A Share of My Daily Bread for YOU

I lay this salver down before you
with the song I sing a thing of gold
upon it, my intention to please in
an act of love. Like Farmer Hoggett

in the movie Babe, who sang and danced
the pig back to health, I would if I could
dance for you like David before the Ark
where you dwelt alone. Would you

feel less alone with my song? sung
in a voice old and unpracticed?
and what I have to offer
to you whom I love.

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Shaman

In the movie “The Pathfinder,” a Saami youth goes toe-to-toe with evil
for the sake of the tribe when he inherits the mantle of the fallen
shaman in a vision of a reindeer in the glow of the aurora borealis.

 

Shibboleth/aidenkieli*

Learn the language to tell the tale
with authenticity, and not through
a screen of created distance.

Long enough have you walked around it,
this task that will free your mother tongue.*
Act in faith and see what I do for you.

Dream Translation

A featureless head of white brocade
turns on a swivel slowly toward me
waiting in a line of toll-booth traffic
on a road to God-knows-where.

Confounded by currency he has never
seen, the toll-taker looks on helplessly.
I call out from my car
Mina puhun suomea! I speak Finnish.

The head with no eyes looks at me
and I understand it is up to me
to interpret, to translate,
what it is she wants to say.

Second Appearance

The same walk down the same road
for thirty years, savoring the sights
and smells of the changing seasons––
Never bored, I hope for thirty more.

Drawn by invisible threads
on this morning in May, I turn left
into the field, walk a quarter mile
and turn to the woods. Beneath

a pine, a two-point antler
dropped on the ground by a young
buck. Five feet away, the second antler––
the completion of visitation.

Third Appearance

On a hot July morning
the hungry sky devours the fog, and
the sound of last night’s showers flows
through the culvert beneath my feet.

As I speak my thanks on this hidden road
a buck perfect of limb and head leaps
before me, my saiva sarva,* filling my sight
with his glory, and I rejoice.

*token animal

 

 

After Seeing LA LA Land

Like many others seeking a measure of escape and relief from the current craziness in Washington, my sister and I went to the movies yesterday, and LA LA Land filled the bill. It was a tonic and an encouragement that the artistic community is irrepressible and will not be denied.

I wrote the following poem to mark the occasion with gratitude for community in all its forms, even those on the “big screen.”

After Seeing LA LA Land

We were all about politics as we rode to the Cineplex
hoping to lift ourselves from the slough of despond
with song and dance and great acting by pro’s
who rose to poetry on the screen. Emma Stone, Ryan
Gosling––how to repay them for their hard work?

Did they know they’d be antidote to despair
like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert
who allowed us to escape for hours at a time
in a time that threatened peace and joy and life
itself perhaps? That’s the role that Stone and Gosling
played today in this gift of film. Hooray! for movies
and the people who bring them to us.