Poetry & Prose 2017

For all my far-flung offspring 


Dear child

since they haven’t told me 

you were eaten by a bear

or were swept away by a wind

I am just here

standing fear

aka possession

on its head

assuming you are not dead

but instead

just distracted

like a moth in the maelstrom

of daily life

whirling around 

the still center

Today my life went up in smoke 


My life went up in smoke 

Like these

California hills


All these fires!

I used to fret,

Believing they were 

Just outside -

Until it dawned on me

That my life inside

Had been smoldering

For years.


At first, 

Too much to bear! 

I bleated and retreated 

Into my customary trance


Where I stayed until today 

When I stepped out in a daze

To collect flowers

For my wake

Leaving my dinner 

Bubbling away on high


And before I could say 


All those false hopes I'd left

Sizzling in the grease

Of millennia of fear

Burst into glorious tongues

Of flame


And my house exploded

Flinging all my

Happy dreams

And ghastly fears

Far and wide

Into the 

Bottomless void


Watching aghast

I managed to catch

A crispy bit

As it sailed past

Took a taste 

Made a face

And threw it away


Now all I can say is

What a relief! 

Perhaps now, my dear,

You can just stop,

And sit down here

In the burnt out circle 

Of the place you used

To dream and scheme


Sit quiet

And weep the rivers 

Of your tears

Quench your grief

With gratitude

For simply




most sweet grief 

remembering you

my most sweet love

I drown in grief


beyond understanding

or belief

An empty space in a moment of time


What have I done

To so deeply hurt 

One I love?

Awash in ignorance 

Desperate to fix, to hold,

To keep,

I ask and ask for help

And feel nothing 

But the weight

Of mountains of pain


Groping through curtains

Of confusion and despair

I seek the silent opening

Until at last 

The words of a Friend

Slip through:

“Life is not 

About you.”


Then I remember

That indeed

Life is not 

About making things

The way I think they should be

By controlling


Or possessing you

To make you 

Fill my void.


All I need

Is me

And all I can do 

Is be

Just what I am:

An empty space

In a moment of time,

An opening

For Love



We sit

At the clear eye 

Of the storm

While life surges onward

Going exactly


It needs to go…


Let it go, let it go!

Fall in

Ride the tide

Open your heart

Deep inside

And fly free

Into the boundless 






Just sitting here

In the embrace

Of these trees

In whose 


I am privileged 

To dwell,

I am held

So perfectly

At Peace

And at One 

With outside

And in

That I am loath

To move and

Get on with




In this 

Still moment






In the lull

Between breath 

And breath


And death

Life breathes free


Here lives the Joy

That annuls

All misery.




Stop thinking!

They say.

You must Silence the Mind

If you want to be 

Happy and free.


But who says


Must always be Noisy

Fretful, fearful, angry,

Loaded with despair?


There is Thought

That is Deep

And Clear

Pure as water


As Silence


That kind of thought

Is Prayer.


Contentment in the midst of volcanic wonders


Falling into myself 

With a comfortable plop

I find myself 


Free in this world

At peace in my soul

Snug in my body-home

Never alone.


Thus I offer my joy to the world!

What other offering can I make?

Oh you who deserve all, all, 

To you I give the very last particle 

Of my body and being.

My hand I offer for the dance

My shoulder for the building 

and the carrying

My mind for creating

And imaging.


I cannot stop this paean 

This song of joy

At finding freedom 

At dislodging the boulder 

Of my fear 

To uncover

An Unquenchable Light


I who am without Source

Am part of All

Free and independent, 

Owning nothing

Empty and light

Free as wind

Yet filled 


My hand 

Capable of opening

Offering a lift, a motion, a comforting pat

My voice ready 

To laugh or sing

My being ready to do all 

Or nothing

To let be 

To demolish lies and self-doubt

To parley

To discover

To marvel

To work together 

To build a new home

Made of sacred emptiness

No hurry, no hurry


In the midst 

Of volcanic wonders



Yosemite Falls and the Merced River after the great freeze of 2017


High high high

In another

Space and time

The water 

Churns and roars


To its death

Tumbling over and over itself


Into a thousand forms



Down and down

It plummets and bounds

Until at last


Ice needles pile

In a soft and massive tomb 

Burying all

In shifting 



We used to stand

Exactly there

Safe on a bridge

Of colossal logs 

Above the deep 

And rushing stream,

Gawping and dreaming

At the plume

Of white far above


At the luscious thunder

Of the nearby falls

Our faces a-tingle 

With the tiny mist



After the strange new winds

And freezing floods

A kindly and

Astonished guard

Bars the trail

With photos

Of forbidden "frazil ice":

The tomb 

Of our old bridge

Its great logs snapped 

Like twigs



I walk down

Under sodden pines

Across the saturated 

Forest floor

To find the River:

Self-same water

That leapt to its death

High above us

Here reborn 

Alive and well

Limpid and golden 

In its depths


On and on it flows 

As if nothing

Could ever

Harm the world,

Serenity in its bosom

Laughter in its ripples

Drawn ever onward

To the all-embracing



Of the Sea


That such a thing

Is even possible

Is the death

And the joy

And the life

Of me.