Tag Archives: poetry

BUMBLEBEES

                                   

 

                                    Judges in California’s Third District Court of Appeal

                                    ruled in late May that the bumblebee can legally fall

                                    within the definition of a fish when it comes to the

                                    definition of endangered species. “Although the term

                                    fish is colloquially and commonly understood to refer

                                    to aquatic species, the term of art employed by the

                                    Legislature in the definition of fish in section 45 is not

                                    so limited,” the trio of judges wrote.

                                                – Western Livestock Journal, June 13, 2022

 

After work they like their G & Ts,

drawn to tonic and Tangueray,

slice of lime in an iced-down glass—

but some drink too much!

 

 

 

BENEATH THE EAVES




We’re talking cattle

with a rising moon in June,

making plans for cows and calves—

 

the gather and sort to town,

where old friends shuffle

across the sale barn’s catwalk,

 

boot soles sliding, glad

to be moving among the living

when so many are not.

 

No one cares about our conversations,

the moon eavesdrops when it wants

just to measure our progress.

 

 

LAST LOAD TO IDAHO

Photo by Terri Blanke

 

Say good-bye to your mothers

for the long ride

all you children—

the truck is clean

shavings on the floor.

Driver said it snowed

before he left,

needed chains on Donner

rolling empty here in May.

 

We shake our heads

about the weather,

damn little rain,

the creek’s gone dry.

With a week of winds

the oaks have come alive,

tree limbs dancing

like separate tongues

trying to lick the sky.

 

 

We shipped our last load of Wagyu X calves to Snake River Farms on Tuesday as we continue to gather and wean our Angus calves.  Both cows and calves have done well despite the extremely dry spring, in part because of our heavy culling that cut our cow herd by a third after only six inches of rain the year before. With drought across the Western US, cow numbers are down everywhere resulting in a stronger market than we’ve seen in years. With unpredictable weather, higher costs for grain and inflation, we may be raising beef we can’t afford to eat.

AFTER TAO TE CHING

                        What calamity is greater than no contentment,

                        And what flaw greater than the passion for gain?

                                    Tao Te Ching (“46”) Book of Songs)  

 

Following ten years drought,

gusty evenings under gray clouds

add depth to blond hillsides—

contrasting tomorrow’s summer feed

 

that begs embracing,

that begs old flesh to awaken,

 

but begs no mention but to look

with an empty mind.

 

 

BECKONING

 

Yesteryear calls out of the blue

in these piebald canyons turning brown

yawning across a shrinking creek

 

to leave a confidential message—

not in words, but deeds.  Faces,

always faces.  Big George Hubble

 

in grade school who loaned me a dime

for a lemon bar popsicle

I never paid back. Some call

 

from out of the ground

that I never knew had gone on

to find their relief.

 

Some faces leave no names,

or none I can remember,

to console me as I did them

 

during the paisley days of a jungle war

I missed for a football knee

trying to be a hero.

 

 

OUT OF HIBERNATION

 

Stealing the warmth of gravel

an inch at a time, famished

after winter’s long dream

 

of what’s on the menu:

blind hatch appetizers

or a full-grown squeeze.

 

https://drycrikjournal.com/2021/09/04/tight-squeeze/

 

LANDMARKS

Wuknaw, Yokuts Creation Place

 

As children in the mountains

we learned to walk in the dark

on the uneven ground we knew

sometimes shadowed by starlight

or an occasional moon.

 

It was a wonder watching it rise

behind the far pines

as we lay on our backs

supposing excitedly about something

long since resolved,

 

but such a luxury to feel the hair

on familiar cedars, puzzle

over the sap of sugar pines,

fish the river for adventure

in the old days.

 

Time has simplified my map

to safe and basic trails

with many landmarks,

each with a story

to remind me where I am.

 

AWAKENING

 

The hollow sounds before daylight,

hillside Roadrunners awakening in the black,

their plaintive solos, reverberating notes

 

awaiting an answer, a location, a place

to be filled in the future, a pile of twigs

within the spines of cactus

 

beneath this soft comforter of clouds,

days trailing a meager rain to shield us

and the dew upon the grass.

 

The day is yet empty, moments awaiting

purpose and order. In my mind, I see

the tools I’ll need to be useful.

 

 

JANUARY IN LOVE

 

What is left to add to the millions of words

in books of poems stacked on shelves around me,

as if by some osmotic marvel they might impart

a simple brilliance, a lasting, unfettered glow

that I might capture and travel the page by?

 

My early morning sojourns into darkness seek

reveries I can hear and feel with my hands,

well-apart from the blinding light of day,

that prismed cacophony of lies driven by

man’s ugly nature of greed and power.

 

I crave blackness under clouds and crisp

moon shadows in a breeze, redrawing

constellations from twinkling starlight

like the ceiling of the old Fox Theater

from where I believed Walt Disney fell.

 

The primal bellow of a bull or the prolonged

serenades of a hundred coyotes in the canyon,

January is a month in love at night. Closing

the distance between hoots, the owls

have finally agreed on a tree to raise a family.

 

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Long dark shadows in the canyons,

cattle hard to see.  They don’t need us now,

heads down somewhere on the mountain,

 

ground too wet to help them anyway—

all the excuses I need to write poetry.

We fed hay all last year, filled the barn

 

three times waiting for a rain. These Christmas

storms: miracles to rejuvenate the earth

for man and beast, birds and insects,

 

steep hillsides begging to explode in leafy

salad greens—iridescent gifts in the sunlight,

like the old days, for years in a row that

 

have since gone dry and farther in between.

Nothing stays the same, just ask the skeletons

of old oaks where the natives ground acorns.