on love

sparrow

It’s a woodbrown sparrow
atop a gray stone ridge
a wall enclosing lawns
trees and groomed shrubs
Boulders upthrust bold
disrupt the order the park
as if untamed unlike the rest
massive but unmoving
while all the while the sparrow
quick ruffles her feathers
spreads her wings that she
might fly but unconcerned
perhaps for who knows her mind
closes them again modest
around the small the beating
the unassuming
the unbound wild she is

to a dead cormorant

cormorant

Already in the sand the black feathers
wings splayed and twisted neck
so confused with driftwood shells
it took that little beakend hook
to see suddenly and then draw from
the chaos the lost order
the vision of sleek magnificence
how you must once have stood
in afternoon sun hooked wings open
feathers spread drying yourself
after diving deep in the dark bay
you with your two elements only now
binding to this third not yours at all
it seems already it’s started
the inert reclaiming from flight
from soaring diving this you carried
feathers flesh bone You give it back now
abandoned but where o where are you?

plover

plover

For the grace of this plover
skittering at the running wavedge
taking lightly briefly to wing
then again to quick legs
in the sun the surfroar
whom do I have to thank?

She doesn’t care perhaps
Her stifflegged beauty
neither gift nor weight
in the waves’ uprush and fall
as she stalks and stabs
life hiding in the oceanwashed sand

With or without me the sun
the sky’s far blue the thundering
of whitemantled green waves
or this stray gray feather hers
or another’s generous letting me
see the offshore breeze it rides away

untitled (Rockaway late summer)

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See there fleetingly covered
in the crystal upwash of wave
sunlit and tumbling and sparkling
in the ocean’s incessance
its insistence on motion

they run shellchip jewels
all blue yellow purple
white red gold and black
run carried alive on wavebreath
not bits of shell but mermaid butterflies

You could snatch them catch them
as they tumble sunlit but why
In dry air they’ll pale and die
Just breathe you too the waves
breathe life ever moving and let them be

surf-body

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There is no rush in it
no hurry in the ceaselessness
but neither restlessness
not a going to
just a movement
constant
unfathomable
as to be stillness
as to be the gull
that hangs overhead
watching on whitefeathered wings
the gull I would be
carried in the cloud
of tumbling spume
equipoise
in the ceaseless
the being
the careless
the rise and crashing fall
as to be breath
breath itself.

rope swing (for Sonyusha)

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It’s now been years
since you told me
in a whisper
you’d forgotten the words
you used to know
the magic

yet on your first swing out
here over the water
you already know
to only let go
just as the rope
will go no further
and untethered you rise
then hang there
somehow more than an instant
as though the sun itself
couldn’t bear to let you go.

The Stolen Man

for Sonyusha, again

Halfway between here
And the bay,
Between the window
And the water,
Under gray clouds
In quiet rain
You sit cross-legged, golden
On the high rock
While here in the kitchen
Your mother talks about
Something —
I’ve lost the thread.

You’re waiting for me
Talking as you watch
The window, while I too
Watch you.
Of course I worry —
Wet ground
And it’s raining I know,
Light, perhaps,
But it’s darkening
Your golden hair —
I worry, but more
I wonder
Watching you talking
And wanting
To hear the world
You’re weaving
Out of clouds rain bay —
Come away
Come away

I watch you talking,
Listen as though
I could hear, as though
There was no
Glass, no rain, no space
Between us.
As though
Just wanting
Could ever be enough
To let me always
Reach you.

to the real itself

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“There is only
the restoration of innocence–”
“I pick up on
calm, or passivity —
a mighty mildness
of repose in swiftness–
joined to the most instant
and powerful actions”
which — looking up
suddenly I see
in a quiet face
half-hairhidden
atop upsurge of neck
A mighty calm
cresting — a swell
to a world away
Gray eyes already a horizon
falling off into unseen blue
So no — harpoon in hand
perched on wavetossed boat
poised for the strike —
I would not hurl
but — held fast
by this untamed stillness —
hope only instead to be
struck myself and thus — restored.