--John Haines

The road darkens toward the west,
toward the town,
the sky blown clear of all but the fringes
of lemon light;
still the air will shape to the sight
remembered forms.

The turning leaf falls on the ground
that felt the foot,
the waters murmur of the river
that turns away,
the flood of night harms no sound
of the birds that are going down
on the unseen horizon.

And darker, the final bearing
toward the wings
that weight in gathered cloth for one
who needs no eyes
to see the drifting heartbreak
of the smoky hills.




[ October ; Franz Melchers ],,,,,,,,,



William Stafford through his own words on his well known poem, 'Traveling Through the Dark':

For nothing in life exists without implications, potentials. To live is to travel landscapes with connotations, to meet people and things with millions of relatives, to find yourself reacting to anything new with all the weight of your past crystallizing into what is before you. In a sense, any account you make becomes a documentary in which you cannot write or tell fast enough to find your way out of the story you carry along. My story that Thursday morning carried in it a multitude of influences which hovered and cried for engagement.


--William E. Stafford

A sign said “How to Be Wild—
the Lessons Are Free,”
so I edged past, bolted inside
where the edge of a jaguar
roved beyond the bars
and narrowed the room. Its head,
one eye at a time,
sewed the tent to the stars; and the cage
ballooned when he turned.

Mid-stride, I froze and stared
past enemies
that fell in droves down aisles
of my memories.
My bones—wild flowers—burned
at whatever I’d lost,
but my enemies burned up too
in that holocaust;
and I strode on, caged from them
in disregard,
swerving, momently aimed,
like a jaguar.

The calm now, made to forgive
by bars between,
still fitted in those paw gloves
I walk what I mean. 




--William E. Stafford

Today outside your prison I stand
and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;
you have relatives outside. And there are
thousands of ways to escape.

Years ago I bent my skill to keep my
cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,
and shouted my plans to jailers;
but always new plans occured to me,
or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,
or some stupid jailer would forget
and leave the keys.

Inside, I dreamed of constellations—
those feeding creatures outlined by stars,
their skeletons a darkness between jewels,
heroes that exist only where they are not.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then—even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Now—these few more words, and then I’m
gone: Tell everyone just to remember
their names, and remind others, later, when we
find each other. Tell the little ones
to cry and then go to sleep, curled up
where they can. And if any of us get lost,
if any of us cannot come all the way—
remember: there will come a time when
all we have said and all we have hoped
will be all right.

There will be that form in the grass.




[ The Old Tower in the Fields; Vincent vanGogh (1884) ]....




--W. S. Merwin

Far down the other side of the shining valley
one dog is barking like a cuckoo at the strange light
Paula my love never stirred when I
slipped out through the unlit house to look at the night
where the stars I can see and those I will never see
will not ever again be in the same places
as they are at this moment
we could do with a bit of rain but the sky
shows not a hair of cloud and the breeze
scarcely reaches us
the full moon that we claim for October
shines from above the fronds of the tall Howea
we are all here together without knowing it
flying at a speed beyond thinking
the dog has stopped barking the night is still



--W. S. Merwin

A child looking at ruins grows younger
but cold
and wants to wake to a new name
I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows
and the wren laughs in the early shade now
come again shining glance in your good time
naked air late morning
my love is for lightness
of touch foot feather
the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
in the sun



--W. S. Merwin

I remember how I would say, “I will gather 
These pieces together, 
Any minute now I will make 
A knife out of a cloud.” 
Even then the days 
Went leaving their wounds behind them,
But, “Monument,” I kept saying to the grave, 
“I am still your legend.” 

There was another time 
When our hands met and the clocks struck 
And we lived on the point of a needle, like angels. 

I have seen the spider’s triumph 
In the palm of my hand. Above 
My grave, that thoroughfare,
There are words now that can bring 
My eyes to my feet, tamed. 
Beyond the trees wearing names that are not their own 
The paths are growing like smoke.

The promises have gone,
Gone, gone, and they were here just now. 
There is the sky where they laid their fish. 
Soon it will be evening.

[via Paris Rvw Daily Poem]


[ Thatched Cottages in the Sunshine Reminiscence of the North ; Van Gogh (1890) ]......



none is travelling
here along this way but I,
this autumn evening 

[about fifty more]


In Basho's house
there are no walls,
no roof, floors
or pathway -
nothing to show

where it is,
yet you can enter
from any direction
through a door
that's always open.

You hear voices
though no one
is near you -
you'll listen without
knowing you do.

Time and time
you get up to greet
a stranger coming
towards you.
No one ever appears.

Hours and seasons
lose their names -
as do passing clouds.
Rising moon and setting sun
no longer cast shadows.

Sounds drift in
like effortless breathing -
frogsplash, birdsong,
echoes of your
own footsteps.

It all ceases
to exist in Basho's house -
the place you've entered
without knowing
you've taken a step.

Sit down. Breathe
in, breathe out.
Close your tired eyes.
Basho is sitting beside you -
a guest in his own house.

--Peter Skyzynecki


[via beauty we love]



(after Matthias Claudius and Franz Schubert)
--Peter Skrzynecki

Death speaks softly
like an old friend that visits
without giving notice—
that enters the house
without first knocking
or waiting to be asked in.

