I Have Loved the Stars Too Fondly to be Fearful of the Night

Pliedes

 

Moonless starry sky

peeks through a lace cloud curtain.

Pleiades appears.

This is sort of an early ‘heads up’. Mark your calendars for August 12th. That’s my birthday as well as the peak of the Perseids meteor shower. If God ordained that I should be born on the date of the annual Perseids meteor shower then the least I should do is give thanks and stay up to watch the show. I’ve been doing this every year since I was about twelve years old and I’m turning 69, if all goes as planned. That’s fifty-seven years of watching falling stars light up the night sky.  I have friends around the country and in other countries who go out to watch the Perseids for my birthday.  It’s sort of a gift that they give themselves for my birthday. I invite you to join in. Just let me know what you see. This should be a good year.

I delight in the night sky.

perseid

(The title comes from the poem “The Old Astronomer” by Sarah Williams, 1837 – 1868)

The Home Place — 2017

The Gift From Heaven

Today the sky rises as a vault of a baroquian chapel
ringed with clouds and vapors. Where are the cherubs?
There should be cherubs. Somebody cue the Angels.
The purest blue. The flawless White.
Bring out the palette of colors in between.
Look up!!

I’m puzzled on days like this to see so few heads
turned skyward. This is a gift from heaven.
Even the landscape stands in awe.
Where is the orchestra?
On this same day, quite by accident, my eyes find
the last stanza of Shelley’s The Cloud…

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the Sky;

I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain when with never a stain

The pavilion of Heaven is bare,

And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams

Build up the blue dome of air,

I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,

Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,

I arise and unbuild it again.

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Enchanted, More or Less — 2017

 

 

 

Slip Over the Edge

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Quietly slip over the edge
Disappear without a trace.
Follow the old trails.

The canyon trails are worn smooth
by bare feet or reed sandals.
Centuries old hand-holds are still there.

Trails wind down to hidden pools.
Deep shade is cool below the canyon rim.
Hot sunlight is a stranger down here.

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The breeze builds toward the afternoon
channeled up the walled canyon.
It’s cool among the willows.

A dove bathes in the shallow stream.
A hummingbird hovers for an instant
checking you out.

Time passes slowly down here but
centuries could skip by unobserved;
quietly slipping over the edge.

 

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Enchanted, More or Less – 2017

 

A Little Backyard Drama

A recent domestic drama played out in the back yard with the local Scaled Quail family….

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Him: Your chicks are in the bushes again
Her: My chicks? What do you mean my chicks?? WTF?

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Him: You laid them.    Hey! Hey you kids — get out of the bushes! —- Don’t make her come down there.

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Her: Me?? (Gives him that look that all husbands will recognize)  — You got a broken wing or something?

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Him:  Nah…I’m busy. I’m on lookout duty.
Her:  Oh yeah?  I’ll give you something to lookout for…

(With a little prodding, they both went after the chicks.)

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The Home Place — 2017

Desert Souls

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They have souls, you know.
The trees, the birds, the mountains…
they have living souls.

We used to know that.
We just became deaf and blind
or just looked away.

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Bigger fish to fry –
We put them on balance sheets —
Costs and benefits.

Trees come and trees go,
they’re “renewable” they say
— color of money.

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My old Juniper,
on the hill, could tell stories
of Coronado.

The crippled old Sage,
bent from age and it’s own weight,
survives — as I do.

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Gambel’s Quail worry
after their two dozen chicks
scratching in dry grass.

I must watch my step.
I’m ankle deep in quail chicks;
they panic and run.

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Three crows pass the time
wondering what I’m up to
in my funny hat.

Lizards sun themselves
then sprint down my courtyard wall
in search of their lunch.

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By my waterfall
somebody’s building a den —
a rock squirrel, maybe?

They are sly devils —
hiding cactus with the twigs
to keep me at bay.

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Roadrunner appears
and strolls through the open gate.
Lizards run for cover.

Desert Cottontails
lounge in shade under my truck.
Hawks can’t see them there.

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Jackrabbits visit
but don’t stay. They are wary
and solitary.

They are hit and run
artists – seldom seen, but there,
eating my bonsai.

 

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Evening brings Doves
to bathe in my Goldfish pond.
Hummingbirds dogfight.

The colored sunset
paints the mountain a deep red
as day goes to night.

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Constellations dance
to a faint and distant song —
Coyotes at night.

The morning footprints
tell tales of night visitors.
unseen and silent.

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They have souls, you know.
The trees, the birds, the mountains…
they have living souls.

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The Home Place, 2017

The Immortal Sea

 

We come from the sea; we are of it but not in it.
Made of water and salt, we carry our ocean inside
but we no longer comprehend our own origins,
If we ever did.

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The desert canyons and mesas were once the seafloor
that our most distant kin knew as home.
We walk among fish that perished eons ago.
Just pry up that stone.

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The antediluvian seas are gone now, turned to stone
along with our Cambrian ancestors who dwelt there.
We have lost our fins and thrown off our scales.
Blessed by time and luck.

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We left all that behind. We’re proud – we flatter ourselves
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” — but what of the immortal sea?
It lies deep and unrecognized but still gives us life.
The tides call to us…we come from the sea.

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Enchanted, More or Less – 2017

Xantico’s Garden Revisited

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Lichen and stardust. Moonscape
cloaked in bright flowers and dancing grass
and hard, broken stone.

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A hidden garden unfolds.
Tended by three dark sisters – the daughters
with bright colored skirts.

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Here, Xantico watched, unseen —
the old Aztec fire god gave it her blessing.
The girls have done well this year.

So far from the wet Bosque,
the water hides in cracks and shadows
waiting for spring.

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Blanket Flower shows its colors,
Globe Mallow rises on tall stems,
desert daisies and sunflowers all take their turn.

Chamisa, bright green now, waits for autumn
to unleash its yellow show,
along with the blue Asters.

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Prickly Pear and Cholla begin their show –
bright flowers  like the girls used to wear in their hair.
Look, but don’t touch.

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The ancient ones – twisted sage
and sculpted junipers – provide sanctuary
for returning bright feathered visitors.

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Stony fissures and alcoves
in dark, fire-thrown piles give shade
and respite for night dwellers.

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yucca 3

This year Xantico has favored the yuccas,
sometimes overlooked,
their bright torches shine above the rest.

Life is hard up here — so windblown;
and closer to the clouds than to the river,
but the daughters’ flowered skirts have come alive.

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The Home Place, 2017