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.
.

SS

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.

Coronavirus
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.

Outside Providence XXI

Piled in the shade of
the tree bicycles, sneakers,
ripped tie-dyed T-shirts.

From the dark water
cries of shock and triumph. They
have started over.

They splash each other,
girls and boys, and shiver. Is
that woman standing

there in charge? In her
face nothing but summers to
come and summers past.

Outside Providence XX

Today’s pleasure boats
crowd the cove. Only the clouds
are more impressive.

Everyone stares at
the horizon. See how slowly
turn the immense blades

of the wind farm! This
is what progress looks like, they
gasp, trimming their sails.

It is the clouds I
make my business. Or Li
Po’s wind-drifted gull.

Outside Providence XIX

I was lucky to
see the egret on the sand
obliviously preen.

I’ve read in LaFleur
sutra-minded poets re-
turned to grass and rain.

I return to where
the egret was. The void
is both high and deep.

Outside Providence VIII (Gaspee Point)

Taking a break I
watch a white egret stalk
its shadow. Ashes

drift in the shallows.
No end to revolution,
Sons of Liberty.

Freedom from, freedom
to? Basho says experienced
poets repeat them-

selves. Desire persists.
All legs and neck and wings, still
in lift off sublime.

What Karma

Jaccottet: haiku
masters not mystics just good
servants who see in

the silverwear they
shine the surrounding garden.
Young and able I

had gardening jobs,
now flowers overflow the
prose I sweat over.

Outside Providence VII

Clear skies, a light wind.
A couple finally sets
sail in a small boat.

I sailed as a child.
So close to the water, so
far from everything.

Perhaps they feel young
again, not quite themselves, high
on what’s possible.