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

Frank Herbert – Author, Hero

I was fifteen years old the first time I read Dune. I had been an avid since I was eight years old when I began reading novels in the third grade, and I read the books that inspired me over and over again.

I read all kinds of things, but at the age of fifteen I read mostly fiction, and that age when I first read Dune in 1984, I found it to be somewhat dense and challenging.

I had taken that first copy from the carousel of the library at the alternative high-school I was attending, and which I dropped out of a few month later. I read that copy, perhaps not as carefully as I should, but as carefully as I could, and I went to see the motion picture when it came out in 1985.

Needless to say, I found David Lynch’s adaptation to be one of the worst movies ever made, and with that Dune passed from my thoughts for a time.

However, in the summer of 1988 I was visiting a friend in Montana, and I picked up a copy of Dune from the bookstore in Bigfork. I needed something to read on the bus ride home to Minneapolis.

Four years had passed since my first go at it, and my window on the world had opened wide enough for me to be able to engage the book in a completely different way. I was hooked. I was nineteen years old.

Dune changed my life.

Since then I have read Dune and all six books in the original Dune series, eight times over, as well as everything else Frank Herbert wrote.

He was a giant.

I have given away dozens of copies of Dune throughout my life, and recommended it to more people than I can count, always with the words this book will change your life.

Many of them came back to me to tell me that it did.

Frank Herbert wrote science fiction, but the science he wrote into his fiction had less to do with spaceships and laser beams (though it had those things), and more to do with the science of politics, religion, ecology and psychology, with the human person at the center of his imagination.

Through his insight Herbert challenges the reader to explore what it means to be human, and he asks open-ended questions about the range of human potential in a way that allows the reader to believe in those possibilities for themselves, and his own view of the range of human potential is inspiring. He believe that we can do more, be more, see more of the world than our senses allow…if we are disciplined he believes we can do it; if we are attentive to the world around us, and if we cultivate within ourselves the desire to live a life without fear we will secure a future for humanity beyond our solar system and spread through the galaxy.

He died thirty-nine years ago today, and when he passed a heroic light left the world.

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