THIS IS HOW TO SAY METOLIUS

Say song sparrow flitting
Among ocean spray
Not yet leafing

Say dipper flexing
Comical seal bird of
River reefing

Say raven black flapping
Inking pine to cedar
Sky creasing

Say jade waters flowing
Clarifying pools
Wild trout breaching

Say first butterfly flaming
Ember and coal
Harbinger of believing

Say Metolius
Say song sparrow, dipper
Raven, trout and butterfly
Say leafing, reefing, creasing
Breaching, believing
Serenading
Spring

SPIRALING

The way snow
Spirals like a moon shell

Laconic swirl
Billowy white flakes

As if a pastry chef
Dared to ice one branch

In a gravity-defying
Tipping whorl

This creamy meringue
Inviting my tongue

To taste the airy cloud
Melting desire

ODE TO 2015

Hold up this glass of Pinot Noir
To the light of day’s end

Effervesced in grapes
Clairvoyant allure

Swirl the year 2015
Through rose-tinted glasses

Year of transformation
Embarking gypsy life

Breathe in cherry
Blackberry, spicy earth

Before my first sip
Remember that step away

When home a snail shell
Upon four wheels

Wending curved roads
Like a wild vine

Not ready
to be tended

This wine aged in barrels
for a smooth complexity

Drink suffused light now
To the tunes of our piano

My gentle lover here
Let us tend to each other

ALL POETS ARE RIVERS

Find me a poet
who is not a river
I will find you a river
who is not a poet

Woe are the rivers
Concreted by dams
Reservoirs dreaming
of the unshackled verse

Give our rivers back
Free to be poets
and poets to be rivers
of the lively refrain

Find me a river
Fresh in beaver slap
Dipped in dippers
Hovered in kingfishers
Seized in ospreys
Finned in wild trout
Forever
Rhymed

PEEL BACK THE LAYERS

Gifted in riverine rapids
my hand opens empty to
accept the spring breeze

Lucky beaver stick
floats to this side pool
Reflected. Mirrored. Offering

Stoop to grasp
the gnawed white twig
peeled of bark

Feel chill waters
bearing melting ice
away to a confluence

Prayer hands roll
pencil-thin wood
as if to spark a fire

Layers fall away
Drift downstream like
curling peels of bark

Farewell to sorrow
at least for now
Loosen this hard rind

Let my rough and weary skin
shed like a snake
Gleam. Shine. Renewal

Gratitude to beaver
to headwater springs
to braided reciprocity

As layers peel away
Know that the heartwood
remains safe and sheltered
Always

INDIVIDUALITY

Ponderosa pines jostle
Mingle, touch and sway
Winds tousling
needles of three

Why no synchronous
bending like bunchgrasses
on a prairie rippling
in waves?

Studying this bafflement
of tussling trees blown
every which way
I wonder

What is the better way
to respond?
Do we bow together in
salutations to the sun?

Or make our choice
Like a sailor tacking
her small boat
through the wind?

Study again the treetops.
I see where I’ve gone wrong
There is a communion
among the confusion

One tree bends to
shield another
Leaning in and away
So none will fall

SPIDER WEBS IN THE MAKING

Pitch dark?
Not for spiders
Scrolling silk
From abdomens

Guided by
Blinking stars
Designing orbs
Encircling dreams

My son rises
From his tent
Flicks on a headlamp
Startled by shimmer

So many spiders
Spinning and linking
Tree to tree
In silver thread

While we are sleeping
Spiders weave in symmetry
Setting the table
For breakfast