I have a friend called Robert Pell
Who stands among the trees
No other man could I twice fell
Who'll still take blows like these
He joins me early mornings
Soon as I rise from bed
He lives to hear my sword sing
Lets me stand upon his head
But his evil twin La Morte
Tries to catch me by surprise
At best by luck he's kept at bay
Though he plots for my demise
This cursed fellow that I dread
Seems to lurk beside my eye
But when I go turn my head
It is Pell that I do spy
And still my friend called Robert Pell
Stands prouder than a tree.
No other man could I twice fell
Who'll serve the likes of me
Water from her gentle hand
The season spills to autum
A cooler breath will frost the land
The green of spring forgotten
The larder’s filled, the woodbox brims
A library stocked anew
The shears and hoe are stored away
As the leaves fall with the dew
Soon there’s time for contemplation,
The days that came before
A moment traced in relaxation
A glimpse beyond the door.
I might have seen a lover,
For sure I saw a friend
I touched, and then I lost her
And can’t find her again
Light slips through the branches
Not yet time for growing dark
So with patience and sincerity
This season I will mark.
The afternoon light slips through the clouds
and lays on the shimmering sea.
Ancient tides roll from shore to shore
and back again in timeless dance
Washing holes in worn and broken shells
Like the wisdom of time blowing through
the fanciful notions of youth,
a force that knows no rebuke,
Like wind that whispers upon the land.
These are the elders who guide me from despair.
These are the forces that smooth the scars of men,
these are the hands of time
Voices on our shoulder with every day
that lay a path to guide our very souls.
Flying past, the freeway air,
Flying past, the casual glances
Flying past, the time
Swosh, the morning’s gone
in a streak of afternoon
Even the evening pause slips by
Like the hordes of people who never, ever touch me
Fiercely freeze the moment
narrow the eyes and flow in the silent music
Enrich the soul with the perfection of appreciation
Resume, flying past, the time
Like the skater gracefully flowing
Seemingly detached, over the determined solidity
of asphalt and concrete
So much like my life, sailing over the rough spots
Wishing someone would join me.
Is love only to be found down there, hard on the ground
With life flying past?
This cup, well worn, is emptied of this day.
A flavorful bouquet of sights and scents and sounds
Brushed to my lips by the gentle sweep
Of daylight across the land
Each morning new it is there before me
Mysterious brew of failures and successes.
Curious mixture of fate and chance
Wine of life.
One day may find me heady,
Another bring me ill
Neither could I fear to live
Either I shall drink my fill.
Living now, alone, after so long. My daily motions take on their own signature as the traces of a partner now gone fade quietly away.
Motions, once familiar long ago, well worn and trusted, become customary again. The desires that drive them see them gestured forth as duty by the hand of hope, awakening new appreciation for the beauty of life, for it's fleeting and fragile existence. This is the hope that cradles my soul as it subsists on morsels of love and tenderness, so that someday it may thrive again, nourished by the love that only another soul can give.
I’ve often wondered why
I’ve had to spend so much time alone
Not by choice, but by calling
To clean our room for you, my love
This cricket in the shop, quiet at first
Crawled into that safe spot, stretching his legs
Little crick here, couple more there
In time full song, to keep himself company.
My own little corner, just out of the deluge
of rain and less comfortable things
Make my cricket sounds, old songs
Too long left a whim unsung.
The cricket knows the shoe might fall
And fears might hold me back too
But we both know, my little friend and I
A little music just might get us by.
Like a window I'm on both sides of
where the views appear to make such little sense.
Striving in the cattle chutes
described as the path to success
What silly calisthenics, that could never be me.
This spirit soaring through
such a remarkable existence
Infinity of mind
Infinity of heart
Cradled in the touch of every breath.
Addled dreamer, there's bills to pay.
