What Waits to be Born

The wind is sharp this morning,
the few warm days of summer
crowded like sheep into a small pen
by the ocean air, cool off the Pacific.
Clouds lower the ceiling,
pressing down on the high hills,
the channel stirred, covered
in small wind driven waves,
the grass bent over and yellowed
as the rains of spring recede.
I find myself in the solitude
like one of the old faces carved
in rock stepping down to the sea,
watching the water’s endless movement,
enlivened by the wind.
There’s no pretense beside something so large,
no point in expanding the self.
Geese waddle in my neighbors’ grassy field,
nosing their furry newborn toward the water
with their long craning necks;
most of their chicks have survived
the interminable sit and circling predators.
There’s hope in their hatched little bodies,
an ache in something so vulnerable
and a reminder to keep vigil
over what yet waits to be born
on this course grey stone
overlooking the windswept sea.



What Waits to be Born 2


Mark of His Love

There’s only so much a man can affect,
the cut of a board, a wayward child,
perhaps so grand as the outline of a city
but whatever he does if it is to bear his mark
must be done with care, with thoughtfulness
and the quiet expression
from the slow spring flowing of his love.
Over the years the land will heal,
the river run clear of all it’s been asked to carry
and the stone that bears his name
fade into weathered glyphs beyond remembrance
but the mark of his love, firm as the slender pencil
and born with the lightness of paper
will be left in the earth, and the earth itself will be glad.



Bing Sheldon Architect and Civic Leader 1934-2016

Bing Sheldon
Architect and Civic Leader


Ancient Bark and Branch

I don’t recognize myself in the mirror,
this profile of an old man; not the one
I think I am or feel in the bones of my face.
He seems to be sinking back into the earth.
I love the earth but I’m not going down, not yet.
My roots go down; I know them more than ever.
I feel the dark earth a living thing,
holding the stories of all I know and all I’m made of,
stories of the many people come and gone.


I know the trace down through the soil
and the deep peace of winter when I sleep.
My seasons are not like the city around me
and I struggle with incongruence.
I’ve found the path between the vertical root
and the way up with life force
into branches and leaves and the sunlit sky.
I love the wind and the rain as they stir me
with the awakening that comes each day
and around me younger trees but trees in their own right
that once were invisible, the hope of my seed.


When I see his old face in the mirror,
leaning forward in the way of his fathers,
bowing to the years and the coming embrace,
a part of me wants to let go to the decline
and feel the ease the earth will bring,
but another part, a strong one, wants to live
and breathe in the air and beauty of the forest.


I pull back the weight of my skull
against the old and tired muscles of my neck.
My shoulders are already back but my head must follow
and then I am aright, not lifted by the pride
I’ve always feared, but by desire, in assurance
and with the ancient bark and branch of the many trees before me,
stand in the light and continue to become a human being.



Ancient Bark and Branch


Winter Turnips

I furrow the ground for a few words,
turning them up like turnips
plumb and round and white from the dark,
waiting for this moment
of cool air and green leaves
to awaken into light
and rise with desire;
food for the soul
in the last days of winter.



Artwork by Marco Menato

Artwork by Marco Menato


Green Earth Prayer

Let me rise with the morning
to join the day as it begins,
the long cover of night
pulled back with a prayer
lifted from the green earth
of my own body to life,
once more to life.




Green Earth Prayer


Robin’s Egg

When the noise becomes too great
and the strain of divisions multiply
return to the silence, the spring of renewal.
Let the cloth of ambition fall away,
the armor of protection and attack
become a robin’s egg,
blue and trusted to the world
on a spiraled nest of slender grass,
the paper thin shell holding within
a tiny curling form, feathered
and soon to be alive
with a yearning to take wing
into the waiting sky.




 Patrick Orleman Photography

Patrick Orleman photograph