Outside Providence XL (waiting for rain)

An old man nodding
over his book, waiting for
a break in the heat,

the sound of thunder,
the sudden cool of a sum-
er shower. He’s slept

through many signs of
eternity’s love for time’s be-
ings. Mozart’s music

is full of them. And
just now he’s reading Milosz,
his Issa versions.

Basho was not an Idealist

Basho was a man
of ideas he didnt ex-
plain. Rather than guess

we can follow his
spirit. When my cat died I
talked to him as the

Vet did the deed. A
hole opened in me and has
not closed. I go there

when the creative
urge overwhelms me. Poems
are not important.

Outside Providence XXXIX (becoming of radiance)

The sky overfull
of clouds piled one on one on
another, light dark.

Summer thunder, and
a short shower sweetening
the dust. The sacred

sense short-circuited
as a goose with goslings e-
merged up the boat ramp

into the yard. Too-
muchness prevailed, less a un-
ity than a flow.

Outside Providence XXXVIII (mute swans)

the whiteness of the mute swans
in the cove this noon.

Ignorant of love,
I exclaim “pas de deux” as
they float side by side.

Given to ideals,
I think pure unity, that
uncarved marble block.

Only the moon in
a steamy summer night mist
makes me this jealous.

Outside Providence XXXVII (lawn)

Being retired I
go to the public gardens
and walk on the grass.

The uneven slopes,
the clover white as manna,
prepare the mind to

write (Lu Ji’s Wen Fu).
Slowly my breath turns to words
that may survive me.

Outside Providence XXXVI (too hot to sleep)

Even the mourning
dove can’t sleep, repeats its short
sweet song in the dark.

the fans circulates hot air.
I become peaceful

rereading Basho,
this one: the straight back of the
old wild pine —- coolness.

Outside Providence XXXV (the pine)

So my master says,
sincerity alone won’t do.
Your pine’s inwardness

goes nowhere. To draw
a pine, follow the pine. Yes,
imitate the pine.

Sit under a pine,
feel the coolness. It has no-
thing to do with you,

exactly. You re-
turn. Its shade is shared with o-
thers on this hot day.

Outside Providence XXXIV (gulls)

Grief-stricken face in
the mirror each morning no
wonder I seek the

company of gulls.
I lose myself in their flight
patterns. The heavens

deep but the waters
deeper. Openness down to
the bottom. Good eats.


Outside Providence XXIII (Clouds)

Above the bay, clouds
make an ocean of the sky.
There is more to life.

In his West Tower,
Li Po, sicker and sicker,
stuck to what he knew.

empties grand apartments and
small hell holes alike.

The mind compares great
things to itself, ignoring
God beyond the whole.

None can think being
away nor call it by name.
Clouds —- the next best thing.

Outside Providence XXII (cormorant)

How deep, how many
dives did it take you to reach
this cove, this mooring?

Your wings akimbo,
you stand stock still in the sun.
The ducks ignore you.

Scientists agree
making the sign of the cross
has many meanings.

From the beginning
poets have watched your absence
in the living flow.