Snapshot of

a goldfinch singing
a glide of tumbled notes

the burden of heat–
a giant python weight–

wraps my chest
constricting my view
of the world

the low afternoon moon pays dues
from my empty pockets

an armada of frogs
sing for each other

where the current is
as slack as my discipline

rabbits listen but
make no comment
crows are difficult

to interrupt when
their beaks are empty

Posted in animals, Birds, Consciousness, crow, Uncategorized | Tagged | 10 Comments

Simple Wish (Acrostic)

Today the veil of snow descends
On the pasture of beach weeds I call the lawn.
Until the weather warms, it will
Lie in state, as does your memory, my furry friend.
Oh, that you could see the white and feel,
Under your paws, the bracing chill of it.
Simple is my wish:
Ever and ever until I follow you home.

photo: Jessica Stewart

Posted in Dog, family, Gratitude, Life, Wisdom | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Gibbous Moon

A gibbous moon hangs in a tree
Not quite full but it’s getting there
Shows me what you mean to me
I’m not going anywhere

Its light washes my open eyes
And leaks behind my walls
It opens my doors and tries
To steady my soul when it falls

Your love holds me present and past
The future is your precious gift
My love will always be yours at last
To anchor me when I start to drift

When I find it hard to speak
Your patience will gently pull
All reluctance away from the leak
My heart is not gibbous, it’s full


Posted in Friendship, Gratitude, love | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

God Without Religion (for Barry Lopez)

Maybe our star is just an orb of fusion
held by gravity and physics to apply
energy to our little nonet here at
the spiral edge of a galaxy we can
almost comprehend with the awareness
we have acquired over our brief
history of knowing anything at all.
Is consciousness a gift or a result?

As we mature, we become aware
that we are conscious and begin to collect
stories that offer us a mooring place
in the trajectories of our lives.
We welcome our stories and
learn how to affect their outcomes,
accepting their consequences even
when endings are not always satisfying.

Eyes on the horizon,
we strive to complete the metaphor,
crashing the symbols,
beating a cadence of heart to
where the sky meets the sea,
ever onward to kindness,
gratitude, and light:
God without religion.

(Top image: gettyimages; Bottom:

Posted in Barry Lopez, Consciousness, Gratitude, Humans, religion | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Haiku: Well Rested Bulls (for Martha)

Elk resting easy;
We all managed our distance;
They were unconcerned.

(elk photo: Jim Stewart)

Posted in animals, elk, Haiku, nature, Oregon, pals, Poem, Wildlife | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

When Your Cover is Blown

Hobnobbin’ with a dangerous crew
No time to worry, too much to do
Makin’ my way through a forest of time
Direction might slip and turn on a dime

It’s reading like a story in a news magazine
Telling me my brain is a guessing machine
Should I cut loose or go with the flow
There’s just so much I’ll never know

Trusting the moment, it’s hard to say
It might be how I live through the day
All those tomorrows might never come
And I’ll still wonder where I came from

It’s already open there’s no place to hide
The boys with the flags always question my pride
Too late for asking—too soon to beg
I’ll sit right here on this powder keg

The truth to some can be a lie to most
To see naked truth is like seeing a ghost
Take it or leave it, we’re all on our own
Just stand up tall when your cover is blown

Yeah, stand up tall when your cover is blown
Take it or leave it, we’re all on our own
To see truth naked is loving a ghost
A lie to some but the truth to most.

(green flash photo: author)

Posted in Lyrics, Poem, Truth, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Oh, Manifesto

I believe:

We are all miracles;
Even the sun, someday, must die;
The ocean is patient;
Unfettered capitalists are impatient;
All genders need love.

Poverty doesn’t arise from a lack of ambition;
Skin is a marvelous organ whose color is irrelevant to character;
Forgiveness and gratitude are fine instruments that demand practice;
All animals have the same right as I to be here;
Time is a clever illusion.

Death’s door is always open;
Friends are harbingers of joy;
Children are the greatest gift;
Puns are their own reword;
Music is universal language.

