their

necks and honked loudly.

Whatever it meant

it was an improvement on

the poem I had

been thinking, thinking

when I started walking. I

walked on quite at peace.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 26.2.21

About half way to

the other side gulls ride the

waves, laughing, sobbing.

I join another

old man leaning into the

cold wind off the cove.

At last we agree

there’s no difference between

gull cry and white-cap.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 25.2.21

They’re back, the sparrows

in the Gulf station over-

hang. Above idling

cars their raucous songs

cascade in polyphonies.

Let’s hope it truly

is Spring not a thaw

to be followed by snow or

precocious summer.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 24.2.21

When I get to the

Bay I see it’s colored the

same shade as the sky,

which cannot be true.

It’s periwinkle blue. On-

ly the Dao is the

same everywhere.

It’s such a common blue, high

and low, and so true.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 23.2.21

The duck at the end

of the distance today, in

the middle of the

bay, was the only

one. It opened the space of

the cove like a door.

Getting lost like that

on a walk makes exercise

the soul’s own workout.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 22.2.21

I’m in their midst be-

fore I see the grazing geese.

We share the soft shoul-

der, we share the snow,

dirty and crusty now. They

don’t look up, I look

down, startled they are

there. This makes a difference

to me, not to them.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 21.2.21

I take photograpghs

to document the moment.

Certain things shed a

strange light. Take this duck.

I do a double take, I’m

thrown over the i-

mage in the cove. The

cracked cement sky says, “No, it

is the duck’s dark shine.”