Tag Archives: song





The sun is bearing down upon your shade,
wearing brown the skin of crops you’ve made,
ain’t the way they say a man gets paid
farming from Washington D.C.

The sky is white on the other side of dust,
the tractor’s paint has given into rust,
you pray much less than you have cussed
farming from Washington D.C.

You believe in rain before your God
to fill the furrows cut deep into your sod—
old flesh follows seasons—on you plod
farming from Washington D.C.

The song you hear rattles in your head,
in the movies played when you fall to bed:
who will feed the town when you are dead
farming from Washington D.C.?




Photo: Neal Lett

Photo: Neal Lett


We live too low, too far down
the mountain to hear
the Canyon Wren sing

for the joy of it, cascade
of octaves, grin in the cedars,
thunder of the river dim.

Our love affair with music
is our own, separate
secrets searching for a song

somewhere on the mountain—
that half-ascension
finding harmony among the pines.






No sense.

Sometimes most clearly
through the eyes
of the bewildered

we see ourselves
spawned upon this earth
not as peacemakers

nor avenging angels,
but fallible and human
driven to plod on.

How do we find our grace
like salmon,
like rattlesnakes

born elsewhere?
How do we know the way
it makes us,

shapes us
into words,
into song?

                              for Merilee





                                                                                     the world
                                                  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.