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Ever-Changing Tide

       Under slow shrinking shadows of a receding August sun, squatting near a dribbling tidal pool, four children stare attentively to a small snail; as it furrows and squiggles through the sand, racing to meet the outgoing tide.  They were sent there to “think”. To work out the “argument” they had among themselves.

         They were told to go to the cove; “to seriously think about what each other had said and what they shouted to each other”.

          All four, ignoring each other, watched quietly as the small snail furrowed and scrunched up little piles of sand behind it. The trail squiggled slightly left, then slightly right. It was heading towards the trickling edge of an out-going tidal stream.

Like corrected mistakes,

Never straight with their curves and bends;

Listening to instinct, racing the tide, the snail

Made steady headway towards the sea.

          The children glanced up occasionally to see what the other was doing. They could see the tide ebbing away in a methodical hush. The sun sinking, shed its soft orange and crimson color glistening on the expanded beach sand.

          No one was talkin’. All of them, were still trying to remember what the stupid argument was all about anyway? It wasn’t a fight! Hey! None of us cried! We didn’t tell anybody to shut up! That’s for sure. we just had… an aah, aah, a disagreement!…as their minds ping-ponged in thoughts and rattled on.

With purpose, the snail inched on

Ignoring the circling birds and their potential grip

 For an eventual fatal drop to the flats;

Between shallow tidal pools

And, dry jagged rocks.

          It was getting cooler. They hardly took their eyes off the steady movement of the snail. Except of course, to sneak a peek; checking on each other. They began inching themselves closer together to keep warm and hoping the others “weren’t still mad at them” for whatever they said, or for  whatever they got wrong.

Never dawdling, clinging to its direction

Pushing the sand aside, racing to catch the tide,

The snail forged on.

          Tide water was slipping into drying sand with each forward push and receding splash. The children, realizing it was getting late, were looking up at each other more frequently. They could smell supper on the camp grill. They were ready to go back.

Approaching the last rolling ripple of retreating tide

The snail stopped, as if out of breath.

But, only for the moment.

          Suddenly, the ocean swelled and peaked into a fast rushing froth, it grabbed and pulled the snail. It slid, tumbled, snapped up in surf and foam, flipped, and swallowed into the bubbling, boiling sea.

          All four children, now on their feet watching, caught sight of the snail scooped up in retreating swirling sand and glittering pebbles of a retreating wave.  “There!” The children shouted to each other, pointing to a distant crescent wave pulling away from the shore, “There” on the surface, sitting tall, proud and smiling, was the snail. He looked back at them, waved and shouted an exhausted but jubilant, “Tally Ho!”

          They simultaneously faced each other, eye to eye. “Huh?” Then, pumping their fists, all exclaimed, “It made it! YES!” Then grabbed each other’s hands with a burst of laughter; apologies were unanimously accepted. They skipped and dragged their feet making their own squiggly trail, left then right  along the warm drying beach.

          Supper on the grill, chocolate milk, and stories of a “swooshed up snail they ‘FOREVER’ followed,” were animated in the evenings’ bright open fire light of flaming marshmallows, burning, blown out, and squished on chocolate squares between graham crackers and pushed into sticky lips with anticipated delight.

          I heard it all slide into the clapping sound of incoming waves announcing the tides transition from low to high. It was bedtime, clean up, and evening prayer. Kissing me on the cheek and with a blessing, they all took their day in stride, sharing in the applause of the snail’s completed race and an encore for the ever-changing tide.

  Listening to the tide, as we watched the children disappear into the tent, I on one knee poke the dying fire. Good thoughts were sent to the children; forgetting their disagreement without anger, melancholy, or disappointment. And, a mindful poke from Katie’s marshmallow stick, smiling at each other, as she spread the dimming embers, for a happy jubilant snail.

 

Draft 12: Pine Cone Diary… Hermit Island, Me.

