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.


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?”