poetry & writing

A Lesson in Plate Tectonics
October 22, 2006

The plates shift, soundless, underground
the world is forever altered.  Not so

the heavens.  Up on Highlands sky opens
onto cloudscapes that have drifted

overnight.  Thin veneer of yesterday’s
masses, scattered to patches that catch

the light and bask in its brilliance,
only to cast it aside, slip into shadow.

Nothing permanent, says the sky.  The land lies.
Trees stand today where yesterday they stood.

The canyon spreads, hills rolling but unmoved.
The spall at my feet lies still at my feet.

Invisible, the slow moving movements
of the land.  Not like sky-scudding clouds

whose face changes with every breath of wind
and with the infinite play of light.

No, earth moves in increments unremarkable
monumental.  Unseen, unheard, plates shift

ground gives; life rides the swells of a world
forever altered.  For instance, you’re gone.

– Cynthia M. Baer


chemical darkness
in a sunlit chapel.
as radiations
conquer fear, sound rises.
so many gold cufflinks.
so many perfectly combed manes.
is that really
what this is all about?
I sit
restraining my incessant nature,
inky black tail
of the page
staring at the
what does death
have to do with patriotism?
what is death?
what is black to be so hastily denied?
how can a color
bring such sorrow,
such retaliation,
yet such irresistible
Kali is in the air.
– Chloe Levine (Age 10)


now and always
worn sneakers
will have love
beneath their feet.
now and always
those that have been
touched by her
will be within her
and she will flourish
in wherever
may take her.
now and always
Gabriella - we are there
Marg - we are there
Kali - we know
you are with us
you are in the very
air we breathe
– Chloe Levine (Age 10)

If You Come Softly

If you come as softly
As wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees.

If you come as lightly
As threading dew
I will take you gladly
Nor ask more of you.

You may sit beside me
Silent as a breath
Only those who stay dead
Shall remember death.

And if you come I will be silent
Nor speak harsh words to you.
I will not ask you why, now.
Or how, or what you do.

We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
And the rich earth between us
Shall drink our tears.

Audre Lorde

The seed:
turns green
cracks open
revealing a rising stem
winding its way towards
the forest above:
of trees
all growing
out of the earth
out of other trees
who have passed.
Strong as she is:
she may not break
the surface of
earth, from which she is created
Yet she becomes
earth now
for the creation and growth
of all other seeds
                                                    – Tyler Lurie-Spicer

Love came,

and became like blood in my body.

It rushed through my veins and
encircled my heart.
Everywhere I looked,
I saw one thing.
Love's name written
on my limbs,
on my left palm,

on my forehead,
on the back of my neck,
on my right big toe…
Oh, my friend,
all that you see of me
is just a shell,

and the rest belongs to love.


Search the Darkness

Sit with your friends; don’t go back to sleep.
Don’t sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.

Surge like an ocean,
don’t scatter yourself like a storm.

Life’s waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don’t run from it.

Night travelers are full of light,
and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.

Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
don’t slip into the dirt like quicksilver.

The moon appears for night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full.

– Rumi

Precious Core

The core of every fruit is better than its rind:
consider the body to be the rind,
and its friend, the spirit, to be the core.
After all, the Human Being has a precious core;
seek it, inspired by the Divine breath.

The clear bead at the center changes everything.
There are no edges to my loving now.
I’ve heard it said there’s a window that opens
from one mind to another,
but if there’s no wall, there’s no need
for fitting the window, or the latch.

The spiritual path wrecks the body
and afterward restores it to health.
It destroys the house to unearth the treasure,
and with that treasure,
and with that treasure builds it better than before.

– Rumi

Why Cling

Why cling to one life
till it is soiled and ragged?

The sun dies and dies
squandering a hundred lives
every instant

God has decreed life for you
and He will give
another and another and another.

– Rumi

A Prayer for Kali
October 29, 2011

Oh Kali,

I wish I knew you a different way but am blessed to know you all the same.

We come here today to commemorate you and your name.

Eternal energy, time and change.

We wish we knew you a different way but are blessed to know you just the same.

We share in your parents' grief and the inversion of our hopes

From belief to grief and the support we need to continue the cycle.

We know too well the interconnectedness between birth and death, creation and destruction,

Will you help us face the harsh reality of our mortality as part of the celebration of life?

We come today to call on you, to be with you, and to be together as we seek sense in the loss, continually replacing and readjusting the pieces,

Like a sand mandala, we collectively weave and destroy, only to seek rebuilding again.

A prayer for Kali, for Gabriella and for Marg – may her memory be for a blessing.

And so it is.
– Sybil Sanchez

Written on the Due Date of a Son Never Born

Echinacea, bee balm, aster.  Trumpetvine
I watch your mother bend to prune, water

sluicing silver from the hose—
                                                            another morning
you will never see.  Summer solstice:  dragonflies flare

the unpetaled rose.  6 a.m.
                                                    & already
she's breaking down, hose flung to the sidewalk

where it snakes & pulses in a steady
keening glitter, both hands to her face.  That much

I can give you of these hours.
                                                        That much only.
Fist & blossom forged by salt, trellising

your wounded helixes against our days,
tell us how to live
                                   for we are shades, facing

caged the chastening sun.  Our eyes
are scorched & lidless. We cannot bear your light.

                                                    – David Wojahn

The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.

– Anonymous