There are boulders even
in dry creek beds, obstacles
for water to flow around – make
the sounds that soothe us so.

Easily identified, some are bolted down
like the mountains with sharpened edges
eerily singing new refrains each night.
We know them. Sometimes we curse them.

We even pray to God to remove them
from our channeled way of going, yet
not believing the music we cherish most
comes from rubbing against them.

                  (Poems from Dry Creek, 2008)


© 2017 Dry Crik Press


Noting repeated references to ‘granite’ in my poetry, a dear friend emailed an audio link of Thobar Phadraig reading his poem “Stone” that reminded me of “Stone Poems” by Douglas Skrief published by Starhaven (London, 2009), who also published my “Poems from Dry Creek” in 2008. Relating this ‘granite’ thread to Robbin last evening, she remembered my poem “Obstacles” and the circumstances that spawned it.

The Poem Notes from that book: Written while haggling over the language of a conservation easement intended to preserve the ranch, this simple poem was, and continues to be, a solid touchstone for difficult times. After approximately three years of emotional discussions, we abandoned the concept to concentrate our energies on improving the ranch and our cowherd – tending to the business we know best. Included in “Still in the Mountains,” 2004.

Our notion of a good poem is not dated, so we have decided to post some of my earlier poetry here from time to time.





Exposed slopes sculpted by eons of storm,
like smooth flesh cut by canyons, worn
wrinkle into wrinkle, creek to river run,

speak quietly of patience on a Sabbath
after-rain, after yet another cleansing,
glint of dew upon the green at dawn.

When the Bird and Animal People
created man, gathered up the earth
to mold in their hands, they thought big

at first, but left the hills undone for us
to live within. You can feel mountains
breathe, hear the heart beat underneath

your feet, and in the moonrise see
movement in their sleep, waiting
to awake some day when we are gone.





Smoking curlicues,
dancing citronella flame—
evening mosquitoes.





No doubt about it,
high-tech’s forecast proven true
with red sky at dawn.





Small yellow faces
drawing life where their seed rests
in cracks of granite.





Ubiquitous songs
spilling from the green of spring
ring hollow at dawn.





Jade heaven forgive
my sudden interruption
of breakfast at noon.





‘On the make,’ my mother’d say
of springtime sojourns, the lone tom
between gobbles of rafters a strut,

the fan and drag as damp earth warms
to steam the green to flower skiffs of color,
to dress the oaks in tender iridescence

while finches softly fall aflitter, giddy
with the fun of it stirred within the air
we breathe, inhale into our flesh.

Like quail paired, couples nested
near the creek in the old days, empty
cars parked along this quiet road

like Do Not Disturb signs, lovers drawn
by April’s pounding drum to taste the wild
just beyond the sagging barbed wire.


Kaweah River Bush Monkeyflower – Mimulus aurantiacus var. pubescens



Comes early, stays late—
adds color to gray granite
outcrops through summer.





We spoil them, I say—
give them everything they need
to breed, to become mothers

to their first calf—a chance
to prolong life facing nature
together, year after year

like us, and our neighbors—
like good maternal families
our future trails behind us.