The river of life flows over the bed of our character

In time, the rough places may be made smooth

Aqua petrum vincit:  Water defeats rocks.

.

But what does time’s victory leave behind?

Only a smooth, grey channel

Where once white water raged and laughed

And fell over cliffs with the sound of thunder

And sprayed into the sunlit air to make rainbows?

.

I hope for a gentler victory

One that is no one’s defeat

Where anger may be finally assuaged

And disappointment forgotten

In some flood of unexpected grace

.

And if sound may be quieted

The blue lake is deep and wide

And holds healing and mystery

And the satisfaction of every promise

 

copyright 2017

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Morning Poem, October 28, 2017

 

 

The river of life flows over the bed of our character

In time, the rough places may be made smooth

Aqua petrum vincit:  Water defeats rocks.

.

But what does time’s victory leave behind?

Only a smooth, grey channel

Where once white water raged and laughed

And fell over cliffs with the sound of thunder

And sprayed into the sunlit air to make rainbows?

.

I hope for a gentler victory

One that is no one’s defeat

Where anger may be finally assuaged

And disappointment forgotten

In some flood of unexpected grace

.

And if sound may be quieted

The blue lake is deep and wide

And holds healing and mystery

And the satisfaction of every promise

 

copyright 2017

 

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Mid-day Post, October 23, 2017

 

 

 

 

Image result for frost orchard

 

 

That night as he pondered his decision sleep would not come.

He knew that there would be repercussions either way.  If she said no, word of that would get out.  Not that she would tell.  It was not in her to do such a hurtful thing and that was one of the parts of her character that so attracted him; one of the things that so distinguished her from all the rest.  It was one of the reasons he decided to go ahead and take the chance.  But word would get out, nonetheless.  He had himself leaked to others – his confidants – that he wanted to ask her and they, being friends and interested in his welfare, would naturally inquire about his luck as the days went by and have to be told.  And even though his friends meant the best for him, through them others would inevitably learn.  If he tried to hide any rejection by simply denying that he had asked her, they would encourage him all the more and perhaps even send out feelers through their own friends, particularly those who knew her, to insinuate that he was contemplating asking her and to find out what would she say.  That would be unfair to her and would also signal his own dishonesty.  And anyone would know – she would know – that such deceit was born of fear.  He would not have her know this, no matter what.  And thus, even in this decision, his admiration for her had lifted him toward honesty and courage.

That morning it rained.  A soft, steady rain that turned the world grey and made the day at school feel like bright shelter.  And when the time came, in just the way he imagined it would, he asked and she accepted without a trace of hesitation, as if she had known the question was coming, as if she had seen his own dreams and approved of them.  At that moment his world changed.  His doubts in himself – his doubts about his own judgement and about the way he was perceived in the world – were all reduced and he considered possibilities for life that were beyond his imagining only moments before.

That evening, as he walked home from school the rain diminished to a mist and he walked slowly and gave studied attention to the remnant of an orchard that remained in Dr. Griffith’s field.  It was October and all of the apples were gone, but the trees were still green as summer.

The next morning the dew on the orchard had frozen silver bright

And in his heart of hearts he pondered this and knew the world was right

 

copyright 2017

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Eventide

 

The tide pours into the flat, grassy sound

like the whispering of angels.

In the distance white birds drift and circle

and drop into the tall grass, disappearing.

The sky is quiet, too.

The loud sun has fallen below the horizon

and only a bright glow of gold and red

now marks its passage.

Across the inflowing stream a moving line

slices the slick, black surface.

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morning poem, Oct. 19, 2017

 

The rocking chair sits in the bright morning sun

Its bare wood bleached by relentless summers

It does not resist

Even its stationary pose is restful

In the sea breeze it totters slightly

As if in memory of one who sat there

Years before

 

 

copyright 2017

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Afternoon Post, Oct. 18, 2017

 

In late afternoon, the declining sun shines across the water like a skater over ice.  The white foam on the breakers is incandescent and electric, brighter than all else around, catching the radiance at just the right angle.   The waves themselves are emerald green and translucent.  On the beach a toddler, given freedom before unknown, chases a gull that seems to know that he is at play.    A shirtless fisherman draws a heavy, silver croaker from the surf.  His long and stout rod bends as he lifts the fish above the sand.  His wife, who has done this before, unhooks the striped fish and the fish shakes and bristles its dorsal fin, terror in its round eye.

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Mid-day Post, Oct. 18, 2017

 

Early morning and we are in kayaks on the marsh

We weave on little rivers around islands of spike grass

And learn the names of things

The clumsy cormorants, resting, each on its own post

Then ospreys and eagles, high in the pines

Muscular and all seeing

The roseate spoonbills are pink as sunrise

Their rare color shocks against this world of green and blue

And the terns bear marks as precise and bright as military dress

Storks and the Great Blue Heron glide

In defiance of their bulk

.

We marvel at creation

And at the names of the animals

This was man’s first creative act

The first divine injunction or permission

And in naming, man began to order the world

.

I know the names of the marsh birds now

And I am deeper in

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night post, oct. 17, 2017

 

Just out our door the wind blows off the sea and the breakers crash, one after another, sounding like jets leaving the ground.  It is dark now and the birds that navigate this symphony of air and water have disappeared.  The moon behind the clouds turns them purple and shows their outlines in the sky.  One man, barefoot and in a hooded sweatshirt walks alone down the beach in fulfillment of what he promised himself as he stared out his office window in the city only weeks ago.

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evening poem #2, Oct. 17, 2017

 

 

Unpainted and bearing rusted signs

Esso, Pure, and Upper 10

The parking lot is empty

But we’re early, I say

And it’s out of season

We check the reviews on her phone

Satisfied, we go inside

Empty house, and the man asks

You want a high table, low table

Or sit at the bar

We take a “low table”

And split the seafood platter

We’ll have it grilled, I say

In no time at all the salads are on the table

These veggies must be local, we agree

Yeah.  You know that the growing season

Is longer down here

Maybe year around

In the background

From the kitchen, maybe

We hear Elvis and then Johnny Cash

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evening poem, october 16, 2017

 

In the morning

In the distance

The sea birds stand on the beach

Like an army

Ordered by rank

The tall pelicans

Then the gulls in uniform

Then the tiny, blackbilled sandpipiers

 

Now they lift in horizontal lines

As if according to written plan

Suspended, then in flight

The multiplied whispers of their wings

Surprises the onlookers

Who stare at the black blanket

Now extended over the grey sea

As it billows and furls

And moves like a single organism

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