early wilderness poems

passing beyond autumn

“live the question”
–rilke

early morning
rosetta cafe respite
brother brautigan coffee table
conducting bard diem triage
lit-laborings waiting
ashram tamarack ‘res’
light mist falling
gordon lightfoot reminder
“gales of november come early”
rains changing to heavy snow clusters
year’s first blizzard
sudden urge
visit cliffs
witness long white blanket
turning highway miles north
snow blowing across highway
wipers intermittent sweep
slip-slap arcs–love the sound!
road signs nearly obliterated
lake superior shore slush forming
nighttime pan ice freeze
steady trek to summit
mysterious soul-self fugue
first light warp
now ominous black horizon
tree branches rasping rattle
recalling past love
tough dark-haired yooper girl
fading barmaid beauty
splake “st. pauli girl”
dark beer spaghetti dinners
later wet lips flutter
our salty tongues licking
bard loft mattress
feeling earth spinning
doomed relationship shattering
lover lacking sense of future
refusing to grow
develop heroic self-myth
white noise
way of life
internet popups
“your call is important to us”
soulless answering machines
cool unemotional distance
vacuum your house cipher
lifer junior high teacher
insurance encyclopedia agent
small arid talk
curse of civilization reality
wasting valuable time
grizzled graybeard vet
no longer lost
finding neal cassady’s
enigmatic “it”
reaching summit trekster
wind driven roar
like old steam locomotive
elkhart indiana depot
woolen wath cap
ace hardware gloves
frost covered
waffle bootprints crunching
light snowy crust
soft quite whisper
i am home

cold mountain cliffs

time for respite
leaving han shan’s words
crazy chinese hermit
his poems saying
life is short
freedom exists in thinking
return to cliffs
visiting spiritual home
momentary pause from
civilization’s chaotic noise
crossing brautigan creek
stepping stone to stone
clear icy water
ripples hiding trout
climbing upward
path becoming part of hiker
dry pine needle cushion
passing sentinel rock
black orange green white
lichen wilderness art
ripe tart thimbleberries
quick trekking feast
pausing at church level
looking for mountain lion
mysterious cliffs companion
dogleg passing
trail to point betsy
with tibetan prayer flag
memory for sister mary
continuing steady rise
rough stony steps
path steep and rocky
scenery more beautiful
higher one climbs
gray-haired poet
out of body experience
mind suddenly free
from time wasting distractions
creative new thoughts
later becoming poems
listening to ghosts
voices wiser than those alive
miner families resting
forgotten cemetery graves
hidden in dark pines
remembering other climbs
cool early mornings
grass bent with dew
on foggy days
hearing moaning sounds
eagle river lighthouse
big lake warnings
later warm sun
burning off misty haze
summer visits
black storm clouds
bringing thunder and lightning
plastic garbage sack
inside iga tote
keeping body dry
also winter hikes
cold cliffs adventures
late season blizzards
alberta clippers
screamers out of saskatchewan
roaring down from canada
getting back home
crockpot dinners
rice madness stews
before drifts impassable
reaching large clearing
cobblestone smelter chimney
old mine shaft opening
standing on summit
green basaltic escarpment
scree and boulders
stretching out below
feeling at peace
closer to whatever god
birds butterflies hawks
friendly forest companions
soon autumn frost
creating wild foliage colors
grand wilderness opera
exciting temptation
to madly sing and dance
others avoiding ecstasy
not climbing cliffs
instead living simple lives
safety and comfort important
chasing after dollars
purchasing more possessions
always wanting more
american mall-mart prisoners
captives of spending habits
credit card monthly dues
attics garages closets
full of meaningless things
population of spectators
idly passing by
lost in headphones
waiting cell-phone call
hanging around
waiting time to die
while seasons rapidly vanishing
poets and great trees
finally coming home
cliffs place to rest
dark lonely shadow
wild versemaker
with smile on his face

