Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Snapshot 18 July

3 spring flowers

Even in dreams I am
insubstantial. Flimsy. Ghosting

through a history of rooms.
Tulips droop in glass pitchers.

Cats slip past the plastered walls.
Even in dreams my hips complain.

Stiff. Sullen. Uncooperative. Petals
fall onto hardwood floors. Linoleum

peels, curling up at the base
of the sink. An earthquake shakes

plates from the cupboard. Floating,
I drift to the basement. It's cool here,

tiled, mirrored. Echoing silence.


Wednesday, 03 January 2007

New Year Haiku 2007

I keep getting visitors who are looking for New Year Haiku -- which I had here, two years ago -- when we did a New Year Haiku collaborative poem dance:

Andrew tells us there is a tradition of writing a 'positive' haiku on the first day of the year. His is here, and Jill has joined in here. Mine is below; if you would like to add yours to the comments, I'll bring it up for a New Year's poem dance.

Here is this year's haiku from Andrew. It's a bit late, but I think it's time for me (and maybe you?) to do it again. Mine is for Niki, today's birthday woman:

old moon, wolf moon
just past new year's
    celebration moon



& a quick note -- I've been a bit under the weather, as they say -- and that's why I'm so far behind on emails, responding to comments, and so on. Please keep on being patient with me. And -- thank you to Patia for the pointer to the moon names, which I expect to be using all year.


Wednesday, 29 December 2004

Snapshot 29 December 02004 - Tsunami

montage-a-google: tsunami
Montage-a-google|tsunami  via Chasing Daisy

It's beyond comprehension. Each morning, the number grows: 22,000; 44,000, 58,000, 76,000 --

This entire city, its booksellers, its bureaucrats, its shopkeepers, gone.  Homes, grocery stores, apartment buildings, libraries, swept away.  Its grandmothers, gardeners, carpenters, and all of its children, dead.  Bodies in the broken streets.

It's beyond imagining.

this morning
a dead sparrow
on the frozen ground

Wednesday, 22 December 2004

Snapshot 22 December 02004
Árni Ibsen

was the
day. Snow
came. It
us all.

I try
to hear
the snow-

or tiny
off of
each other.
I am

I am
for your


Continue reading "Snapshot 22 December 02004
Árni Ibsen" »

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Snapshot 15 December 02004

Nights expand to hold
the waxing moon. Fog
in the mornings, and new
snow on the mountains.
Days shrink and cling

too close together. Already
the clothes need washing,
cupboards are empty,
the cats' bowls bare. Dust
accumulates in corners

like growing shadows.
Didn't I do all this just
yesterday? Or was it
the day before? I close
the shutters against a bright

snow-filled night, but wake
to bare ground. Or was that
the day before? Didn't I laugh
just yesterday? This braid
has grown to touch my waist.


Wednesday, 08 December 2004

Snapshot 08 December 02004

Winter is hazardous. The world around my house is a sheet of ice, scattered with thin, dry snow. Windows bloom with frost, birch branches bare on the other side. I stay indoors, still stiff and sore from a fall two days ago. The dogs beg for a walk; they will not have one. Yesterday, the river complained, groaning beneath its ice-spotted skin. Ducks huddled together on stones above the surface.

even the moon
a shard
of  ice


Thursday, 25 November 2004

Thanksgiving [Snapshot]

Boo - grey cat  Spike - orange cat
Henry - white terrier  Lucy - miniature schnauzer

These creatures, who companion me.
These friends, who sustain me.
These poets, who inspire me.
This house, which shelters me.
This garden, which feeds me.
This stone, which teaches me.
This changing moon, which comforts me.
This earth, which absolves me.
This ground, which will receive me.

These readers, you, who encourage me.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Snapshot 17 November 02004

This new moon night
the city is too bright
for all but a few stars.

On the river path, I find
a dead pigeon.  I leave it
for scavengers.  The next

morning there is nothing
but feathers and kernels
of corn.  Now the sky

hangs low and thick;
pinkish with the city's
reflection.  This wind

speaks, it tells me
there is snow
in the mountains

but the glaciers melt.
Across the street
a light burns in an empty

room.  I feel like this
sometimes, an old house
cut into apartments, rooms

filled with transient belongings,
and here and there
a vacancy, bare bulb lighting

an abandoned space.
I wake each morning
from old dreams of past

places, relocate myself
to here, now.  The air shifts
each day, another day.

Thursday, 04 November 2004

Snapshot 03 November 02004
Árni Ibsen

I wake to a cold, grey morning
and election news I do not like.
You would not like it, either,
but you do not hear it. The ash

tree is filled with waxwings, red
berries scattered on the ground.
Here, winter approaches; there,
where you are, it is a different

season, in that mysterious land
of ice. I am four days older
than you, there on the white
bed. I have never seen your

face. You have never touched
my hand. Around this world,
candles of many languages
burn, to light your way.

Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Snapshot 20 October 02004

Autumn comes on a big wind.
Trees grow bare. Streets and
walkways rustle orange-yellow-
red. I pull out the winter parka

and brush dust from the boots.
Sparrows gorge at the feeder,
rounding out their feathered
bellies. Nuthatches stop by

on their way somewhere else.
There is that bitter winter taste
in every gust; rime on the grass
in the mornings. Crows surf

invisible waves; one folds
its wings tight to its body,
a black arrow speeding across
the visible waves of the river.

Already, one surge of grosbeaks
has come and gone, but the ash
tree still bows down with berries.
I wake to wind rattling windows; 

make a shopping list of soups,
stews and Halloween candy
for the monsters who will probably
not appear at my out-of-the-way

door. A friend grieves a broken
love and I grieve with her, all of us
broken somewhere, sometime, as autumn
gives way to the next, dark, season.


Wednesday, 06 October 2004

Snapshot 06 October 02004

house cat
in the window --
chirping at the birds


Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Snapshot 29 September 02004

when the muse goes
what is left?
      -- only autumn


UPDATE:  Hmm, maybe I could make this a little love poem:

when you go
what is left?
      -- only autumn


What do you think?

Andrew suggests:

when he goes
what is left?
      -- only autumn


Patia offers:

when you go
what is left?
      -- only love


From Cindy:

when he goes
what is left?
      -- dirty dishes


From Roger:

when they go
what is left?
      -- tranquility


From Liz Kirby:

When Autum goes
what is left?
      -- Another season.


Cathy has done something a little different, using my poem as the first stanza of a new piece:

when the muse goes
what is left?
      -- only autumn

And from there-
you’ll let the worries
fall with the leaves.


Dave, following Cathy's lead, offers:

when the muse goes
what is left?
      -- only autumn
each morning the once-
free leaves of grass
made to rime
by frost.


From Patrick:

only autumn
as you go
comes winter


From Kalamity:

When the muse goes
with the crows
what is left?
-- only autumn
cool weather,
leaves and feathers


From mjones:

Look, the tree is red!
           My son is enraptured.
Autumn needs no muse.


Have we begun another collaborative poem dance?  Crows is my favorite post ever; let's do it again!  Use at least one line from a previous poem; leave your poem in the comments (or email me); and I will bring it up to add to the dance.

Thursday, 23 September 2004

Snapshot 22 September 02004


Everyone is settling in for winter.  Sparrows, chickadees and nuthatches fatten on autumn berries and my offerings.  A neighbor who is moving to the edge of town (up the Rattlesnake) bear country, brings me squirrel and bird seed she cannot put out at her new home. This week the roof went up on another neighbors' new house. 

The past few evenings, as the dogs and I walk along the dike above the river, we startle three beavers -- one!  two!  three! -- into the water.  Great splashes!   By now, I think they are not startled; they know who we are.  They know we are coming, and that we will pass without harm.

Still -- Splash!  Splash!  Splash!

           rainy nights
           cool mornings --
                summer's end

Saturday, 18 September 2004

[Belated] Snapshot 15 September 02004

rain, and a dark moon
     a nuthatch breaks seeds
     on the limb of the lilac


Wednesday, 08 September 2004

Snapshot 08 September 02004

the wind tastes of ice
and it is only

wind in the trees
whisper whisper

I am reproached

each day
the same challenge

     wake up


Thursday, 19 August 2004

Snapshot 18 August 02004

The year has entered its change,
sizzling one day, chilled the next.
Even the goldfish feel it, madly

spawning one last time, leaping
out of their world into mine.
The neighbors' house goes up,

power tools in the afternoon,
hammers and saws and bare-
chested men.  The close-mown

fields bloom with footballers,
bright and loud; red pants, white
jerseys, vivid yellow helmets.

All this to say that even
in autumn there is lust,
there is love.


Wednesday, 11 August 2004

Snapshot 11 August 02004

It is a blue-and-green day.
While I sleep, meteors fall.
My life replays in dreams.

The phone is dead, an open line
that registers as busy-busy-busy.
The yellowjacket nest beneath

the porch buzzes-buzzes-buzzes.
Watch your step. It is a blue-
and-green day. Blue sky. Blue

clematis. Blue delphinium.
Green everywhere. It is Fair Week.
Fireworks before the meteor

showers. I sleep through it. My life
replays in dreams. It is a blue-
and-green day. Eighty-five dollars

for telephone repair. Eighty-
five dollars. This is a month
of medicines. Meteors fall

while I sleep. It is a blue-and-
green day. While I sleep, meteors
fall. My life replays in dreams.

