Monthly Archives: December 2014





WPC(4) — “Yellow”





WPC(3) — “Yellow”

White Mustard




WPC(2) — “Yellow”




Snow up-canyon, dull green slopes on ashen
skies. With a few clear angels, tiny lights
dim and blink independently on the bare

Red Bud wrapped from last year’s Christmas,
before dawn. Leftovers after drought that
you can see from the road at night, singing

‘we’re still alive—’. Coming back to myself,
a black bull grumbles across the dry creek bed,
listening for the whereabouts of an answer.

First light prolonged at Winter Solstice that
I could not imagine waiting for us—I am
surprised with silence of this new beginning.



WPC — “Yellow”

Two Ranges on the Solstice 2014



It’s rare to see across the San Joaquin Valley to the California Coast Range anymore, over the small community of Elderwood, from the Paregien Ranch, then look east to the Kaweah Peaks of the Great Western Divide, and Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park — a good air day!







‘Traveling the same track
makes ruts when it rains,’
I tell myself, shoveling,

bringing future runoff back
to gutters and culverts
as if I might make a difference.

They hear me in their home
and come to the chainsaw’s whine
limbing a fallen tree on the fence—

old wire that can be spliced
and pulled up into place
only they will see, gathered

in rock piles above me
like Great Aunts, lifting
wet noses to a light breeze.

I left the house with salt
to see the cattle, check
the rain gauge, photograph

the grass ‘lest my memory slips
again and spins a yearning
into some other poem

for Winter Solstice 2014.
We are family, these cows
and calves, this wild about me

as I stack brush for quail
before I leave with Live Oak
limbs—come home with wood.

From dull light into the dark, we
will roast a rib between us warm
‘round our never-ending fire.



Downy Pincushionplant, 5.5.2011

IMG_5336 - Version 2



Dear Paul, I’m not saying it’s over,
one never knows about the bigger picture,
but it’s rained and green and we got mud
instead of dust in the house for Christmas,
puddles in the garden. We learned a lot—
this blessing of basics disguised as disaster
made us tough, cold and calloused
as we tried to grin the bear down,
make friends with our dry realities.
(We’ll never run the ranch the same.)
I can write you now with more
than more bad news to add
to your rants to the outside world—

                      O’ Humanity, look
                     what we’ve become:
                      slaughtering children in school,
                      buckling under to cyber blackmail,
                      while Wall Street goes up over 400
                      and Congress smokes Cuban cigars.

We learned to retreat, keep our heads down
and ‘let them play’ as we searched for water,
fed cows to keep our future alive.
Are these not Jeffers’ ‘new values’,
the most basic this world has forgotten?

Hands-on people—we like the smell
of sweat, the sound of words and the feel
of accomplishment, day by day—it’s all
we have to share. Hoping to rekindle
our correspondence, I wish you, Liz
and Zeke some super-duper holidays.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


It is not bad. Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
It is not bad, it is high time,
Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.

What but the wolf’s tooth whittled so fine
The fleet limbs of the antelope?
What but fear winged the birds, and hunger
Jewelled with such eyes the great goshawk’s head?
Violence has been the sire of all the world’s values.

Who would remember Helen’s face
Lacking the terrible halo of spears?
Who formed Christ but Herod and Caesar,
The cruel and bloody victories of Caesar?
Violence, the bloody sire of all the world’s values.

Never weep, let them play,
Old violence is not too old to beget new values.
                                                            -Robinson Jeffers


Sulphur - December 11, 2014

Sulphur – December 11, 2014


No father or mother left to leave
a Christmas gift under the tree—
even the child in us understands.

An ever-ready substitute, the old
Hereford bull plods along the fence
looking past the asphalt, gutturally

conversing with the neighbor’s
registered Angus mothers
while his younger brethren work

the steep brush and rock,
gather families in the wild
from last year’s seed.

Kept another year, just in case
someone gets hurt, we become
the extras for the gods—

walk the sidelines
lending words to the old songs
‘lest the world forgets

the melodies of Christmas
when it rains, or snows low
leaving only grass under trees.



Red Stem Filaree - April 5, 2011

Red Stem Filaree – April 5, 2011


While we slept, the grass grew
an inch overnight beneath the clouds
and passing showers, working overtime,

as the dry earth spun beneath them—
as the creek edged down through sand
and gravel, seeping over the granite dikes

that lump its bed, towards the river
and settlements downstream. I dreamed
we were the end of the line

living on a lake amid thick timber,
fat fish flashing bellies to the sun
and fresh meat hung in a tree.

No other world beyond but more
of the same, working on its own—
no children slain in schools for effect,

no political charades, no slaves
to bankers banking on superfluous debt—
and the grass grew taller, while we slept.