Now that I can see beyond the dust
and dead oaks crumbling, begging
for some purpose yet as cordwood—
now that I can breathe, inhale wet,
clear channels to broaden my senses,
taste and smell the green air stick
to my thirty flesh with these rains,
I can think about this distant planet
and its people we are lost among,
the overlap of corporate nations
profiting from wars—projects to busy
and worry a populace to pharmacies—
I feel no less helpless, no less
inconsequential than a fly
trapped in a barn of spider webs.
And they establish foundations and give
some of the money back.
– William Stafford (“Men”)
No pauses, anymore,
No parades for heroes
on Main Street—
no laurels for generals
to rest upon
when there are no ends—
just justified beginnings.
War is commonplace
like mountains in the distance
no one looks up to see,
too far from more
to consider unusual.
Posted in Poems 2015
Tagged peace, war
No longer children
we want to believe
the drought is over—
look to the mountains
to shield our souls
from insistent cities
and a world at war.
Like native Yokuts
we want to believe
the ground can hold us
before we leave.
A trace of rain up-canyon yesterday afternoon as I looked up from my desk, inside after an 1.5” of rain, sorting poetry for another collection—working title: “The Best of the Dry Years”, 2013, 2014, 2015. A formidable task, like sorting 90 head from 900, it will take many more rainy days to complete.
The photo has that postcard-look of not quite real, a reminder of what a little rain can bring. Yet, I harbor some skepticism, not ready to say the drought is over, to set ourselves up for disappointment. But it sure feels good, nonetheless.
Weekly Photo Challenge(3): “Treat”
Old violence is not too old to beget new values.
– Robinson Jeffers (“The Bloody Sire”)
With ease, we have evolved to softer versions
of ourselves—no longer lean, Dust Bowl men
in coveralls waiting for work and a weather change,
sinew no longer strained to stretch the harvest
of endless furrows. Within earshot of lamenting
old men leaning on fences, I was part of a future
doomed with easy-living, and so I have been
by comparison, yet with little time for visiting
face-to-face, eye-to-eye. We have become immune
to the violence next door, alive in cyberspace, and
deaf to war—the clash of sword-on-shield or bigger
better guns barking how to cull the herd—with ease,
we have evolved to envy dumb animals and birds
in touch with the sky, yearning for ignorance
and bliss. And all the old values now lost to youth.
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2014
Tagged "The Bloody Sire", birds, Drought, evolution, Hereford Bull, photographs, poetry, Robinson Jeffers, values, Violence, war, wildlife
Wherever we looked the land would hold us up.
– William Stafford (“One Home”)
We have come back to rest upon the rock
we couldn’t move out of our heads—
you riding barefoot on a Kentucky
mule to town before I was born
to land here, young. He raised us both
after the war that forever changed him,
and us—all of us close, and those close to us.
I tie those times to the underwater look
in old Mort’s eyes understanding more
than his bib-overalls could handle. Doc
Sweeney was no doctor, but said it best—
“He didn’t come back the same.”
Slow to move now, we never weakened—
grateful for the gravity that holds us up
to gather tough country in our sleep.