On Leave of Absence, Monday Morning, 8:00 a.m.:
I open my front door—
A deck covered with ice.
Stay home. Light a fire.
In the Afternoon, Hiking on the Bluffs near Goleta:
Storm clouds gather above the coast.
An old, old friend has died.
Let it rain.
Why fog in winter?
In summer it tempers the heat.
This chills the bone.
Digging long ditches,
I probe for broken pipes—
Two days knee deep in mud.
Saturday, after Heavy Rain:
We hike through green hills.
Huge white clouds drift south.
Water runs in every draw.
Now That I'm 61.5:
Lost cell phone.
What was that password?
Wallet missing. Give it up. Enjoy.
Fungus fruit in leaf rot,
Poison oak, Toyon shade—
We scour dark places.
Perfect Zen Memory, San Antonine du Val, Southern France:
A raspberry tart—
The day lay ahead of me.
The Ferrier Comes on a Winter Morning:
Warm breath clouds the horses.
Hammer clangs anvil.
Our dogs gnaw the trimmings.
Finally Horseback, After Weeks of Rain:
Ears bolt upright,
Our mares spook at cow, bush, rock—
Their heads brim with ghosts.
Turning Out the Cow Herd, After a Branding:
We finish at noon—
Heifers sprint up the hill.
Steers tiptoe, gin…ger…ly.
Prelude to a Week of On and Off Rain:
Take tools to cover.
Bring in oak logs, split kindling.
Buy a damn good book.
Lying on the Sofa, 10 A.M., Feeling Somewhat Guilty:
I stare out the window—
Bare boughs, dove song, grey sky.
That is all there is.
An English Professor Teaches What Could Be His Last Class:
The door closes.
The words of students grow silent.
I hard prune my own.
Stephen Defines God and Shrugs in James Joyce's Ulysses, Page 42, Bodley Head Edition:
"A shout in the street"--
It's too simple to understand,
So I concur.
Busted, Caught Watching "Trailer Park Boys", Canada's Outlaw Comedy Series:
“Dad,” my daughter queries,
“Is your mind on vacation?"
“Is your mind on vacation?"
In Morning Sunlight, After a Night of March Showers:
With my stick
I whack a tall mustard plant—
A candelabra shatters.
A Haiku in the Tractor Shed Machine Shop:
Turn the screw lever
And tighten, tighten, tighten --
Thought caught in a vise.
A Small Group of Cows Arrange Themselves in a Bright Green Swale:
Some stand and graze.
Others lie down and look up --
They think me an artist.
On Giving Editorial Advice to Someone about a Poem:
I have crawled through the fence
To a meadow not my own.
Call the sheriff.
On a “Cardio” Hike with My Daughter on a Breezy March Day:
We plan a tough hike,
But only pick mushrooms.
There’s a metaphor here.
On Buying and Eating a Box of Frozen Macaroons from Trader Joes:
Nine time zones distant,
In Paris, you once stole my heart.
Now we are both old.
Lion Kill in Pig Canyon, Found on a Late Afternoon Walk:
The leg of a calf lies on the road.
It is a long way home.
Monthly Blood Draw at the Outpatient Lab, Cottage Hospital:
Tighten fist to rock.
Eyes close. Fingers open, upward--
See now. Strange flower.
Tinker’s Curse, Near Fred Hanna’s Bookstore, Dawson Street, Dublin:
Old woman in rags
Begs coins. I offer a sandwich--
”Pig’s nose on ya!”
Why the Evangelical Protestant Missionaries Failed on Achill Island, Ireland, During the Famine:
A farmer stops work,
To shout, as we pass by,
“We never took the soup!”
Pick Pocketed by a Gang of Dublin Children, Not Far from the River Liffey:
Tiny girls swarm past us--
I know them well,” laughs the Garda.
Shaking Hands with the Corpse of the Old Crusader, Catacombs, Saint Michan’s Church, Dublin:
In the dim cell
Extends a withered hand—
“Just… ‘tap’ it,” cautions our guide.
From Yew tree needle,
It blocks cell division--
Deforest the graveyards!
Carpe Diem, Carpe Florem-- A Brief Meditation in Wildflower Season on Horace’s famous Line of Poetry:
Don’t seize the flower.
Leave it for others.
But the day? It’s yours to waste!
Wild Iris Meadow, Mount Pinos, Late July:
Quick, now, go. You must see them.
They bloom for you.
Tomorrow? Don’t bother.
Evening Fogbank, El Chorro Ranch, August:
Thick fog shrouds the ranch.
Welcome, old sailor, weary,
Home from the harsh sea.