November on the Klamath

Night’s silent choir,

Patiently gathered around the roots of trees,

Inside the river’s long bend,

And in the shadows of boulders,

Passing time under morning’s great bridge.

.

Across:

The orange of maples.

Ahead:

Paws of a lone bear.

Behind:

Tracks of a fisherman’s boots

Through the damp, grey sand.

.

These might be cobblestone dreams

On a lazy afternoon,

But that was October’s rhythm:

Summer’s back porch, shaded

In creaky planks

And sliced tomato gluttons.

.

Now, the soft arc of light,

Chilled in air gone stiff and still,

Begging for hunched voices,

That dare not stir old winds,

From behind sedge and willow.

.

A conversation,

The groans and gripes of water on rocks,

Goodbyes of frogs and leaves and liquored blackberry sunsets,

The gratitudes of full moon clouds,

A gift of rain.

.

Hurry,

The long gaze of night

Will soon turn us to pebble and stone,

Smooth and round, barely colored,

In the fading light.

patience in a rainless world

Where is this hard line?

Through forest, over hill,

And across water I’m told

By the old men, gathered along

The river bar, waiting years for a fish

To be caught so they might move on

To the open fields to spend their days

Released from those toils.

.

That thin, frail string stretched

Through dark woods, and

Mirroring the sky,

Where the hard line of a storm

Challenges a stale afternoon.

.

The jagged line of rocks against water,

And the silent boils, softening a long seam

Where currents meet, reunited:

Partnering again in their purpose

As they explore a single winding path

To the place where land ends

And the great depth of the sea begins.

Part II. Listening to Steelhead.

I cannot counter the edge,

Remarkable, memorable, inexorable

In an odd persistence that wanes in it’s coming.

I cannot shape this space.

Green years, short months and how the day suddenly curves away.

The center is far removed from place and time. Eyes turning to the bright prospects of hard lines on skies.

I cannot yield to grace, as the soft illusions of ease tempt me into the chilled waters.

 

 

December on the Eel

Here,

Moored

By the soft calling turns

Of a river now purposed by rain,

We can linger in that patient lapse

Between the miseries of drought

And the sudden electricity of flood.

.

The Copenhagen-spitting sages of Weymouth,

And the oared helmsmen at High Rock,

Hiding in their closet cigarettes,

Share chit chat smiles of angst

In the nervous dawn light

While the Chinook-crazed bankies

Debate spoon and roe.

.

And a distant figure

Heaves arcing bright lines

Through shadowy secret boils

And long greasy slicks

In a solitary reverie

Of far-fetched feathered hopes.

.

This is far removed

From the life-gone-easy days of,

say, June,

The routines of August,

Or the Sunday light

After a passing April rain

Reminded us all things

Eventually come back to this time.

In the Time of Steelhead

There is a method to December,

Chilled cradle to summer’s child.

 

If I wait to count the rain

Just long enough.

 

In between,

the fair gauze of sky and storm

Holding us in a spell

While morning turns back

Again.

 

This world of rock and water

Green ghost of new worlds

And the long places between.

Re-Discovering winter

In the old days, I imagined fish and moving water all silver and loud. Now, things are maybe more rehearsed, but the fish and water seem to be much softer than before. Now I imagine them in the silky green water, connected to a damp landscape cradling rivers. These fish would crawl into the forest if the rain kept up just a wee bit longer, and in the early morning mist they could be found in the trickling little holes that dot the mossy floodplain forest.intruder

In the broad, cobbled waters they become part of a enthralling choreography of movement, shadow and soft sounds. Stare long enough, and the sound goes away and there is just the movement of shadows. Now there is only slightly more unknown than known in this water. Just enough to let me crawl back into the water if the rain would let up for just a wee bit.

The Way You Are in Paintings (Part II)

Tell me the day,

Your voice: echoed calls

To draw the fetch of sickled fields

And the time of old, warm winds

Cast in cobbled cicada song.

 .

Tell me the story,

Your fingers: places on point,

Gesturing along hot, dry contours

Deft as a shining leaf.

 .

Tell me the place,

Window to a long passed storm,

Etching the ways of things,

On cracked pane and smooth brow.

 .

Oh, tell me the summer,

Long eyes, saddened tinge,

Or softened childhood mirror,

I never remembered

Quite like this.