March 6, 2008
This wood has eyes
A fish swims from roots into the sky
A bear man holds a salmon
A bus drives quickly away
behind the bear’s back
where there are also eyes
The eyes have eyes
The wood has wings
The grounds crew has surrounded
this spine of earth
with yellow caution tape
The wind carries crow cries
and the sound of plastic tape
The metal top of the sea eagle
is silken rain
that goes into ground
The green eyes look over the city
This wooden spine watches
over the four directions
across the steaming valley
You walk forward
and step into the past
A yellow backhoe
behind a woman with a flag
isn’t far away
A white Mazda backing up into place
isn’t the grief look
in these green eyes
A skywalk between modern buildings
isn’t the height of this ancestral solidness
I hear a woman in this ground scent
breathing as the pole stops the sky
& stops the ground & holds firs
that hold it steady
From inside the animal claw
a star of grasses
has started growing at our feet
Power lifts from earth
of the ten thousand eyes
eyes of the legs
eyes of the hawk
eyes of the ground
eyes of the branches of thinking
eyes of the ground bird
of carrying ant eyes
eyes of the wings in grain
dark-green towering eyes
eyes in the carved cuts
& smoothed asking
eyes in body & flow of body to body
dark red morning eyes
eyes in plants that grow
without being planted
eyes in the yellow of blood in a flower
eyes in the underearth
from which perfect salmon swim
to where the sun holds
over a single molecule
eyes in the atoms of open space
feather that breaks prethinking
the way wood looks off
far past this stopping
eyes in the fluid progression
stopping to flow after we’re gone
Totem from before after we’re gone
December 24, 2007
A Billion More Faces in the Wind
Sudden faces of the generations
shaking Midwest corn in the fields
flew past in West Coast store windows
& had been in the rain falling
like crow caws on a day of tractoring
like marmot hair tangled in moss
on gorge rocks, & still the rain falling
time balanced near an oily exit
the root never far from its flower
the hydraulics of open sky over corn
factories floating on their oil, with hieroglyphic
rustling sheet music paperwork
over loading docks, dusk bending
where a second shift’s working
the ultramagnetic day washing remnants of sleep
leaving behind soft patches if you walk
on ground, past faces flying in the corn again,
people yet to be born, as another
spring had entered the way a sparrow
could be heard suddenly nearby,
singing of the sun & beautiful sparrows.
Small brown-pink eggs back in the trees
where a plumb line down to core fire
had been dropped, through trunks
& thick mother roots, as cricket pulse
in mammalian bones helps make blood
weather vanes in a mandala Tibetan monks
paint with sand & certain industry, each place
wheeling a Buddha face centering
gravity in fields impossible to isolate
the singer in the ‘20s who pried open
earth breathing in its colts
& floating steel down
in the arms of downtown cranes.
When again the universe sun rose
over procreative hidden isotopes
we had a regular glow of blood
& bone the moment before things
passing into next things, & past
what some do, with soul in the body
body in the light, before anything happens
future faces alive shuddering wheat
inside atoms, the ancestral church bells heaped
in a silo of rusting metal equations, bare
bulbs overhead on wires swaying from wind
inside a century trampled & bolted down
from a metropolitan clockface eclipse
ringing the rush, a difficult healing
with people in old chairs & the bulbs
replaced two for one, the planetary
imperative a floodlight out in the yards
of night, a hunger raw with the rain
a newly born sky of the next mornings.
December 11, 2007
An Announcement: I’ve set up a second site for the ongoing earth poem anthology, leaving my own work on this site. Here’s the new blog, titled “Poems from the Earth”:
If you’d like to contribute, you can include writing in a “comment” or email me at email@example.com. Good energy to you.
December 4, 2007
This is to announce a new part of this website. Here’s the beginning of a poem by Bill Tremblay, from Rainstorm over the Alphabet. Click here to go to “A Growing Collection of Earth Poems by Contemporary Poets” for the rest of this poem and many other diverse voices.
by Bill Tremblay
beside a hanging lake
tinted the teal isotope of iron
as I look at Long’s Peak
butterflies flutter Bach trills
among tundra flowers.
Two elk bound past.
Then as I cross scree fields
granite talus bows out, tilting . . .
[Please share earth poems in comments or direct
readers to poems online or to websites or to
other relevant material. See the links toward
the bottom of the right-hand menu, especially
Dan Raphael's poems in M Review and the link
to Howard McCord's Collected Poems.]
December 3, 2007
I woke from a dream where prickly hedges
around a parking lot became the heads of hippos
with ravenous appetites for the heads of people.
These hippos could jump a person, chomp off
the head, then root back into the hedges.
Soon x911 had been called as we stepped out
toward our cars, all the green thickness
circling the lot, the hippos’ fierce hungers
eyeing us. At my feet was a headless human
we drug back into a room.
Another day, I learned
hippos were just determined
endangered. The safest place
to be when they were outside
was the fundraising dinner,
where everyone pretended
to be characters from history.
December 1, 2007
The edge of the apple thinks why
shouldn’t everybody get a bite.
The dark road doesn’t have to go very far,
speaks up the center of the wheel.
A blue jay flies between two immense waves.
Imprints of ancient ferns
shake the imprint of wind.
When the apple’s eaten,
still the apple’s round.
[Newly added: for prose poems, go to Additional Pages for either "Seventeen Prose Poems of Longing" or "Wildnesses."]
November 29, 2007
The story of rain
begins inside a person
who has survived.
