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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Life Flowed Between Us


File:Rivers Southern India 88.74820E 21.89536N.jpg

Life flowed between us

File:Hawaii lava flow 1.JPG

It was the voice in the shadows
that flows between the centuries

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like dark hair flows
across a pillow

File:Lava flow at hawaii.JPG

When I looked
I knew what it was like

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to dip a foot
into the river of forgetfulness

File:Pāhoehoe Lava flow.JPG

And the voice said

File:River Plate.jpg

Go ahead

Rivers of southern India: photo by NASA, 2005
Pahoehoe lava flow, Big Island of Hawaii: photos by Mila Zinkova, 2007
Tana River, Kenya: photo by NASA, 2005
Songhua River, just west of Haerbin, China: photo by NASA, 2002
Delta of the River Plate
: image by Jacques Descloitres (NASA), 2003
Landscape with a River and a Bay: Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1835-1840 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)




We’re alone my shadow and me
You’re alone with your shadow too
The first day and the last day the same
First song same as last song

The stream weeps passing under concrete
Habitual deer have retreated
The earth is covered with vehicles
Meant to secure the unknown against us

The caged bird said this place is very pretty
Excellent for lunch fine for sleeping
But if I might ask one thing more
How come nobody thought to put in a door


Strawberry Creek coming out of the culvert from UC Berkeley: photo by Coro, 2009
Strawberry Creek as it leaves the park: photo by Coro, 2009


Monday, 29 June 2009





The world is still and quiet through fog.
A spring day begins.
In my hut, there is everything.
Outside, a three-foot garden.
A creek trickles past
under concrete.


A hand ball
wet with spring rain
makes a wet
bounce mark
on the wall.


I have heard the call
of the spring wind.
Sparrows are chirping
in the light evening rain.
Hearts full of fears,
they fly up and down.

Sneezing, why do
I lose sight of them?

File:American Tree Sparrow.jpg


It’s the long morning
of spring,
whittled down
by the spring rain.


A spring night.
Lighting the candle.
I went out and swept the garden.
The cats kept on sleeping.
A mad woman was out there
in the street,
screaming things
in the spring night.


As we grow old
even the length of the day
may make us wet-eyed.
Deep grief
for the nature of things.
We walk single file
along the railroad track
in the wildflower field,
by the sandy beach,
in the short spring night.


Strawberry Creek by Gilman Hall, facing East: photo by Coro, 2009
American tree sparrow (Spizella arborea): photo by dominic sherony, 2009
Wildflowers: Alberta wild rose, Western yarrow, Bluebells, Heart-leaved arnica, Red paintbrush: photo by Dwindrim, 2004



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Summer night
klang of stars
inner acoustic

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water diamonds
the oars

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Warty comb jellyfish (Mnemiopsis), Monterey Aquarium: photo by Bastique, 2006
Open cluster of Pleaiades: Palomar telescope color-composite image of Pleaiades star cluster, 2005 (NASA/ESA/AURA/Caltech)
Noctiluca scintillans (dinoflagellate exhibiting bioluminescence): photo by Maria Antónia Sampayo, 2007

"Mare's tail clouds..."


File:Cirrus over Warsaw, June 26, 2005.jpg

Mare’s tail clouds cotton white
against a summer yacht blue
sky – the extending of light into
the renewing of the evening


Cirrus clouds, late afternoon, over Warsaw, Poland: photos by Przemyslaw "Blue Shade" Idzkiewicz, 2005



File:Hypnotist and blindfolded woman with angels on stage.jpg



Hypnotist and blindfolded woman with angels on stage: The Donaldson Litho Co., Newport, Ky., n.d. (Library of Congress)
Reineke Fox: Frithjof Spangenberg, 2004

To Ungaretti


File:Ungaretti Giovane.jpg

On high the fables blaze

The aurora australis came and went
It was lost in the past
You lasted

Wherever you are read now
a searchlight beacon reaches
into fog

Born in the shade of the beam of
the great lighthouse
of Alexandria

you knew the hard
Egyptian stars
twenty years
before you set foot
on the factual shore
of Italy
to begin
a pilgrimage
in silence
at night
in the dark
over mountains
fragmented bodies

