turtle in the grass, alas

Today, when I was mowing, I saw a turtle in the grass. It moved as fast as it could out of the way of the mower. I stopped. It stopped and turned to look at me. It was astounding, since it is half a mile to the nearest body of water.


on my mind today…

When the archetypal madness grips me

and nursery rhymes are oracles

and I start speaking King James English

and believe that love is destiny

and fashion dreams from random thoughts

and speak prophetic nonsense

and no one follows,

I know I have a problem

and that it’s time to get a grip

which makes me laugh with gentle sadness

at the wonder of the mind which fashioned this,

for it is so incredibly still today that I can hear

the pounding pain of humans

being turned on heaven’s lathe;

I thought it was the males who struggled, though

in watching you I knew it was not so,

for you seem to be afraid of love

with all your cares, and cannot go

where love attends; I wish I could decode

your heart and pry from you

the pain you carry,

but I cannot.

Our Last Trip

It had rained during the night and the floor of the tent was darker in color in places where the water had seeped in. You were sleeping, sighing with soft breaths, and I wondered if the world would work without you in it.

Crawling through the flaps of the tent into the early morning light I felt the presence of god, or, at least, had a feeling of peace and contentment that in my mind I associated with god. I had often felt this way on our canoe trips. Here time slowed down to the speed of a canoe paddled across a vast lake, where there were no computers or cell phones, where the ego shrank to a reasonable size and real focus was possible.

Ducks swam in a ragged line near shore. A patch of blueberries covered the lower edge of the campsite near the water. I decided to pick some for pancakes and got an aluminum pot from the large pack containing our food and utensils. The pan was scratched and worn from use. The berries were larger than I expected and, as I picked them, the green-headed Mallards and their brown mates twitched their wings and paddled away. I had beaten them to the blueberries and felt a twinge of regret.

Ode to Rebecca

The waning of the light turns bright, yellow, a steel blue, celebrating the breeze, the water, a shimmering half-life of day, for once intending, ever is, ever does, ever wants to be, the beacon of remembrance that I now embrace.

Lost in thought, I hear your voice on the wind, but cannot hear the words, just the sounds, unable to separate sound from sense, sound from essence, until the slapping of our paddles releases them.

We drift past islands and outcroppings of rocks with gulls, some flying overhead, terning with with sharp, piercing cries. Are you listening? you ask, turning to face me, and, as always, your eyes are dark pools, and reflectively, without preamble or thought, I fall into them.

We are so ordinary, I think, so common, like anyone who has ever lived or will live, except for the intensity of what we feel for one another. It’s like a potpourri of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Romeo and Juliet, fortune cookies, Baci sayings, Wiccan’s spells, every story I’ve written or wanted to write, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and Kate Wolf’s singing, a thousand misstatements, misdeeds, lies, and misanthropic Malapropisms, good and not-so-good lovemaking, kids, family, and all the rest, encompassing every absurd cliche ever written about love, but nothing captures the essence of it, or its mystery, nothing.

In the twilight a young moose wades through reeds at the edge of the island, eating as it goes. Like the gulls, it ignores us.

We should head back, you say, it’s getting dark, and your voice carries across the water and disappears into the void.

Ode to John

in the game the Revelator
I watch
as the Word rides a wave
that I must catch
the exact moment it crests
or else
I die
and must try again,

but of course
I never catch the wave
and possess the Word
no matter how hard I try-
I always press the wrong buttons
or my timing is off-
and am doomed to die eternally.