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

The Glitter of Granite

My mountain days long
over, what I recollect is
that “most inward I” —

between Scotch pine and
granite wall. Small habitat
but self-supporting,

the granite glitter,
moss emerald at sundown,
immanences now

known beyond knowing.
Sometimes their image disturbs
an old man’s prayers.

,

April at the Park

Even this early
the grass breathes warm air; pristine
smells rise into sense.

Summer’s on the way,
the boys and girls of summer.
A man and his dog

cut across the field
slowly. A wholeness takes shape
from the shapeless whole.

Available Light

A piece of rye toast
and a cup of tea — my dreams
scattered on the plate

with crusts and crumbs. I
turn the Socratic pages,
start where we left off.

Light through Spring blossoms
shadows the page, branches shift
their weights. Immanence

is always a sign
of transcendence, though the words
for it are like dreams.

The First Myth

These lines are tightened
and tuned in the fertile void
before I cast them.

To enter this non-
space and pick my instrument,
I wait in the dark.

Wherever I am,
I wait; dark is just a way
of describing it.

Only a sign ends
what seems forever. I hear
overtones that set

my lines atremble.
Forgive the archaic note,
traveler of Ch’u.

for “traveler of Ch’u” see Ch’ien Ch’i in Hammill & Seaton, The Poetry of Zen, 56.

It’s Good for the Circulation

It’s no secret I
plunder the classics: Hill, Bash-
o, Horace, Zhuangzi.

My wee apartment
of glass floods with sunshine as
I consider Spring

cleaning, but instead
I take a walk into green
Oregon. First things

first. A level path,
shops, crowds, over which the old
voices comment anew.

Unspeakable!

Writing a poem
involves unspeakable acts —
like the first bowel

movement of the day.
No heroic simile:
experience comes

to an end in light
headedness. Chuang Tzu’s model
wise man, who’s mad, says:

“When I walk crazy
I walk right: but am I a
man to imitate?”