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The Solstice Child

Oh shadow upon me as a steel gate
that keeps fountains frozen longing for spring;
in darkness with the light’s promise, I await
the rising sun, on Spring day’s wings.

Seeds beneath ice reject deaths history
in the mind’s aging place of well-tilled soil;
hands cold and crossed, holding joy’s poverty
in prayer, for passing summer’s last spoils.

Each day in lengthy dour to silver night, 
a child, my youth, an ember in my heart
awakens in warmth, beyond blackened light;
to await creation’s surprising spark.

I welcome the ‘morrow’s guest to arrive,
with gate left unlocked, for the solstice child.

 

Rev. 8: …2015/2018 RKG/ZQ

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Advent, Christmas, Love, Poetry, Poverty, Zen

 

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An Autumn’s Juxtaposition: The Spiders In The House Plant

My houseplants have been on the porch all summer.

The moon, white as vanilla, sends an evening chill

announcing a late October frost.

They must be carried inside, some hung

from my kitchen’s skylight windows.

 

Picking them up and carrying them through the porch, we welcomed each other.

As I open the storm door, I thought I heard a tiny critter voice chatter;

barely heard, but definitely noticed on the right side from my good ear,

inviting me to look closely at the plants. But, I chose

to quickly put them down on the porch floor.

 

I was a little concerned about my state of mind.

A worry, I must admit, since I was born.

 

Peering cautiously through the leaves of the one plant on the right side,

I spied a silver spider web laced between stems and leaves.

On closer inspection, I saw two critters with long skinny legs;

one in the center of the web and the other, on its furthest edge.

In the center, standing on six of his eight legs,

with one hand on his hip and another extended towards me,

I believe, to introduce himself with a hand or whatever I was supposed to shake.

Without hesitation, he began to speak, quite clearly, in my one good ear.

“Hey! Big Guy!

Bigger of biggest fellows!

I apologize for my intrusion your glorious immensity.

Speaking for the half of which I represent;

This of course, includes only me, for the other half has not yet agreed.

I am asking for your support in avoiding the outside tonight

and perhaps throughout the next two seasons.

For me, big guy, you show wisdom, compassion and a good taste in women.

I plead for you to save us, me and the little lady, where we could be killed

or die freezing outside. We are the third generation that has shared

 this house and we do wish to continue to abide.

 Love the light! Love the dark! Love what you have done inside.”

 

Startled as he spoke I felt dumbfounded,

out of breath, without words in the bellows.

 “Hey you! Snap out of it! Hey! Big Guy! Bigger of biggest fellows!

 I have just heard from the other half. The Mrs. has also agreed to plead

quietly to you. Asking for the joy to watch the early seasons go by…

 weaving harmlessly among the leaves”.

Aghast, with natural concern, I pushed the plant away from my face.

I picked them up, still a little suspicious of the others,

I hurriedly brought them all inside, two at a time.

 

 

I made a pot a coffee; setting a cup in a saucer with a spoon,

sugar, and next to them, a carton of cream.

 

 

In the dimming light of late autumn

I placed the spider plant on the kitchen table.

Facing the shiny silver web, we started talking away

with spinning yarns and silver threads of family and friends;

all of whom have lived here. Reminiscing, laughing, I, drinking fresh coffee

and they, drinking from teacups, with warm evenings dew.

 

(We spoke about our parents, grandparents,

children, and all the visiting inhabitants.

Some I never knew existed and some apparently they ate.

I have yet to meet the others that are staying here;

evidently, they have cousins from the fiddleheads estate,

having arrive earlier, deciding to winter in the cellar downstairs.)

 
 

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An October Morning

Leaves are dancing in rhythm with the wind.

Frost embraces its partner —holding Fall within.

Colorful chaos prances through woods and on soil.

 

I kick dust-up behind me —before it settles cold.