But the real commerce is in the soul
What effort brings love forth
To birth the nuturing moment
The pistons of industry may churn
And sweep me along until I've the courage to leap away
But I'll never board that train where blinders are the toll
And the riders have no say
Do the stars contemplate our fate,
One for every possibility?
Does the sun ride heard on us all,
Our fate astray when we hide in the shadows?
A leaf before the breeze, awash in the flood
Consumed in our fire, then we bow down to the ground
Flotsam in this sea of possibilities
Jetsam on fate's shore
What a lovely journey,
That lets me smell the rose
The sky, somehow, has learned to speak my words
A tableau written on the air, as temporal as any emotion
transformed and dispersed before the breeze
A day of shapeless gray, some afternoon of drifting, buoyant dreams
An endless track of mundane expanse
Exploding in colorful glory,
Slipping into black
The light returns, as it should
Trodding, softly at first, on a carpet of gratitude
A whole new page before me,
and this story written anew
I close my eyes and I am falling, falling
Everything that is anything detaches itself
from everything else
Tumbling jumble of jewels and daggers
pillows, food and hard, hard stone
There is no grabbing, touching here
my hands are mute, when these eyes are closed
I have no control within this world
Hobbled in my own home
I look on in a state of bemusement
this menagerie in flight
Looking on in terror, if I think to control
in admiration, when I've no need to be impressed
Eyes closed I spy my love - behind some shifting glass.
Startled, always, when I glimpse it there
Startled motionless, unreaching
A world there! unloved?!
Or just unknowing
that it is loved?
I close my eyes,
in some attempt to understand my path
but my logic holds no power there
Yet every fiber knows its role,
performs in familiar harmony
with each and every piece of me
This sphinx within, stone faced
showing all the cards and revealing
not a thing about the mystery.
Eyes closed I lay me down
down beneath warm blankets
immersed in the last sanctuary
before a world turning cold
Oh, sweet nest of dreams
A perfect world there, grandeur in the safety of illusion
Yet not a wink of it turns darkness into light
until my feet hit the cold hard stones
and the baker mixes honey with the bread
Bank that fire, burning me inside
engine of creativity, industry
Stow away the handsome props
The marquee is bare
Perhaps its because I got a little too good at it, this life
The tidy, comfortable routines, kind platitudes.
Perhaps some casual surrender
Stole the thunder from my skies
But where did the color go? A landscape subtly drained of vitality
The flavor in a meal not shared
Passion but a promise, muttered in the air. Yeah yeah.
All the banalities of everyday life take center stage
since my lover moved away.
It just doesn't hold the same allure
trying to impress myself
Why is it so underrated, this giving of love,
when it adds such richness to a life?
It should be so easy, but its not.
Everybody wants their lot,
but jelousies and fear are poised to stake the turf
and challenge every trespass
on land they never really own
Watch the breakers roll along the sea wall
That is my love, wanting in
Endlessly patient, absorbing every small surrender
little rocks and sand relinquished
Yet I stem the tide, despite everything I feel
for what gain have I to displace another's heart
just to make some room for mine?
So gray it is, and flakes of white drift down
Under the longest, darkest nights of a year
A wee, and knowing smile,
it is in music, and in the hearts of friends
That I find my grace again
The power of what I can do
The joy in welcoming the sun
The promise of love - oh yeah
My own breath
THE WEIGHT OF US
If one could weigh experience
If the things we learned had mass
Would the density be proportional
To the things that come to pass?
From Gandhi's life in India
To Shakespeare's subtle pen
Would that frail man weigh ten tons
And ten times ten again?
And Buba's simple musings
Just an ounce or two
Added to his ample girth
Of an earnest 302
But mine is measured thusly
In the callous on my hands
And the way my wingtips cut above
The contour of the land
Time erodes the memory
Intuition guides me now
The light of my experience
Gentle pulling of the tao
Lessons lost, and new friends gained
Blood splashed upon the door
Seasons wear the leather down
'Til the heart can feel no more
SALVE FOR WINTER
PULLING OF THREADS