Monthly Archives: May 2015

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda 

Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. 

For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for one second,and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silencemight interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
–Pablo Neruda 

The Sea Has No Memory

in the hard corners
the walls argue

tribal masks
of pride and loss

fold the past
as ships on a dark mirror

the sea
holds all and says nothing

as if all time
were paper cranes

and could find home
without benefit of stars

Directives, by Robert Frost

Back out of all this now too much for us,Back in a time made simple by the loss

Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off

Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather


Here are your waters and your watering place. 

Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

–Robert Frost

The Tunnel

I am moving through a tunnel. A kaleidoscope of images from my life is passing me on all sides.

There is the last family picnic with my dad. Over there, a rodeo grandstand and a girl in impossibly tight jeans riding a palomino pony like thunder and holding an American flag.

Each scene has a kindness inside it, impossibly beautiful on its own.

There is the Woolworth store in Wyoming with the wooden floors and the vacuum tubes that whisked your money away upstairs and came clanging back with the change. Here I am fishing for winter steelhead and over there I am standing at an alter with a somewhat dazed look on my face.

The future is here too. A bright scrim of days vibrating in superposition, wild with uncertainty. Einstein said every scene is there already before we reach it, embedded in a space-time block like pictures in an icy file drawer. He said the future is a stubborn illusion. Yet there it is below me, all bright and sparkling with hope and possibilities.

I decided to write a letter to an unknown American soldier today, telling of my hopes for my children and for him or her. It will brighten my day and maybe theirs when it reaches them. I could also decide to go for a walk by the river or finish a song I’ve been working on. I will put a copy of the letter in my file drawer with all the others. I will label it Love.

Looking around the tunnel–all the images seem to have that label, actually.