Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest I slept under rhododendron All night blossoms fell Shivering on a sheet of cardboard Feet stuck in my pack Hands deep in my pockets Barely able to sleep. I remembered when we were in school Sleeping together in a big warm bed We were the youngest lovers When we broke up we were still nineteen Now our friends are married You teach school back east I dont mind living this way Green hills the long blue beach But sometimes sleeping in the open I think back when I had you. A Spring Night in Shokoku-ji Eight years ago this May We walked under cherry blossoms At night in an orchard in Oregon. All that I wanted then Is forgotten now, but you. Here in the night In a garden of the old capital I feel the trembling ghost of Yugao I remember your cool body Naked under a summer cotton dress. An Autumn Morning in Shokoku-ji Last night watching the Pleiades, Breath smoking in the moonlight, Bitter memory like vomit Choked my throat. I unrolled a sleeping bag On mats on the porch Under thick autumn stars. In dream you appeared (Three times in nine years) Wild, cold, and accusing. I woke shamed and angry: The pointless wars of the heart. Almost dawn. Venus and Jupiter. The first time I have Ever seen them close. December at Yase You said, that October, In the tall dry grass by the orchard When you chose to be free, "Again someday, maybe ten years." After college I saw you One time. You were strange. And I was obsessed with a plan. Now ten years and more have Gone by: I've always known where you were-- I might have gone to you Hoping to win your love back. You still are single. I didn't. I thought I must make it alone. I Have done that. Only in dream, like this dawn, Does the grave, awed intensity Of our young love Return to my mind, to my flesh. We had what the others All crave and seek for; We left it behind at nineteen. I feel ancient, as though I had Lived many lives. And may never now know If I am a fool Or have done what my karma demands.
Mother Earth: Her Whales
An owl winks in the shadows
A lizard lifts on tiptoe, breathing hard
Young male sparrow stretches up his neck,
big head, watching—
The grasses are working in the sun. Turn it green.
Turn it sweet. That we may eat.
Grow our meat.
Brazil says “sovereign use of Natural Resources”
Thirty thousand kinds of unknown plants.
The living actual people of the jungle
sold and tortured—
And a robot in a suit who peddles a delusion called “Brazil”
can speak for them?
The whales turn and glisten, plunge
and sound and rise again,
Hanging over subtly darkening deeps
Flowing like breathing planets
in the sparkling whorls of
And Japan quibbles for words on
what kinds of whales they can kill?
A once-great Buddhist nation
dribbles methyl mercury
in the sea.
Pere David's Deer, the Elaphure,
Lived in the tule marshes of the Yellow River
Two thousand years ago—and lost its home to rice—
The forests of Lo-yang were logged and all the silt &
Sand flowed down, and gone, by 1200 AD—
Wild Geese hatched out in Siberia
head south over basins of the Yang, the Huang,
what we call “China”
On flyways they have used a million years.
Ah China, where are the tigers, the wild boars,
like the snows of yesteryear
Gone in a mist, a flash, and the dry hard ground
Is parking space for fifty thousand trucks.
IS man most precious of all things?
—then let us love him, and his brothers, all those
Fading living beings—
North America, Turtle Island, taken by invaders
who wage war around the world.
May ants, may abalone, otters, wolves and elk
Rise! and pull away their giving
from the robot nations.
Solidarity. The People.
Standing Tree People!
Flying Bird People!
Swimming Sea People!
Four-legged, two-legged people!
How can the head-heavy power-hungry politic scientist
Government two-world Capitalist-Imperialist
Third-world Communist paper-shuffling male
non-farmer jet-set bureaucrats
Speak for the green of the leaf? Speak for the soil?
(Ah Margaret Mead . . . do you sometimes dream of Samoa?)
The robots argue how to parcel out our Mother Earth
To last a little longer
like vultures flapping
near a dying doe.
“In yonder field a slain knight lies—
We'll fly to him and eat his eyes
with a down
derry derry derry down down.”
An Owl winks in the shadow
A lizard lifts on tiptoe
The whales turn and glisten
Sound, and rise again
Flowing like breathing planets
In the sparkling whorls
Of living light.
Stockholm: Summer Solstice 40072