Wednesday, 04 August 2004

Snapshot 04 August 02004

After a time, pain becomes defining, it becomes who you are:  I am exhaustion.  I am pain. One examines the philosophy, the sociology, the spiritual dimensions of pain.  One attempts to escape it, tame it, defy it, deify it.  Anything.

Trying to retrieve dreams is like chasing bubbles; the moment you grasp them, they dissipate.  People gather to examine everything I've done wrong, all my mistakes.  A long, dark corridor; a black dog; a puff of dandelion.

                     august heat
                             the roses
                             bloom again

After a time, pain becomes defining, so that even in dreams one is in pain, or astonished at the lack of it.  In dreams, stairways become mountains, or, the opposite – one dances gracefully, painlessly, in a cloud of gratitude for the ease of it.

Walking the dogs, grasshoppers keep crossing our path.  They are huge. The dogs ignore them.  The air, hazy yesterday from forest fires, is clear today.  Blue air.  Dragonfly.

                     sun at the bottom
                     of the pond ~ the goldfish rise
                             to the surface


Wednesday, 28 July 2004

Snapshot 28 July 02004

hugging goodby --
       your bony


Thursday, 22 July 2004

Snapshot 21 July 02004

Such pain. I realize, again, that I am an odd person – my expectations of people so naive, my understanding so limited.  How I am wounded again and again, yet seem to grow no calluses.  Surely this is an error.  Like N–, that blazing day, stepping into a parking lot from an air-conditioned building and thinking, "There must be some mistake!"

                                                                       pulling burrs
                                                                       from the dog's coat
                                                                                  sickle moon


Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Snapshot 14 July 02004


Phone calls:  Tree pruner.
Dog groomer.  Plumber.
(Do you still owe him $?)

Niki.  Abigail.  Mariah.

Pay the bills you can.
Charge the car battery.

What is that bird --
whooo-eee  whooo-eee
& why have you never
learned to recognize
your neighbors' songs?

Chores:  Unload
dishwasher; load
dishwasher.  Laundry.
Vacuum.  Dust.
That toilet is disgusting.

Phone calls:  TV cable.
(Can you afford the DVR?)
Veterinarian -- it must be
time for vaccinations.

Feed the sparrows.
Feed the squirrels.

Write a snapshot poem.

Wednesday, 07 July 2004

Snapshot 07 July 02004


once I imagined the bell
all the rest came easily
the young man in the burgundy coat
lilies trumpeting their scent in the garden
pale moon over narrow streets, it all
dreamt itself into tall dark trees
shivering with sparrows and wind

the wind in the shutters
the nervous courtyard
something sacred at the altar
the pale child in her ghost dress
the book with its gossamer gilded pages
its thin black-pebbled cover
this docile child, butterfly wings

the old man bent into his cane
shuffling, shuffling, the pale moon
it all came quite easily, then
the moon walked into the mountains
the stars fell the old man fell
the lilies dropped their thick petals
the young man became a branch

scratching, scratching the window
the shutters opened their louvers the fan
making its ocean sound it all became
lightness and bright stripes on the wall
morning morning and I step into the garden
thick slow beat of pelican wings
into a cloud of pale moths

Continue reading "Snapshot 07 July 02004" »

Tuesday, 06 July 2004

Last Week's Snapshot

has me
deep deep deep



crow50fA week that could have been only distressing was quite wonderful. Friends came to help me at home; family came to visit; and readers, unknowing, came to help me at Watermark.  When my creative well was dry, readers poured poems into the Crows post -- a collection of wonderful observations on our black-robed friends. It's my favorite post ever.  Don't miss it!

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

Snapshot 23 June 02004


the longest day foxglove-350
ends pink-

into the dark

whatever vehicle
brought me

is lost or
won't start or
has no brakes

grey concrete
even the foxglove

the budding

Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Snapshot 16 June 02004

the rose unfolds      
day after day      
it opens itself      
pale petals gold      
heart to the sun      
to the bee –      

