Maybe Somewhere Cold—I Remember Bats

CBBD0AE5-2233-48AC-93DC-4C1F0EBE5D2AThe path to the cave starts innocently enough
with a sign full of useful information
in broad daylight, blue skies

a fulfulling breakfast–
eggs & potatoes perhaps, fruit in season

Before you know it
you can hardly remmeber the color of berries
or the sound of the river

Bats reign here
and the dominant thoughts
are of your bed and that last meal

Feel the shape of those walls
textured by the smooth slink of years
wet with mysterious things
you’d rather not know

To either side, tunnels to treaures
or traps

There’s no way to know
and no sure way out
other than following the scent of your voice

The deeper you spelunk
the brighter the darkness
Inside there a light lives

Hardpains, sweet pains
nectars maybe, but first the cuts
both slow and quick

Sometimes monsters and
the secret password
are the same thing

Of course, you can avioid the path altogether
by staying “at home”

But don’t think the cave is avoidable.

Or are you one who believes in light
without darkness?

Trailheads without wounded trailfeet,
mountain views without valleys?

Oh, what an imagination!

Come now!
Carve your beautiful, dark cave
and then come home, my friend
with well-earned feet and a heart that knows


The Hand That Got Away

28163785-1D80-4A42-810E-D3CA07C4C2ADWhen I awoke on the riverbank
I saw my hand once again fast asleep
on the egret’s wings

These things happen from time to time–
the best thing to do
is keep an even pace of breath

Don’t focus too sharply
but rather glide a soft gaze
across the surface of things and let it be

Somewhere downstream of the day
your hand will eventually shake the dreams
from its fingertips

It will take its waking slowly
gently stretch and remember
then begin making its way up river again

To meet you for evening dinner
with all the other parts
that got carried away

Autumn Otters

E069896C-85F8-4E8B-9D19-19D051235319For William Stafford–the poet, not the pirate. A fellow Midwesterner and embedded West Coaster, a quiet of the land, who also inhabited the edges, evoked the nearby faraway, whose ‘job it was to find out what the world is trying to be.’ He was at home on earth and was up in trees ‘til the day he died. He met the world well.

Otter people are on the hunt
fishing for the best playground

Whatever the day has swept downstream
the otter people accept
with open paws and a keen eye

Even-tailed in the evening
they regard it all with a river’s grace
knowing they belong to all that.

“Here,” one says to the other.

“There,” the other says,
“over those rocks
around the next bend.”

There’s always that someone who wants to peek
around the corner.

But the first scrambles upon the far bank,
whiskering, “But how could it be better than here, now
with all the alder leaves
and autumn giving her debut dusk?”

All is negotiation in this life
no different among the otter people.

A compromise is reached–
first a dancing on shore
then a slinking back into the silver water
around the next bend
floating like river clouds
whisker-faced and free

It is a world well-met.

Read Me The River

6887C2BE-C9B5-4CB8-839D-6F2D3AAA5B8ARead me the river, my love
the part where it meets the sea

Where the heart undone seeks to be
meandered and slicked with longing, there
let’s have a great river affair

I kept my promise to start
where the crooked creek joins the flow
and herons hum their patient art
and owls chant the night and slow

The dark arrives, too dark to read
but I made a promise to my eyes
and I just may need your sight to see

So read me the river, my sweet
into the last of autumn light

Read me the name of river’s root
where earth round and rapt receives
the foot of sky and the pulse
of all until all’s relieved

Read me the riddled heart’s great rage
for days like these the breeze is brave
and I can feel the coming wave
bright and strong and rolling through
that long quest released in you

Read me the river, my love
the part where it meets the sea

Instructions for Making a Perfect Ka-Blump

B5875C8A-FF32-4AB0-96CF-5F94889CFC85The first thing you’re gonna wanna do
is find yourself the prefect river-fed pool.

If you’re looking for a rainbow,
the colored stones on the bottom
will do just fine

Spiced with white and black stones
on the edge
where you will sit and stick your feet in.