The voice that calls out
is that of a young girl
who asks Death to go away—
she pleads her youth,
calls Death “the dear one”
and speaks against being touched.

Death continues to speak
lovingly and tells her
not to be afraid—
that Death will comfort her,
give courage
and promises she will sleep:

after all, Death is the old friend
to whom the door
was always left open—
trustworthy, reliable, punctual.
A violin’s notes stab the air sharply
Death speaks for the last time.




--Peter Skrzynecki

Even words are tinged with autumn
before they drift
over the brown stream's crest -
falling at Gostwyck from a haze
of poplars and golden elms.

Under the bridge
a view of paddocks sloping against
each other and the breeze.
A white horse grazes alone
beneath the flight
of swallows:
as evening
gently surrenders itself
to the murmur of insects in the peace.

On the walls
of the small redstone chapel
vines enclose each other
like arms folded
in prayer or sleep.
Behind it, over the water,
the woolshed's a pyramid
of pioneering years.

I look along the road
joining east to west,
across frames of weatherboard
and galvanized iron,
listening to water whispering non-stop
over stones and nets of weeds -
while in the distance
a man on a motorbike
is rounding up sheep
and a pair
of dogs keeps the stragglers in.

Only the one-lane bridge
is untouched by autumn,
the descent of light
and an aching silence of fallen leaves,
its arch spread like a white rainbow
over the darkening Waters -

echoing like a rattled dice
thrown desperately into the years.




[ Mushroom ; Victor Hugo (1850) ]



From the nightstand (Growth of the Soil; Knut Hamsun):

The spring-- aye, with its haste and joy and madcap delight; but the autumn! It called up a fear of darkness, drove one to an evening prayer; there were visions about, and warnings on the air. Folks might go out one day in autumn seeking for something-- the man for piece of timber to his work, the woman after cattle that ran wild now after mushroom growths: they would come home with many secrets in their mind. Did they tread unexpectedly upon an ant, crushing its hind part fast to the path, so the fore part could not free itself again? Or step too near a white-grouse nest, putting up a fluttering hissing mother to dash against them? Even the big cow-mushrooms are not altogether meaningless; not a mere white emptiness in the eye. The big mushroom does not flower, it does not move, but there is something overturning in the look of it; it is a monster, a thing like a lung standing there alive and naked-- a lung without a body.




‘You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out - perhaps a little at a time.’

And how long is that going to take?’

I don’t know. As long as you live, perhaps.’

That could be a long time.’

I will tell you a further mystery,’ he said. ‘It may take longer.”

--from 'Jayber Crow'; Wendell Berry



--Wendell Berry 
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.




--Wendell Berry 
In the evening there were flocks of nighthawks
passing southward over the valley. The tall
sunflowers stood, burning on their stalks
to cold seed, by the still river. And high
up the birds rose into sight against the darkening
clouds. They tossed themselves among the fading
landscapes of the sky like rags, as in
abandonment to the summons their blood knew.
And in my mind, where had stood a garden
straining to the light, there grew
an acceptance of decline. Having worked,
I would sleep, my leaves all dissolved in flight.


 [ The Gleaner ; Larry Grenadier ]



--Charles Wright

All things in the end are bittersweet—
An empty gaze, a little way-station just beyond silence.

If you can’t delight in the everyday,
                                                         you have no future here.

And if you can, no future either.

And time, black dog, will sniff you out, 
                                                            and lick your lean cheeks,
And lie down beside you—warm, real close—and will not move.



Down in the Mines
--Charles Wright 
For I am one who exists from the undivided,
He said, and am filled with light.
And darkness is over there,
                                             where the divided stand. 
Tough words, Ace, tough words.
White clouds grow big along the ridge line.
Under the earth we’re far away from home,
                                                             or closer to it.




Clinchfield Station
--Charles Wright

The road unwinds like a bangage.
These are the benchmarks:
A letter from Yucatan, a ball,
The chairs of the underlife.

Descent is a fact of speech,
A question of need- lampblack, cold-drill
A glint in the residue:
Dante explained it, how

It bottoms out, becoming a threshold,
The light like a damp confetti,
The wind an apostrophe, the birds
Stone bone in the smooth-limbed trees.

Mums in the vase, flakes in a hope chest:
Father advise us, sift our sins-
Ferry us back and step down;
Dock at the Clinchfield Station:

Our Lady of Knoxville reclines there
On her hard bed; a golf club
Hums in the grass. The days, dry cat tracks, come round,
A silence beneath the leaves:

The way back is always into the earth.
Hornbeam or oak root, the ditch, the glass:
It all comes to the same thing:
A length of chain, a white hand.



Haiku- Summer 2020

sun stretching out
minutes beyond the willow
of the northern bank

morning's june sunshine,
saturday's youth flies off
a fresh wash and wax

summer solstice
sunshine dashing light
through a dragonfly

sudden downpour
sound gravity
awash in sound

how quick life becomes 
never the same again-
trumpeter vine blooms

an empty porch chair,
I'll hold where Summer has gone
in wonderment