Faces are windows;
The book is our greatest invention;
Religions are exclusive clubs;
Prejudice is ignorance personified;
Magic is alive—god is afoot.

(eagle: my photo from the beach in Gearhart)

Posted in Birds, eagles, Life, Poem | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Haiku–Cardinal Sin

A Cardinal sin

might be pedophilia;

or poop in the nest.

(Cardinals:; Cardinal:

Posted in Birds, Haiku, humor, puns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A Hole in My Ho Ho

This has been the first Christmas in many years without you. Ah, buddy, I miss you so. There really is a hole in my ho ho. I’m still saying goodnight to you when I turn off the light. I may do that until I’m gone, too. If there’s an afterlife, I sure hope we can meet again. It would be interesting: two souls together once more without the human/dog thing happening. My naiveté doesn’t really know what to think about that stuff. I’m bound up in this human form and I’m sure there is an arrogance about me that I’m not even aware of, the whole humans are so special syndrome. Is what I think really who I am? Is what I think really what I think? I always assume my thoughts will eventually get around to something kind of profound and that I’m not wasting my time when I daydream about something, creating an internal dialog that might turn into some kind of art. Or am I just pretending to be aware? Does it even matter? Does doubt keep me honest or does it cloud my vision?

When you were alive, I’d bounce this stuff off of you as we’d walk. Before age really started to catch up with you, we had some pretty good routes around and through Gearhart—woods, dunes, beach, ocean. You seemed happy to listen. You’d look at me every once in awhile and make me feel like you were listening. It might have only been the droning of my voice that pleased you. At least you didn’t roll your eyes. Your kindness always informed my own.

Now that you’re gone, am I misrepresenting the friendship we had? Am I trying to make it more special than it was, to kind of glorify my grief? That would be an all too human behavior, I think. I don’t want to believe that’s what I’m doing. I’ll go out on a limb here and just deny it. What we had when you were breathing and enjoying the world was a true friendship that continues. I’m not sure how that works with you on the other side, but I’m learning. I’m guessing, hoping, you are too. Whether or not we survive in some kind of afterlife, you are certainly within my living heart and I am deeply blessed with that. I will continue to prattle on as I walk the old paths. And hey, they finished to the two bridges through the wetland and the Ridge Path now goes all the way to where we crossed the creek on that last walk we took. Maybe you can join me for part of the way. It feels like you do, sometimes. Another blessing.

G’night buddy.

(Top: Jessica Stewart; bottom: Jim Stewart)

Posted in Beach, Bedtime, Dog, Friendship, Letters from elsewhere, Slice of Death | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

If There Are No Dogs in Heaven

Always glad to see me
Always at my side;
I need to say this clearly
So it’s obvious when I die;
I’ll stop the bus on the way
Until I surely know:
If there are no dogs in heaven,
I don’t want to go.

Walking in the dunes
Sniffing every tuft of grass;
Patience with my impatience
Is how you teach me class.
If you could tell me how you feel
I’d listen head to toe;
If there are no dogs in heaven
I don’t want to go.

In that moment when we look
Into each other’s eyes,
Our feelings of contentment
Come as no surprise;
My grateful grin, your heartfelt wag
We reap just what we sow;
If there are no dogs in heaven
I don’t want to go.

If there were no dogs in heaven
I’d be a garden without a rose,
A napper with no doze,
A doorway you can’t close,
A face without a nose,
A fire truck with no hose;
Oh, I wouldn’t last a minute
If heaven had no dogs in it.

Always glad to see me
No matter where I’ve been;
The happiest of greetings
Shows in your goofy grin;
At night you guard the hallway
To keep us free of woe
If there are no dogs in heaven
I don’t want to go.

If there were no dogs in heaven
I’d be a rainstorm with no drips,
Poker with no chips,
A gymnast with no flips,
A dancer with no hips,
A kiss without four lips;
Oh, there’s not that much I know,
But if there are no dogs in heaven
I don’t want to go.
If there are no dogs in heaven
I don’t want to go.

(Dog Boy: Author Boy)

Posted in Dog, Dogs | Tagged , , | 9 Comments