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          
salmon eyes                  
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


Fractal Poems

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
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.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Earth Poem Anthology

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   Good energy to you.

Earth Poems by Others

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 AlphabetClick here to go to “A Growing Collection of Earth Poems by Contemporary Poets” for the rest of this poem and many other diverse voices.

Iron Mountain          

     by Bill Tremblay        
At timberline
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.]

A Dream of the Hippos

December 3, 2007

 A Dream of the Hippos


                                                 One morning,
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.



             leaves form


Local Produce

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.”]

Grieving the Lost

November 29, 2007

      After a Long Struggle


               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


 indigo rain


Chants and Exploratory Lists

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
     are speaking.
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.


   Read the rest of this entry »

The Student Center

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

                                     Piano sun


These Times

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?




lame duck drawing


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:

One River

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.



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.

Read the rest of this entry »





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.


Read the rest of this entry »