Monday, September 29, 2008

The Whitewater

There are times when I think much of water. Years I spent kayaking it. The passion of rapids are a mind freeing experience I can only hope to relate to those who haven't been in her arms. There is a matching of skill that is needed to battle it and every man who heads to the river fights, in a great part, the same fight. In no other sport do I feel my metal is tested more. In this piece I bring you into the grasp of the whitewater.


C’mon fellows, land is not for you
Take leave of shore-folk, go where there are few
Know something not as shallow as the river
But as deep as the ocean-mother

Cast your kayak into this liquid chaos
Look above, there removed in this place of hanging moss
A canyon misplaced, not for humans and their kind
But a home of small creatures and their swine

Face up this eddy, taste the current with tongue of paddle
Let it reach for you, grab you up, prepare you for battle
There as yet, just ripples in the stream before
Around bend of corner, an ancient, evil lion’s roar

Oh Lord, Oh Lord! The whitewater!

C’mon fellows, take to the cobalt waters
Let yourself traverse the current toward your slaughter
Let yourself be struck of chaos and fury, and its siren song
Know the moods and faces, where you fit, how you belong

Deft in your strokes the paddling leads you forward
Will you know how you are: stubborn, weak, just a coward?
At water’s edge you fall in a downward crush
In the midst there is pause, a latent, sleeping hush

An awakening to which you rise to a woman enraged
In her arms your aching muscles strain and rattle her cage
Forgiven are the laws that time designs, frozen in a suspended kiss
Enamored in such power within this dark mighty abyss

Oh Lord, Oh Lord! The whitewater!

C’mon fellows let ye not be afraid
There are tracks by which life is laid
You either come into life a whisper and live overlooked
Or you come into life an echo like the bubbling brook

Adventure rears up in you curses and screams
Without them your life is a hopeless scheme
Take into your hands your beating heart
Wrest from it emotional color from which you animate your art

Be submerged in these cold waters, hold your breath
Do not think of times ahead or behind, not of death
Open your eyes in this alien world
Let their be a vivid reckoning in this whirlpool swirl

Oh Lord, Oh Lord! The whitewater!

C'mon fellows escape the rapids, look back to waterfall
There split in two this canyon like a king's great hall
Where mist washes over your face, light spears the froth
Attracted to the beauty like the flames fascinate the moth

In an eddy above the next challenge your kayak beats the rock
It is as if you beat the door in the hopes it will unlock
The thumping harmonizes with the watery crash
A reaching out into the current pulls you out so fast

Looking down the canyon pool-drops fall away beyond sight
One after another they echo in frothy white
Ribbons of veiled current are your lonely path
Deft paddle strokes armor you against the fury and the wrath

Oh Lord, Oh Lord! The whitewater!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A short poem about a morning-clear after a night spent in bad weather in the mountains.


Lay me in the fog in my tent
Not above or below it

Wake me up from my slumber
Awake and not tired

Sweep away this white sheet
Show me the world

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Seasons of me

I learned long ago that Mother Nature is a powerful force. It is with this in mind that I write this poem.


I am not a man or beast
I am not alive at all
I am the wind on the coattails of dusk and dawn

I am fury
I am happiness

I am every emotion

the soft rain on spring grass
the heavy snows on mountain pass
the old man, gray beard to his knees
the breeze that blows those falling leaves

I am, I am so many things I am

Hear my roar and you will know me
I am storm clouds boiling
Hear my echoes and you will know me
I am dark canyon falls splashing
Hear my whispers and you will know me
I am Winds afternoon hustle

Look for me on horizon, I am there
see me from mountaintop, I am there
know me at your toes, I am there
listen to me in your heart, I am there

And know the shifting colors of meadow at dawn
know the hungry fish feeding at dusk
know the rolling ocean deep at sea and its dangerous hush
know the rumbling Earth that groans and crushes
know all of me that yearns to be
heartbeats in your chest
breath caught in your throat
thoughts froze in your skull

Know also the seasons of me
the summer-fall-winter-spring
Listen to my children’s
cackling, cheering and chanting
Listen to their calling
hoping, dreaming, laughing
hurt, hunger, suffering

they know me

no name is needed
but if you must call me something
You may call me 'Mother'