Something Like Praise

With first light
the soul of the earth rises,
reaching through evergreen
and shy herds of deer,
silver cords of river fish
and human hearts
no longer sleeping.
The dome of the night sky
recedes to the west, leaving
the earth altar silent.
Quietly we come,
something like praise
a lilt in our voices,
gathering the stones
of what we’ve forgotten
in a cairn of remembrance
to mark the day
we chose to awake.




Shedding the Old Cloak

The plum trees signal
leave the cave,
their delicate pink buds
brave enough to face
the last winds of winter.
I have rested, gathering
strength from the dark,
the silence of root.
From the wet ground
new life slowly rises,
the comfort below
shed like an old cloak
for what waited unseen
with the colors of spring.



photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen


Across the Alvord

We scurried around
staying busy while winter
passed over the valley
and capped the mountains.
Warm air invited crows
to mass beside the river,
street people to flourish
in makeshift tents.
Even the rain let up
so no one complained
except a few old men
who remembered snow
and the way the great Columbia
used to flow from Canada.
They talked of beaver and wolf,
rivers filling the Coastal Range
and along the foothills of the Cascades
floods that stretched over miles
bearing silt from massive glaciers.
How fox would patrol the banks
and lynx screech unseen on the ridges.
The old men bagged groceries,
pumped gas for Costco
then with a grubstake
left for the Idaho
and across the Alvord
into the mountains of Nevada.
We won’t see them
until the snow gods return
when people tire of hot air
and pray once more for winter.



photograph @flaneur1874


Winter Rest

The weight of winter
blankets the mountains,
burying dark caverns
and rivers beneath blue ice.
The silence of snow
while the giant sleeps,
the only sound the crack
of a breaking branch.
Down in the valley
coils of wood smoke,
the restless cars
and persistent rain.
The Earth weaves her spell
as the fat bear snoozes,
vole and marten peeking out
from their snow covered dens.
Vast clouds stretch across the ocean,
covering the land, inviting us
to enjoy the winter rest.
There’s wood to split,
the brightness of fir logs
as they shine with inner light
and the slow cooking soup
lifting marrow into stock.
I sit by the fire,
something cooking in me,
giving myself to darkness
as the blanket of snow
stores in root
for the season to come.



photo @50shadesofpnw