Monthly Archives: January 2015

Lovers on Aran by Seamus Heaney

How can one not be completely beguiled by the art of Seamus Heaney:

Lovers on Aran

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas

To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?

Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves’ collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.

Navajo Medicine Man

He was tall, maybe six foot four, and rail thin. Speaking to a mostly white audience at the Presbyterian church and with young Navajo body guards on either side, he spoke of having to put away the sacred bundles for a year because his people were not worthy of them and had fallen off the true path.

At times he became so anguished and frustrated at putting his thoughts into
english that he switched to Navajo to vent his frustration and perhaps ask the Creator for help.

He noticed the great wooden beams in the church where he spoke and said many “old ones” were used here and should be acknowledged.

After his talk he folded himself into the back of a black Chevy Suburban with darkened windows. His young body guards got in after him and he left.


Suddenly, a great circle of light and shadow,
a laminar, infinite window over still water.

Where does the world begin?

Silence. Then small riffles,
sounds standing up on spindly legs.

Where do I begin?

Give it a moment.

Looking For Feathers

A soup tureen is an arabic form of food poetry ※ Knickerbockers are boxer shorts for horses ※ Catacombs are often found in the personal care aisle next to caterpillars ※ Hair plugs are advertisements you can’t get rid of ※ Platypus is the sound a cat makes when it didn’t rotate fast enough after falling off the roof ※ Druthers are what you’d rather have than dreese ※ If hope is the thing with feathers, doubt is the house cat ※ To carom off something sounds better than bouncing off it ※ You take the cake — if its older than three days ※ General Patton wore knickerbockers when no one was looking ※ If I could do it all over again I would keep the soap dispenser a little cleaner ※ A room on Bleeker street would make anyone write a song about it ※ Winter seems to be expecting something different from us this year ※ Happenstance is a place where circumstance gets a bus transfer and then loses it ※ A credible alibi is when you get caught in a hotel bed with a colleague from work when you were supposed to be helping them rob the safe in the front office ※

Be Yourself

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

–Oscar Wilde

Crossing the Mountains in Winter

Driving over the Blue mountains of eastern Oregon in winter. The highway has a foot of powder snow over it and all I can see of earth and sky is two faint red tail lights of the car in front of me. We all slow to ten, then five miles an hour and then finally we stop. Like a nose to tail pony ride that has lost its way home.

We get out of our cars and trucks and stand in the middle of the highway and talk about what to do as the snow deepens and night falls around us. We decide we will each drive ten miles an hour and keep the tail lights in front visible, with no sudden braking.

Minutes crawl by like hours, hours like days. Often the windshield is completely blanketed but I know I can’t stop so I estimate direction and keep going.

Something happens out there. We are no longer of this earth but become suspended above it in an intimate living room of white felt and urgent love. The trucker behind me knows my thoughts as well as I do. My two year old son sleeps in the back seat unaware.

Somehow, this time, after what seems like an eternity, the circus finds the park. Baker City appears from nowhere and the makeshift survival convoy converges on the truck stop diner for pie, happy relief and smiles. We knew it would be ok, really.

I write this this morning as I read of a fifty car pile up last night on that same stretch of road under similar conditions. People life-flighted to Portland and Boise, though no one killed, thank God.

Here’s to hoping — for all of us everywhere — that the circus continues to find the park.

The Under Painting

A warm kitchen full of people talking,
faces softly out of focus,
children playing under tables.

Streamers of kelp drift through the scene.
Bits of orange pollen blow on the night wind.
A chimpanzee sits above on a knoll with a stick.
Angling for ants, he drops the stick into the kitchen.

A woman in the living room
is carrying her mother on her back.
She is the only one who can see her.

Another woman is eating a bowl of chain stew.
A third century saint looks in through a corner window.
A teapot, big as a car, is leaving by the side door on cat feet.