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 to Tim Amsden. 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.
(for Fran Anderson)
Driving westerly along the Ancient Way,
Twisting, climbing toward the Divide,
Our road would rise through the lava-studded forest,
Bend around the base of the volcano,
Shadows and sun dancing
Inside the car as we would glide
Spell bound out onto
The high mesa and canyon country
Of the west-central plateau,
And so, on to our home of many years.
And deep in the moment of our journey
She would open her heart to the rapture
of nature’s miracles,
Spotting perching hawks, or on the wing,
And ravens looping on the updrafts,
Mule deer staring out from shady glades,
And the mountainsides of Ponderosas,
And mesas populated with Piñon groves.
And sometimes she would observe out loud,
That so many trees looked like they
Might be dying,
Drought-stricken and ravaged by a million beetles.
We knew they would soon be standing corpses.
But those afflicted trees drew her heart out
Just as when throughout her life
She saw children struggling
And families in strife, and worked
To make the world a better place for them --
Surely if she could have,
She would have watered every single tree,
She would have driven out the catastrophic beetle,
She would have healed and saved each and every tree,
Found a way to make them whole again
With supple boughs all clad in green,
So that every single tree she saved
would thrive and feel the joy
Of crowding flocks of birds ,
Would listen to their songs,
And the whir of tiny fledglings
Being nurtured, sheltered, shaded
Among their healthy limbs:
A green and peaceful paradise
Where tiny lives might soon fill
The universe with joy.
Reed Anderson 2022
for Fran and Reed
We stand firmly rooted
consciously breathing brief glances about the circle
aware these moments are fleeting and full of memory that alone will remain
The silky dog sighs stretches and lays down on the periphery
Our teachers nod as we settle into the moment and rejoin our lives together
From silence, Tai Chi movement begins
Stepping out, empty step left as the heel lightly touches down
the ball of the foot rolls forward, as weight shifts forward
the trailing right foot lifts, heel first then toes reaching
and lands weightless, mimicking the left and then melds into the earth
the Master intones :
First you arrive, then you leave
All part of a process, a flow.
Breath in. Measures, in, out.
Brush knee, swallow's tail. Arrive, leave.
Beauty in the passage and poetry of motion, acceptance that the form flows to an end.
Can we learn from this as we too prepare to leave?
Try to accept the speed to our exit, our finish, the inevitable rhythm that catches us
hurling us towards some completion, faster and faster as days pass.
In the Form time slows, conscious of breath, of arrival and of leaving.
Reflect, and slow down.
Teaching. Recall your arrival.
Moments of mother, of father, of words not yet understood
being lifted up above and gleefully swooping over the others
celebrating your arrival, your being.
Then suddenly being is not enough.
Look at what I can do, shoe tied, name printed, books read
leaving behind childish moments, arriving, rushing forward.
A lifetime now of doing, but learning to be again.
To arrive in consciousness.
To prepare to leave in consciousness.
All part of a process, a flow.
First you arrive, then you leave.
In loving memory of Fran Anderson.
Contemplations by Pam Ballingham 2016 predawn sky brightens! in hushed silence we face east — soft river of wind smell of roses but there are none in the yard! pale breath of heaven still deep listening all agendas set aside — clear sky opens young loon bobs on lake, mist at dawn luminous gold — small boat slides from shore drifting autumn clouds carry waves of canyon drumming — dry land drinks the mist Today in the Middle of the Night Today i was painting, laughing, crying, with Rachel, in my studio. Tonight it is raining a melody on the trees. I woke up slowly, remembering, in this thick darkness gently twirling rainbow like particles of light, & the silence that comes when the crickets no longer sing rings in my ears of winter. i woke up drenched in sweat remembering the inevitability of death in my imagination i tame that un-tameable beast laying down in the snow on a clear night with stars sparking in my heart... or some such other perfect circumstance.... Today, i was painting, & laughing through tears with a friend. Tonight it is raining a sublime orchestra over-riding my fear. i wake up, clearly remembering, this moment. ----M.blue november 15,2016 1:45am
© July 2008 Pamala Ballingham
begin on this quiet Sunday afternoon
under a monsoon-seasoned sky just off the garden,
as water boils in a song and
macha is sifted and piled high like Mt. Fuji rising
in the black lacquered Natsume.
Delicate crowns of pink and orange lantana
tilt gracefully in the humble vase
and incense sends a languid trail
that shivers slightly,
then pivots sideways,
and rights itself again,
revealing invisible currents
leaving spicy traces
of woody quiet places.
sends clouds into waiting tea bowls
with red silk Fukusa
in slow legato —
a precisely paced
Chakin and Chashaku
in genteel motions
echoing the ancient ritual, tethered to now,
in plays of water, silk, macha and clay.
The mind settles and opens
like a dry brittle leaf
soaked and softened by gentle rain,
and ears attune to hypnotic swells
of breezes threading through pine boughs,
and water bubbling over pebbles in spring.
When time unfolds just right,
macha greets the tongue like an Anam Cara,
knocking three times at the door and,
under the spell,
calms and graces the space
and slips discreetly away
through the low and narrow door,
in the air.
In the Oyamel Forest
A royal carpet, 470 million monarchs
blown from the sky in a Mexican
mountain winter storm.
We did it by logging the forest,
destroying the canopy of protection.
Thanks to us most of the world’s monarchs
lay dead on the forest floor.
What an end for these doughty fliers,
smacked down after 2000 miles
of crosswind navigation.
Logging may kill the rest
in 15 years.
How lucky we are not to see
the consequences of toilet paper,
not to know each time we rub out
What a blessing to be like Teddy Roosevelt,
one morning bemoaning the end of the passenger pidgeon
then joyfully killing three black bears
in the afternoon.
Desert rain old man laughing — young man too. ~ Gyoshin Giant rusty red and black ants travel the great expanse of my toes
-Madalin Blue 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
On the winter solstice, The darkest day of the year, old friends gather, as people have since humanity began. Beneath ponderosas and star-blasted sky, bundled and warmed by hot buttered rum, they huddle around an evening fire. Murmurs of conversatons quiet as one lifts his guitar from its case and begins, strumming and singing an old song of love and memory. Voices of the others gradually join until all are singing, a soft yearning together, a binding moment as each gazes into the fire and gently blends their voice into the whole. Above their heads their hearts twine into a tiny goldfinch that rises through swirling snow, till it joins the vast circle of birds made in their ways by Maori, and Masai, and Zuni, and all the other families of people. The circle expands until it spins around the earth, 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 piñon 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. ~ Gyoshin 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