Saturday, August 26, 2006


When I walk in the woods alone
I like to measure the distance
between myself and the next human being
in miles.

But the crunch of my boots on loose stones
joins with the rushing of the creek
and the wind and the bees and the sound of a plane cutting across the corner of the sky

To make a thousand voices
in my head
chattering, chiding
and calling my name.

So I stop walking
and the flies swirl away
and the wind dies down
and the voices in my head
turn back into the sound of water
running over rock.

Now I know that when I want to walk
In the wilderness alone
I must stand completely still
Or leave my head behind.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Before I came to write

I thought before I came to write
That words would be like rock.
You choose a piece and turn it
And heave it into place.

Each word must fit the rest
And suit the space and shape
Then each single solid word
Will be set
For posterity

Until a path is built
Both flat and smooth
Firm beneath the feet
And people will walk on it

But I found that words are like water
Running in the creek
You can dip your hands and cup your palms --
Or open your fingers and let the words run out
And rejoin the stream.

Soon with fingers dripping
And dipped again
Into the stream of language
Words coincide with thought
For brief moments
And become consumable.

I didn't know that words
were just water
Trapped momentarily
and then let go.

Forest Fire

I am stealing your fire
says the child
as she holds taper to taper
and wick to wick.
Take whatever you need
Burn full light to read, child.

Silence descends
and the night grows long.
The scent of smoke
wakens the light sleeper.

Bare feet cross the floor
out the door and down the steps
over gravel and stone to the lake
where black water beats against the rocks.

A stream of blood red
Thrown by the hand of Mars
Stains the surface
From the far shore to my feet.

A crimson ribbon
of reflected light
shines on each black ripple.

I turn my face to the sky
No sunrise tints the east
No moon hangs overhead.

On the distant mountainside trees candle
Flames flare from stem to crown
And spread from wick to wick.
Unbind Prometheus and ask who gave fire to Zeus.

Email to a friend

Words labour like ants
Across the white space
Carrying their burden of sense
Recording events chosen like fallen crumbs.

The japonica flowers in the window,
Our neighbour had her baby.
This play was seen
And that book read.

Stories ring with laughter
And details sound the rhythm of routine
But you read what is not written
And know that silence is the trumpet of my mind.