Alive in Darkness

Three owls call
from the wood,
their hoots
back and forth
resonating
in the forest.
Pale light
slants down
through the trees,
casting shadows
of juniper, fir
and the fluttering leaves
of ocean spray.
Alive in darkness
the earth quietly unveils
with no rush
toward morning.
The channel tide
passes like a river,
moon arcs above
in a clouded sky
while sheltered ones
sleep and dream
of hooded birds
with moonlit talons.

 

 

 

 


photograph by Robert Aughenbaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Alive in Darkness” with music by Chick Corea and Gary Burton


 


To the Renewal

In my time
the turning of a page,
the loss of courage
and rush to escape.
Within the failure
charred remains
of villages in the forest
and shoots of fervent green,
their seeds cracked open
by the incendiary heat
of a landscape born in fire.
I observe, I witness,
and add my signature
to the bottom line.
I lost sight of the treasure
yet darkness brought return,
the fall from grace
softened by your beauty.
Now beyond forgetting
the renewal of our vows
from our watch above the sea.
Amidst seals’ bark
and ravens’ harsh croak
I lend myself to the tide,
surrendering the armor
of this long suffering shell,
and to the renewal I offer my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “To the Renewal” with music by Bach


 


Countless are the Bones

Countless are the bones
beneath our feet,
each sacrifice of those
who’ve gone before
a gift to the newly born.
They are present
on moonlit nights,
in fluttering trees
and the echo of owls,
looking on
with tender care
as we find our way
through the living dark.

 

 

 


photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Countless are the Bones” with music by Samuel Barber


 


Skies of Communion

Clouds settle down
on the surface of the sea
and blanket the tree tops.
The wet drip of the forest
drums on the cabin roof
while eagles pace
from perch to perch
along the coast line.
We need the rain,
the land already dry
months before summer.
Within the mist
the pinnacles of the city,
its noise and ambition
are far off and unheard.
Life force rises
in rough-barked
fir and cedar
while my soul drinks
from deep water
like a songbird on wet soil.
A young tree grows
from a crack in stone,
rabbits feed on new grass
then return to their burrow
beneath a brake of nootka rose.
I’m living on food
that doesn’t come in a package,
on drink that won’t be bottled.
As the clouds lift above the sea
my spirit shakes off its grave clothes,
an ancient past finding form
under rain filled skies of communion.

 

 

 


photograph by Willard Walch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Skies of Communion” with music by the Kinks


 


How Old

Uncertain how old we will be
when the turning is complete,
how old the earth is now
or ever will be.
How old the roads
that carve the land
or inner paths
we’ve travelled?
We all journey
the mortal way
and though not together
the ancient river
says we are,
that we walk and walk
again and again,
and no one knows
how old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “How Old” with music by Norm Smookler


 


Footsteps Gently Covered

The ebbing tide rushes south
with the lonesome sound of stirring geese,
the sway of high firs in a soft breeze.
The living world breathes in light,
exhales with the sound of wind
as the green land rises
from spring fed ground.
I pile stones to mark the morning,
a cairn of reverence beside the tideline
offering prayers for all my relations
as footsteps gently covered
by the searching sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Footsteps Gently Covered” with music by Nicolas Jaar


 


Poetic Champions

After the sun went down
the poetic champions descended
from the forested hills
to the stony point jutting into the sea.
Sirius blazed overhead
as did Arcturus, the stars of Orion
and the great Bear.
The champions had gathered
for the moonrise
and as the earth slowly revolved
a bulb of illumination grew in the east
until with pale brilliance
the globe of the Moon
shone bright across the water.
They traded verses
in the moonlit night,
enjoying their complement
to the star crossed heaven
as they sang and chanted
to praise the ancient
and inspire the unborn,
bearing their gifts
for the billowing deep.
They sang the songlines
that hold the world together
despite the fears of the unknown.
As the Moon rose in the sky
and the star wheel turned
they departed for the forest
and high inland mountains
leaving behind
the music of words
captured in stone
and borne upon the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Poetic Champions” with music by Van Morrison


 


Paths of Shattered Stone

Cold comes the morning
with clouded skies and gray seas;
birds taking shelter
as winds increase,
night’s disturbance
spilling over into the day.
The earth healing
with wind and rain,
calling from sea depth
and high mountain
to bridge these times of chaos
left by the absent ones.
I struggle with fault lines,
finding my way
from the troubled shore,
cleaving to paths
of shattered stone
to where light rises,
finding rest in the heights
where eagles perch
and the broad sea opens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading “Paths of Shattered Stone” with music by Sting


 


Sacred Born

Daylight changes
as winter dissolves into spring,
trees shedding their ice
in the warm air.
I stir in my cave,
having digested the dreams
and phantom shadows,
hungry now for color.
It is the world I rise to,
always the world
and the green lens
I look through
to know my place
on the endless shore.
Beauty signals
from budding branches,
the sound of birds returning,
worms breaking ground.
Tender comes the morning
as if these few hours
were a nativity,
the sacred born
again and again
from the darkness
of the blessed earth.

 

 

 


photograph by Kinga Biro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Sacred Born” with music by Maryliz Smith


 


Night Basket

The soft colors of budding trees,
deep greens of fir and cedar,
the startled look of squirrel,
the steady gaze of crow,
the sound of breaching whales
and high pitched cries of eagle,
human faces vast in number,
the star reach broad and clear.
On and on the roll call of creation,
ten thousand times a thousand
and still the surface barely scratched
while here I sit, a pin prick of light
within the fathomless gift.
Perhaps tomorrow I will count the birds
or soft-bellied slugs on their journey,
the herring as they ball and run
and these old man hands
set upon the page.
May wonder keep me open
when darkness descends,
the edges of mystery unravelling
into the waiting arms
of night’s starlit basket.

 

 


photograph by Patrick Orleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Night Basket” with music by Ahura