Tying Sea to Stone

The stone feet of the island
rest in the sea, their grass skins
glistening at low tide.
The winds have calmed
after yesterday’s storm,
stillness replacing the rush
of air and breaking wave.
Supported by earth
I sit with the old ones
to search for new stories,
dreaming of fire
and cold water’s brace.
I dream I am human
with sharp teeth
and open hands, welcome
in the cathedral of the deep.
Diving with orca
a lost kingdom rises
in the marrow of my bones,
filling my soul
with the treasure of peace.
As I stretch out to warm
in the light of the day
these dreams become ribbons
tying sea to stone
and in their bright colors
begin the new stories.



photograph by Patrick Orleman


Tracing Mysteries

There’s always more to do,
the world wanting your attention,
hurry now before the circus leaves town.
All that you are not quite enough
with the elephants to watch
and the ladies in tights.
The midway barkers shout
try your luck, here’s your chance
yet beyond the fairgrounds
in a green slice by the river
silence waits and the sound
of the wild, of water over rock.
You’ll forsake the calliope,
walk a lot of lonely miles
but if you’re called to wonder
you won’t regret leaving the circus
or your time beside the river.
The sound of her voice
lilts quietly on the wind,
the fluttering of cottonwoods
and dappled water
tracing mysteries on your heart,
speaking the sacred words
that answer every prayer –
you belong.






Walks in Moonlight

Ripe and full the harvest moon rises
casting tree shadows from their tops
lifted to the star wheel.
No loneliness or garish glare,
just silver glow and silence.
Orion in the east
signals winter coming
yet still there is warmth
and the sweetness of corn.
The winds will pick up
bringing early storms,
rain again to soak the land,
but for now I walk in moonlight,
drinking deep the night.






Stone Faces

Grey water and light wind,
the distant call of a gull.
The weight of these times
with me as I settle
into the silence once more,
the presence of the sea
deep and unmoving.
The old voices are with me,
tired of the world,
the many broken places,
and something else
rising from within
to meet her beauty,
greet the morning.
Faces on the ancient stone
much like my own,
dipping into cold water,
lifted toward the light.





Preparing Witness

He turns to rise with the sun
at the far edge of the world,
no temple or towering buddha,
just the lonely sound of garbage trucks
and smoke choked skies,
preparing witness
for the coming of the eternal.




photo by Willard Walch


Eyes to the East

The voice like an airhorn
buffets the country
with meaningless sounds,
the swaggering gait of ignorance
futile against mounting crises.
Up has long been down
in the prison yard of violence,
combing the shadows for answers
while real light lays beyond,
outside their cold encampments
where seekers rest in moonlight,
sharpening their tools against the dark,
an old magus among them, silent.
He watches the stars in their procession,
their long orbit slowly changing.
Learning from the night, patient with the day,
the season of reckoning draws close,
the time of waiting soon to be over.
There is only one earth,
one grail that unites them.
They gather their strength
as the late hours pass
while his eyes look to the east
for the dawn that surely comes.





photo by Patrick Orleman


Connecting the Thread

Connecting the thread
from the dimly lit present
back through the darkened past
to the ancient forgotten,
before the slain, the hardened earth,
what comes alight is new to time,
unburdened by mortal weight.
Pale green and fresh as a leaf,
unprecedented as the rising sun,
true to life and nothing else
the unbidden seeps into the unaware,
examining the chains of habit,
the horrid wounds of tradition
and like a tide that lifts all boats
raises the noble and impoverished
to sight of the never before imagined.
The loft of this platform frightens,
instilling vertigo back into the familiar,
but for the intrepid the promise of horizon
leads them into the unseen,
closing behind their old worn history
like the mist of a jagged dream.





Holding Her Sorrow

Fire rages down the dry slopes,
years of sunlight lift in choking smoke,
falling as ash blanketing the valley.
The sun dull orange in a smoke filled haze,
we reach into the burning present
for the ark within the flames,
to find and be the solace
while the old earth cleanses,
holding her sorrow, her trembling hands
as she weeps for what is lost.
There are no words yet for the future.




Photograph by Tristan Fortsch



for the morning sky
then silence
carving inner space,
hollow bone, empty reed
ready for heaven and earth
to make their music.




Photo by Peter Castonguay



Winding through the broad valley
the Willamette runs north,
the aorta of country life
pulsing through the earth.
The life most know
fuels along the highways,
the roar of cars and fast pace.
Falling from the mountains
the river can be white and rapid
but through the vast farmlands
the run is leisurely and deliberate,
around islands of sand and gravel,
backwaters and shallow channels,
glinting in the summer sun
through fields of hops,
slipping quiet and unnoticed
beneath the many bridges.
We are changed by the river,
closer to our original selves
after days and nights
bathing in the river tongue.
To live in that way
dissolves the mirage
for a few precious moments,
draws us closer to source
in the ancient way.
Leaving no trace,
the shore gently shifts
in the summer winds
and our marks upon the water
dissolve in the river’s path
ever onward to the sea.