Sunday, April 29, 2018
My first and only iris this spring.
Shadows Six April 22, 2018
My shadow at the dam is shorter now.
It walks close behind me or right in front.
I watch for new wild flowers and try
to guess which birds are circling high
above me. Wag and I go at a steady
pace, meet another, younger dog-walker,
who smiles as they pass us. We walk
more slowly, but we are there, keeping
our limbs limber, our bodies warmed
by the exercise. I count the cars of the
fishers below us, standing back now
from the turmoil of water as it explodes
high when released from the dam. Some
mornings I wonder if my old body can
get me through another day with ease,
even with grace. It does, and my doubts
fall back until another day. I sleep hard,
at night and sometimes by day–
unexpectedly. In the doctor’s office
my blood pressure was good; heart
and lungs still doing their work.
I keep walking if more slowly, nod
off when I’m tired, and words keep
flowing. It’s all I ask.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Winter Scene of Gene Dillard's home.
Gene Dillard has been my friend for twenty-seven years. He became a good poet in spite of himself. In Honduras, he wrote this one:
I saw his bent frame
walking toward the Mercado,
across his shoulders
a large pole with
huge bunches of bananas
hanging from each side.
through my mind
like corrugated sheet metal
used for roofing
in the third world
I thought he was a troubadour
carrying many fascinating
odes encased with
a protective outer skin,
waiting for a chance
His real love came later: building sculptures
Tree to left of house
Then bottle walls
Then mosaic trees, flowers, stars and mirrors, on his garage and house walls.
back of house and porch
Then he went inside; made tables and chairs, walls and skylights.
Everywhere he looked, he saw where the beautiful could transform the ordinary. People came to stare, to wonder at his patience. Mosaic work takes months, sometimes a whole year to remake one wall. He dreams new visions for his house museum, then starts work.
Gene at top of tower.
He's a great artist, isn't he?
Sunday, April 15, 2018
My phalaenopsis now beginning its blooms.
Shadows Five April 15, 2018
As our days warm, the sun higher
earlier, my shadow follows or leads
me up close. Greens dominate the
dam’s verges and the wooded hills.
I see the flowering grasses–so small
I pick one to see it up close: four
pale violet petals, one up, three down,
a white dot in the center, like an orchid.
A distant cousin maybe. My small
window orchids are blooming, and
the big phalaenopsis begins buds.
My son and I plant peas and beets,
and the new rain waters them. The
hens can’t wait to get out when I open
their chicken door. The house stays
warm at night. The trees are leafing
out. Winter was unwilling to get
out of bed, and Spring rushed in
and yanked off the cloud cover.
My heart beats normally; I sleep
hard, wake rested. The dog and I
do our ritual walk, and I count
fishermen and watch for new wild
flowers, say hello to other walkers.
When we arrive home, Wag nuzzles
me to let her out. The radio gives
me holy music, and I rest in the
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Three Cliffs Bay on Gower Peninsula, Wales. By John Ewing
Shadows Three April 1, 2018
It takes sun to make shadows. From
age twenty-one I’ve been entranced
by sun coming through leaves, bright
green, then darker, when the wind moves
them out of light into shade. Or wine
with sun in its depths, transforming
its reds, or its warmth on my back
as I plant seeds or weed untidy rows.
At the dam I watch for sun in order
to see my shadow. Winter has many
dark and cloudy days. Sometimes the
sun is trying to break through its
cloud cover but still no shadows,
which, at my new age, reassure me.
They are sun’s other children after all.
I feel more whole when my shadow
stretches out behind me or leads me
forward. These days uneven ground
makes me stumble, slow down to place
my feet carefully, hold onto my fence,
watch the way ahead. I keep walking
so that I can keep walking. On a
straight, flat road, I can look around,
trust my feet, but in the backyard
or in the house, I watch every step.
The hens like to excavate, make
hills and valleys in their straw, dig
down to see what’s there, find
food grains they missed or buried.
They can kick away until there’s a big
hole. On a warm day, they dig into the
earth, work it into their feathers, take
dirt baths. It must feel cool on their
skin. So I walk, hoping for shadows,
behind or before. Everything I do,
everywhere I walk, matters. Sun
confirms that every time it outwits
the cloudy sky.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
My White Rock hens a few years ago. This could be today.
Based on “Rapids” by Julia Kennedy in her calendar painting for May 2018
For me it’s shadows. Every day I walk across
the dam, I watch for my shadow marching
below me, down the hill, and some days,
when the wind is still, even across the water
and up the hill at the other end of the earthen
dam that creates Jordan Lake. In the painting
there is one small human figure surrounded
by rushing water, darkly threatening clouds,
with only a small window of blue that could
be sky but is probably water. That little
shadow is very persistent as she trudges
along. Even in a wind, she doesn’t hesitate,
pulls her hood up to protect her neck and
ears. A step at a time a great distance can
prove possible. But, oh for the courage
to believe in that shadow. I like to think
that when I’m gone, and even if storm clouds
dominate, and water boils and foams, and
wind is cruel and relentless, that my shadow--
all that is left of me and whatever words
on paper survive my death--will keep on
walking with firm steps, seeing more than
I can see now, accepting storms, even
lightning, but refusing to be dismissed,
ignored, or turned aside. Something eternal
or stubborn, or so part of the nature of
things that it simply won’t let go.