Poems in the lyrical mode. Visionary slices of poetic invention and imagination. These poems are lyrical, that is. They “sing”, but sing in the language or rain. Sometimes a patter, sometimes pelting. They are dense in syntax, twisted as tightly as wisteria about a sweet gum tree. They draw on his early immersion in the poetry of William Butler Yeats, and reflect his own sensibility, interests, and myth-making ability.
I learned that the Dali Lama at Queen Victoria’s time recognized her as the manifestation of an Buddhist goddess.
Coming to Lhassa
The Dali Lama knew grave Queen Victoria,
her face, her frozen gesture, radiance,
her wordless power and speech imaged on
coin of the realm to be the Green Dolma,
ruler of heaven and earth, mother of matter
sound, keeper of mines and wells.
Even Victoria sensed this,
dreaming herself born
to rule against the sun,
the Great Queen, savioress of the world,
Avalokiteshavara’s Beloved rising from
a gold coin. Her wrath buried in her bones,
her eyes burning, mild Victoria covers her ears
and hears her heart in the earth,
the wind soughing through her veins,
a solemn tapping, a shrill breath in the thigh.
Coming to Lhassa, the Queen’s
emissaries heard the rocks sing.
Rock Thinks Back to the Beginning
A good hand at space, the first architect
used wood and rock for his house
and we far in the northern woods stirred.
My wisdom is beyond language
barely can I recall what happened.
I’ve tasted every temperature, odor,
direction of the wind. My every crystal knows a
But I never breathed dusky tree till she grew in my mould.
We came to marriage of opposition. My sense of having
always been counters hers of soon concluding. Her strength
is her magic, mine my density and weight.
My first pleasure: seed lodged in seam.
Husk cracked one rain
trembling tendril of root clung to loose dirt, and thrived. I’d
loved stone before and stars beyond darkness as my father
This was beyond his teaching.
Her passion is for hymning the wind, for swaying, for a
I move with the earth and the water, halt, mumbling, deep
in love with solitary things.
What the Tree Said
My husband, the rock solid beneath me and I
Lives on this lake for ages, my hungry hands
grinding his bone to soil.
Through slow pressure of ice,
through summer and summer again he sustains me; the
bridegroom and I
Somewhere our children lurk, hunting for birth.
At the full moon’s blossom,
at time’s full blossom my womb’s fullness will subside.
When they are born, herself grown from this lake,
the moon will love them
and with the strength of stone.