Language of the Night

Trees reach up
to the starlit wheel,
speaking to distant worlds
from the solitude of Earth.
Our loneliness, our fears,
our faith in new life
born upon the open sea,
from the parched ground.
The stars speak back,
brilliant in the night sky,
of communion and distance
with the intensity of light.
Down to the root
their language travels,
of the separation
and future yet to come.
Above the canopy
distance closes.
Owl is witness,
those abroad in darkness,
and quietly they continue
while we sleep.




One Life

Here in the presence
morning light speaks
on a soft breeze
through the open window –
we are one life, connected
as the leaves of the plum tree,
thankful to the root.





River of Life

As the sacred seal opens
ancient power flows,
forms that emerge
thin outlines
of the rising force.
Long furrows of the dead
and yet to be born
wait patiently
for the quickened touch
of the here and now
to break the chains of time.
Vultures carve winged forms
in the clouded sky,
creatures pause within the sea
and below the earth
stone layers shift and move.
With silence to guide
the gate draws back,
the mortal frame trembles
and the river of life begins once more
to shape its way through Eden.




photography by Jim Frid


Climb the Hill

Returning to this world
of terrain and shape
from the timeless
I absorb the morning
like a hungry traveler,
drinking in new light and cool draft.
I move arms and legs,
listen to a crow busy with the news
and put on the old harness
to enter the day’s furrow.
The soil grows harder each year,
long rows bent to the shape of the earth
as I walk along behind the plow of memory.
Perhaps today I’ll undo the traces,
find a fresh path across the meadow
to the clear creek running,
not sow or reap but cast my lot with the birds,
with badger and browsing deer.
Perhaps I’ll trick the dark form waiting
at the end of this long row,
leave the dream to cross the moving water
and climb the hill to paradise.





Language of Light

The tenderness of a soft breeze
dapples the morning sea
across the broad channel.
Seals break surface in their forage,
dolphins show black fins
in rolling breaths
stirring the silence.
On the wind, the water,
the trembling earth,
a new-day testament
begins again,
written without words,
without sound,
in the language of light.





Absorbed in Silence

The door creaks, the window opens
to light and air and what waits.
Geese bark, otter slide into the sea
and I sit beside the water, aging like stone
into rough textured patience.
Quick as hummingbird,
bothersome as goose
I listen now and hear more deeply
the unsaid word, the long lost feeling,
the call of deep rooted trees
in sunlight and darkness.
I range like a swift, gather as a bee
tasting camas in its purple glow.
Absorbed in silence, I hook on
to the great chain of being
and quietly pass through the mystery.





Seeing Your Name

The trees I’ve walked beneath
these many years,
I still don’t know their names.
They must have them
growing in the moonlit dark,
reaching toward the sun.
There are grasses
here for a year then gone.
Someone must have named them,
millions upon millions
on this thread of rock.
The birds of course,
the sea creatures
and then the humans
who all have names
but who dares say they know.
I come in this unknowing,
an admirer of the tide,
the shape of water
and the glint of light
upon the morning.
Who walks in dark
and speaks to trees,
who dares to love
with all that means.
Empty and full
the parts of me
that do know
open like a sail
to catch the breeze,
seeing your name
for just one moment
signed in water
upon the sunlit sea.





River Story

From a cleft in sharp rock
in the high country
water emerges from the mountain
to shine on lichen and wet a small stream
where swifts and marmots drink.


Gathering strength and falling,
brown rocks glisten, birds gather,
fish appear in circling eddies,
one stream reaching into another,
merging in deep ravines
to fall out over stone ledges
alive with sunlight and oxygen
into the confluence.


Now river bears the weight,
rolling great stones along the bottom,
feeding fish on their many paths home
with herons tall and brooding along the banks.
Hawks circle above the broad stripe of water,
the grasslands alive with rich bottom.


Joined and joining, slopes easing
until the broad flats of sand and silt
where the original people once lived.
Beside painted rock and towering fir,
between city walls and tall glass spires,
out onto the broad reach
miles from shore to shore


where the bar meets the sea
in one ever-changing wave,
towering against the tide
with stories of mountain,
crow and coyote, steelhead
and salmon given to the ocean
with the joy of salt and sunlight
ravenous for all the river will tell.





Earth Deep Sighs

Open as the sea to the broad morning
the sky breaks out in turquoise blue.
Swifts rise and fall, whirl and turn.
Dolphins fish the tideline,
dorsals arcing black against gray water.
Camas wave in bright lit purple
touched by the early breeze.
They live within the tide,
trill through the forest,
seen and unseen
beneath spring green grass,
singing the song of daylight
as the ebb tide rushes south
and earth deep sighs
her born again glory.





Black Feathers

With the sun bright as June,
the land drying but still green,
I’ll launch into the open sky,
find an old crow to hunt with me
and explore the rooftops.
Clouds ripple in waves of white,
blue warmth opens the mountain
to rivers bearing melted snow.
We’ll follow the water,
chase cloud shadows,
maybe visit the sea.
The window is open,
the air alive and cool.
I’ll put on my black feathers.
Crow and I will hunt.