And Summer’s Dwelling.
The soft urgency of evening comes as a call of light.
Light in windows,
And the closing edge of shadows,
Where far off night calls for tomorrow’s respite.
The last places fold themselves into corners,
Where sounds hide,
Slipping into a quickening stop now,
While yielding to the hills beyond
Staring down at our polka dot splendor,
While they wait their turn.
Now, the calendar gets marked,
Not in numbers and squares,
But in these lines,
And the rough shapes of passed time.
Now I remember this path,
Where it led,
How it was worn somewhat,
But tread in new shoes,
At a steady pace,
To the whims of clarity,
And the luxuries delivered
From the old shadows
Lurking all the while
Among the familiar.
Life on the ragged edge of a Mediterranean climate:
Again this morning
Sudden, under the monotony
Of unchanged days.
What’s left to tip this scratched record?
Slipping beats, mercilessly turning
To an old song
Still sharp and biting
But in new ways not heard then.
How far south
Or just across
Do I need to go
For the broad skies
Painted in pastel masteries.
Before the waiting time resumes.
But plays to a bad rhythm
A bad rhythm going down.
Some of this time might linger.
Into the endless eddies of days
But is quickly lost
On the downhill slide.
One day, crazy boisterous
Of long slumber,
Or the deep haze
Cast across dry fields
And the aches fired by dust and wind.
Here the days slide with the light,
The rhythm of new times again.
Throes of some beloved time
Mark this place,
Scribbling old, stale letters,
With the earth casting the scantest of shimmers.
Recalling its vast flatness,
Where things far gone
Is a breeze that weans all
From time’s pulsing song
And the golden bars of space.
Like days on end become.
Passing through leaves
And other spaces.
With barely a gesture:
Surprising in its arrival,
Fading in its passing.
Like lifting a finger
To a circling moth
And seeing another
Move along a ragged edge of focus:
Near soundless wings a flutter.
The breeze sits and waits
‘Til all else passes,
When it will stand and tell stories
In a hushed voice
That carries far,
Like grief and love
All mingled in the fields:
Meeting for the first time.
Is the real day here,
Latest sunset of the year
When it all comes gathering up
To glide into the doldrums
Today is the crest of a small wave
On some pond
Rarely visited in the brush
Especially on hot days
When it becomes the throne
For snakes and frogs
Having their day
On the crest of a small wave
This is the silent pulse
The long ebb
The onset of exhale
The practice of patience
If I could count flowers and leaves
I might try drawing the ripples
Depending on the amount of time
Getting lost in time’s subtle traps
Pulling us into drying gopher holes
Where new life goes on.
I have to step gently from today,
Steadfast in foot,
Hopping the waves
Or pointing to the shadows
The marks they leave
The same as the last go
When I start counting.
Great arc of sky,
Now afternoon’s turn
Has come to be,
the long bridge over short night.
These are songs we dare speak
Only to ourselves
While we wait
Through the thick stagnation
We encounter somewhere
Between summer and fall
When the wind falls away,
And the sun is all that is left.
This time of smoke
And old valleys
Sitting low, in their once easy chairs
Of coastal ranges gone tight
Under their own thirsting landscapes.
You can just about hear the memories:
Water-worn tales amidst the dust and rounded gravels,
Once verdant glee,
All gone brittle,
In this time of waiting.
I’m thinking of compiling a bunch of stanzas over the course of the summer, each being a separate evening on the river, and see where it goes. Of course, that begs the question when does summer begin and end! So here’s an introduction, maybe, followed by a recent evening. We’ll see how this pans out – guess I better spend some time on the water in the evening!
The smell of river hangs in the trees.
Dangling on the buzzing songs,
Of birds and bugs.
Heaps of them
Appeared just yesterday!
The days don’t seem long,
But they stretch beyond August now,
What they will soon call the dog days.
Now, we have frog days,
That linger into this night,
An evening of cricket thickets,
Water noises and screeching night birds.
A pulsing choir to send us on our way.
Last night, a sudden and certain pause:
Sprays of lightning danced overhead,
crackling off in every direction.
And the last bit of setting sun,
Spilled golden light underneath everything,
Casting a rainbow over the far bank.
And now the rain, showery waves
Wavering by day, singing lullabies by night
This is the rain you were warned about
Where picnics run and hide
And chefs delight in warm dishes from the hearth.
Sustaining, despite our cries for ice cream
and secret swimming holes at the ends of dirt roads.
Afternoon hangs on here,
Like a cruel gift of time
For people who never give up.
Just for a moment,
Afternoon sneaks in a rattling breeze
Shaking little poems from the leaves
Giggling like children passing secrets
In a playground, just before the bell rings.
Maybe summer exhales in the evening now,
More likely an afternoon,
When sun and light and water play
For just a while, before it all quiets down
But maybe, just maybe,
Summer might tell one last quiet bedtime story.