forever wild

busy artist
couple of grand marais days
superior hotel stay
“bessie’s” griendly home
chilly days
spring two weeks late
trilliums just ripening
bright white blossoms
petals later changing
becoming dark mauve
no brook trout trophy
streams high and muddy
saved from wet disaster
almost falling in carpenter creek
no extra jeans
laundromat in the village
finding sayre’s headstone
rose hill cemetery
old post office building
past general delivery letters
words from downstate lovers
filming donahey house
many summers ago
telling frank
meet me at noon
last may friday
at orange barrel corner
coffee and conversation
with writer ellen
west bay diner deck
walking out on breakwater
bitter superior winds
checking with fishermen
angling whitefish dinners
walking early morning
dark quiet streets
feeling time to leave
3:30 drive home
back to making art
headlight reflections
silhouetting forest shadows
new paved miles
through pictured rocks interior
thinking of past vacations
burnt-out professor
like huck finn
lighting out for the territories
hiking fishing nighttime campfires
mind slowly emptying
normal routines vanishing
other people downstate
with timetables and deadlines
need it yesterday demands
living paycheck to paycheck
tempting advertisements selling
things they should buy
no lottery tickets
stock market investments
serious future plans
while graybeard poet
nature loving non-beliver
not accepting christian faith
joining jesus and god
better life waiting
wild lands disappearing
“no trespassing” signs increasing
developer’s grand designs
pictured rocks becoming
huge amusement park
soon brook and rainbow trout
owls deer bears beavers turtles
vanishing in passing dust
turning steady miles
remembering camping mysteries
reason can’t explain
knowing in future
civilization will finally fade
quiet wilderness return
leaves growing over
roads that aren’t there
only paths
deep deer prints
pressed in soil
signs of man forgotten
world forever wild

grand marais superior hotel

superior hotel

grand marais - old post office

the grand marais – old post office

outer range light on breakwater

outer range light on breakwater

the donahey pickle barrel

the donahey pickle barrel

pictured rocks - indian head

pictured rocks – indian head

carpenter creek

carpenter creek

grand marais - old fishing boat

grand marais – old fishing boat

fisherman on breakwater

fisherman on breakwater

before writing poetry

summer escapes
michigan upper peninsula
leaving college teaching
below mackinaw bridge
always about 10:30
orange-pineapple time
before labor day
return to vanilla land
camping in pictured rocks
telling fishing friends
meet me at the orange barrel
donahey home in grand marais
chasing elusive trout
rainbows and brookies
chilly may mornings
bitter hot coffee
christian brothers brandy mix
checking with postmaster
rascal sayre ostrander
general delivery incoming
letters from
stella in hollywood
trying to succeed in music
sandy and paula
back in battle creek
writing latest news
“love you tom” goodbyes
stopping at superior hotel
bessie saving detroit free press
off to breakwater
sipping warm boegels
checking baseball scores
picking up postcards
beaver house selections
chatting with ruth
asking about neal
his next “beaver trails”
grand marais pilot
quickly into inga
grabbing several wedges
delicious black pepper cheese
ignoring tourists
9 to 5 veterans
briefly free from cubicles
cargo shorts
message t-shirts
baseball caps
will bills pointed straight
older humorless people
wondering what to do
bicycle riding done
dog walked
new car waxed
little interest in
painting photography writing
missing desk security
suit and power ties
continuous cell-phone calls
making big deals
earning more money
suddenly one morning
nursing club majestic hangover
writing two or three poems
on wrinkled paper plate
creative realization
contesting elusive muse
translating ideas to words
what life is all about

pictured rocks

pictured rocks

the donahey pickle barrel

the donahey pickle barrel

grand marais - old post office

grand marais – old post office

superior hotel

superior hotel

fisherman on breakwater

fisherman on breakwater

the sportsman bar

the sportsman bar

wilderness reminiscence

beyond the crabgrass and radar range, past the
tri-level with aluminum siding and swimming
pool is nature’s unpackaged reality,
            warmth of a sunny spring day with
fresh smelling forest scents,
            a gentle breeze that toys with white
puffs of clouds against an azure backdrop,
            winding sparkling stream that plays
its mischievous may melody

winter prayer

oh lord,
                                                may bright warm sun
beams continue to green the spring forest, blossom
the beautifully colored woodland wildflowers, and
bleach my gray beard red,
                                                please, one more time