Into the Blue…

From the Landing

Bittersweet is a tacit flavor to the aged.
There and removed – apart yet pervasive:
the comfort that covers, the silent waiting,
the unseen organizer that delivers tidy fragments of the discarded.
A metaphor for the hidden folds of an adult life.
The sadness, the anger, the true silent nature of our beings…
the mute violence, the innocent blunder,
the trespass, the beatings, the rape.
In spite of the darkness and predation,
light throws shadows of the honorable
and rocks the sleepers until morning.


While going home, you emerge.
The corn in half shorn fields is paper dry,
crimped leafed, brushed black tips.
The beans were taken weeks ago –
their stubbled stalks ending in ditch bramble.
Under a low November sky, rain pressed fields
line roadsides miles in passing and passed.
Dark and undulating against the tumbling gray,
the Canada migration pushes south –
away from winter winds and snow to open waters,
furrowed forage and dropped bounty.
Your harvest memorial cuts through:
Sunday stories at dinners and after,
garden lore passed in spring planting,
morels and perch stones, sweet summer fruit,
fresh earth brushed from new potatoes –
our family narrative planted deep in Iowa soil.
The grace of a long autumn – the peace of sleep.
These whispering husks remember you.
The geese’s flight – a comfort in your passing.

November 2014

Family Jewel

Your perfect faculty
honed through practice
patience, desire,
gives expression to
a family of rough,
unsung talent.
Those that hear
just a little more,
savor sweetness
a little longer,
feel the rhythm
of life thrumming
through their souls
in breathless dreams.
You play for all who
came before you.
When music casts you
into wild places marked
by spiritual abandon
and gives anima wing
with which to soar:
remember stories told,
and strings strummed
in cool autumn nights
lit by familial fires.

March 3, 2007

Warrior’s Heart

That we behold our children in battle
and days dwindle to winter’s ice
is beyond a tale told of sorrow
burning in a neighbor’s hearth.
When the shield and armor forged
is lashed to yours; and bound helpless
you witness blood and bone
pressed and pierced to service survival –
what salvation will save innocence?
There comes a day that is the last.
What peace may come to a warrior’s heart
when, past reckoning, that day comes?
What wretched wakefulness will heal
those that remain armored in the night?

September 2014

Beyond the Lie

That we should live a lie of life unbounded;
and all we touch, all we see to desire, be ours
for the closing of a hand, the nodding of a head.
Where cherished things remain possessed by one heart
and never need be severed from joy and jealousy.
A time forever chaste and weary.
Is one day less important than fifty and one years?
Perhaps fifty and six?
Is ninety and five too tedious and grandiose?
Is ten of less import or more than seven?
What is the measure of a life bounded:
in years and days of waiting and not knowing?
What truth is beyond the lie?
What dust will we become in the morrow?

I am
left with TIN
and without you.
No one wins.

September 2014

Augustus’ Garden

Waxing shadows pull the sun to center –
the Dark calling his own poisoned fruit
plump on branch and bow. The word is given
– this day taken, these deeds remembered.
A curved road rider – a cannon shot soul:
remains of a summer past reproach or denial.
Irrigated green is this grave for Caesar
warmed by words and deeds; hailed in song
and the naming of these days of death.

August 2014