NEAR PROVIDENCE 23.7.21

Later today, if

the forecast holds, these tower-

ing clouds will give way

to thunder and rain.

Now they complete a sublime

image: two white swans

incandescently

groom themselves in the cloud’s

shimmer on the bay.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 21.7.21

The individual is the great mystery. See “Faith and Reason in Continental and Japanese Philosophy: Reading Tanabe Hajime and William Desmond” by Takeshi Morisato (Bloomsbury, 2019).

The silent reader

leaning over her book in

the noisy cafe.

The TV. Locals

catching up. Old men acting

young. Then there’s her space.

She starts, looks at her

watch, and packs up. Home, office:

this place is heaven.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 20.7.21

”The possibility of not being is constitutive of the being of creation.” Desmond, G&B, 330.

The sucking sound of

high tide in the tall grass and

breakwater, the shrill

cries of gulls that twist

overhead, go on as if

there were no plague, no

culture wars. Between

innocence and responsi-

bility this pause.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 19.7.21

A bank of grey clouds

moves over the water, a-

bove it lighter grey

sky glows from afar.

Description is for skeptics.

No humidity!

Today deserves praise.

I look forward to writing.

Ducks ripple away.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 18.7.21

Basho considered haiku as “another vehicle for entering the True Way” (Sato, Road 22). The metaxu is such a way, opening to every source that transcends it.

I wonder why I’m

happy folding clothes and scrub-

bing the tub. My bo-

dy hums along while

my mind is vacant. I pay

attention to wrin-

kles and yellow spots

on porcelain. Perfection

I save for my verse.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 17.7.21

Ferocious thunder

cracking just beyond the eaves.

It’s not me this time.

I’d give anything

to write a haiku that cracked

the sound barrier.

I wait for the rain.

The window sill glistens, drops

gather sheet lightening.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 16.7.21

My restless mind rests

on some Canadian geese

at rest in the Bay.

Neither far or near

to each other, nor facing

this way or that, calm

in the up and down

rhythm of the tide. Order

sometimes makes no sense.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 15.7.21

The poet occupies the between, the metaxu (Plato’s word, but the idea is common—between the outside and the inside, and between lower things and higher. Here I use a famous Chinese poet as symbol and my own living situation as contingency. (This concept of the between draws on Augustine’s elegant formula for his metaphysical journey.)

Summer evening.

Smoke from the neighbor’s bar-b-

que— cedar chips, sal-

mon. I read Po Chu-i

but leave the window open.

If I write something,

my voice will blow with

the smoke, blend with small voices

from high in the trees.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 14.7.21

“Between extremities / Man runs his course.” W. B. Yeats, “Vacillation”

The sound of laughter

over the water, the sound

of sorrow the same.

I slow my pace to

find the source I cannot see—

echoing, a strange

wild civilized fes-

tive sound, sorrow and joy to-

gether. The tears flow.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 13.7.21

I don’t know tanka

that feature summer’s sky blue

hydrangea but

it’s there among the

overgrown rhododendrons

of the older houses.

I’m always startled

by its assertive pale blues

on hot summer days.