{ the young painter’s dance }

she colored in the flowers of intent 
so carefully, between the flowing lines 
that disappeared behind the smearing blots: 
an exercise in freedom from confines. 

she whirled along the river in her mind 
that flowed from every feeling, every pore, 
and watched the ducks that swam along in peace, 
whose labor seemed like love and less like chore 

than those around her: those they call adults. 
who never saw the colors (or the chance) 
to ebb and flow -- the running to-and-fro 
that are a key to every sacred dance. 

  she colored and she painted as she flew 
  beyond the gray, and out among the few.

Years Made Out of Water

IN YEARS made out of water have we spent 
Our days on thoughts of things impermanent; 
We've wasted energy and time and space  
On stuff both overseen and underwent. 

We have had moments true and pure in grace: 
The words spent life-to-life and face-to-face 
That spread inside the two of us like wings -- 
The flying times of wonder and embrace. 

But still, though time flows by, my cold heart sings: 
Not for the past, but what each new days brings, 
The hopeful loving times we can give vent 
Discovering respect's untiring springs. 

  In years made out of water we sail on; 
  For tears will come one day, one waiting dawn.

When Seasons Changed

When seasons changed, and I knew what it meant, 
The world and I were one in our intent. 
The clouds made sense -- their movement, and their grace -- 
And why a dog finds butterflies to chase 

Across a meadow seemed to me just right. 
An empty exercise more than a fight: 
The things we do because we're wired to 
That have no meaning, neither false, nor true. 

The voices in my head, then, weren't man-made, 
And pleasures came as circumstance arrayed 
Them; always wondering, and wonder-led -- 
The eye that waits becomes the soul that's fed. 

  But now a season might walk in my door, 
  And I don't seem to notice anymore

The Pattern Spun In Gold

At last, he sees the pattern spun in gold: 
The maritime, the nautical in how 
It is the trip, the journey makes us old; 
It is the search to find what's really now. 

How many hours rowing, tacking wind? 
How many flat seas scanned, how many ports? 
The plans he scuppered, burned up, tossed, or binned 
Are like so many other vain reports, 

That he has authored, thinking them the truth. 
But now, he's on a road, and wet brown earth 
Are everywhere he looks; the sun's lost youth 
Reminds him of how far he is from birth.

  He may know where he is at, or of, 
  But he knows this: all truth is really love.

9 Love Poems – 9

Bring me the night and you, and I need little more,
For nothing else intoxicates like this:
A realm of learnings, carried by uncommon core;
The many-volumed novel in a kiss

The lingering, a candle slow to burn the wick;
The curvature that’s well known to the touch —
The slightest little turn that finally does the trick,
The final gear that doesn’t need the clutch

A night and you, it’s all and it is everything:
A time for hearts to find the extra beats —
The sunrise waits to see what wonders we will bring,
A paradise of tangling and sheets

  Our wine is so much more than just a fancy cup:
  For where the night gives off, we’re only starting up

Lovers of the Free Earth

The earth was not set free, nor was our love, 
But those were daily foremost in our hearts; 
So if you judge results, we guilty be, 
But if you judge intent, we did our parts.

Before mankind a sneering thing became, 
We sought to build within these, our ideals, 
As silly as it seems to modern eyes 
That hope was carried on a set of wheels 

Within a forest, out there on the road: 
A song of freedom, liberty let loose 
To roam the fevered land we longed to love 
So lately made of bullet, gun, and noose --

 We nothing lost, although we did not gain:
 So lovers of the free earth we remain.

when you were at your best

 the world was yours to find, and long before
someone like me happened across your path;
(the young man worries, 'how could such things be?';
the old man smiles at each age of you)

and this, this i embrace: this other time,
this other world, this other view, and pure,
the time of life-discovery and when
you found new joy for every loss of sure

and though the walk was long and lonely, oft,
there was the sand, the sea, the changing waves
that stood beside each storm or vista clean,
and welcomed you to each next unknown age

when you were at your best, it was just this:
that in this life, there's always strife with bliss

in the frost – 3

The decorations taken down last night 
Before they watched another new year in;
A year that had some sorrow, but no fight,
No anger lingering in muddled din —

The years like mile markers rolling by
While fire blazes in the fireplace;
A laughing whim, another show to try
As space drifts into time drifts into space —

These are their moments; calculus, it seems —
A thousand nothings somehow adding up
To walls and pictures, catalogues and dreams,
All wine and water, mixed within the cup —

The thought though — everywhere, though we pretend —
That each new moment’s closer to the end

Another Life

In music, she can live another life, 
For sound is architecture, and ideal;
It’s nature and it’s calm amid the strife
Of all the world has come to make her feel.

To make of chaos, beauty, order, love —
To find in sorrow, comfort and release —
To be beneath, within, and yet above,
To breathe in every moment filled with peace

But also, there’s the struggle of technique:
To concentrate on something not herself
And use her heart and mind both at their peak
While being fully present, somewhere else

And all of this, it should be understood
From one whose playing isn’t all that good