Hard like diamonds

Hard, like diamonds.

Flow above, around, before, behind or below.

There is no in nor through.

They can burn, so it’s said.

Hellfire has been giving its all

for decades now, yet they insist.

Crystals stand strong and hard.

They do not flow.

Break, crush, erode,

if you’ve got world enough and time.

Otherwise, live around them,

or one fine day set them aside.

Leave them. Count on them,

they’ll be waiting until you return.

For return you will, if just to visit.

They too made you you.

All you know is constellated around them.

They are not all, else you would not be here.

Walk on. Leave them be.

Go, flow. You won’t forget.

They marked you for life.

Facing Great Island

Soft waters wash across the wide reach

of shell-strewn tidal shore. Small wonders

urge plodding through sucking mud.


Monstrous and miraculous fellow

creatures wallow in twice-daily stranding,

subject to lunar rule.


Awash, await and abide the ills

that sun, and dogs, and gulls

can do; or become

perhaps a sacrifice to the

oh-so-human pleasure

of naked curiosity.


Plucked as lightly from the sand alive

as remnants left by doomed companions,

read as chapters in a history

unmeasured by time’s rod;

these are ancestors here rudely grasped

by their inquisitive descendants.

Hope for them now lies in their simplicity,

variety and number; features not of each,

but of their kinds and worlds.


Peruse the scripture on an oyster’s shell,

behold the drama in the train of a horseshoe crab.

Journey to the Moon

So long they wandered,

making their way

from savanna to shore,

floodplain to forest –


They learned

to burn and slay,

gather and dance,

sing and plant,

harvest and herd.


Across windswept fields,

down washed out gullies,

up stony passes –

they made love and war;

told, wove, and remembered;

passed judgment, worshipped,

dreamed, and declaimed meaning.


Generations followed generations,

repeated the customs.

Dark nights in tall grasses,

they named and tracked stars,

harnessed heavens.


Sunshine and rain,

they stumbled and strode

through copses and rockfalls,

meadows and icefields –

chose good and evil;

found worth.


Stalks of rhubarb

nourished and delighted;

the leaves were deadly.

Running water refreshed;

standing, it could sicken.

Ferment worked in bread and wine;

spawned life, bred death.


They buried and burned

their dead with flowers,

howled at the abundance of mystery;

fashioned hosts of gods;

from Olduvai to Archangel

marked and shaped, coming and going.


Slowly they fathomed the seasons

and settled where seeded;

sang of hopes and fears,

of was and will be.

It came to them late to build cities,

and then to fly to the moon.

Seven Wonders


Between the eyes

reading and the book

a spider dropped

prompting contemplation

on magnitudes

of grace.


Seasonal sojourners

passing a pilgrimage,

warblers perched high

in ancient oaks, beset

the house with song.


By the sackload

he dragged winter

refuse out to dump;

doves cooing

gave him cause

to pause and mind

the morning.


What perfection

in dead leaves

pushed up against

broken boulders, comprising

for a little

brown salamander

a whole world!


The hawk soaring above

the green mountain called

him to fly — not

consider what awaited

the mouse scratching

at acorns below.


All innocence, the snake

basked on the sun-

baked rock; hiking

off workaday lethargy

he froze in startled terror

when his footfall

made it move.


Ducks coming in

at speed to occupy

a cove, filling it

with polychrome bustle,

charming choreography

and noise: yet the place

of honor remained

reserved for the elegant

formality, ponderous


of the geese.