Coffee at dawn, drumming
the Honey Locust—
old men talk, listening.
A convergence of wills,
young mothers to be,
moving to new country.
The green struggles in the clay.
Sycamores stand half-dressed
beside an empty bed exposing
white limbs as the sun sets.
The shadow of the ridge behind us
becomes a long, dark stage
for a chorus line of dancing girls,
arms entwined, kicking high
at the gate as we leave home
for a fire upstream—turkey
trimmed with camaraderie.
No traffic on the road to see
these celebrations along the creek
as the canyon waits for rain.
lives in the death of speech
and sings there.
– Wendell Berry (“The Silence”)
We name landmarks on maps in our minds
so we can go there. Some to detail feeling
with art reaching-out to all humanity
searching for that common hearthstone
beyond man’s hackneyed adjectives
and political objectives. We press names
into place with indelible ink hoping
to get lost in the map’s open space
to touch the unnamable and soar
with the song. Those elusive, musical
fragments, those glimpses in trees, but
all we have when words are done.
We could be cattle, days
with no names like ticks on a clock—
each dark silence, welcome escape
from two years of want,
or stampeded substitute gods
overrun with adulation,
bringing feed and water to
Only now, with well-timed rain
and drizzles freeing cotyledons
from the clay, watching the young
bulls get acquainted with cows,
do we forget the drought
to see our future grass
and heifer calves—sure
that tomorrow is Tuesday.
I’m not a real photographer—
just trying to capture
real things differently
with a point & shoot
while working in weather
wearing good cameras down
to a bad investments—
small fortunes rendered
to useless cases.
No place for tripods
moving cattle, feeding hay—
no words to hold the wild
still. No time, dearly beloved,
when deep on the inside
of an unraveling ball of twine.
Roof in the trees raised
by January wind and rain—
we tarped the hay.