Thursday, November 9, 2017

Inner Sunset, Morning Rain

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco, California
March, 2016

My little girl leads me through her grown up world 
of townhouses, trolleys, bodegas, cafes, and corner 
stores. The smell of coffee cuts the soggy breeze. 

Elsewhere the world churns. Fierce preachers poke 
ancient wounds and politicians scratch the scabs. 
Privilege feasts as Lazarus lies by padlocked gates. 

Here, wizened men once interred in wartime camps 
mingle with young mothers in yoga tights wielding 
late-model strollers down the kinder sidewalks.

The streets of Inner Sunset are baptized in morning 
rain. A small shop bears the sign - Make loaves not 
war. We are far from the breaking madness, beyond 

the contagion of hate. The implosion is put on hold. 
In the face of chaos Mohammed went to the mountain 
and Buddha withdrew. Even Jesus retreated. We enter 

the garden and drift through a feather mist where sweet 
plumes scent the heavy air. The city recedes. We trace 
slow paths through flora that once graced Eden. White 

blossoms litter the soft moss carpet beneath a baby cedar 
grove. Gray rocks anchor grass islands in a raked sand 
sea. We step to the trickle of cobblestone creeks and glide 

past Koi ponds.  A bronze Buddha, old as our country, 
casts a placid spell on those who pause. The prophets 
all returned. Mohammed spoke the Koran, Siddhartha 

woke the Sangha, and Jesus preached the Kingdom. 
We turn home together, bearing the grace of soft rain 
in a parched land. Peace awaits in the folds of time. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

End Times, Again

Athens, Georgia
November 30, 2016

Light drains from another year.
The hymn of insects dwindles. Days
diminish. Cycles reset. End times

come again. Today, the passion-vine
bears yellowed fruit and withered
leaves, which late-season caterpillars

scour in vain. Soon, the chrysalis
succumbs to cold. Bumblebee colonies
collapse. Inseminated queens abandon

their hives. Orphaned workers wander
brown fields in search of nectar. Perhaps
an aster persists somewhere. But home

field has gone to seed. Beside the dry
depression that nursed the new spring
salamanders, Lurid sedges flaunt battle

spikes. Wild rye wields tan spears. Dark
pods hang from Senna. The tips of thistles
launch parachutes into November wind.

Ironweed bristles, grasses bend. Blue
stems wave soft tufts like tattered prayer
flags. Today, the hope of new life lies

buried in root and seed bank, tucked
in mud and sleeping queens. But to us
now, the season of culling is come.

Lurid sedge, photo by Don Hunter