Best to Kill It While It’s Young

dead loveMaybe the merciful thing
Would be to kill it while it’s young,
Like some larvae still unformed—
Early before we know what it might become.

Then again, I could replace this love
With what came before—
Loneliness or primal fear.
Or pry it off my heart,
Drop it where it cannot grow.

Love is like magic in the world.
Do we ever know what’s real or
Is it imagined from our dreams,
Wishes— forgotten or remembered
From what once was or is yet to be?

If love is cast away to die,
Can one say it was by mistake,
Lost like a precious ring
In swamp of paranoid darkness?
To give away your heart is a terrible thing.

Who can predict what will happen,
How long anything might last?
Better to keep love distant like a woodpecker
Who would tap upon the door,
Then eat the wood and fly away.

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Old River Ways

Old River Ways
I wonder if you still remember
All those who walked along your banks,
Memories flooding in their minds.

You are long and lean as you wind
Through deep valleys, named and unnamed.
Yes, though you are old— you are strong.

Do you remember all the young boys
With fishing poles and raw hopes
To catch a living fish with living worms?

Do you recall the many lovers
Walking barefoot in soft mud, tender hearts
Lost in water’s mirror in the other’s eyes?

And the old man past seventy,
Heaviness etched upon veined skin
Like lichen on your rocks… do you recall his name?

What are you waiting for?
Where did you learn patience
As you yearly yearn for upland fields

To lose black soil, to sacrifice,
Give in floods of spring uprooted trees,
Their precious gift now flowing

From churning, turbulent streams
Joining to your muddy water,
Pushing slowly under bridge.

Do you hold fast to deadly desire
When skaters etch with steel blades
Their path upon thin winter ice?

Under lazy summer days,
Is your hunger quenched with
Pink blossoms caught within your eddies?

Do you contemplate the salty end,
Ocean waiting as does death
To swallow all you have to give and more?

Teach me, Old River, your slow wisdom
Learned through drought and heavy storm,
Forgotten, re-learned as year turns to years.

I stand here thirsting for your teaching,
Inarticulate and humbled by heat of white Sun,
Waiting, naked feet rooted in the sand….

Through frost and fire and
Wild catastrophe of stars—waiting here
To learn your ever moving ways.

What Lies Coursing Through These Woods?

Lane EmergesSuddenly out of tangled woods
A lane emerges, visible and clear,
Almost catching me off balance
With quiet exhilaration as I discover
What’s been here for years.

Wind blows through mist
As I sense new invitation.
Imagination wonders
What lies coursing through these woods?
Where might this lane lead?

Does it ever end?
Might there be a little house
Waiting around some unseen bend—
Or perhaps not a house but home
With fire to warm my hands and bones?

No matter how still I stand
To ponder where to go,
I pay the price that bending beauty knows,
Unbound as much as maples, walnuts, elm
Swaying high above while I stand here below.