Morning Birds After Rain


The visions of this morning put to words,
attempting to appropriate the scene,
is all about the presence of some birds:
a hummingbird that models fuschia’s green
and darting hovers dancing in the air,
and then a flock of seven matching crows,
a gathering once notable and rare.

Perhaps Tiresias its import knows,
but I am only witness to the sight,
as yet unversed in omens, dreams and signs.
I happen to be walking in the light
that morning after storming sideways shines,
and slips and probes and penetrates the gray,
as if it were a hummingbird today.

Still Life with Rain


The hissing kiss of tires on the street
announces that the morning rain’s begun,
and then the runoff fuels the creek to meet
the thickened sky that gray-obscures the sun.
I witness winddrifts – red and yellow leaves
that clump in soggy sidewalk-staining piles –
redwood fences rain-striped, dripping eaves,
and drivers geared for slicks and traffic trials.

Now sunshine leaks a little in the east –
there’s golden glowing outward under glower.
We’re cloud-depressed but weathering at least,
and here’s an image like a foul flower:
an ashtray, common glass and overflowing,
with dirty speckled filter petals showing.

(October 1992)



A folded fallen leaf I saw today,
sienna on the sidewalk’s pale concrete,
appeared to be a dead bird in my way,
and I prepared to sidestep to the street,
until I recognized it for the leaf
it is: a time-bleached page of sycamore
whose fall betokens other things than grief
or detour, as it drifts through autumn’s door.

If I suspect an omen from a bird
that isn’t there (my eyes too skilled or blind
for old Tiresias), it’s not absurd
to read my vision for intent of mind:
Whatever tender I once held for him
detached last night to settle, dead and dim.

Already Autumn


Already autumn seasons us, with darts
of red and orange leaves in crispy air.
The nights befall us earlier. They start
suggesting winter brevity. Compare
the light at 6 p.m. to just three weeks
ago, and note the recent rain that made
adobe-colored gutter water, leaks
in old garages, rivulets in shade.

Already fall approaches. I should fix
the broken, reinforce the frail, replace
with prudence and prepare myself for six
months on the other side. But I’ve a pace
too skewed right now – intention aimed elsewhere,
impelled by elements of self-repair.



September Sunday sunlight shining through
the windows, limns each streak upon the glass.
It makes the murk apparent in the view;
it webs the air with motes and dries the grass.
So what should spark my joy invites my eyes
instead to dust, adrift or layered deep,
and what should stimulate and energize
in me produces tendency to sleep.

The spider web suspended from a tree
is damaged and abandoned by its host.
The planet can survive extremity
but we will leave a dirty trace, a ghost
of pale enlightenment among debris,
and threads of broken webs for history.

B & W


The laden heavy air depresses trees
and pushes on my shoulders as I stride.
Each molecule feels large enough to squeeze
it like a sponge, with fingers modified
to make of morning fog a syrup pool,
to juggle water traveling in air.
Today is local overcast and cool,
and water is suspended everywhere.

The bay and train and sky are steely gray,
and leaves are cloaked in grayish overtone.
If water should be blue, then we today
are living vintage movie monochrome.
Our night and morning skies are seldom bright
in summer, but the temperature’s just right.

Alone in the Heart of it All


Upon my back upon a lawn I lay
beneath a conifer in dappled sun
at 3 p.m. one perfect Saturday,
entranced. The August month had just begun,
embroidered with the shape of solitude,
and shot with colors leonine and bold.
My errand blossomed to event, my mood
awake and quiet, opening to gold.

The squirrels chittered claims above my head.
The long and lacy needles of the fir
resembled silicon, segmented green
like broom beside a city creek. A thread
contentment seeped and sent a quiet stir
like dream in me: alone, alive, serene.