True Solace

Blanketed with smoke
and now fog,
visibility near zero,
nights are winter-like
in darkness,
day to an arm’s
reach of vision.
Tiny sparrows
flit about in the trees,
the sound of geese
echoes in the bay.
Turning within
to unfailing light
fear unwinds,
the true solace
of the dwelling place
beyond all harm.



photograph by Thea Patten





















Reading of True Solace


Trail of Smoke

Stirred awake at dawn
smoke blanketed the island,
the forests of the Clackamas,
Santiam and McKenzie
lifted into white clouds,
passing on their trail
to the other side.
So many old friends
who knew my name,
sheltered me through
turmoil and grief.
I rose and walked
to the rock point
in early filtered light
to stand on the shore
and honor their journey.
Orcas exhaled
in deep bass sounds,
a line of them
near and far along
the smoke laden channel
signaling farewell.
Years of standing vigil
beside mountain rivers
leaving this life,
their mantle passed,
carried on the wind.


















Reading of “Trail of Smoke” by the author with music by Little Wolf


Full of Grace

With open heart
morning floods in,
smoke filled,
alive with birds.
Some ragged memory
with a broken muffler
pulls to the curb
but I wave it off.
What could be
more important
than inner peace?
Find your way
to the soul altar
and speak your truth.
What you need is there,
waiting, full of grace.




















Reading of “Full of Grace” with music by the Microphones


Beyond the Door

When your cup is full
with what need not be
empty yourself
to the morning,
untangle the knots,
untie the line
and free the boat
of your precious self
on the still waters
of the waiting sea.
The world of things
will not reclaim you,
the endless debates
and terms of struggle,
yet beyond the door
of the ancient prison
green fields
await your coming.




















Reading of “Beyond the Door” by the author with music by Van Morrison