Earthrise, December 1968, Image by Apollo 8

Friday, December 9, 2016

To Make a Frost Flower

Athens, Georgia
December 14, 2015; revised 2016

You could go a whole life 
scarcely aware of ephemera. 
How frost flowers grace 

the morning hours in unkempt 
ditches, ragged shoulders, 
borders and abandoned fields 

that first hard freeze of fall. 
Consider the White Crownbeard  
how it grows. It flourishes 

in heat of summer, flowers 
ugly early autumn, leaves 
a stick carcass standing 

barren to the bitter wind 
that rattles down the winter. 
But come the quiet dawn 

when cold envelops open 
fields and seeps inside 
the hardened earth — 

when morning crackles 
frostweed blooms. Up 
from old roots, sap bleeds 

through breached stems, 
oozing into open air
as frozen locks of cotton 

candy, silver swirls 
of crystal clouds leaven 
its now broken body. 

Translucent grace is born 
to morning, gone by noon. 
Wounded by winter the weed 

turns guts to ghostly flowers 
and waits for the inconceivable 
spring to rise again from roots.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Last November Sunset

Glade Farmhouse, Georgia
November 30, 2002; revised December 2015

The last November sunset 
darkens to shadows 
on the stubble horizon 

when off a distant ridge, December 
wind clears warmth 
from a once promising day

and the heart of a hundred billion 
suns smears cold 
light across velvet silence. 

A spare beauty bears the hint 
of primal heat 
through widening gulfs 

to fallow souls rooted in lost time 
waiting for winter 
to spring new seed from sweet decline.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

From the Deck of the New Horizons

Athens, Georgia
February 7, 2016

I have been here before, swept 
to the stars by an artist’s rendition 
bound in my childhood Book 
of Knowledge. Lost in the pages 

on Pluto, I stood on a cracked 
and frozen plain where Sol is 
but the brightest star whose light 
is hours old. From eternal 

twilight I turned my back 
to the sun-bathed Earth, seared 
by the ancient, wandering call, 
set off to inhabit infinity. 


On a farther end of forever 
I find myself as in a dream 
sailing shotgun on a spacecraft 
the size of a grand piano 
at the climax of a nine-year fling 
approaching the double-dwarf 
planetoid world which waltzes 
with Charon face to face 
on a multi-century solar swing 
in two/three time with Neptune. 


I fly by the moons of Hydra and Styx 
the realm of Kerberos and Nix 

dodging the darkened pole of Charon 
covered with cryo-geyser debris 

I shoot past the methane plains of Pluto 
over the frozen Sputnik Planum 

above the Virgil Fossa Canyon 
land where ice volcanos flow.

I see a strangely familiar world — 
a touch of haze in the light blue sky 

as warm days climb to fifty-three Kelvin
across the fields of crystallized nitrogen 

mountains of ice as high as the Rockies 
dusted with hydrocarbon snow.


I have been here before, swept 
aloft to far-off worlds. Now 
I gaze behind to a sun-bathed 
youth lost in a dream that could 

never come close to riding 
the deck of the New Horizons 
Pluto in the rear-view mirror 
universe ahead.

Photo by NASA
/ Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
/ Southwest Research Institute

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Prayer for Angie

Athens, Georgia
January 30, 2016; revised February 5, 2016

Shackled to perceptual chains
we face our trials as if alone,
beyond all hope — but faith sustains.

Baffled by competing claims,
we grasp beliefs until we’ve grown
so wedded to perceptual chains

that when our efforts end in vain
and earthly options come undone
in fear and trembling — faith sustains.

We’ll stumble through a vale of shame
confused and lost where doubt is sown
about our own perceptual chains

until at last no path remains
in dark and blessed moments blown
beyond all hope — where faith sustains.

Released from clinging thoughts, we’ll gain
new clarity to find our home.
We’ll soar beyond unshackled chains
and bask in Love — yes, faith sustains.