Birthday Ode for Stephen D’Evelyn

All distances one;
what light there is cold drizzle
distributes. Sea nor
continent between
us, Steve, on your birthday. Un-
cork the single malt
that will have arrived
by now and sip, perhaps in
privacy, perhaps
with children, wife, or
friends. Include me as you toast
your growing circle
of witnesses to your cause–
the least loved of all.

Buson’s Stones

The blank page returns
the glare of the Spring sun. Rock
by rock, blow by blow,
grunt by grunt, we’d carve
a fountain in the hillside,
my father and I.
The rocks danced in my
mind. Today, I sit and wait,
words floating in space.

First Love

Windrow cottonwoods
at the yard’s edge shimmer and
sigh, the grass beneath

them hard to lie on.
Lying there looking up I’m
undergrounded, shade-

and-hot-wind day-dreamed.
Grass sticks to my bare back; I
still itch those traces

marking my first love,
still hear the crickets rise-and-
fall song through it all.


Words do fly away
like seeds from radiant trees
and likewise, this verse
is ephemeral.
Here Pacific breezes mix
with wind from the Gorge,
the East-West exchange.
I’ll stick by verse, ask nothing
more from life than this.

Blue Grammar

At my feet tiny
bronze wings, above my head sun-
engorged foliage.

A tumult of birds
on Twitter tweet “never start
with an idea,”

but today I sit here
charged with the idea of
blue beyond all this.


However you cut
it, the Immeasurable
as entertained here

is objectified,
which I in no way defend.
My fear and God’s wrath

(vide Psalm 90)
as ratio reasserts it-
self — what can I say?

To make a poem
along these lines is mortal
and true ecstasy.

As Night Falls

I sit sipping hot
tea; my cat in my lap shifts
in sleep, heavier

with each dream. I’m wide
awake. Evening fades from
the trees, the window

become a mirror.
I’ve learned we cannot prevent
the intimacy

of being return-
ing to affirm itself
. Nor can
we make it happen.

The quote is from William Desmond, The Intimate Universal, 170