Home no more among the bays
the end of redwood forest days
is what the notice seemed to say
(…required to vacate in three days)

An invitation to travel big
to join the broader rainbow road
(…remove all your belongings
and tear down your simple abode)

A deeper groove on path unfurled
(…a misdemeanor in a dominant world)

The work is to Re-connect, in fact,
(…but it is an illegal act)

the people to the parks
to flowing water and redwood barks
to sense and skin and quiet within
to mighty oaks and ferns again
to the natural rhythm of things
and the blessings that it brings
To each other’s hearts as well
Cracking open in great swells
to soil, birds, and old horse-tails
and the scent of your biggest tales

To re-root a civilization
(…but that is subject to citation)

To bless the land with prayers and poems
and remind us of our proper homes

But this too, must be stressed,
that you are subject to arrest

If longing for true Belonging
is the only song you sing,

The piece of paper that they bring
will offer quite a different thing

An authoritative-sounding proposal:
all your things are subject to disposal.

So like a pilgrim or a tramp
(…illegal to erect a tent or camp)

Carry your house upon thy back
like a turtle with his pack
For true Home is your deepest root
whether in a mansion or on foot

And enter the deepest stream
the one shown in your wildest dreams.


The Smell of Joy

IMG_0977Have you ever seen the color of the evening bird’s song?

It smells like joy.

It’s one of the things they rarely print in the park brochure.

It’s probably different for everybody
But for me it’s a spring breeze
floating an orange and turquoise shell
out of an ancient canyon

It’s a red and yellow whistle
petalling through me like bubbles splitting
and swallowing themselves
out on the limbs of twilight tree.

That’s the smell of joy.

The brochures don’t say that.

They do mention to stay on the trails
but they don’t mention that
when you walk the fallen log
stretching from shore to shore
of the red forest

strange things happen

with the birds
and the scents
and the hearts of the forest

They don’t say that when you see
the 7:30am rays interplay with the morning dew
hugging the gentle green arms of the old oak

you will have to change your life.

Sometimes the truth gets told
and they say “Enjoy the Park”

So you do.

And the creek jumps up to kiss your face
and the smell of joy
floods your cells

and you know you will never leave.

I Bent My Ear

slugThey were calling for attention
as I walked past—

the ladybugs and horsetails
the mugwort and the trillium
bellowing the rainbow through the redwoods

and baby ferns
curled like seahorses of the forest
confided in me

I suppose I could have kept up my pace
stepping past them,
never learning what song they were singing

or what the slug was saying
in its bright hum of the earth
from his banana mouth
and sure-footed saunter

But as they were calling
so charmingly and gently
I slowed down
and bent my ear
I had to give them what they asked for

Soar Your Southern Bird at Dawn

soaring birds at dawn“Descend the western gorge at night
and soar your southern bird at dawn
pitch your poem in northern sky
before the blessed day is gone.” – Umbrano

According to scholars, this enigmatic epitaph was thought to have been written by the forest monk variously called Umbrano or Umbra Minor, in the hills surrounding Rome in the 3rd century B.C.E.  Dated to the spring of either 286 or 287 B.C.E., during what is considered his annus mirabilis (wondrous year), it is one of 999 poems he purportedly composed in Aduana, one of several pre-Latin languages.

Local uncivilized people considered him to be a rainbow wizard or mud magi of sorts, and bestowed the name Magi Arcus Iris upon him (Ijana Oma in Aduana). This epitaph was engraved on his tombstone.

(NOTE: None of this is factually true. All of it is mythically true)

Plum Blossom Blanket

plum blossoms on mossHere’s the 9th installment of winter Haikus. My goal: a total of 107 Forest Haikus, sharing in groups of about 10. Since Tuesday is Spring Equinox, I better get moving on the final two sets! (See the others: Skinny Dipping Water, Fiddlehead Fern Plays an Early Note, Cricket’s Eye Point-of-View, Being Stalked By A Forest, Wings Like Boomerangs, My Tent is Leaking Haikus, Always Coming and Going, and Dancing Naked In the Rain)

It’s mugwort season—
prepare for dreaming big with
bitter tea at dusk

February fog
and urgent appointment—
creek mud on my face

Chilly winter rain
too lazy to leave my tent—
ukulele time!

Snowy plum blossoms
never refusing to bloom
when the spring breeze asks

All my pens have died
so I write poems in the mud
with my two bare feet

Taking down my tent
thinking it’s already spring—
storm thinks otherwise

Eastern moon rising
over winter river–Both
flow west into spring

Little forest mouse
waiting til I fall asleep
to explore the night

Plum blossoms blanket
the green moss coat white, like
parade confetti

Mustard and mugwort
one for dinner, one for sleep—
late winter buffet

Fiddlehead Fern Plays An Early Note

Here’s the 7th installment of winter Haikus. My goal: a total of 107 Forest Haikus and mini ‘coyote’ poems over the winter, sharing in groups of 10. (See the others: Cricket’s Eye Point-of-View, Being Stalked By A Forest, Wings Like Boomerangs, My Tent is Leaking Haikus, Always Coming and Going, and Dancing Naked In the Rain)

IMG_7830Nettles in my cup
eastern light slides over plum
blossoms popping white

In a morning mood
a choir of coyotes
sing the winter morn

Early second moon
haikus in the morning frost
jays write them better

Mushrooms emerging—
A Potawatomi word
has it: puhpowee!

Pink in the morning
white and yellow with the sun—
daisy eyes open

Music of the woods
fiddlehead of lady fern
play you on my tongue

A fiddlehead fern
early note of forest spring
makes a tasty treat

On the edge of flight
will she jump out of her nest,
Little fledgling moon?

February moon
caught in the branches again
will she ever learn?

Cold night, morning frost
only thing hot is my blood
on a low boil

Mid-winter dream:
liberation by solstice
But first—bad habit