Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Theodore Enslin
(John Phillps, photo)

Night Study

Moon sickle above under

brush where it always was

crumble in flames of echo

where it always was in

clouds     of a last reflection

sound     only mouse footfall

silence     dark depth to plumb

onshore of little breeze

no wavelength     light to touch

as phosphorous fish scale

light poured into shadow

no live thing remaining

spindrift     footstep in it

sickle moon     it dies away.

As if there were time enough to notice

that stones will polish in the wind

or that's an accident of speech

where happening has nothing to do

with thought     the laggard as it always was

but still the rock face brightness

while sand will sink away from it.

What is wild in our own day

is not the wild that's past

there is a different savor

some of it not pleasant

perhaps it never was

but it differs now

does not depend on distances

as it once did     now

the wildness is within us

trying to get out

one day it may     but without us.

To put life or fire into a word?

No     those were always there

but the use of many words

will often bring what was there

incipient     to ruin take care

how you hold what has a heat that

may crumble into ashes.

A ring of changes  

bells and circles

something round around us

changes in a measure

a breath so changed

rings these changes

becomes the circled ring.

Hermit Thrush

The singing's always new

the melody is old     or not

usually it is where

nothing new to sing or say

or sing when saying's not enough

or gives new voice(s)

Listen to the solitary     thrush

his heritage is full of sound

much of it what's not known.

A Tentative Tribute to C.C.

From such a language

as no words can say

without the wording

it leaves me breathless.

Twelve Gates to the City

I do not know your entrance

nor would you care for mine

there are many others     but

once we are inside we will meet

and recognize each other

we came our different ways

what a pleasure we are here together.

Moon Phase

We do not think too often

of the moon's light in the lilacs

too often looking at it     turning

Midas' touch to curse     it's in remembrance

once we see that light     and all around it

blooms     the fading petals in that light

the fading of reflection     light

that was a stranger to the moon

and darkly strange to lilacs as they slept.

Goodbye to all that world

where we once talked

as if there were no end

to it     yet went on further

to fall off     even from a globe

held sure by gravity

It is here and not here

a way to walk and say goodbye.


To An Unknown Shore
Shearsman Books, 2017