Poems & Lyrics

Every star
(Set as a bambuco in 2017)

Every star
has some sublime inception,
a galactic womb’s conception —
taking birth from clouds of gas,
to live in shining stages,
and pass, at last,
and pass, at last, in death.

Their breath
a blast
that streams
a million miles an hour.

Their beams of light
give sight
afar
into a time long past.

And yet, on Earth, a flower
that blossoms in the morning’s rays
blooms but for days,
blooms but for days,
blooms but for days,
not ages.

(2017)


A Paradox
(Set as an habanera in 2017)

In the midst of love I’ve heard
a voice inside my other ear.
It says, “Let go of every word,
the ones you hide, the ones you share.
Let go of tell, and praise, and blame,
let go of call, let go of name.”

Why is it that the opening
that comes with love
lets in this thing
commanding me to turn away
towards soundlessness from symphony?

(1999)


At Night I Dream Of Water
(set as a bambuco in 2017)

I work hours at my computer
making things that don’t exist.
It’s all eyes and hands and thinking,
endless staring without blinking,
it’s a mill and I’m the grist,
it’s a mill and I’m the grist,

When I’m done, I go on Facebook
playing with my glowing phone,
sharing news that I agree with,
among people I can’t be with,
trying not to feel alone,
trying not to feel alone.

All the evening TV programs,
they entrance me, every one.
When the stories are this clever,
I could lose myself forever,
start the next when each is done,
start the next when each is done.

But at night I dream of water
waves that rise along the shore.
Soon we’re floating in a current out to sea.
All this time we weren’t listening
and we missed the ocean’s roar.
Did it sound like this before?
Was it ever like this before?

When reality starts slipping
then they say you must be crazy,
but there’s craziness in everything I see.
What if our world is slipping?
As the truth is growing hazy,
I’ve forgotten the connection
coming from the earth to me.

And at night I dream of water,
waves that tower with the tide.
Who can say where they will take us,
if the ocean’s roar will wake us,
if all nature will forsake us,
as the waters rise worldwide.


We Are Full of Songs
(set as a ballad in 2017)

We are full of songs
like the ocean’s full of waves,
a tug of the moon
and the water misbehaves.

We are full of songs
like the sky is full of winds,
a breath blows down from heaven
and the melody begins.

I am calling to you, songs
whenever I can’t hear
whenever fear fills up my ears
or grief my heart can’t bear.

I am calling to you, songs
whenever I can’t see.
Give me a tune that shines like noon
to guide me on my way.

We are full of songs
like the earth is full of stones,
a tremor from below
and the mighty mountain groans.

We are full of songs
like the fire is full of sparks;
lightning strikes the forest
and a roaring fills the dark.

I am calling to you, songs
wherever you have gone.
I’m feeling low and need to know
that we are not alone.

I am calling to you, songs
wherever you may be.
I need your grace to fill my voice
please sing again through me.

We are full of songs
like the world is full of souls;
one voice calls to another
like the two magnetic poles.

Like the waves and wind and stones, full of songs.
like the lightning sparks in our own souls, full of songs.
When your ears fill up with fear,
you think they’ve gone, you’re all alone,
hang on… they’re still here.
You too are full of songs.


Shade Song
(Set as a bambuco in 2017)

Wings of green feathers on
limbs of the
tree lift it
high
on breezes
into the sky where there’s
light. Watch me
stretch up my
arms
and wish for
wings just as strong as your
love. Then I’d
fly, then I’d soar.
But lying
down on the ground by a
tree I feel
dead
and wooden
here in the shade. Hear me
cry to be
carved
by the wind and the rain,
into the shape of a bird.

(1985)


Mary Rose

I went alone into the dark
among the roots and spores and seeds
into the peat, the loam, the sand
and into the bedrock below.
My bones were made of quartz and ore.
My veins ran with the iron of the core.
I was slow, with silence in my hand.

From far above, I felt the shudder of the rain
the shifting as the nights began to wane
and the soil growing warm beneath the sun.
The water filtered down through clay and stone
faint with the taste of malt and apples gone to cider.
I started to remember.

The roots sent forth their shoots
and the seeds were split with sprouts.
The rosemary put out resinous spikes
and the rose her thorny stems.
The buds appeared, and swelled, and opened wide
tiny blossoms spicy with perfume, and great soft blooms
like many eyelids letting in the sky.
How could I fail to see?

Here I am, dancing in the heart of the grain.
Here I am, stretching in the muscle of the stream.
I am floating on the breezes as the pollen starts to blow.
I am weighing with the peaches hanging sticky on the bough.

Listen now, and know:
I am with you in the earth, and in the rain, and in the sun.
I am with you in the secrets you have hidden in the stone.
My voice is on the wind, and my hand is in your hand.
I walk beside you in the places high and low.

Call to me when stillness holds you fast
when the ground is granite with the frost
and nothing seems to last but blight.
We will wait together for the seedling light
to rise among the roses bright with dew..

(1999)


What The Wind Says

The wind is all around him.
It rises when his lover leaves him.
He can hear it then. He hears it groan.
It speaks as he walks around the room.
He reads a book. He cooks. It never stops.
He walks around the room some more.
He mops the floor. He dusts. He does the wash.
All this time the wind is growing louder.

The door swings open. There’s his lover.
They kiss and chat and rattle flatware, chew, and swallow.
What about the wind? They snap the lock,
click off the light. The bedsprings creak.
What noises does the wind make?

Everything stills.. The air is chill and heavy.
He tries to remember what the wind had said,
but only hears the rhythm of its speech,
strong enough to dance to, the words like choreography.
Not which words they were.
His lover’s breath begins to whistle in his ear.
Soon that’s all he hears. He turns his head
and waits for sleep.

(1989)


Wellspring

I love you like this dwindling river, full of minnows that nibble my feet when I bathe.
I love you like this air, perfumed with the scent of blackberries sweetening in the heat.

A hawk wheels in the open sky, turning and returning. I love you like that.
And each cicada repeats to itself its simple little song, always the same, again and again, like that.

I love you like the breath of these praying women, sitting together in the afternoon shade.
I love you like this oak, whose broad arms are their own burden, and their strength.

A deer hides its trembling heart among the pines of the canyon. Like that.
And a crow cries to its dark companion with a voice hoarse but not lost. Yes, like that.

I love you like this dry earth, this golden grass, and these trees with their brittle leaves,
waiting patiently for the return of the rain.

(2000)


Manantial Del Pozo

Te amo como este río mermado, repleto de pecesitos que muerden mis pies cuando me baño.
Te amo como este aire, perfumado con el aroma de las moras endulzadas por el calor.

Un halcón gira en el cielo abierto, con vuelta y revuelta. Así te amo.
Y cada cigarra repite a si misma su cancióncita sencilla, siempre la misma, una y otra vez, asi.

Te amo como el aliento de esas mujeres orantes, sentadas juntas en la sombra de la tarde.
Te amo como este roble cuyos brazos anchos son su propia carga, y su fuerza.

Un venado esconde su corazón tembloroso entre los pinos del cañón. Así.
Y un cuervo grita a su compañero oscuro, con voz ronca pero no perdida. Justo así.

Te amo como esta tierra seca, esta hierba dorada, y estos árboles con sus hojas quebradizas, esperando pacientemente por el regreso de la lluvia.

(2000)