I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
— Walt Whitman

*******

After haul-out

Do you ever
just watch?
plant your eyes on a cloud
that’s
frozen
as if reluctant to go,
stretched back on her pillowed couch,
steamy breath signing the air.

It’s difficult to reside
only there
as coat finally unthreads
blinking back the last rosehips
which reveal blue mussel flakes –
hard not to peek
nor contemplate
before
she leaves.
Impossible, you may think
To halt your thinking.

‡  ‡  ‡

There are times we look
and wish memory will creep in –
though he flits and dances
close to our reach —
someone calls out
shooting stars from a deck;
two thumping steps perk up the dog,
front door krumps shut;
a supper five years later: young men
grip their mugs,
installers of heating and irrigation,
a budding history teacher, investment manager,
they cajole with caroled barbs,
we leave without saying it.

‡  ‡  ‡

Only one trim cloud line is left now
above Cuttyhunk in the south,
her crackling odor
defies obsidian nightfall.

Be still,
don’t flicker
away,
be
still.
and I believe
again
in Lost Boys seeking pirates,
hikers points toward October peaks,
dragons’ snouts, their jagged teeth
among hoary beach coals,
a little boy bats polished stones into the water,
his boundless life ahead.

Do you ever
just watch,
try to
stop
yourself
from arcing your way back?

She’s finally ready to leave
as a heron flies stiffly east,
over the darkening masts
silent
save for clinking halyards
keeping November time.

(2007)

******

Peepers

Round this time
when walking roadside into
northwest wind
nips at your nose,
just before swamp maples spit their crimson buds
and forsythias butter pop,
if you’re lucky
and the sun is high
enough to embrace,
when the gusts lay down
by late afternoon,
hear them speak.

Out of mud
a vernal chorus peeks
from backstage,
creeping downhill
no promises made nor ill
willing velvet crocus, early and gold
blushes at the sound.

Once too, love peered out
for lengthening days and sprigs anew
but it drew too soon –
dusk undraped yet another frost
retreating, the moment forever lost.

(2008)

********

This month’s inspiration …

whitman2From “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

— Leaves of Grass, the 1892 Edition, pg. 73 (Bantam Books Classic Edition, 1983)