Tag Archives: sycamores

THE UNDRESSING

 

 

Crawling between the cobbles,
the creek begins to run again
lifting a discarded cover of leaves

into fragile rafts downstream
in the prolonged undressing
awaiting a freeze. White flesh

shows on some, bare limbs
reaching outward like flashers
in open russet trench coats

having shed their blush of crimson
weeks ago—slow and deliberate
provocations for hundreds of years

here, of frolicking sycamores, naked
nymphs dancing across the creek
when no one is looking.

 

ANOTHER CHANCE

 

 

Three hundred rings along the creek,
five months dry—another chance
to live, another chance to die

marked with autumn’s fleeting
splendor. Soon naked and lithe,
these old sycamores will cavort

the winter long, memorize and
improvise each lunge and pirouette
until the dance is crystalized

within my mind. Blessed be
the seasons as examples of
yet another chance to get it right.

 

Grass and Rain

 

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Not quite déjà vu, Saturday’s sun set under clear skies after another half-inch rain, illuminating the sycamores again, but with less intensity. This is the perspective I wanted for yesterday’s post, but by the time I got to this position, the light was gone. When you’ve got grass and rain, you’ve got time to think about other things.

 

Between Rains

 

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The light changes quickly after breaks in the weather. We had just received a half-inch of rain by Tuesday evening as the sun was setting behind the ridge. Overcast in the canyon but clearing in the valley west of us, the sun found a thin slot between the ridge and clouds to spotlight the sycamores along the creek, our dancing girls.

 

THE UNDRESSING: ANTICIPATION

 

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On the weather map,
a week of storms
four days out

turned down
to a heavy mist
to quell the flames

before the downpour,
wind and rain—
a tame disrobing

before a shower
of leaves that leave
the road between

barbed wire fences
full to the hubcaps
with bedclothes.

 

THE UNDRESSING

 

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Show starts at two
across the road
with wind and rain—

girls shedding
enflamed leaves
in a slow strip tease

of fire exposing
long white limbs
in a chorus line

of dancing nymphs
along the creek
all ready to go

skinny-dipping
come hell
or high water.

 

GOOD LUCK FISHING

 

                         Don’t pray for the rain to stop.
                         Pray for good luck fishing
                         when the river floods.

                                – Wendell Berry (“Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer”)

And we will fish reflection pools
with Egrets and Great Blue Herons, wade
cloudy skies when the creek subsides

listening to the glorious chorus of tree frogs
croaking symphonies from fresh verdancy—
the canyon clean, all tracks erased

but for the moment to begin again.
What better luck can any god offer
a mad farmer, or mankind?

April 1968: my feet wet with fishing
the great white limbs of sycamores,
naked canopies reflected below me,

recording fresh soliloquies on war
that have not changed but for poetic
editing each time the creek rises—

hope still claims high water marks
beyond the creek bank, despite
clear-cut scars upon this landscape

after a decade’s invasion of machinery
from towns craving to become cities.
We pray yet for good luck fishing.

 

IDES OF DECEMBER 2014

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Coffee and cigarettes in the cold outside,
counting cattle on the hillside, black dots
on green, we wait for the sun to rise—

to break through the fringe skeletons
of oaks atop the ridge with blinding shards
of light. I lean into the shadow of the post

that holds the beam and roof together,
edging north towards the Solstice
most mornings in December, unless

it’s raining blurry streaks of gray
from a dark sky. Half-dressed sycamores
await the creek to run again, flash bare limbs

before the dancing tangle of nymphs
and hobgoblins. In the middle of a miracle,
I am awash with it while staying dry.

 

THANKSGIVING 2014

December 8, 2010

December 8, 2010

 

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.

 

IN THE SYCAMORES

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All of the young bucks
know their place and wait
for business to pick up—

for the boss to be gone
with work of his own
calling him away, far

enough that he won’t know
what they’re up to.
They spar a little, rattle

thin horns, bide their time
in the thick of November—
like it’s always been.