Voice

I’m searching for my voice, listen…is it here?

Mine is a voice of prosody, though sometimes of verse

It has rhythm that often falters, skipping, out of time

It meanders like a cat, its tail waving

I have seen my voice in print, I hope it sounds like me

I am looking for it here, it might be lying in a notebook

or a scrap of paper, a random scribble on a page

Farm

What does it mean to be a farmer anymore?

Who owns that title?

Is it the…

Landlord-farmer, floating above the loamy-green

Detached from the earth

The farmer who does not plant or work in the soil

Absent from the field

Tractors driven by satellite, the spring plantings

Artificial stars

Who is the farmer? The landlord or the field-hand

The sewer, reaper

Crawling down the rows, fingers pressed into the dirt

Seeds and prayers and hope

Is she the farmer; is he? The unnamed hireling

Toiling in the sun

Sweat dripping from the brow, laborers watering

Nameless boys and girls

People without a claim, or recourse to the law

Dreamers without land

Impressions

You have heard it said that you are where you have been; you are, this is true

You are, and you are what you eat: gram by gram, ounce by ounce, pound by pound

Amino acids, proteins housing memories, engram by engram

Wraiths rush past me, reflections in the dirty-glass, reaching out for me

The rainfall pools, collected in the dirty-street, ghosts jump in the light

Places I have been, the trajectory of fate—weaving memories

Warped purpose, threads patterns on the loom, spindle fibers and neurons

Electrons repeat on the skein, loop in their circuit, strange and funny

Projections of the self, shuttled forward and backward, upside down through time

Lowly little worms emerging from the cocoon, butterflies with horns

Chrysalis in the milk-weed, monarchs in the street dressed in silk, burnt orange

Soft winds returning, lilac scents my garden, warm rains after winter

#Poetry

#Haiku

#Senryu

#Tanka

#Haibun

Saint Stephen

The prophet promised help, a song of hope floating in the morning light

love for the dandelion

Lilies blooming in the broken asphalt, begging to be considered

broken birds, with wings made of wishes

Saint Stephen by a chest full of arrows, got pinioned to a tree

while a thousand sparrows gathered in his branches

Garden ponds and baths gone dry, water stolen by the sun

cats cry at empty basins, biting at their fleas

Forgive them…the hungry and the homeless, living through the heat and cold

the lean dogs wandering the city

blessed are the meek

#Poetry

#Haiku

#Senryu

#Tanka

#Haibun

#TheBookofSparrows

A Sequence in Blue

A powder-blue parallelogram, like an unplanted—field, broken

Blue-black ink flows from the pen

A string of sapphires, dawn’s bejeweled horizon, smoke curls off the tongue

The trumpet wails in mourning 

The azure summer, naked in the cloudless sky, a flight of sparrows composing

The poetry of shadows

#Poetry

#Haiku

#Senryu

#Tanka

#Haibun

#TheBookofSparrows

Reflection – Ursula K. Le Guinn, Author

Ursula K. Le Guinn

It has been two years since this great thinker moved on to the next world.

She was a hero of mine.

The first book of hers that I ever read was titled The Lathe of Heaven. It was science fiction, but it was so much more. The book spoke to me about the nature of reality, of consciousness, of what it means to be a human being.

She took the title from the writings of the Taoist, Chuang Tzu (book 23, paragraph 7):

To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven ~

Her book, which then recapitulated this warning, took me outside of myself and allowed me to see the world in a different way.

I was sixteen years old at the time, and without realizing it I found that I had been introduced to Taoism (the esoteric tradition), which provided me with a perspective that would shape the course of my life.

I read many other books and articles written by this great lady. When I was in the Navy I found great comfort in the Earth Sea Chronicles, in which she introduced a hero whose greatest enemy was himself, but not himself exactly; his enemy was the shadow of guilt that most if not all human beings carry with them, because they are unable to ask for and accept forgiveness for the things they have done that have hurt or harmed other people, even their adversaries, because they are not able to forgive themselves.

They books were so simple and brief that they could really be seen as fairytales for children to read, and indeed they can be read on that level, but the story is so masterfully crafted that its depth lingers right below the surface.

Two years ago today one of our great luminaries departed from our world, leaving a legacy of literature to light the way for us.
Given First – 2020.01.22