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At evening in a clearing where a home stood
a stone foundation rises from the grass
to suggest the everyday order
of another time and place.

The sun sets and the earth
releases warmth.
The past lingers like mist, as
a veil of difference over leaf litter.

The heavy cool air flows
from higher ground.
The cold and sound of wind
are a form of silence.


My place and my time
were not of my choosing
More likely, I would have found
a place more sheltered,
a place of unbroken pleasure
in the touch of wind
in the sound of its passage
through leaf and limb.


The air carries the scent of flowers
like a half-heard conversation.
Light illuminates their blues, yellows, reds
to flare against a background
of dried grass


You stand in a field cut from the forest
trying to remember something I said,
something from our time here.

At the edge of the field
a clump of dried leaves rustles
against bare limbs.

And though your intent is to recall
my voice, you are distracted
by the scrape of oak leaves in wind.

When you were young,
I showed you scents hidden in leaves.

You glance at the peeling bark of a cherry
and experience more than recall

the sharp sweetness of its leaves,
when rolled between the fingers.

Could you have guessed you would find
my presence in that gesture?


Out of place flowers,
linger as color in the eye,

a pattern on top
of other patterns,

flowers over gray trunks,
flowers over brown grass.

Who would choose to remember
what the body chooses?


As a child, you found yourself most present
in the patterns of loss:
in the echoing fall of the Swainson's thrush,
in the quietness of the forest after.

As today you find yourself
in a persistent, low-level feeling
that something vital, but unknown,
is missing ...

You turn from the flowers
and by turning, release
your sight from their pattern.
The oak leaves scrape a comic applause.

All things before you
hold a place in your sense
for a moment
then dissipate

1st know version Feb, 2000
Latest version Feb, 2005
This poem is nearing completion
A Case for the Idols


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