Returned to the Silence

Did I leave something behind

on the far east journey,

the now here out of focus

and dreamscape so real?

With old Earth close

I should have thought

about the part of me

ill at home

in the surge of desire,

who may have slipped

beneath the cover

of a monk’s red robe

and returned to the silence.



Tiger’s Nest

The cave at Tiger’s Nest once birthed a Llama

guarded now by fortress stone, jagged cliffs

and scores of chanting monks.

We climb the rain slick path,

rutted and rough hewn,

until the last flight of flagged steps

pass beneath a spindrift waterfall

then rise into the blast of horn,

murmured prayers and butter lamp smoke.

Mother and Father Buddha center one chapel

flanked by pairs of tantric lovers

and outside, younger monks,

heads shaved and robed, play

with the aggressive joy of any boys.

Leaving, we head down the slope of slippery clay

to an old toothless woman, barefoot,

who laughs at her captured image

then continues her vertical climb.

As rain and fog decrease

the monastery emerges high above,

speaking through clouds of what endures,

spoken in the sound of prayer,

the pilgrim journey in high places

and amidst the city noise

in the bustle of black smoke,

the day to day life we live

beneath the brow remote and fierce

of Tiger’s Nest.



Thread of Freedom

Open now the inner gate

to what is forgotten

beyond the rim

of the too worn world

an ancient image disturbing

what would rather sleep

and lose the thread of freedom.



Present in the Slough

Off the main river

in the back channel

behind cottonwood island

with dark water and dank air,

tracks of raccoon and deer

along a muddy bank

in filtered light

quiet from the engines,

the slow drift of summer

fetid with the valley wash,

still a mystery despite its labor,

tires and debris along the bottom

with rocks as old as time,

something present in the slough

behind the softwood leaves,

moving yet not moving,

no track upon the sand

beneath the movement being,

still beneath the shallows.




Dressed for Rain

I rust upon the rock

like an old bent nail

watching her changing face

of eddy line and standing wave,

the swirls where tide meets bay

birds touch and go forever feeding.

Seals appear as if by magic

and golden eagle brown and tan

with spreading wing takes roost

while two bald eagles arc to south

their white heads flashing.

Caterpillars eat our apple trees,

the wind holds steady in the south

and I poke along the ground

like a curious plover

crabbing together this dispatch

between breaks of cloud

where sun will open on the sea

and I stay dressed for rain.