Precious Heartbeat

I freed the slaves,

the ones I’ve chained

to my inner plantation,

the shadow ground tilled

with fear of wrong doing,

the harvest of insecurity

I continued to reap

by keeping chattel

in irons forged

with accusation,

the hammer and tong

of lies and betrayal,

ancestral bitterness

locking their images

into a recurring nightmare;

then the proclamation came

on a sudden shaft

of unfettered thought,

realizing the evil

was no longer needed,

the plantation liberated,

captives freed who released

freed me for a new land

beyond the hovels and tired labor

where earth breathes

on the rise and fall

of freedom’s heartbeat

precious to every living thing.


Child of My Age

Sun is down in its winter home

barely visible above naked branches,

the valley without rain

for the first time in weeks;

dry and bright the day opens

and I meet it, my worn places

flaking off like decayed skin,

beneath the roughage

something pink and new,

a baby born from an old man

like the miracle of Abraham,

child of my age coming forth

with words fully formed,

yearning for the milk of life

and bright green forest,

still wailing with hunger

after all these years.


Root Cellar

Gunnysacks cover the winter crop,

the root cellar dry and warm in its burrow;

outside the sea lifts in the driving wind,

the long arc of sand shaped and re-shaped

by the fierce hand that forms the air

and lifts the gulls in one motion.

A part of me wants to lay down

in the dust of potatoes,

the ripening odor of apples,

to sleep and wake

with the dreams of bear

and hunger of a new born.

I want to fall further than night

into the color behind stars,

the deep dark of space beyond all light

and let long months go by

with hard shelled squash and seed corn

while I nurture and dry my desire,

then like an Irish spud

send out long thin eyes

for the first sight of tomorrow.


Within Great Stones

On a trail down to the hidden cove

and one along the mountain river,

the brown earth and rolling sea

spoke to us the way they did;

I listened and hoped, later

pounding grief into sand,

giving ocean back her tears,

blaming myself

for the web soft and wet

that bound me to what hurt

against the movement of the tide.

To free another one must free oneself,

a godlike act, for where is freedom born

but within great stones

and the pulse that breathes upon the sea?

Your narrow footsteps mark the earth,

a trace the deer avoid,

the sadness of all you denied

filling the cove with salt

while seals bark in the rising mist,

darkness settles onto the gravel beach,

the old trees remembering, forgiving.