Red Star

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Red Star

“Fly me to that red star,
the one outside the window.”
Teddy’s voice droned
its mosquito in my ear,
but made no sense.

“I’ll try,” Owl said.
I hadn’t noticed him there,
snuggled in beside me.

“That’s not a star,” I said.
“It’s a planet, Mars.
It’s in conjunction with Venus,
that other bright blob.”

Owl flapped his wings
and flew out of the window.
Up and up he went
until he faded out of sight.

“He’s gone,” said Teddy.
“He’ll never come back.”

But return he did and
“A star too far,” he said,
as he pulled up the blankets
and snuggled into bed.

“It’s not a star,” I said,
but my words were ignored
by the snores emerging from
two nodding, sleepy heads.

Raccoon

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Raccoon

Two footprints on the dew damp chair
show that he has been here.

We know he visits at night.
The cat wakes up, jumps off the bed,
leaps to the window, and hisses.
Then she falls silent.

The raccoon steals food from the feeder
and shuffles the pottery shards
we leave out to gather water for the birds.

We never see him.
Sometimes we hear him grunt;
occasionally the wind chimes rattle furiously
as if caught by a giant gust..

We peer into the dark,
turn on the outside lights,
but his absence greets us
like a long lost friend.

Last night, nothing:
this morning, an empty feeder,
those footmark in the dew on the chair:
we know he was there.

Sun and Moon 1

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Sun and Moon 1

Last week an old man squeezed the moon;
tonight, she’s a shrunken orange in the sky.

“Tell me, Moon:
when all the stars have been caught in my net,
what will I harvest?”

Silence descends a ladder of moonlight
bearing an offering of gift-wrapped stars.

“Wise Old Woman who lives in the sky:
what man tore your bones apart
and gave me your face?”

Dead leaves rush out through my eyes.
My hands stretch out before my face
and I wash them in moonlight.

“One day, I’ll climb to your silver palace
and steal all your secrets.”

Comment: Sun and Moon 2 (as sung by Cat Leblanc) is introduced and complemented by Sun and Moon 1. These are the first two poems in the ten poem title sequence of Sun and Moon. The eagle costumes, shown in the photo, belong to the original dance sequence from Sun and Moon as performed on Monte Albán.

Five deer!

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I glanced out of the bedroom window, and there they were. So silent. “Five deer,” I whispered to Clare.

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We watched as they moved through the trees at the garden’s foot. Step by step, silent, slow, ears pricked, cautious, the little ones up to their bellies in snow.

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They couldn’t see me as I took these pictures, but I am sure their sharp hearing caught the click of the camera. The one on the left is looking right at the spot where I am sitting.

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Sound and movement surround them: the clicking of branches, the whispering wind. They are so careful, so cautious, so suspicious. We look: but we can’t see anyone out there. Certainly we cannot hear the neighbors’ dogs.

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There must be something, there. They start to turn. Will they go back the way they have come?

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No: they continue to the road and we catch a last glimpse of them through thin branches as they prepare to cross the tarmac and vanish into the deeper woods beyond.

El Greco’s House

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EL GRECO’S HOUSE
Toledo

Downstairs,
we walk narrow, white-washed corridors
and gaze at hand-carved black-oak beams,
older than these grandfather clocks whose
long hand, short hand mark time
in a distant century.

On an open hearth in a tiled kitchen,
cook-pots hang from an iron tripod.

The original paintings have long gone
but copies of haloed heads gaze down
at us from walls where cobwebs age
with gathering dust.

A goose quill pen and an inkpot
await the maestro’s return.
They are poised to sign the  contracts
that litter the desk with their thick
black promises of wealth to come.

We climb worn, creaking stairs
and visit the artist’s studio with its
three-legged stool, an easel
by an open window, paint brushes,
and an untouched canvas
crackling in the summer breeze:
a white sail spread before a voyage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy Day

 

Bleak Mid-winter
from
All About Angels

The reverse side of a tapestry this fly-netting,
snow plugging its tiny squares,
clotting with whiteness the loopholes
where snippets of light sneak through.

Black and white this landscape,
its colorless contours a throwback
to earlier days when dark and light
and black and white held sway.

Snow piled on snow.
The bird-feeder buried and buried too
the lamps that can no longer shine
beneath their cloak of snow.

The front porch contemplates a sea of white,
wave after wave cresting whitecaps,
casting a snow coat over trees
with snow-filled nests standing
shoulder-deep in the drifts

while a slow wind whistles
and high and dry in the sky above
the sun is a pale, thin penny
drifting through ragged clouds
that threaten to bring more snow.

Snowy Day
for
Meg Sorick

who misses the snow
and offered to come and dig us out.

1. View from office window with IMac and pencils.

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2. Bird feeders and the mountain ash from kitchen window.

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2a Same scene, two hours later

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2b Same scene, another hour later

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3. Back porch, bird table, and picnic table from living room.

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3b Same scene, two hours later

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4. Cat’s eye view of snow from Princess Squiffy’s vantage point.

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4a Same scene, two hours later

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5. Princess Squiffy turns her back on the snow and seeks an alternate reality

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6. We finished with 63 cms of snow (25 inches), plus drifting of course. Almost shoulder high in places. Other snowfalls in the province ranged from 70-80-90-100 cms. All in all, we were lucky. A wonderful neighbor came and helped us dig / plow ourselves out earlier this evening, and now we can get to the road and our driveway is snow free. Paul: thank you  so very much.

At Giverny

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At Giverny

At Giverny, Monet found the peace
he had sought at Argenteuil, but never
found. In this photo, he walks between
irises and nasturtiums on the gravel
path leading to the Japanese footbridge
that spans the lily pond. He stands now
on that bridge and sees himself reflected
… eyes, mouth, whiskers, hat …
all floating, half-drowned forever
in the fragrant colors he turned into
plants and flowers. Illusive, yet real,
the ghost of his smile haunts the lily
pond’s depths in this two dimensional
recreation of light and movement, held
forever in the camera’s instantaneous
capture of this selected moment. Now,
in the first home we have owned, this
Christmas Eve, with snow on the ground,
and a chill wind blowing a Queen Anne’s
lace of drifting flakes against the window’s
fly screen, anniversary flowers brighten
our table, while under the tree, presents
… including this book you gave me …
are piled as everything waits, breathless,
as past and future, hand in hand, dance
slow motion paintings to the flickering
rhythms of the fire’s impressionist flames.