Three Crows

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Three joyful black Crows,
aloft on the April breeze,
laugh at Earthbound men.

Consumed by spring chores,
I’m the target of their fun.
I ignore their taunts.

Puzzled now – they come close;
Perched on the rooftop – watching
with conspiring eyes.

These are my old friends.
They so hate to be ignored —
I must laugh myself.

That’s all they wanted;
Just a little of my time.
They fly off crowing.

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     *     *     *

The Home Place, 2017

 

Stone Upon Stone, Soul Upon Soul

 

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For good or ill, they left their mark.
Rich in their vow of poverty;
at least by local standards.
They had their cigars and their chocolate.
They had their music and their books.
They had their Faith.
They had untold riches
in willing backs and upturned faces.

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Stone on stone. Wooden crosses.
Beams and candles. Silver chalice.
True, the graveyard was filling up
but there was work to be done.
They were here on a mission;
called by the Assisian of long ago.
Soul upon soul. Tally and count.
Blessed waters all poured out.

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Carry your burden. Stone upon stone.
Eyes lifted to heaven. Recall your lessons.
Soul upon soul. No room for doubt.
Where friars go, others follow.
Scores were settled by Godly force.
The “Holy Office” — an instrument of peace
in the wild lands west of the Pecos,
in this province of sand and salt.

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Women tending the graveyards,
upturned faces looked away. The cost was high.
The flesh was less willing, the spirit weak.
Some days the raiders came.
Voices raised – a stone thrown in anger.
An arrow. The fields are on fire.
The burden was there but with few willing backs.
Brother, tell us again about Heaven.

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Over the pass, it was a long slow walk.
First one mission and then another
left crumbling in the sun.
Stone upon stone. Soul upon soul.
A vow of poverty is for living,
not dying in the sand and salt.
So brothers, pick up the pace!
There will be other missions, but not here.

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*     *     *

Enchanted, More or Less — 2017

Ghost Birds in March

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Cranes, lost to our sight
in the sun-drenched sky above,
call out sad farewells.

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Hardship and mountains –
snow-covered plains lie ahead.
We bid them Godspeed.

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They’ll be back next fall
to do it all once again.
The Bosque awaits.

    *     *     *

The Home Place, 2017

Xantico’s Daughters

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This place is fire born —
of riven stone and sulfur -–
smoke and flying ash. 

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Xantico’s daughters,
Vulcan’s spawn – the Three Sisters
spend their time alone.

 

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Visitors are few.
Unnoticed, they bear witness
and will keep secrets.

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  Only the soft breeze
and solitary footsteps
disturb the quiet.

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“Who is this pilgrim?
What quest brings you here today?”
I come seeking peace.

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This desert, blessed by
rain from the south, is transformed.
Once brown, but now green.

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This place of beauty
is now dressed in flowers but
just for a few days.

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 “A place of beauty?
…Ah, yes – we remember you.
You’ve been here before.”

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I will be quiet.
I will not disturb your rest.
Your secrets are safe.    

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     *     *     *

The Home Place, 2017

Revised from Writer’s Cramp 2014

Residuum 1

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That which was left behind confronts us in splendor;
the residuum finally has it’s due. The rest, dearly departed,
has been scraped away by the elements – fire, ice, wind,
and by rain as if some earthly and ancient rapture stole it away.
It was needed elsewhere, somewhere beneath the sea.

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     *     *     *

 Enchanted, More or Less — 2017

The Fence: The Milk of Human Kindness

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How did she get here?
She walked…walked toward the fence.
It’s the one constant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There’s always a fence.
She came alone. Swept along
with the refugees.

 

 

 

 

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Maybe an orphan –
but no one knows for certain.
She stands by the fence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Waiting. She watches.
Expecting someone to come
from across the fence.

 

 

 

 

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 Little refugees
grow up waiting by the fence…
older and angry.

 

 

 

 

A Syrian refugee boy stands behind a fence

 

They survived a lot.
So now they stand by the fence.
Waiting for something.

 

 

 

 

 

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      *     *     *

 — Ah Yes, The Milk of Human Kindness

 

The Shadowed Wall

The Shadowed Wall
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What lives were once protected
behind these shadowed walls?
What joys were shared and hopes declared
and private pains endured?
What voices spoke to say a prayer or
comfort childhood fears?
What buttons sewed?
What wondrous weavings wove?
What feasts enjoyed? What cheerful toasts proposed?
What missing friends or long-lost parents mourned?
Like brushstrokes on canvas, these past lives
paint shadowed lines on old forgotten walls.

     *     *     *

A reflection on a visit to Plaza del Cerro in Chimayo, NM (2015)

Enchanted, More or Less – 2017