Just beneath the road insensate,
in the little creek that crawls through town,
the rains brought him.
Iron-blue, patient, slender, high sits his head –
a lance, now raised – now half-tilt as he sights his prey – raised again
as a drifting leaf disrupts his aim.
Upstream he prowls, that his prey sees
He stalks with long, slow strides, his legs thin and
graceful not to disturb the quiet current of the water and
give himself away to senseless quarry. Few call him spindly,
I imagine. Not I.
By the shore, fish-bones, whole
but for the flesh,
sink into the mud.
A thoughtless dart, a flash, a writhing
beast falls still on his speartip.
What am I, then, that
he flies when I draw close?
Now listen here,
Do you know when the revolution is?
OK, let me check the calendar on my phone,
I think I left a memo...
Oh that's right,
I didn't save it.
But surely it's here on their Twitter account,
I enjoyed their last posts about,
"Making the man eat his own ham,"
And that like.
No, it isn't?
Maybe I'll check Instagram,
For photos of molotov cocktails and,
Ballet boxes made of old donut boxes,
"A brighter future!"
Is it on Facebook?
Can I "like" the revolution and,
RSVP to the afterparty?
What is this,
It's actually a big,
I have to,
Work at creating a new reality?
I think I'll pass,
And watch Netflix instead.
Let me know when it's over.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
—The Serenity Prayer
I was born arrow-straight, built for flying,
Three skipping stones past Otter Creek, hollow
Bones blanketed by slate gray, blue stones slight
And callused by well-worn prayers and shallow
Swells of minnows — subterranean aches —
And water cold on yellow scales, hardened
By the calamity of sunsets, lakes —
The drowning weight of too many pardons.
Dip low, tend this broken shoreline sweetly,
Spread shadowed wings and break honeyed silence.
Forgiveness take flight at dusk, discreetly
Written in psalms. Tepid soul find balance
Between the calm, a resting river space
This old trembling mind cannot displace.
After the storm, the chaos and quiet
Meet like dew poised on timid fingertips
And shallow grasses to quell the riot
Stirring inside. Fix fragments of this ship
Made of broken parts. My soul’s petrichor:
Inhale failure with a benediction
That fills tired lungs with bravery, before
Nature proposed expectations — fiction
Taut and mended by truth. The earth exhales
In breaths refreshed by rain, accompanied
By loudening trills and harmonious tales —
The tremor of circumstance, and the need
To continue existence like the weeds
That grow in sidewalks despite human greed.
III. The Pelican and the Gull
American Magicicadas choose
To surface seventeen years after birth
For the purpose of recreation. The Blue
Pelican cannot quietly unearth
The patterns of the tide without the gull,
But she does so with tireless trials
And the moon at her back — the lunar pull
Shaping stray shells for a little while.
Twenty-one years of tawny solitude
Shattered by innate desires, buried
Deep by stubborn aches, and kindly allude
To breathing for the first time. Weight carried
And lifted by rekindled hope, reaching
Sands like a button shell kissing the beach.
I pondered self-acceptance before diving
Into seas uncharted, with the patience
Of Tibetan monks softly harvesting
Grains of sand on an abandoned shore. Since
Emptiness is impermanence, we change
Like shifting seas suspended in nature,
Born from the crease of God’s hand — rearranged
Flaws bound by circumstance. Come close. Nurture
This silent heart into awakening.
Beyond these gray waters surges the sun,
Hopeful in the wake of a newfound spring,
Ochre and alizarin. We become —
Aware that no one saves us but ourselves,
With self-worth rising in tremendous swells.
— for Victoria
Seasons shuttle the tall stoic figure,
Graceful and solemn as wafted mist,
When seen, as if he was always there,
Overarching into meek, gloamy skies
Of mornings and dusk, mid day, lost,
Seems not right for wading out kills
That crane from above into the mud
And murk of the penny eyed waters
Only the ferryman will tender, for time
Slips, sleeping with the fishes, spears
Puddle and rim in the wakes, sparks
Of waters break like a sputtering fire,
His dart eyes are as yellow as golden
Sun dancing in funeral pyre. So green
Creatures, must they always be gotten,
Gone, have it coming from the sheering,
Mercies of the Great Blue Heron who is all
Seeing, scything, down to dazed judgement,
Incited, pecking to order at the squirming fold.
by Wendell Berry
You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed." A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.
now I, in solitude eye
under the melancholy moon,
charmer of my heart,
even silver clouds
envy your easy grace
when you wing
by the wintry darkness
Far above you are,
beyond my reach
are you a mirage?
in the rice field,
in muddy clothes
my eyes fell on
aha! I'll never forget
that moment you
made me yearn
for your magic
was it my fault?
I lost grip in
and soared up
I don't know
how it happens
look at me I am still
learning to navigate
the treacherous waves
of winds from east and west,
though the purple star
watching me from her perch
winks and sends
her ardent love messages
to me incessantly.
But you are flying
to lands too far,
never opened your heart,
I am like a candle
burning at both ends
eaten up by the love unrequited,
and not able to love the
distant star that loves me
expecting nothing in return