Tree frogs play güiros in the night,
cicadas gently shake maracas.
The air smells thick with salt,
a gentle breeze blows off the ocean.
My father has always been
gotten his hands dirty
with diapers, with dishes,
Has driven us to the emergency room
for stitches and x-rays.
My father showed up, stood up, put up
with my temper tantrums.
My father my friend,
We are so alike that we can
talk on the phone for hours,
but cannot ever live in the same house again.
Keats wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
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So, you see, poets are not the only seekers of the truth
Nor is truth always beauty, though it can be a Cold Pastoral,
as Keats wrote generations ago.
Moreover, as the writer of Psalms also knew,
Time, like an ever-rolling stream, soon bears us all away;
we fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the break of day.
Father I want to be a weeping willow
No son, you will be an axe
Father I want to be a seahorse
No son, you will be a great white
Father I want to be the purple rose Mother was
No. You already have enough thorns
Father I want to be a constellation asleep
on dark water
No son, you must be a fisherman
of the stars and the sand that slipped
through my fist
(with thanks to Rudy Thomas)
another poet* reminds me I am far more
the poetry I have not written
an iceberg, whose mass lies most
unseen and fresh beneath
a sea cold enough to kill
but too dense to freeze
* “The Voice,” by Rudy Thomas (http://www.accents-publishing.com/blog/2015/06/22/the-voice/)
five directions to my house – after Juan Felipe Herrera, Jay McCoy, Sherry Chandler and others
on summer solstice
follow a murder of crows
find the greenest spot
with your Ariel vision
behind the wooden gate
midnight butterflies dance
go explore on gingko street
steeped in yellow
follow rows of sycamore
trees who stretch white branches
into blueluminous sky
if it’s April you may be
by fields of dandelions
vast lawns of violets
you may never go home
the fairy tree where children
learn to speak
elven languages run
widdershins round a brick walled
garden wander farther
open the gate
enter the cottage
if I hear you
I might swift vanish
follow the crow’s call
Beware of all the butterflies at midnight.