Old Cabins and Mice

Old cabins and mice
Sounds cozy
And rings of a nice
The sound of a breeze
In the pines
A soul finding ease
By a fire
Wool sweaters and jeans
For a walk through
A wood filled with scenes of
Old cabins and mice
Sounds cozy
And rings of a nice
Of hours spent with broom
Mop and traps
Of scrubbing
With distaste
Of blankets with holes
Filled with fluff
And shoes with soles
Filled with holes
Old cabins and mice
Sounds cozy
And rings of a
That mends souls
Filled with holes

Voice of the Trees

The wind carries soft sounds across continent, ocean, wild tundra,
grassland, forest, city, suburb, farm,
a voice beyond human hearing.

Should we go?
Should we stay?

Root and water pulse sounds deep inside earth,
through song lines in rock, soil, coral reef, seabed,
down river and stream, wave and current singing across oceans.

Should we go?
Should we stay?

Our Guardian Humbaba is killed.
His seven terrible radiances could not save him.
His roar that brought deluges to the land could not save him.
His mouth of fire could not save him.
His deadly breath could not save him.
Rustled warnings in leaves sixty leagues away
He heard, but it did not save him.

The lion-headed Imdugud bird screamed,
threw thunder and terrible tears to flood the mountains.

The Bull of Heaven roared and pawed the ground with his terrible hoof,
and the earth shook apart buildings leagues away. 

The Sacred Forest was splayed open to the axes
of the Lying Thief-King and the Betrayer.

The Betrayer Enkidu died, was forgotten, but the deed lived on.
The Lying Thief-King Gilgamesh died, was forgotten, but the deed lived on.
For six thousand years Tree sings the questions:

Should we go?
Should we stay?

If we go, they will die.
If we stay, we will die.

The terrible questions sing on wind
through branch and leaf across the earth.

The terrible questions sing in rock and river and current
hrough trunk and root across the earth.

Should we go?
Should we stay?

Now approaches Decision.
Now comes Decision.


Sometimes They

Sometimes they spill off my pen,
Vivid images color blank pages.
Sometimes they come tangled with
cliches, meanings hidden in
Triteness demanding discipline.
Sometimes they don't show at all,
Shy or stubborn, they have to be
Coerced, bribed, threatened, cajoled.

Where do they come from?
Who do they belong to?
Surreal images scream color,
Words run at me,
Fly past my head in a blur,
Catch at my mind,
Force their way through me.

Almost Succeeding

Suddenly I remember the man I married.
I’ve been so busy remembering 
the man I buried,
I almost forgot.

At first I tried hard to forget,
almost succeeding. 

Now I try hard to remember,
almost succeeding.

I look very hard
out of the edges
of my eyes for 
someone watching me,
but I don’t see
your eyes. 

I don’t want anyone 
watching me
leaning against a wall
slightly drunk, grinning
with Siamese recognition

Unless he has
your eyes. 


Pieces of the past
fly up, brittle
shrapnel wounding
from mines long buried

You, walking across the lot
from the barn to the house, 
unmindful of my watching
premonition.  The picture of you

Standing next to the log 
church on the dirt road
in Eastern Oklahoma, 
the hills behind you

Colored bright with
heedless blood of fall.
Your smile remembered
explodes again


The Red Heifer

The creek is flooding
this morning. Its pewter surface 
wide and turbulent.

Dark branches flash by,
tangling in a deadfall
where a great sycamore
tore loose last spring.
Further down
swift water unrolls a 
smooth ribbon of bright grey.
One red heifer stands
on the far bank, moving her head

from side to side,
confused at the interruption 
in her path to the barn.
When the creek goes down 
she’ll find her way to
the salt lick in the shed,
but you’ll still be dying,
and I’ll still have to know


Wide crimson brush stroke
Insane red calligraphy
On white hospital wall
Screaming at my eyes
Catching unaware
Gushing, spouting bright and red
Drowning mind, inundating thought
Holding me frozen
Scream caught
Echoing blood
Ringing madness over and over

Where did you go
Suddenly so still—so still

I cry promises
Instead of tears

Not to you
But to me

Mr. Flannery's Chicks

Yesterday in science, Mr. Flannery’s chicks hatched,
my son said. The principal came in to see
and opened one too soon. The chick cracked
a beginning hole in its shell, and he tried to help.
Too small and too wet, the chick died.

Yesterday you called with your troubles, and 
I tried to help. You scratched a tiny beginning 
in your problem, and I gave you my best
advice, told you what to do.
Too small, too wet, your solution died.


Scorn not October, you lovers of green.
Scarlet and orange are a celebration
That’s not so much of end but rest hard won
Leaves, drifting promise of snow through air keen
With touch of frost and woodsmoke, gently wean
Us from summer’s rank and verdant passion,
Bright signals of ageless changing fashion.
And yet, the sadness comes, not unforeseen.
We walk autumn’s path, our feet reluctant.
We’re loath to don the coats and hats that tell
Of end to carefree day and bright hot night.
Gone the raucous birdsongs once so constant.

In their place north winds begin their knell,
Coldly mocking earth’s promise to requite.