On high the fables blaze
at the first hint of a breeze
they'll flutter to earth
with the leaves
but when the wind picks
up again
there will be a new star
in the southern sky

When you were old and silvery and raging
You wrote You were shattered

At eighty
you gave
Ed Sanders
one of your pubic hairs
to sell to speculators
to pay the costs
of his poetry magazine

At that same time
Ted Berrigan
was constructing an homage to you
deliberately mistranslated

Tootin' My Horn on Duty

Your poetry burned out of your soul
by the suffering around you
in the most horrible of wars
remains as hard as bits of stars

When I think about you now
I always remember that

under the Southern Cross’s wild conflagration
your father
helped build
the Suez Canal


Giuseppe Ungaretti, c. 1915 (photographer unknown)
Aurora australis and Southern Cross, viewed from Dunedin, New Zealand: photo by James Dignan, 2006

Friday, 26 June 2009



File:Bristol Bus Station clocks.jpg

Echoes rebound in the ancient ball court
Against the wind singing in the trees
There is a silent helmetted adversary
Flames glimmer from his deep eye slots

Moths swirl upon glass as if to speak
One sits solitary by the lamp hour by hour
The gleam that keeps the night awake falters
Time as it passes fills up with something else


Invisible gaps open to the past
The clock does not strike as expected
The cavalcade has dispersed without lament
Words have been forsaken by their letters

But day and night still struggle on
And though day noisily contend
At the end shadow stands alone
Masked in the dark clearing waiting

File:Liesing Quando est hora ultima 23052007 01.jpg

File:Nature Clock.gif

Bristol bus station clocks
: photo by Rob Brewer, 2005
Old style Diamond alarm clock: photo by Jorge Barrios, 2006
Sundial on steeple of parish church, Liesing, Carinthia, Austria: photo by Johann Jaritz, 2007
Nature clock: image and animation by Nevit Dilmen, 2001

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Night on Earth


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There is no longer night in any city


There is no longer night in Taipei

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There is no longer night in Los Angeles

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There is no longer night in Caracas


There is no longer night in Washington

There is no longer night in Singapore

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There is no longer night in Chicago

Photo: Aerial view of Chicago city lights

There is no longer night in Paris


There is no longer night in Tokyo

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There is no longer night in New York City

File:Empire State Building Night.jpg

There is no longer night beyond the Golden Gate


There is no longer night in Europe

From space its cities and seacoasts appear as white lace or perhaps as incandescent viral outbreaks

File:Europe night.png

We are coming almost to the end of night on Earth

The stars will before long be lost to us forever

Nature will have had to find another place

In future night may exist only in abstract theoretical darkness


Earthlights at night: data by NOAA digital archive; images by C. Mayhew and R. Simmon (NASA), 2004
City at night: photo by Orel Zion, 2005
Taipei101: photo by soda-susu, 2006
Los Angeles at night, skyline: photo by Aaron Logan, 2004
Night view of Caracas from the top of Los Naranjos: photo by cirofono, 2008
Washington, D.C. at night: photo by International Dark-Sky Association, 2008
Singapore skyline, night: photo by Sanchom, 2007
Aerial view of Chicago at night: photo by Jim Richardson for National Geographic, 2008
Eiffel Tower at night: photo by OA kalliber, 2006
Tokyo night view: photo by Gorgo, 2008
Empire State Building at night: photo by Charliebrown7034, 2004
Golden Gate Bridge, from East Bay: photo by David Corby, 2006
Europe at night (human-made lights only): data by C. Elvidge (NOAA); image by C. Mayhew and R. Simmon (NASA), 2008
Absolute darkness: image by Miraceti, 2006

Lost (Again)


File:Mule Deer in Bryce Canyon.jpg

Even on the mean concrete streets
Of Berkeley there are lost deer at night
This time of year, run off the hills, descending
To look for water and, not finding it,
Settling for nibbling the leaves of rose
And other bushes in people's back yards

