tanka

tanka--
small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Thursday, December 21, 2017

solstice fires

solstice fires
burn the old year’s dross
to ash . . .
the raven’s cry
like smoke on the wind


~red lights 13:2, June 2107

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

the galloping years

my mother’s voice
reciting The Highwayman
by moonlight
the gleam of a dark red love-knot,
the clatter of galloping years



poplar leaves
already freckled
with age
I pen an elegy
in elderberry ink

~Moonbathing 17, fall/winter 2017


finding I’ve shrunk
by an inch and a half . . .
yet the mountains
of my inner island
still converse with sky

~hedgerow 122, winter 2017-8

  


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Roots



The old sugar maple at the southeast corner of the house had been declining for two years, and despite a wet summer its canopy was brown and bare long before autumn.  Yesterday, men with chain saws took it down limb by limb, leaving a gaping hole in the sky where the tree’s green depths once harbored hummingbirds. On winter nights I used to look out at its windswept branches, combed by fingers I never saw.

moon shadows
on the window pane 
. . . the silver
of my mother’s hair 
fresh-washed in death



Friday, December 1, 2017

quicksilver



autumn harvest  . . .
moldering hay bales
sprout new grass
even as the whetted scythe 
mows down the years

no one
told me of his death,
the last
of my mother’s siblings . . .
ripples on the pond’s dark eye

the moon
so far beyond my reach
and yet I drink
from its reflection
this dipperful of light

other mothers’
diamond brooches . . .
I buff
the mossy jadestone
of her silver-legged frog



~Ribbons 12:1, Winter 2016

Monday, November 27, 2017

earthstrings




in a string
of starry lapis blue,
god
is the dappled dzi bead
earth-toned and warm




the fingers
of a blind harper
touching
the earthstrings at dawn . . .
a wood thrush answers

Sunday, November 19, 2017

But Now We Are Many

fire
on the mountain
fire in the mind
ashes ashes
we all fall down

The Smokies: ridge beyond ridge of ancient mountains, wrapped in a soft blue haze of rain and the moist outbreath of trees. The highest peaks are temperate rain forest, mossy and dripping. But now the picture changes . . . because the climate changes. Hot smoke replaces the gentle mist as fire consumes the forest, tinder-dry after months of heat and drought. Crown fires leap from treetop to treetop. High winds drive a firestorm through Gatlinburg, trapping people in their homes where they burn to death. Several days have passed and children are still missing. The Appalachian Trail smolders.

smoke
from distant wildfires
fills my lungs . . .
I dream of the blue planet,
one seed sprouting in ash

Pollen grains tell stories.  Drifting like gold dust on a cold wind, grass pollen sifts into lakes, to be buried in mud for 20,000 years. Grass pollen tells of an Ice-Age Europe covered with open steppes where forests should have grown—the climate favored trees, not grasses. But layers of ash tell stories, too—the story of fires that burned the forests, fires set by Paleolithic hunter-gatherers who transformed their world long before the first factory smokestacks began to spew their plumes of ash and deadly gases.

sparks
from a stone-age campfire
scorch the map
crumpled in my hand
a dusty oak leaf



~KYSO Flash 7, Spring 2017.  Finalist in ‘One Life, One Earth’ Contest.