Poems |  Peyton             

added July 2007  



meditating, I think


a simple heart is

a full heart.  a simple mind

is an emptied mind












Shadow: Morning Prayer

                For Jenifer


Let this pearl, my heart, never gray. 

I think too much.  I rarely plan, unless

you count that perpetual quest to live

untrammeled by what has been or will be.  


A thousand poems, most unknown,

have created this man, child alone. 

Let this rare seed, my brain, forever sprout

with passion toward the pellucid sky. 


Maybe it’s true I love no one but myself. 

But in so many other souls I find so much

of what seems to be me.  Then let our hearts,

our minds, always share, and treasure, this unity


within each of us. 



T.S. Eliot And Wang Wei,

Conspiring In A Tent


Somewhere, perhaps in a room

but I hear a muffled clatter  

of rushes caressing, consenting to

the gentle wind, women

come and go, smiling,

breathing.  The silences of

their eyes twinkling. 

Slim fingers touch together,

shape the air, sharing notions. 

Energy transpires. 

The moon is very bright

through my opened window,

I could write without

this other light. 

Yet then the clouds close in

to transform their shine

from pearl to burgeoning gray.  

Noises of small animals                                                                                    

talking and walking sift up

from below the wind.  Perhaps

they sense that even with all these

sensations springing from the earth,

still I’m wrapped in solitude. 

Visitors arrive to that adjoining

camp near the pine and ash.

They laugh loudly once,

as though I were not here. 

More laughter,

as in the mountain’s embrace

and perhaps inspired

by this mountain they begin

to talk and sing of Michaelangelo. 






Morning Meditation


Noon’s premonition of purple dusk...

brilliant sunlight showers down

beyond the sharply-hewn skyscrapers’ glacial

tilts and slants, descending below the tempest

of pylons and turrets, temples and domes,  splashing

onto the swaying pandemonium            

of perimeters and paths.  Pace by pace

brightness beats like slavish hope

upon the mortal shoulders of

the denizens below.


Dawn long since has scaled then plumbed

the precipice of cumulating urban disbelief

to light the scurrying and the scrambling,

and hazy intentions of city-folk (I am one),

hearts filled with farts and fantasy, as in

torrential overflow they spring or founder into their frays,

all out to meditate or prey upon this craggy day

—which in its sameness to the others

will cast it like no other. 


Distances with moments interwoven, laced

with action, are parsed by our imaginations

compounded, —no, concerted.  And these visions,

embroidery overembellished yet sublime,

together shall ultimately set the scene.  Until

the moon will join those towers of  ice and verse

we all constructed from out of the air then to leave

behind, almost like carrion scrap, for sleep,

and dreams of substantiality.   









          we all collaborate with the enemy

                                                hell, we nuzzle

                 night and day   we do his

                                             dirty work, quietly zestfully

                         setting the traps in which we flounder about come

   dawn like grasshoppers and red ants caught on sticky



           calling for ghosts that might

                      love us where we ourselves fear

          we’ve failed  failed  failed                       we all


                                    collaborate with the enemy      that’s

                  not so bad     we all

                          (eyes a-slant, peering upper right) touch his loins, oh,

                                                       let’s shudder and acknowledge it now,

it’s a caress, baby, it’s a long   kiss                         and the enemy, the enemy

loves us back              loves us back into

                          the dark

                              the dark

                                                  the dark where

        there are words we never speak            learned

                   never to think, lest the enemy hear our poetry

                                                     and obey




Early On A Beautiful Day


     Snowing on the moon too

You and I pull our boots up, jangly and stringy

with dozens of buckles and laces to confuse

the morning sky


The clouds up there know

they are transient, like hunted wolves in winter

or hearts uncertain they’ve yet found love, or

what they’ve found, restless even when spring

has long since wound into shimmering summer


We stride nimble and crisp into the storm together

These early winds seem thick and bitter and shrill enough

to sustain a host of prospering empires a-swarm

with designing ministers and diligent stewards 

The lake is still frozen a haze crackles above it but we

see the other side and all its swirling black birds beguiled

and mesmerized by their own debates    Their caws are brittle   

They do not appear to notice us over here

hoofing along through the deep tracks of the path

but they might 

This isn’t really a storm   


Glowing and lighting your face blushed

from the wind, the green of your eyes seems to

reflect the colors hidden beneath the snow   

The nation, it’s true, may not make it through

another season scurrying after wars and taxes and

medals and thieves     Stumbling lightly on the trail


you reach across and grasp my arm again   

It’s so cold out today    I shiver

The heights of our mountain have become shrouded,

our destination concealed, but no matter,

     this isn’t really a storm  




Two Joys




I told my mother

I’d live at least a

hundred and twenty 

years.  Just think!    Now I’m


almost halfway.  Treads

Autumn along the

mist-strewn borderline,

where a ghost dances.