I go forward alone, remembering an old friend,

humming those ole “dirt road blues” again.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 21, 2018 in Existential, Friendship, Love, Poetry, Zen

 

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Garner-Jane’s 1st. Birthday 2018

Sweet Garner-Jane

I sat outside by the fire, occasional adding a log or two,

keeping it ready for s’mores; for Crosby and Garner-Jane’s crew.

I listened to the chatter along with laughter, coming from the porch and throughout the house,

listening as it mingled with the campfire smoke floating to the sky.

I could hear celebration of her future announced in love,

As Loud As Bright Could Be.

 

**********

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2018 in Grandchildren, Love, Poetry, Prose Poetry, Zen

 

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Love’s Fond Heart

[The Fairy tale of Kathryn from Franklin, NH. She continues to flutter throughout the foothills of the White Mountains and the Lakes Region]

At even-tide,

leaving with last light of dusk,

I watched her silhouette fade

into the dark tree line.

Ferns lean

to mark and soften her path.

Trees in the forest bend their branches

to shed moonlight on the walkway

for an old friend.

She returns

with her straw-basket beaming bright.

Not only for me, but for all she greets.

Sharing evenings shedded 

—morning’s light.

 

*[Edited from original draft]~

 
14 Comments

Posted by on August 24, 2018 in Existential, Love, New Hampshire, New light/New life, Poetry, Zen

 

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Notes found on the refrigerator April & May 2018

       It happened one day, when I discover humility: from the beginning, to its beginning, when I was unable to peel an orange, bake bread— or, crack an egg… before I made my breakfast, drank my coffee and settled for cold cereal.

      I still get up for one more day’s length —from my inviting bed, and make  my many visits to my children and grandchildren; catching up with things I never heard, though has been repeated several times.  Any way, I usually, on my way out,  steal from large pottery bowls, an apple or an orange, sometimes cashews left on the counter tucked in-between in a smaller bowl.

     Waving a right handed good-bye and a thankful smile, I drive through Center Sandwich village, before sunset and well before the June’s moon  will rise.

     I get home, make a late supper, take in another amazing day; then I go to bed smiling with my beads in grateful prayer.

Presence is not known

Until it reveals itself

In true existence

******

Entertainment:

The greatest movie in the evening, I go and watch, when I become bored with myself and have no desire to make a meal or take a walk or even to pop popcorn and turn on the TV —I look out my window.

      I watch the leaves dancing on branches making songs from the wind; so I rise and go outside and join in on the chorus as a movie extra, in the production of the “H.M.S. Pinafore”.

Mystics from the past

carry you through the seasons

—you met once before.

**********

Stubbornness:

On Monday morning, he opened his door, ole slim Lewis just raised his price, at the corner store. Raisin’ the price of flour from 5 cents to 15 cents a pound, no less no more.

I can still hear mama sayin’, “I’d just as soon pick a handful of dandelions and trade them evenly for a pound of pork rinds than give him —the extra dime”.

Eatin’ potatoes,

without honey glazed biscuits,

               fried in pork fat rinds.

 **********

Acceptance:

He feels the strength of  her independence,

when she stepped forward —naked with strangers in a local stream;

far from her parents and her lover sitting, with tee-shirt

and dry swimming trunks, life guard symbol on his seam. He is wondering

whether to sit, or, to hold up her abandoned towel —to stand

up, to greet her, with a smile and without giving her any shit, holding out

both his hands.

Yo’ Bro’ wass’ happinin’?

Looks like love has seen a ghost,

Groovin’ and strollin’. 😊

  • Finally:

Memorial Day 2018

The threat of death whether on the street, or, worse yet,

being an actor in the theater of war. Death, is ever-present

in all of them; from desk, teaching, jungle, or sand.

Whether killed, captured, or not;

is this fear, whether dismissed in discipline, forgot.

It is because of them, under constant threat,

you can sleep tight, and won’t let the bed bugs bite.

 

R.I.P …mon père, mes oncles pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale et mon frère cadet, le Vietnam.

Je vous remercie.

Richard.

 

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