You’ll notice the volcanic gneiss
the river falls over
looks a like a miniature mountain range.

You’ll also be forgiven for mistaking them as waves.

I assure they are not waves
–at least not of water–
as tested against my shin and skin.

But perhaps they are just very slow moving waves
harder than water, softer than diamond.

The liquid portion of the river sneaks
around and over and through these.

The technique I will show you
will have you making perfect ka-blmps
within three hours. Four tops.

Be sure to have eaten beforehand.

Find a medium-sized rock, preferably round.

Too large and it’ll sink quickly
giving you a little blump, without the ka-
which is really the whiole point.

Too small and you’ll get a quick
high-pitched blump.

Find one the size of a child’s heart.
If it’s beating, even better.

Now, you’ll want to find the perfect depth.
Too shallow or too deep
and you’ll find yourself in the wrong register.

You’re going for medium to low range,
with a healthy splash.

If a blue dragonfly comes by and asks what you’re doing,
just smile and say, “Experimenting.”

They’ll know.

After all, they are the ones who invented
tandem aerial fornication–
so yeah, they get experimentation.

The water bugs seem used to this sort of thing.
They’ll scatter for a few seconds, then re-congregate,
riding the ripples.

By this time, you’ll notice the changing light,
and subsequent patterns on the water,
creating stretch marks up the taller trees
and flip-flops of green and black on the smaller ones.

While trunks of firs become giant worms
grey and gyrating.

Don’t be alarmed. They rarely bite.

Once you get a dozen or so ka-blumps in a row,
you’ll notice a peculiar, but healthy side effect:

Concentric circles emanating
from where your child’s heart ka-blumped
ring upon ring
gently lapping at your ankles
ring upon ring
leaping up your torso
ring upon ring inside you.

Can you feel them?

Re-Membering is Here!

EC961FDD-EEA2-4EBA-AD0F-AC14440DF67AEvidently, I posted my 400th poem yesterday on my website. Geez I’m wordy! 🙂 But more importantly, I’m excited to announce that my book Re-Membering: Poems of Earth and Soul is live and on the market!

It has 75 earthy soulful poems in it. The book is dedicated to the Big Play, the Sacred Ear, and Deep Memory. I’m very proud of the result–it’s beautiful and accessible–but also extremely humbled that Wild Nature and Muse have been my intimate partners in creation throughout the last year or so. It was neat to read a poem from it for the first time this morning at our Wild Nature Heart gathering in the redwoods.

A little about the title, Re-Membering:

The how and why and when of the Great Forgetting is open to debate and not the subject of my book, nor even something that poetry might excavate. But what poetry might do is spark a remembering, to catalyze a spark in the dark that makes one gasp, “Oh, I remember that!”

Wild nature has been my intimate partner in creation. Wild nature is always there to jog our memory– to whisper, to sing, or sometimes to yell, “Hey, remember your childhood curiosity? Remember your creativity and your gifts for others? Remember your senses and your animal sensuality? Remember your great love affair with the earth?”

The poems in Re-Membering are about evoking that gasp of memory. To re-member is not only to recall the treasures that have been lost to forgetfulness, but about re-integrating the body and soul, putting the members of our whole selves back together, and to re-belong ourselves to the vast and beautiful and endlessly fecund home we call earth, to become full members again in the great earth community.

Gratitude and much love to everybody who has been there all along and believed in me and found inspiration in the poetry (you know who you are, my inner redwood circle)!!! I have been equally inspired by your fierce and big wild nature hearts.

If you have enjoyed some of the flavors of my poetry here on Rumi and the Shadow, you’ll probably love the poems in Re-Membering. Or maybe you have a friend, lover, family member who loves nature and poetry, it makes an easy and affordable gift. Pick up a copy here–and if you like it, leave a review on Amazon-I’d really appreciate the love!

P.S. The e-book version will also be available in a week or so. And it will be in some local bookstores as well, I’m hand-shopping it around. I will also be selling versions on my own website, but I don’t have that set up yet.