Category Archives: nature

Where No One Can Follow

Rain all morning

nowhere to go

but inward

where the memories

are stored

where the only thing

that can reach me

is music—

a guitar

and a couple of voices

in harmony

that seem to be saying

all the things I can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
2-19-18

“Meridian Street, Thawing Weather” by T.C. Steele, 1887

Deep Winter

You are winter.
Stripped down
to necessity
but not quite barren.
Still beautiful.
Sometimes
I’d even say exquisite.
But mostly
your warmth
isn’t enough
to penetrate
what is cold in me
and even though
I long
for summer
I find it impossible
to believe
that once it wraps me
in its blue skys
I won’t long
long
long
long
long
for you.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
2-4-18

Sparrows

The sparrows
finches
chickadees—
all of them know
his kindness is reliable
even when, especially when
cold, frost and snow
cover their world in difficulty—
they know where to find his love
poured into the feeders
outside his windows—
they taste it in the suet
he prepared and stuffed
into the vacancies
of a fallen cedar
to give energy and sustenance
to wings of all colors
that flicker
like his memories
of a different landscape
a different decade
when he met a girl
who flew in for a closer look
and spread her love over his world—
he soared so high
it took him a long time to land
and by then she was gone—
so he keeps the birds near
to remind him how it felt
to be weightless—
and every morning
the sparrows return
and every evening
they fly away
and take with them
small pieces of his sorrow.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-29-18

“Snow Birds” by Andrew Wyeth

Snow Angel

Today, the future has finally arrived
giftwrapped in snow—
it’s the future I hoped for
doubted
questioned
when I hiked alone
around Yellowwood Lake
a dozen years ago
on a white winter day like this—
ignorant, then,
of how to tell the oaks apart
after their leaves had fallen—
back when I hadn’t a clue
which bird was singing which song—
all I wanted in those days
was someone to share that beauty—
someone
who didn’t need to know anything
about the plants
that grew in wetlands
or on the prairies—
I could have been happy
with a partner
who knew nothing
of the migration patterns
of falcons and owls—
I could have loved someone
even if he couldn’t explain
the differences between
cumulus and cirrus clouds—
but somehow
here I am
on my back in the snow
making angels with someone
who wants to know as much about me
as he knows
about every wildflower
he’ll name for me in spring.

DeMaris
1-15-18

Painting by TC Steele, “Early Snow”

With the Dead

It’s a cold night
almost Christmas
and I am wishing
it would all
be over
when I find myself
stuck in traffic
driving slow
parallel
to the ancient
iron fencing
between me
and the cemetery
and I pull in
as if someone
is calling my name
from behind
the skeleton trees
and I follow
the narrowing road
to its logical
dead end
and I kill the engine
and step out
to touch the granite
stones
that are so heavy
with what it means
to be crushed
by an accumulation
of days
and I lay down
on the earth
beside a man
named Jim
who died in 1913
and then I stare
at the moon
as if it could answer
the question
of how to feel
alive.

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-16-17

Blood Loss

Please, heart,
stay where you are—
safe in the pocket of air
that surrounds you,
keeps you protected
from the blows
that are small enough
not to break you
but still bruise.

Please, heart,
listen this time—
remember the way it hurt
to beat for love
that was only half
fulfilled, half empty
every time
you pressed against
a foreign rhythm.

Please, heart,
don’t make this mistake—
don’t open your doors
for love
and settle for pleasure
when you know
how much it costs
to come so close
and still bleed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
11-28-17

Compass 

Mine
was plastic
orange
inexpensive
with a cord
to go
around
my neck
and it never
seemed
to make it
easier
to find
my way
when I
was lost
while yours
was internal
invisible
instinct
with a
built in
barometer
a feeling
in the air
a trust
you had
that the sun
could be
relied upon
to make
no errors
on its
course
so you
never worried
about
making
a wrong turn
or heading
in the wrong
direction
until
our paths
crossed
and now
we are
navigating
the dark
together
and I’m
hoping
you’ll feel
your heart
quiver
like the
needle
on a
compass rose
as it
gets closer
to mine
searching
for its
true north.

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-15-17