Last fall this time, standing in the daytime rush
Hour street out front, now vacant this once
Because it was peaceful three in the morning
I heard familiar light tap dancer steps
On pavement that alerted me to
A presence I knew could not be another

Clumsy human like me, turned and saw close by,
Surprised as I was by our chance meeting,
Ears cocked toward me and likewise frozen,
A big deer, calculating whether to make
A run for safety yet no doubt in the same
Moment aware in cities there's no safety

For deer--we stood both thus transfixed,
Till I looked away, knowing in this turning
I would allow our night encounter to end--
As so it did, for in those seconds more
Light footsteps told me the visitor was
Moving away up into darkness toward...?

File:Doe and fawns July 2006.jpg

Mule Deer in Bryce Canyon: photo by Dbenbenn, 2005
California mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus californicus): doe and fawns, Auburn, Ca.: photo by Geisig, 2006

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Lake


File:Lake mapourika NZ.jpeg

The silence of eternity
Is like organized crime
It spreads its roots everywhere
In these lacustrine retreats

We inhabit Goodbye, Lake
Poets! The radio is chinking out
Caprice Espagnole by Lao-Tree
Its cold tinkling magic echoes across the peaks

File:Canada lake.jpg

Lake Life I want to take a bath
In you and forget death
Waits at the muddy bottom
Although I live in the tree

Of poetry and sing I have no
Water wings
And fear death by drowning
In a mirror image


Morning mist on Lake Mapourika, New Zealand: photo by Richard Palmer, 2004
Canadian lake: photo by Mattkenn3, 2006
A little lake in the Canadian Rockies: photo by Helios, 2006

The Practice of Painting


Morning beckons from the phthalocyanine shade
Heaviness sheds its weight
There’s water everywhere

Unrivaled dawns and dusks so wild

Hands like leaves
Move chastely in the air
And many little cries – according to Alberti –
Come out of the branches
Near by, whispering foglie…

The wax paper crackles around the sandwich
In Botticelli’s hands
As he relaxes beside his canvas
Having lunch

The Madonna
Of the Magnificat

Cestello Annunciation (detail): Sandro Botticelli, 1489-90 (Galleria degli Uffizi)
Madonna del Magnificat (detail): Sandro Botticelli, 1480-81 (Galleria degli Uffizi)

No Tears for Buccaneers


File:Pyle pirate relaxing2.jpg

On a calm sea everybody is a pilot
But this night when the waves bucked like mustangs
The young lady returned to her quarters
Where the shadows turned out to be pirates

No longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates, girl
Men may be read, as well as books, too much
Even we pirates, fascinating as we are,
Have a way of leaving you lonely nights

Thus spoke the dashing Mr. Kidd despite the weather
As a wind rushed in pre-emptively from outer space
It made Runaround Sue wonder about the universe
But the big ship plunged on into the night

File:HMS Hermes (1811) and Mouche.jpg

Pirate Relaxing -- William "Captain" Kidd: Howard Pyle (from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates)
Destruction of La Mouche, Privateer of Boulogne, by H.M.S. Hermes, 14th Sept. 1811 off Beachy Head in a Heavy Gale: Capt. Philip Brown and I. Clark (engraver) (British Museum)

Nights at Sea


File:Pigeon Point Light house.jpg

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.--Jane Austen

Once again, that eternal conversation
Going on in the the dark across
A short suspension bridge between ships
That may as well be island worlds

Of unknowing ones who understand
Each other, perhaps, better than they do
Themselves. As if understanding helped.
And now, as the obscure harbor looms,
Not exactly a port safe from the storm,

Explosive words mine the dire straits;
We ask ourselves, how can we navigate
These narrows without deceiving beacons
Flashing come off it and give us a break
To misguide us?


Pigeon Point Lighthouse: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2008
Nividic Lighthouse, Ouessant Island, Finistère: photo by Samuel Lamotte d'Incamps, 2005