From the Throat of Your Own Bones

heart earIn the countless echoes of the night
the hearing happens:

you know the whisper
because it comes from the throat
of your own bones

A dangerous syllable
slick with lightning blood

If today is not the day for hearing…

That ancient song of earth
sings itself in your animal subterranean

thrusting leaf crimson
and fertile debris
while the wind creature unfolds
and hugs your ribs
at midnight
speaking the images
trying to break out

Hear you not the
shell spiraling upward
in indigenous sea sounds
of magenta mellifluous?

The way in opens with each step

If today is not the day to feel it…

If today is not the day
to turn an ear towards your
bones exquisite…

Crack of ice flow
River walking out of the
depths into your present

If today is not the day….

When is?

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A Currant Affair

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Pink-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum)

A mid-winter warmth wins your hand
and draws you out for pendulous play
to blossom right in front of me
a dream of pink in light of day

Draw me in your inflorescence
Draw me in with all your senses
Draw me with sweet sagey scents and
Draw me in with rosy fervence

Fragrant is your dangling racemes
bunching grapes of blushing dreams

Your pretty little grape does dangle
in morning dew at such an angle
I want to pluck but dare not do it
perhaps the spring brings ripened fruit

I want to be a tiny ant
and on my tongue take in the sweet
But I’ll wait a little longer
and savor all your lovely treats

Coffee berry is your partner
the ruby-throated loves you too
a sparkle in the green and grey
it doesn’t take you much to woo

Grow in flow of warming current
purple berry in longer days
I want a taste, Sweetest Currant
before the birds take you away

Is Your Castle Bee Proof?

rampartWhat rampart wrought again?
oh how you worked so well that stone within

Iron bound and tough beyond which
no entrance to the throne at all
and repelling any purchase on your wall

What sentinels on parapets posted
with fistly smiles of security boast
yet mute your extravagant heart?

The bees of love have come,
sound the alarm–

Let the bells sound off:
Sing, Song, Sang, Sung!
Ring, Rang, Rung!

Ablaut! Ablaut! The bees are about!
They’re tickling
the rampart east and south!

Abominate with love your fear,
dressed as knights
and like shadows at noon,
let the sentinels take flight

Once they’ve abjured the realm
to move on to better positions
worthy of their vigilance

Let even your fourth stomach
form an original conversation
with the open meadow

While the bees sip sweetly
your bold blood
drunk on delicious dreams
in your throne room

The Down and Up of It

descentBetween the building up
and tearing down
there’s a canyon thin
as laurel leaf
wide as Turtle Island

I used to flail in the gorge
nearly drowning in dark waters
cracking my pretty head on rocks
collecting bruises like bees gather pollen

Then I learned to leap across
or build a skinny bridge–
a fast but dishonest way

So I relinquished shortcuts
and learned the down and up of it
and joined the ancient apprenticeship
of descent and ascent

hopping boulders like some
drunken wizard of the mountain
jackrabbit of all shades, master of sun

I’ve lost track of how many times
a day I carry water between
my letting go and claiming–
thirsty in equal measures

But sit here satiated on lichened stone
walking between the horizons
of all my risings and settings

The puddle’s muddy,
and sometimes the muddle’s puddy,
but the surface is a mirror
that doesn’t lie, reflecting

a sun that’s ripe for plucking
like an unlikely winter plum
drifting like a scent in the wind
and a moon that’s always sliding out
from between her prison bars
ever flowing her unfolding

The Poet’s Assent (An Ode to Rilke)

a9f03dab4540ebd5c3e9b4d0165571f2--rainer-maria-rilke-the-birdsThe poet Rainer Maria Rilke has been some sort of koan for me. February is the time of year that was a creative hurricane for Rilke, allowing him to finish The Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies in 1922. In one week, Rilke completed the unfinished elegies, and from February 2 to February 23, Rilke completed all the 55 sonnets of the two parts of Sonnets to Orpheus

He then wrote to his long-time friend, the inimitable Lou Andreas-Salomé, that he had finished “everything in a few days; it was a boundless storm, a hurricane of the spirit, and whatever inside me is like thread and webbing, framework, it all cracked and bent. No thought of food.”

In the fall I had thrown myself into trying to understand the heart of Rilke, his poetic motive, as it were. This is a poetic attempt to get at some of what I think he was up to and how he got there. In the meantime, I am still diving in.


“Incline a while,” she said with a smile.
A simple life, simply styled.

So with legs outstretched and peering into
the Poet’s mind and querying:
what’s this queer soul really hearing?
what’s this mirror really mirroring?

Seeing into things and Being
Into emptiness beauty fleeing

The whole of his heart’s work
from the hole in his heart works

because he dug and dug for days
he found upon his tongue a praise

Upon a summer solstice morn
on the eve of World War
a poet bent his inner ear
and found the point drawing near

Descended deep until he found
a limit to his seeing eye
no more secrets could be spied
until he looked with loving eyes

without it there would not be
the Sonnets or the Elegies

Only with that descending tone
could he ascend – not merely up
but with the whole earth on its throne
and with an ear so different bent
with drums began: “ASSENT! ASSENT!”

Only heart bent circling love
could form a praise upon a tongue
could a faithful Yes be a sung
like a song from morning dove

Only then the jailbreak
of those images locked within
and from behind the bars of time
the Poet affirms the world again

At What We’ve Done

raven3What sign has been flung
when even ravens
hold their tongue?

Left their pranks in trees to hang
and even wolves have lost their fang?

What tumult has begun
when all the warnings have been rung
when spring has sprung
and all the bees have been stung
when every alarm’s already sung?

Even the stones stand stunned
at what we’ve done.

At what we’ve done.