Category Archives: Poetry

Cherry Tomatoes

Nothing compares to the sight

Of my daughter, quiet as can be

Eyes lost in wonder

Working intently and efficiently

Stuffing her mouth with freshly picked cherry tomatoes in the backyard garden

Canoe

You cannot know a lake, yourself, or God

Until, being out on the water, your eyes are trained to see what was always overlooked:

A gentle, persistent breeze is pricked

From your vantage, sequential lines form and move in parallel towards your canoe

Coming closer and closer, then passing

Just after dawn the lines will display a remarkable contrast of light and dark.

In the present moment both orange spacious sky and black depths appear

It is paradox at its finest

There is no grey

There is no in between

Only a sincere respect, fear, love for absolute mystery

When you begin to see these lines

You will begin to see the lake, yourself, and God.

Westy

One fine day,

I will grab that man and pull him down from his

1979 Volkswagon Westfalia with the pop up camper top

I will drag him to the ground,

Hold my boot to his throat

And demand the truth:

Does it really take you anywhere you want to go?

Is it an adventure?

Aren’t you lonely?

Do you have a telephone? A television?

I just have to know.

“War” (Guest Post)

Guest poem today from my friend Cole. He’s twelve years old. TWELVE. 

Wherever you go there’s flying debris,
people lay injured, no one seems to see.
A target’s a target they’re told not a human being.
Bullets fall from the sky like black rain on their enemies
who run from the pain.
War is war is what everyone’s told
but such talk does not fool me.

You can follow Cole here.

Winter’s Grave

We are lying in winter’s grave on this end of the Mississip’

Haven’t seen my grass in months

My long johns are in shreds

We’ve gone through sixteen bottles of  dry red wine

Seventy-two cans of dark beer (stouts and porters: I like to drink with the seasons)

Five butternut squash

Two shovels (Seventy-four point nine inches of snow, thank you very much)

A jug of sidewalk salt

One car battery ($109.36), alternator belts ($244.43), and thanks to the potholes

a ball joint ($379.52).

 

Cabin fever?

More like cabin cancer

 

II.

I don’t own a snow-blower

Wish I could say it was a matter of principle

In reality my hand-me-down

’78 Sunbeam Electric Snowthrower

bit the powder a year ago and was never replaced.

But I’ll never go back

I’ve found my antidote to winter

 

Anyone can fill a gas tank, pull a chord and walk behind a machine-

Not outside more than twenty minutes

Go back inside and watch yourself some more reality TV.

 

I like to shovel in the quiet of the late evening, while the snow is still falling

Breathe the cold for over an hour, maybe two

The Alberta Clipper passes and the clear polar air follows

Stars will scream at your eyes and

the moon will be all the light you need, blue as Lake Superior

Numb frozen chin, frosted whiskers and sweaty armpits: now this is the Midwest

and this is what its like to feel alive.

I stop to catch my breath and in the silence

Find all the stillness I need to make it through to

Green grass, songbirds, and ice cold malty lagers (I like to drink with the seasons).

 

Either way, wouldn’t trade anything for the winters out here,

Just gotta know what you’re looking for.

Be A Gardener

Be a gardener.

Dig a ditch,

toil and sweat,

and turn the earth upside down

and seek the deepness

and water the plants in time.

Continue this labor

and make sweet floods to run

and noble and abundant fruits

to spring.

Take this food and drink

and carry it to God

as your true worship.

 

Julian of Norwich, Earth Prayers (HarperSanFrancisco) 373.

How to Cut Down a Tree

Tree trunks break out of the snow banks on the Mississippi

Like old soldiers at their post

These men are time travelers, tall

The few left who tell creation’s story

A glimpse of what the river looked like before progress landed on her shores.

Keep watch old men, keep watch

You’re the icon of Eden

A reminder of how things used to be, should be

The power planters

The farm fertilizers

The industrializers are going to cut you down

Can’t see Garden for the trees.