Monthly Archives: November 2012


In the mile below,
lifetimes between here
and sounds of machinery.


Don’t punish yourself
in the dust of December—
it will rain—some day.


In the wild oat saddle
above it all: black heifer
and new born calf.


It is not the cold, compared to sledding hay
with teams to frosty cows in Wyoming,
or the frozen breath of calving barns

in Montana—now it is the bones that balk
at unfolding, at rising to lean forward
towards the door, the barn, the truck

and bales stacked high and waiting with
impatient bunches bawling at the gate.
It is the bones with joints worn round

that talk revolt, that threaten strike,
that would rather stay inside and write
than feed hay. All my buck is gone—

rolled downhill or bottom-bales engineered
into stairs, I build pyramids instead
to load the truck—and wonder why

in this modern world. But the bones know,
once slow momentum holds—it’s all
for the new on the same old ground to see.

November Sycamores

November 24, 2012

November 24, 2012

November 24, 2012


We, of course, were not raised inside
like blanketed colts in a barn stall
and learned instead to stand up

on uneven ground—to wear scars
that would never see a horse show.
What was it then that turned us out

to play—to explore worlds beyond
our imagination? The calling,
yes, that drew us to new places:

thickets and rivers that consoled
the wild we sensed in our blood.
We came and went as we wanted

in another time, out from underfoot,
into a dimension that stretches to heaven
riding the ridge tops with our eyes.

Wagyu Bulls Arrive

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Clarence and I put the Wagyu bulls out to the heifers yesterday morning. They arrived early Tuesday from Snake River Farms in good shape, but we fed and let them rest before putting them to work anyway. As an answer to the often asked question as to what a Wagyu bull looks like, I’ve included some photos. These are yearling heifers and yearling bulls. And the cycle begins again.


Happy Thanksgiving!!



Always the frivolous question
grown-ups asked—taken seriously
when I was seven, 1955.

                                                                        Remember the Flood?

I had no talent, and everything
interested me, especially women:
curious, untouchable vessels
I thought held the answers—
but none under Susan Cline’s
petticoats on the playground.

After the War to end all wars,
they expected GREAT things:
doctor, lawyer, butcher, baker—
someone solid and dependable
from thick Germans and Scots.

                                                                        Granddad on a ladder
                                                                        pruning a peach tree.

It was a man’s world, heroic
and demanding. Only a few
wandered off, and some
never came back from the 60s,
or Viet Nam, for the double-talk.

                                                                        In the middle of a circle,
                                                                        draft cards and bras in flames.



What vocation, what purpose now?
I look under rocks and leaves nearby
just to enlist a commotion of bugs
and insects, disturbing their equilibrium
as if I were a perfect storm, a force
to address beyond their knowing.

Then to the river from the mountains,
then to the ever-changing sky for reason
in the cycles that touch everything—

                                                                        Lew Welch: teach
                                                                        your children…
                                                                        it’s all forgot.



I left school to work here
on a temporary basis, my
ever-ready exit for a lifetime
of cowboy turned cowman,
of lover turned husband,
of father with little left to say
for sure, except:

                                                                        nothing stays the same—

enjoy the change
of season, see opportunity
for your good nature
and leave no tracks,

                                                                        chew your food

and find satisfaction
with what your hands can do—
even a woodpecker
knows his purpose.


It is a luxury to pray to the goddess,
dress her with many names and myths,
sequined chains and gold bracelets,

or nothing at all. Young men beg
to be noticed on this semi-arid fringe
of habitation, and some go native

to explore the primitive pulse
in their blood, chant and dance until
exhausted to their knees. They learn

to leave themselves behind in the dust
of December that invades their dreams,
to ethereally escape the hazy delirium

trapped in the bottom of the San Joaquin.
Here we age and cure with each shallow breath,
inhale the earth until our dry skin cracks

like clay flats, like a pomegranate ripening.
It is a luxury to pray, or to reawaken
the forgetful old woman in charge of things.