I hear the desert wind

“The lone and level sands stretch far away.” Shelley.

Ah… And there it is, my friend— “A disembodied thought,”
Found, we’re told, under a soldier’s boot,
Though some have said it is not a thinkingness
But a yearning for the life that held it.

And there, just there, a bit of quartz
As white as cataracts
As final rays of sunlight, once
Caught and held— As black clouds
Boil across an afternoon sky
Eclipse the sun and day falls into night.

Or so the lone survivor told.
But she was blind, it’s said.
She lived another day or two
The legend goes, to say who won.

We walk. We part from pasts and where
All pasts must dwell. Many cannot speak—
Others reach with open arms
Toward the voices of Allah, of Yahweh,
Of L. Ron Hubbard, of others.

And having listened and to our own thoughts
And having prayed our own prayers
Rejoined our own lives,
Today, we are returned.


Hymn of the Fallen Tree

Let me rest among these giant souls that stand
where trees once stood.

Here, greens break into blacky-blues and dragonflies
and dusts of beetle dung grow old withal.

Let me rest among the salmonberry and the tumblewood
of cotton, ash and hemlock, fir and cedar.

And let the wind stir of pine above the fall reawaken me
in early greens and sapling dress, anon.


This poem is an allegory. Published in: “souls arriving” 2006 as title “Tumblewood”: “Between Music and Dance” 2013: “Letter to the White Imbongi” 2013: “The Footprint Press” 2014: “3201 e’s” 2018.

If a man whispers peace in a field for the dead

If a man whispers peace in a field for the dead
will he be heard or will it be said
that the voice of one man is a lie?

If a man calls out peace from a box in a park
will he be heard or left lone in the dark
with the murmur of madmen and lies?

If a man cries for peace and names Allah or Yahweh or Christ
will he be heard or were they sacrificed
under flag? under bomb? under fire?

If a man offers peace with peace in his heart
will he be heard? Is that how it starts?
Someone— Anyone with peace in their hearts—

Will we be heard? Is THIS where it starts?
If we fail, my dear friends, who will live?
      The War-Men have no peace to give.


Published in: “souls arriving” 2006: as version “If…”

We Will Survive

Take away the sun above
And burn the air we breathe.
Take away the moon and stars
And everything believed.

Take away the green of life—
The blue-green seas below.
And take the glow that lives in them
And everything unknown.

Take the candle. Take the verse.
Take art. And take the artist’s words.
Take each thing— its form, its name.
Take everything. What’s left but blame? More blame.

One thing’s for sure— We will survive
We have gone on and left this song behind us.


Published in: “souls arriving” 2006 as version “9/11” : “3201 e’s” 2018 as version “We Have Gone On (9/11)”


WAR is NOT a spiritual preference (except to the insane)
WAR is NOT a spiritual orientation (except to the Merchant of Chaos)
WAR is NOT a spiritual experience (except to those who die)

open our eyes together and we will dream
open our fists today and we will build
open our doors tonight and we will sing
open our eyes/fists/doors

or (close our eyes and never mind
(close our fists and build collateral damage
(close our doors and scream

oh no
open our eyes/fists/doors

send our prayers to the front lines
send our light to the front lines
send our truth to the front lines
send us

and we will build for beauty
and for freedom
and for love

send us  

Published in: “souls arriving” 2006: “3201 e’s” 2018


Yes, segregate.
Create a slum for me.
Build walls.
Render us apart.


The New Apartheid appears in full in Walling In and Walling Out: Why Are We Building New Barriers to Divide Us? by Laura McAtackney (Editor), Randall H. McGuire (Editor), as the epigraph for Chapter 11, Conclusion. Available on Amazon. The Introduction’s epigraph is a quote from Mending Wall (from which a line provides the book title), a poem by Robert Frost. Randall McGuire wrote, “I want to thank you for capturing in 13 words what we struggled to say in 100s of pages of academic prose.”

Also published in: “souls arriving” 2006 as Apartheid: “3201 e’s” 2018


Is not withdrawal
Peace is the surge
The urge
Peace is arising
It’s an overflowing
Swing of
Turned-up rhythm
Peace is resurgence
Peace is expression
In and of
Common Purpose
Cresting waves
Of purpose
Upon a new dynamic line
Peace is
Not withdrawal from life
Peace is not placid
Not flaccid
Peace is active
Peace is believed
Peace is for
And not against
Peace just is
And you are its source
And I am its source
And we are its source
Reaching from and for and to
Every searching soul
Peace is strength
Of integrity
Peace is faith
In living

Peace is yours

Peace is ready now


Sweet Home / Two Beats Of Silence

There are two versions of this verse. Which do you prefer?


When I am done with being right
And you are done with being wronged

Perhaps then we can speak of something small and bright
That we can both agree upon.

Calligraphy by Catharine Hoffmaster

This lovely piece of calligraphy is from the hand of Catharine Hoffmaster. Its full size is about 20 inches by 8 inches. It hangs in my kitchen.


When I am (or you are or we are) done with being right
And you are (or we are or I am) done with being wronged

Perhaps then we can speak of something small and bright
That we can all agree upon.


First version published in: “Letter to the White Imbongi” 2013 as “Two Beats of Silence” : “Poems for Relationships” 2017: “3201 e’s” 2018.
The following calligraphy was done by curry72501 at