Monday, August 21, 2017


An old friend from our hometown wrote and said, “What was it like?” Well, it was like this:

We were outside the entire morning from early on, picking vegetables, watering, waxing the car, and working in the yard. The sky was clear. As the eclipse began, there was a subtle change in the lighting. Little by little, the shadows deepened to a degree that they almost took on color, and wherever light fell, it glowed. The contrast between them was different, as if their relationship had changed somehow. As the eclipse progressed, I was trimming ivy on the fence in the backyard. It wasn’t long until it was hard to see what I was doing. Then I had to stop. When the eclipse was full, it wasn’t night or day. It wasn’t dawn, it wasn’t dusk. The street lights came on. All of the creatures were quiet — except the humans, when the kids in the neighborhood suddenly sent up a big cheer, and then some of the adults, bless their frightened, lonely hearts, set off fireworks. And then the light quickly returned and I finished trimming the ivy. What was it like? It was very much like the day we met. How likely, how inevitable, how beautiful, how lonely, how perfect, how never-to-be-repeated, was that?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Back to the garden

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it feels like it’ll be a while longer before I do. My guess is that it’s because I have nothing to say that I’ve not already said — or that I do have something to say, but I don’t know yet what it is. Either way, or another way entirely, all is well. I’ve been taking care of the garden, and it’s been taking care of me. I water, I pick, I clip, I prune, I dig. I breathe — sometimes forest fire smoke, sometimes the haunting scents of the approaching autumn. Cloudy one morning, no dew; clear the next, and the bumble bees that have spent the night in the dahlias are stuck fast to their chosen color, or to the color that has chosen them. We’ve visited the ocean, and gone to the hills to see the waterfalls. We’ve beheld the tragedy, selfishness, foolishness, and glory that is our kind, and drawn no further conclusions. I’ve visited the pages of all of my friends to see the photographs, the drawings, the paintings, the thoughts, and the words, and to hear the intentional and unintentional music. Quite a few of you I’ve known many years now, and that is my good fortune. I still marvel that we can know each other this way, and that through these means, you can understand my silence as well as anything I might draw or say. And now we are expecting an eclipse. We are told that people are traveling miles and miles here to see it. Now, if we would only travel a like distance into ourselves, just think what we might see! Or study the patch of earth at our feet, or the eyes of our loved ones!

Saturday, August 5, 2017


You forget I’m a leaf in another life, pretending to be a butterfly’s wing — or is it a life in another leaf, not pretending anything? Well, it’s understandable. And yet, it goes on happening — just as I forget you’re a summer morning, pretending everything.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

how it is

between one thought and the next

is the longest wire in a graceful curve

that is to mist as rest to birds

where oaks and firs

are listening

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Which way the breeze

O, dear one, life is a lightly blown kiss.
Can you imagine a love like this?
Or will you choose pride, regret, and loneliness?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Canvas 981

Canvas 981

July 26, 2017

Canvas 980

Canvas 980

July 26, 2017


The little boy arrives and appears at the oddest most opportune times. He says hi. Everything is good. It’s quite possible that an hour or two earlier, on the distant planet that is his house up the street, he has been scolded or beaten or perhaps given frozen waffles and scrambled eggs with nothing in them but tasteless cheese. Hi. I am here. Hi. I have nothing but time. Hi. Aren’t you glad? I am. Hi. The subject is unimportant. The subject is everything and nothing. There is no subject. Did you know tomorrow is my dad’s birthday? No, I didn’t know that. Because I didn’t tell you? You did tell me. Oh. Did you know? I know now. Because I told you? Yes. How else would I know? Imagine you’re an angel and you’ve just awakened after a sleep of a thousand years and you wonder what to do with your tongue. And then suddenly you hear yourself singing, and it’s so beautiful you break down into tears. Hi. Is that not also the meaning of love?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Canvas 975

Canvas 975

July 24, 2017

When God

When God was a little boy
he threw a stone into a pond
and that is the history
of this world.

When God was a little girl
she invited everyone to tea
and that is the history
of this world.

