Posts Tagged ‘golden shovel’

Over at Jim’s, across the street, they are still

asleep, but the trees dazzle, blossoms

blowing in the Sunday wind. The soft

down of grass has been culled into shape,

the dandelions removed, the pansies trained

into neat little rows. Even the maple seems

to be obeying some grand design.

In the mid-day sunlight, the greens glisten,

the yellows sparkle and pop, the oranges

blaze like dying suns, the reds bleed and bleed.

I observe Nature here, in the urban garden,

a blinded muse, a bound dancer, a slave.

I am no master.



(beginning words of each line taken from This poem.)

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The spring is shot through with threads of loss.

As I wander the neighborhood, tulips appear to be thinking

about how best to proceed. A fallen bird erases

any suggestions of rebirth. Even dandelions, in their drunken, clown-

ish swaying, suggest a vacillation between fates. The trunk

of the dying tree in my front yard, with its Braille cartography presents

signs I am not equipped to decode. Why does the world

produces such flares of beauty: crimson, fuchsia, lilac, hues that

imply a third plane of existence, one in which each thing

is itself a harmonious universe? Each star in heaven corresponds

to an idea a human once had about how our existence signifies

something; the theory that we don’t live without meaning. My voice

cracks and breaks as I try to name the gradations of the sunrise, the tone

of birdsong, the flowers that have appeared over night. I aspire to that

condition Buddhists value: harmony, cruelty balanced by justice.

Spring and children seem born to this condition. But I am a woman

now, hands empty, turned skyward, cupped for holding

water or plums, but somehow empty. Sometimes

I meditate on the meaning of nothingness; it implies presence

Or at the very least, the space left by an absence. The same river

can’t be stepped into twice, not by me, or you. What about the boat

that carries you away? Could that be said to travel the same river? Do fish

swim in the same water, the whole journey out to sea? If her

child swims away from her in the surf, can a mother said to be full

of absence? Can any one person understand the exact shape of her

sorrow? I knew a man who wanted to be a baker. He shaped bread

in the forms of planets, flowers, fish, anything he dreamed. What

can we say about his relationship to the real? The world now is as numinous

as breath, escaping just as I begin to grasp it. But it keeps on, continuing

with its coded messages, sending music out into the void. Evenings

I sit amongst the stars, numbering what I know: Son, fish, blackberry.

(this form is the Golden Shovel; end words taken from Meditation at Lagunitas by Robert Haas).

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(This form is called The Golden Shovel, which means you steal the end words from a poem. I stole these from Dream Song 14)


I am a dog and I live a dog’s life. So

what? Does that mean I do not yearn as the sky yearns?

Do I not yearn as much as the dreaming human? I yearn

for the great field, untethered. I yearn for a boy,

agile as me, hungry for the run, one who is never bored

or still. I do not know about this one. He has no


thirst for running, no

nose for the scent of quail and cats. I am bored

of his incessant sleeping, much as he is bored of me

and my desires. My needs are like the themes of great literature

and popular music. My days filled with plights & gripes

such as those that plagued the hero, Achilles.


Why does no one listen to me?

They think my snarls and yipes a drag,

They believe I am simply a dog,

When I begin to articulate my needs, they look away.

Listen, I say, barking, I am leaving,

You will find no replacement for me. Wag.

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