San Bruno Mountain
January 6, 2011

Orion has crossed the street, shoulders shifting
east to west, left to right,
the star-lit morning shifting in a muted fall
toward the bay, its muted mountains
but dwarfed and distanced relations
of the fearsome
yet within this heavenly choreography
all the same
relations: mere hillocks
through which we ponder our way
in moonless skies
by touch of the heart-stuff
and the pulse
of the larger dance and play.


Owl Canyon Lament
January 20, 2011

Noon and the hills are still in shadow,
season’s moistures quietly working
grounded sprouts skyward, to green.
The gurgling creek too, sustains,
but barely heard, under the heartfelt labors
of a distant woodpecker.
Were I half as attentive to the human hearts
all around, all at work,
what different face might all the world
then show?
That glow in the west, the sun,
in the same spot the falling moon
illumined morning’s breaking clouds.
thoughts of other lives surface
periodically; but then
I’ve not yet learned to live one
Careful listening suggests
nothing to fear,
no one to be saved.


Owl Canyon, San Bruno Mountain
August 2011

It’s a soft gateway, slow rising slopes to either side,
winter wet-lands, now an easy stretch of dulled thatch,
a cushioned bed for the softest surprise of beige-green
blends of grasses, topped specific
with rich chocolate nuggets.
An artist’s pallet, to be sure, well beyond the range of this tongue,
and I wish for my daughter-in-law’s presence,
her depth of color-sense, to hear her words
over this familiar meadow, making itself
made known anew.
Dropping into the gully where the big bay lives and the stream,
I disturb some crows at rest in the high branches, who without showing themselves,
start up scolding and complaining back and forth in the shadows.
Startled myself, I say I’m only passing through, that I come empty handed
and will leave the same. But it continues, they continue.
The webs that grabbed my face along the trail
suggest few visitors of late, even the winter rains have run their course,
the stream dry now, gone—I have intruded.
I speak again, to offer a song, a prayer, and sit on the limb of that oak
in the deserted camp of the hermits. I chant so they can hear,
melodic as possible, but the crows remain unconvinced.
It’s only when I add the wish of peace
for all things living that they calm, only when I’m done with that
that they quiet and take wing,
leaving me alone to care for the silence of this place.
Coming out of the summer hills, where color
traces among mixed grasses, flies on petals and wings,
I arrive at the edge of the industrial park,
face to face with the red, white and blue, fully blustered
in the wind, beautiful, in its way
under the sun—I nod, so as not to offend,
but pass quickly,
quietly keeping my distance.