Sunday, November 3, 2019

Without Winter

Without winter
how would we know spring?
How would we know the delight
of the first bud of the rose,
or the sighting of a robin
at the break of day?

How would we know 
that we climbed out of the drudge
that winter holds?
That we have been transformed
from our underworld dive?

Without winter in our soul
how would we feel renewed by love,
by the awakening of sleepy cells 
that long ago remained unchanged?

How would we know if we
passed through hell 
to come out healed?
How would we know 
what healing is?

Without the depths of our journey
How would we know we arrived?

Without winter
how would we remember
that not a spring comes by 
without its promise of renewal,
its soft colors,
enchanting breeze,
its welcoming silence, setting the stage
for that first sign of relief?

Beneath the Surface

Beneath the surface
a firefighter reflects,
even cries.
They did it — they didn’t let the fire
spread beyond 101.
They were not going to repeat
what happened two years ago.
They were not going to
let this one kill more people and
burn thousands of homes.
Beneath the surface
even though 77,000 acres burned,
they succeeded.

Beneath the surface
the new CEO of PG&E gets a
2.5 million dollar salary.
What if that money went to
update equipment, poles,
put wires underground?

Beneath the surface we pay our 
electric bill by flashlight.

Beneath the surface
no matter how many households
had their electricity shut off
a single jumper on a tower broke
and set off a spark
that seems to have started it all.

Beneath the surface
I’m exhausted from carrying around 
all my valuables in and out of my car
for four days.
Bad air still hurts my lungs,
I had to cancel my class and now
I’m in bed with a cold.
I blew a fuse last night.
Did they turn our power off again?
No, I still see light in the next room,
but how that thought sent panic
through my body.

Above the surface
we’ll get past this one. 
Friends will help friends
and life will go on.

But beneath the surface
we are living powerless to the wind,
in fear of flames
and always knowing what we will pack
the next time around. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019


They are all older than me —
the mountains, seas, trees.
They hold the wisdom of the years,
the secrets to survive.
They know not to fret
over small things,
that the world goes on around them
crazy and blind.
They remain steadfast in presence,
all drinking from the same pool —
the one at the center of the universe,
the one offering me a sip.

Monday, July 15, 2019


Nothing has hindered
the advance of summer —
Not remains of fire
or fear of more,
Not crying children
or deportations,
Not nuclear proliferation
or lies
or murders
or the tearing apart
of our country at its core.

We are bound by nature,
a force as large within us
as around us.
We are one with it.
We are nature itself.

So when the rose greets us
let us feel renewed.
And when the lavender fields
are in full bloom,
let us, like the bees,
sing in harmony.
And let us drink the fruit of the vines
through centuries, perfected.

Let joy creep into our souls
and celebrate
that we have no control
of the seasons,
that summer still comes
and brings its warmth
and joys and fullness,
and carries us on its path
into the future, into the light,
into the sun.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Contemplative Still Life

Nothing is still.
So, what does a still life capture?
A fleeting moment
sculpted in time,

a breath, an instant
that lasts forever,
an image we go back to
again and again,

like a memory repeating itself
over and over,
creating a vision
that no longer exists,

yet is there—as real as ever
in our thoughts
in our dreams
in our minds.