When God was a young man
he grew impatient and hurried ahead
and that is the history
of this world.

When God was a young woman
she gave birth to ten thousand dreams
and that is the history
of this world.

When God was an old man
he tried but could not remember
and that is the history
of this world.

And when God was an old woman
she was a great seer and healer
and that is the history
of this world.

Canvas 974

Canvas 974

July 24, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

See you soon

Little boy with thin, reddish-blond hair and fragile web of tiny-warm words, tasting a ripe blueberry, watching the sunflower-bees, here-and-not-here, angel and dream, who lives up the street and leaves with grimace and cry when his angry-sad mother yells — see you again soon, perhaps in another realm, where willows grow and water flows, and tigers swallow tales and monarchs rain in the garden, dear.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

If not tomorrow then today

Sometimes I think of the bodies of friends and loved ones
motionless in their graves — my mother, my father,
our old neighbor the beekeeper,
and even our faithful
old hounds —

and I feel
a beautiful harvest is in,

call it gratitude,
call it a blessing,
call it silence,
call it a symphony,

and I think, thank goodness my stomach is working today,
thank goodness for coffee, thank goodness we have a garden,

and for any number of things, for memory and pain,
for peace and forgetfulness and gathering age,

and for birdsong, and for you, and whatever it is
you are about to do or think or say,

and should you happen to pass this way,
carrying a flower or two or three,
with your moist lips and their shining eyes,

I hope you feel joy, if not tomorrow then today,
if not forever then now, if not at all, then anyhow.

Monday, July 17, 2017

meaning is

meaning is a funny thing

almost as if it happens

and that may be why

I die and you are beautiful

drawing lesson

paper is skin said the face of the man

looking up at him with a trace

of a grin and then he was sad again

Thursday, July 13, 2017

a sketch of someone you almost

a sketch of someone you almost


the things in your pocket

when you were twelve

summer feathers


your first flying lesson

counting posts at the end of vineyard rows

are ghosts now for all

you know

they love you when you


Canvas 961

Canvas 961

July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

all of this

the nights are growing longer

and the robin watching from her nest

in the fig tree



in a breath of tender whirring baby sound

or is it a cricket in my breast

and all of this is done without hands

all of this and every sense

less and less and less

to rest

until light calls

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Canvas 960

Canvas 960

July 11, 2017

and this is the world

and this is the world in the form of a map

mountains are knuckles and

nations are blotches of failed pigment

and this is my skin and that

is where rivers run


a statue without arms

no arms have I or feet to run

or care to shield


Friday, July 7, 2017

as happy as we are to be clouds

sweet peas, as happy as we are to be clouds,

and all the other things we know, with no need to tell

the fields below, where lovers play

and children grow

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Just as it is

My mother was born on this day in 1922. I remember sitting up with her in her later years, as she was startled and frightened anew with each childish explosion in the neighborhood, and calming her with my voice as she tried to understand what was happening. It was heartbreaking, just as it’s heartbreaking to think that flags and smoke and simulated war sounds are seen as an expression of freedom. For me, the simple truth that even one person, or one animal, might suffer by such a display, is enough to dispense with it altogether. But it runs much deeper than that. Much deeper. Freedom is not a taunting pose or demonstration of power. It is not the drawing of a line one dares others not to cross. It is not something one achieves at the expense of others more vulnerable. It is not a feeble shower of sparks against an infinitely immense night sky. Quite simply, freedom does not, and cannot, exist without love. And how does one express that love? By living it, of course. By not placing oneself at the center of the universe and assuming all else revolves around him. By thinking of others. By passing through one’s time on this earth as lightly and consciously and gratefully as possible. By — but, enough. I’ve said too much already. Life is beautiful just as it is. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Canvas 945

Canvas 945

June 28, 2017

If trees are fingers and you are sky

If trees are fingers and you are sky

(and here you smile)

(and here I sigh)

I wonder can these hands be mine

(and here you laugh)

(and here I die)

or will my dream go willingly