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 Poetry    Tim Amsden - Site Steward

      Welcome to this poetry place, where we offer an irregularly changing clutch of poems for your enjoyment. If you have written a short poem (usually twenty-four lines or less) that you would like to share, we would be happy to consider it for inclusion here. There are no requirements except that it be in harmony with the feelings and intent of this website. Just include the poem, along with your name, in an e-mail. Because the poem is property of the poet, we can only post poetry written by the submitter or passed into public domain. Based on the belief that poetry is best taken in small doses, this page will be kept fairly short. If you submit a poem and it does not appear, it could be that we are holding it for placement in a later rotation. After poems are removed from this page they are placed in a very nice poetry retirement home.You may visit them here.


It is a privilege to write and read
         to have a bed
         a roof
         a prayer
         a plate of food

         to have two arms and two legs
         to have something as complicated as a hand
         blood vessels
         a breath
         a song

It is a privilege to sing in troubled times
         to sit alone in a room
            pen in hand
         and write one true thing
   The rewards are great, unfathomable—
                  to peer beyond the cave of the skull
                  to worlds larger than all of us
                  to learn to yield
                  to bow
                  to receive
                  to wait
                  to witness beauty and
                   sing its suggestions
                       in a song
                         a melody
                   no two chords the same
                     though echoes occur
                  to offer us time to record

It is laudable
      and often essential
        to write a poem
          good or bad
      and to let the heart break
      in its circle of silence
    to be awake night after night
          hopeless, exhausted
(is there a world for anyone’s children?)
           to sleep one hour
                 and wake
       to disbelieve the sun
          and then to glow
            to belong here
                 right here
            despite everything
       and to celebrate with friends

                                                    ---Jim Janko


       Our Place in the World

Gathered in a rough circle beneath the piñons,
we reach into the gunnysack of time
for Christmas fruit.
With the sharp blade of intent
we peel away anger and sorrow
and drop the dark rinds into the fire.

We bite into the fruit’s white flesh and taste
pale cream and bright snow, juice of sweet memories,
laughter and Christmas mornings and gatherings
to leaven the weight of winter

Above our heads our hearts twine
into a tiny goldfinch which rises through the swirling snow
till it joins the vast circle of birds
made in their ways by Maori and Masai and Zunis
and all the other families of man.

The circle expands until it spins around the earth
and the earth ceases to wobble and its voice
clarifies into the high ting of a rung goblet,
and the angels pause in their work
to cry the perfected note.

~Tim Amsden

the birds have vanished in the sky
and now the last cloud drains away
we sit together, the mountain and I
until only the mountain remains.
                                            - Li Po

Gentle pinon dawn

Ancient seas’ slow breeze wakes elk

Heart sails slowly fill.

                                                  ---Jon Pickens


Love Affair with Red Rock

When you have lost your mind
Sense and sensitivity flown,
Like a flight of crows on the wing,
Go out into the valley where
The wild sunflowers make
A joyful dance unto the Lord,
Let the wind wash over you
In holy consecration,
Tickling the tight edges—
Until a small ripple of
Sweet surrender slides its way in,
Falling into red earth,
Gently merging with
Deep rhythms that quiet
The hungry soul,
Whole body embracing
Rose-hued mother rock,
Breathing stone smell
Into deadened pockets
Of non-being.

I know I am
Carried on a current that
Knows its own way,
Following bird sign,
The patterns of stars,
The scent of tree, root, soil,
The longing to belong
Matched only by the
Invitation of spirits who
Beckon me close,
Whispering in my ear—
Welcome Home.

                                      ---Elizabeth Herron

The sound of the Valley Stream is itself
the Vast Eternal Tongue;
Are not the colors of the mountains the Pure Body?
Since evening, eighty four thousand verses;
Another day, how could I quote them to others?
                  - Su Tung p’o (11th Cent. Chinese poet)


My niece belly dances and
cooks for Lola Moonfrog

My sister’s etheric name is Stella
mine is Durmont Bouchard and Lucia,
having been clarified, is Lucia

We read books take mini-courses
consult therapists and astrologers to uncover
who we are yet

The bear knows, as does the willow, exactly this:
the wind, ice is coming and the narrowing of the day

                                    -Tim Amsden

When I touch the Earth,
Ancient songs of Elders
Whisper in distant places.

Since water still flows, though
we cut it with swords

And sorrow returns, though
we drown it with wine,

Since the world can in no way
answer to our craving,

I will loosen my hair tomorrow
and take to a fishing boat.

                         -Li Po