The Master’s House

He wandered because
he could, the rest of us stayed
because we had to.

He crossed the line. We
watered the grass, deadheaded
the rhododendrons,

pruned the trees. We said
‘teach us self-liberation’
because he said to.

When he did not re-
turn, we found envelopes for
each of us, some cash,

a few trite poems.
The house is closed. We tend the
garden. Visitors

enjoy the grounds. We
smile, say ‘self-liberation’
as they turn to go.

Recognition

Journey toward God—
untoward saying! Two steps,
I’m lost in wonder.

God’s gaze everywhere.
A roadside funeral for
last night’s roadkill, un-

recognizable
except in acknowledgement.
The hole deeply dug.

At Home

I hover over
the hob, adjusting the flame
for espresso.

A cold bright Spring dawn.
Some say life is a journey.
Not this life, not mine.

I bring it down low
and wait. Change I can see, change
happens outside and

in. So yeah, I change.
Things happen. The heart dilates.
The birds wake the dog

next door. Does the heart
go in the dulcedine
direction? Let’s hope

so. We’re human, grate-
ful for the overflow of
small homely pleasures.

Art Others

The power of art
to call us out of ourselves
into a commun-

ion of others—
it’s a sign of charity.
Will you allow that?

We could start over
right there, in acknowledgement.
But these others, can

you name them, count them?
You and I and something be-
tween that flows between?

So it’s a threesome?
The last Trinity differed
from each other yet

communicated well.
As I sit here writing this,
the last may be first.

Retinal fatigue!
On the corner, Wheelchair Bill
talks to his lap dog.

To A Philosopher

Does the other now
bear the weight of God? Cavell,
ingenuous man,

wants to know, does not
want to be alone but shrives
the specious present.

Glorious talker!
World condescends to you if
only you’d maintain

silence and not pray
so hard to your silent god.
Grackles grackle shards

of light. World commun-
icates to itself in words
even you can’t know.

Saved

Dad’s final bocage,
above the vast Pacific,
blue-grey forever.

The rocky hillside
of Palos Verdes, pale stone,
miniature pines,

the artificial
falls. Day and night you labored,
perfecting it. Ache

of beauty. Between
us and heaven-and-earth once
threatened by wild fire:

you hosed down the hill-
side, the Eucalyptus wind-
row helped save the day,

the peacocks screaming.
You were the artist, beside
yourself, your last stand.

Polka Dots

A woman I knew
once in a polka dot scarf
and without may well

feel like a goddess
or a bird for the sudden
praise heaped upon her

from time to time by
me and no doubt others. Sub-
lime she’s not. She laughs

when she sees common
things, making them uncommon.
It’s contageous.

She’s a blessing in
disguise, that polka dot scarf,
on or off, a sign.