We want to know
that not having enough
will be okay.
The spin of a fan is summer
sleeping, dark-green light
from old ferns glowing.
We want to know
years out, our lives
like violins or new bread.
And now grief-rain falls
through leaves and ruins,
through mind this rain
and each cell of blood, rain
falling mind down through
self, rain down to ground
into ground, rain falling
ground from light through
light, into ground.
“An Indigo Scent after the Rain” by JG
November 28, 2007
Suddenly Tonight I Am Listening
Tonight the rain enters wood through the roots.
Tonight the light-bodies we become sit down
in our bodies.
Tonight in their ocean, dolphins and sojourns and maples,
Tonight the cinnamon and curry and milk that is asking.
Tonight as low rumblings, as water on dream streets,
as rain walking in a man or woman leading us.
Tonight amber from oats and rustling harbors of wind,
and clouds of more world about to form.
Tonight the blue jay back in her nest, and her nest
in our bones through which the night sky passes.
Tonight a horse breathing behind us, luminous,
vanishing, as in their mountain, feathers
A bird’s stratospheres in the centers of air know.
Fire flashes from old camps folded in the stones
holding mind, trees planting the earth
between stars as between cells.
Tonight the wood carries rains through the sky
of its body, into leaves and mind.
As all words form again when any is said.
November 24, 2007
Light Enters the Room
An older woman in a yellow plastic raincoat
hurries north, her arms loaded with notebooks,
as world flags drape down a beam.
The man whose accent is Estonian
hauls the iron gate down to the floor,
closing off the café, Friday late afternoon
lifting its Fahrenheit in people’s voices,
even if they’ve recently read international news.
The worker looks at his wrist and pushes a hand
into his pocket, the skylight dampening
the banquet tables with light. Or the room’s
smoky with overhead glow, the building
now a longhouse going forward and forward.
It’s okay to be here, to sit here, even
if we haven’t heard the languages
streaming colors above us, blood-red in many.
A Buddha wheel sits in the central white
stripe of one, bordered by raw green,
someone crying out behind us, playing.
Will he know what to do ten years from now?
Will this place let us live? Trying is high up
now, near the top of this room, where skylight
floods full spectrum as if it were longing
for a city of people and trees to join it.
A few new names wait for us inside us.
We will work in unknown times soon enough,
outside the years, the pollen blown from
its tassels, when how we move
is linked to ways we learn
what enters the day is transformed.
“Piano of the Sun and Moon” by JG
November 23, 2007
[apologies for the advertising superimposed on this, if you got them using a Google search--unsure why it is doing that but will get it to stop]
How do you face the fall of ice
as we know it, the end of a white bear,
those scrawny and starving gray whales,
the shrinking swarms of plankton with gulleted
bugling elephant great heart of continents
shot point blank, as the cooking heat sinks south
& drains north, scouring rains, the piped-up
& blasted ancient sunlight melting ancient ice?
How do you mourn fire we can’t measure
in finches’ wings, the dried-out late forest
California tinder flash, sun burning its planets
around its circling, its geo-positional violet
landings through binoculars in a wild fly’s eyes,
its green-harvested hazelnut in the squirrel’s
warm mouth, & those millions migrating
from drowned cities on oceanic coasts
of matter, when we’re going to be gone
or still here?
November 23, 2007
Four volumes of my poems are available at Eastern Washington University Press’s website:
An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003)
Listening to the Leaves Form (1997)
Poem Rising Out of the Earth and Standing Up in Someone (1994)
To Other Beings (1981)
All four can be ordered online:
November 21, 2007
One river roars
Down the field line.
It is a herd of horses
Running out of their tombs.
Their white manes breaking
Into sunlight. . . .
[Note: "One River" in Additional Pages
is at the right, and click on the
above title "Poem Rising Out
of the Earth" to read the poems
presented on the home page.]
One River was written on an old Underwood
in Ohio the springs of ’73 and ’74.
November 21, 2007
Raccoons and the Hazelnuts
Raccoons around here show up and disappear.
Once, three of them lay heavily on hazelnut branches
by our kitchen window, eating nuts straight off the tree.
November 20, 2007
Are they still with us, those whose swords
halved whole bodies, those whose blankets softened
the winter, those with faces carved in rock
back at the waterfall of decades through the Milky
galaxy with massive infinitesimal infinity?
Names for the sun are carved solemnity, a roadside
with pollen showering a billion times a billion times.
Guitars riff overhead, down through
what we’re breathing, strumming
the talkers waiting heavily, the coffee line
near screeching milk steam, the big grin
of a four year old with his mother it looks like,
a cup of warm chai tea carried to another table,
the conversation opening its ‘50s band shells,
its satellite dishes, as potatoes lift out of the ground
somewhere and become rocky hills. Now subatomic
guitars shudder downstream from 1990, the hound
running in ‘76, the marchers in Washington in ‘69
passing by Lincoln, people with four-hour candles,
sleeping in church basement sanctuaries, the Ford
in 1955 on two-lane roads, hotels towering over
a green pea. The table lifts through the void
into meaning. Bookshelves rise up from their floor
into starlight, the green day inhaling old studies
in Germany. Over woven trans-continental rugs
of many colors, the table’s a harbor, the solidness
in flux, a vibratory forest sense in polished clarity
for the swirling mud-mind, mute firs all the time
speaking of rain, who gave themselves to God
and slung home feasts, who took off with dancers
igniting the joints, steadfast employees with classical
ambition, at this station for why we’re here.