Monday, April 8, 2013

Announcing April

In the roadside hawthorne top
on a twig between opening leaf wads
a rufus sided towhee throws back it’s head
angles it’s beak wide against gray sky
blasts its musical plastic rattle whistle - 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April Afternoon

Green gold west light
slanting across 
stubby pasture grass
across pine slope
under indigo black 
cloud bottoms.

Friday, March 8, 2013


I’ve been out in the damp gray
edge-of-freezing morning
with my new red-gripped secateurs
puzzling through pruning the pear tree.  
Up the ladder to look at each twig
down the ladder to look at the whole tree.
Back up the ladder to snip here, snip there.  
One decision after another,
Take it or leave it? This limb or that?  
Take out crossovers, take out verticals,
take the obviously dead, and the worst
of the green and gray lichen crusted.
Try to shape branches for graceful reach
horizontally radiating from the trunk.
Most of the time there is no good choice
on this tree contorted by years of neglect 
and my own early mistakes.   Breath deep.
It doesn't have to be perfect
just take out the congestion
and let light in to the heart.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Being Seduced By the Hebrides

I had not expected to fall so in love
with an Atlantic isle
(being Pacific born, fully invested
in keeping faith with my own ocean.)
But the chartreuse, old gold 
and burnt ochre of the bogs,
the sienna and umber of stony hillocks
the ultramarine ridges beyond,
the indigo wash of overcast and loch
tap deep into my being.
I love the twisting one lane roads
the sheep lying on the verge (not shoulder)
the white two story cottages
with their black roofs,
the red telephone boxes -- 
is the whole blessed country 
a movie set?
And if I’m so affected from my own desk,
by the Street View and Google Earth tour,
what kind of a mess would I be
if I could smell the land, hear the waves
feel the wind, splash across a burn
hear the Gaelic in it’s native air...?
If I could only get there!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Not Much of a Fence

Steel t-post faded to aloe green
pocked with rust
stands, not vertical but 
perpendicular to the slope;
two widely spaced loose 
strands of barbless twisted wire
sag along to staples in a ponderosa 
pine’s puzzle bark.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Yesterday’s boot tracks
half effaced, softened
rounded by last night’s
new snow.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Snow Lab

Eight and a half inches
and still falling, piling up.
Heavy, packable snow.
Snowball, snowman
monster fort snow.
Engineers in pacs and ski pants 
bend over 5-gallon-bucket-
molded snow blocks arguing
packing technique and structure.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shadow Like

Bits of sunflower hull darken 
a circle of snow below the feeder,
gleaning juncos flit and bob.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Remaining Mysteries

Half way to out to the garage 
with a bag of meat for the freezer 
I hear “!” 
Someone new coming to the feeder?
Kinking my neck, squinting through 
binoculars gets me a few views, 
creamy bellies on high branches 
thick bills and a brush of amber or 
russet on cocked head-top
not enough for identification
and they never do come down 
for seed.  Write them off as  
“Mystery bird. Passing through.” 
and go put the meat away.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


In a plastic grocery sack
on the desk I’m trying to clear, 
two red hanging files my mother 
handed me on New Year’s Day.
They turn out to be filled with
all my letters to her from 17 to 51.
Scraps from notebooks, cutesy stationary,
a post card of Yosemite Falls.
I spend half an hour reading 
samples of my younger self, then give up,
sighing and wishing I liked her better.