Sunday, 13 June 2004

More Poem Dancing

A PoetryEtc poet, Douglas Barbour,  has again extended, and deepened, one of my poems, Snapshot 02 June 02004.  Douglas' poem stands well on its own, but I have reprinted my piece so you can see what inspired his (posted here with his permission.)  The first three stanzas are mine; the rest is Douglas':

a week of grief      
and broken things      

but then the moon      
filled out round      

& this bright      
birdsong morning      


a forlorn denial  now one
week gone    the storm
of news & conversation
grief brings

and reminds us that all
broken promises promised
things would get better

but who said that    &
then who can believe
the same old stories   even the
moon goes through the motions now

filled with the usual cunning
out go stars
round that full light

& a line of flight makes
this night complicit   that
bright day rises to

birdsong  as if the
morning were really new

Wednesday, 09 June 2004

Snapshot 09 June 02004

something like that blue
cloud, thunder rolling
through our valley, hail
in the flower beds, or this
lukewarm tea in the Chinese
mug on the brass table --

something like this sun
or this gnat on the page,
scents of solomon seal
and cigarette smoke entwining
in the garden, wind rustling
the birches --

something like the neighbor's
dog barking at the noisy pickup
and rap music from a radio,
somewhere -- black pavement
gleaming after rain, something
like that -- this solitary life

Wednesday, 02 June 2004

Snapshot 02 June 02004

a week of grief      
and broken things      

but then the moon      
filled out round      

& this bright      
birdsong morning      

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Snapshot 26 May 02004


ill to
write a snapshot


Thursday, 20 May 2004

Snapshot 19 May 02004

The car won't start
and the toilet keeps
             fractured dreams
running.  The parakeet
died. White fur all along
the river- bank, but no
blood, no bones. Broken
glasses. Garden
pavers scattered
with petals of lilac,
mountain ash,
              strewn across
rain. Iridescent
black bird ravishes
             a twisted
the feeder. Shrill
whistles and ravenish
clunks. Dark rising
river, muddy, foaming.

Continue reading "Snapshot 19 May 02004" »

Wednesday, 05 May 2004

Snapshot 05 May 02004

Dim, humid day. Ominous.
      The sweet autumn clematis
           did not survive winter.

Bruising photographs, naked
      prisoners hooded and taunted
           by pretty young soldiers.

Full moon over Mount Sentinel;
      the garden rich with scent,
           palpable, tangible.

Two sparrows dance for each other
      on the wood fence, bobbing over
           and under

the greening vines, cheeping and tail-
      fanning. A friend tells me we are all
           sadists, all carnivores.

Bears are coming back down.
      The bleeding heart goes on
           blooming in the shade.

Continue reading "Snapshot 05 May 02004" »

Wednesday, 28 April 2004

Snapshot 28 April 02004


yesterday open-toed sandals
and opening tulips old lovers
come to me in dreams this morning
fresh snow whitening the mountains
the paper tells me bulltrout and cut-
throats will find more water flowing
through the losing reach between
the mainstem river and spawning
gravels green exploding skies
above Iraq elderly ladies show off
their May-Day hats plasticly enflowered
and a scientist provocateur is remembered
as a nucleus of dissension are there rivers
are there tulips in Fallujah, in Najaf?

Wednesday, 21 April 2004

Snapshot 21 April 02004


night rain
brings this
green day

Continue reading "Snapshot 21 April 02004" »

Saturday, 17 April 2004

Poems to Peruse

From Ruby Street:

snapshots project
I've been involved in a great project as part of a list I belong to, poetryetc. It's called snapshots and entailed list members writing a 'snap' of where they are (physically, head-wise or whatever) at some time in the world each Wednesday. The greater part of the second iteration (sorry, I like that word) is archived, many thanks to Rebecca Seiferle of The Drunken Boat fame, on a special page on her site. Earlier snaps from this round are archived on Randolph Healy's Wild Honey Press site. The Wild Honey site also features an earlier iteration (yeah, OK) of the project which ran in 2001.

I have been a member of this list, too, for a short time, and have found this Snapshot exercise useful for priming a dry pump.  There is something freeing about "snapshot" vs. "photograph" -- no imperative to be masterful (mistressful?).

You won't find any of my poems at the Snapshot site (at least not yet), but you will find some at fieralingue, in the Poet's Corner, here!

Wednesday, 14 April 2004

Snapshot 14 April 02004

{click for larger view}
pear-in-bud spring-tree birchseed
bleeding_heart hellebore what-the-squirrel-left

creamy daffodil
scent of clematis

spawning ~ rippling
reflections on stone

of photos
hoping for one

snapshot of
this perfect day

Thursday, 08 April 2004

Snapshot 07 April 02004

On television, war, murder,
head-on collisions. In the garden
tulips, daffodils, chickadees.
Heavy machinery turning dirt

in the neighborhood park.
Window washers, tree-
trimmers, grey snake sliding
across the path. All Spring's

workers. Crows riding uncertain
winds. Mosques and synagogues
exploding. Here, in this small
city, streets cordoned off

an entire afternoon --
bioweapon bomb scare.
And the woodpecker drilling,
drilling the power pole. 


A very rough (even raw) draft. Comments welcome.