The morning is drifting,
into dawning light
and the loving touch
of mist that gathers, gathers …
gathers to caress these leaves,
and collect, collect …
collect to form drips
that grow and grow …
grow to hang, hang …
hang and let go,
drop on those below
bounce, dip, and flow,
dancing all through, all through …
all through these woods where
invisible fingers tap, tap …
tap out a visual tune
I strain to hear.
Monadnock Literary Festival
Colony Mill, Keene, NH
Trees pop like pistols and the snow drifts and whispers
As I wade through the morning, ice growing in my whiskers,
Snow bombs dropping from the trees.
I’m up to my knees with a chain saw on my shoulder
And I don’t know as I’ve ever been colder.
Guess I’m just older.
Cause I’m thinking I might leave that woodlot alone
And go on home
Sit by the woodstove and read.
Ah, but here’s a visit to chase away the lonely,
This antic and cheerful little crowd of chickadees
Come to play by me and make me wonder:
How can it be these tiny creatures survive
Weather that would drive me inside?
Shouldn’t they huddle? Shouldn’t they hide?
Maybe while my toes still stay and my fingers yet flex
I’ll just step on this saw and give it a pull
And if she’ll catch …
Well, I’ll just get to work I guess.
Lace of mouse tracks
Freshly stitched in new snow
Ends with wing prints
Crows come for my compost
gliding in to sort and sample
my table scraps: stale bread
with lawn trimmings; leaves
and fish heads peppered
with woodstove ash.
Sometimes flapping fast
loud and raucous
chasing away thieving jays,
ofttimes cautious, swooping in
on a whisper to keep a distance,
dark sentinels standing suspicious
of a lunch free for the taking.
Perched on trees and toolshed eaves
surveying their surroundings
they keep watch in turns to mine
the pile and fly off one by one
boasting of their plunder.
Cruising strange neighborhoods following
the crudely crayoned arrows of
hand-printed homemade signs along back roads,
rolling down shady lanes, round cul de sacs
on a hunt for secondhand treasures.
Browsing odd offerings arranged outdoors,
piled on picnic tables, laid out on grass,
dusted off curios, metal, wood, plastic and glass
nestled in old cassettes, stacked next to paperbacks.
Picking through baby toys, jigsaw puzzles and baseball bats,
searching and purchasing unexpected bargains,
an anchor, a chain, a picture frame, but
once again not the thing for which I came.
I long to be lost in smoke on water
Drifting a canoe instead of
Doing things I ought to.
Slipping through shapes that twist and shift
To be absorbed and released and slide
Through sculptures made of wind.
I can escape here just yards away
From shrouded backyards
Chores and responsibilities.
And searching in the thickest, all closed off,
Paddle poised midair,
Sun rising somewhere,
I might just look ahead and see
Of what is me.