Tell me, how do these

clear grey eyes shine so

sadly while still they

reflect all my joy?




II.   And I Know This Is True


Traveling your long walk

of faith, dear friend, there’s

just one proposition

I have for you: there


is nothing like the

cha-cha.  If it’s God

or truth you want to

see, do the cha-cha. 


The world’s rhythm and

heart becomes yours. O

hear me, heed me now

— dance the wild cha-cha, mon cher,


and make yourself free. 

Butterfly At Matrix Farm


There was a butterfly thirty years ago

I could not describe then in a poem.

It was alone and I was alone, so cool

in the sunlight of early morning. 

It’s wings were white, and very small,

it fluttered above the tall grass by the

dirt path below the barn.    No wind.     No sound. 

Even this I couldn’t say back then,

vital as it all seemed.  Though if I had,

if I had, my mission still would scarcely have

begun.  No matter how I tried,

I just couldn’t say the butterfly. 

But I still see it, still by my side,

flitting through the lucid air, showing

me I was alive.












Funny -- the only word

we’ve got with more meanings than

"fuck" issorry – "God".

Probably "love" comes in third. 

Then their senses all coalesce.







Shadow’s River


Came to light, grew, grew,

saw visions, there or not

Sound too, I became a

master of sound, there were

millions of masters


as I became my words,

all those words 



Became words

and my heart transformed me,

my dear heart day by day

into a river, beautiful river

as the words fountained

forth, traveled onward

through the world, light

and liquid, liquid,

air too 


And all now return, the

river comes to the river,

gives to the river, sound

comes to you,

light again





To Tu Fu


I never finished reading

your poem, forgive me. 

I couldn’t because

in its midst I

kept pausing to

write my own.





Shadow Speaks


The nation falls into ruin

as the economy continues to burgeon. 


So potent the kraken-excelsior call of finance,

it shatters the spines of all who bear it.


You may strive to harm not a thing, fool-like-me, yet with

every move partake in our world’s demolition. 


Be calm.  This cannot be avoided.   There will be other 

worlds, other lives to come.  Though never ours again.   


The sun rises tomorrow, shrimp-hued, blazing,

swollen through the mists it will soon burn away.


The multitude, as they have always, will howl and

castigate the state, or other perceived rulers.  But many


then, in heart’s utter disarray, take

revenge upon their closest friends


for societal travesties no one

ever truly comprehends. 


Many souls will strain toward love – devastated,

distraught, or oblivious – as though this prayer


somehow might resolve the world into

one golden image of heroes risen forsaking lust. 


Yet love is a perilous path which deceives. 

It may distort as well as cure.  Danger at every turn. 


Others will remain indifferent, inert.  It’s hard. 

It’s hard.  My despair would never pass


 and here is the mystery, cruel in its way –

my own despair would never pass


but for a joy I often can’t repress, and

whose shining source I cannot place. 









Poem Of Love #999. The Truth.


Thus every love destroys, for this

is love's sure skill.   So be it, the

soft flame that lures laying waste, for a time,

to weakness and strength alike.

Longing for love is like longing for life.


Each love exposes a consummate blend

of rapture with confinement, enshrined

--yet always something wild is loosed.

Many souls shall be love’s victims, inevitably,

unable to formulate or sustain it. 


Yes, mutilations even, martyrs, and so on--

yet an impossible thing to leave, it seems.

Isn’t it always love that goes?  If you

walked away, it was something else.  Had to be. 

And if you part (you may not), it is love that goes. 


The last, you know -- love neither is nor has a map.

As is said too of the great River Loire,

love's sweetness and hazards alter daily:

no course can be cast in advance across

the untroubled heart of love.  


It transforms: clarifies or deforms.



                        — September 1991


Five More Short Poems




A Way Of The World


Charlotte taught me

how to not fight.  Showed  me new

ways to observe.  But

I didn't figure it all

out ‘til after she was gone.                    








Hungry hearts eat lies. 

Subterfuge, the will to believe,

then look! -- the world turns!

In every belief -- denial.

We hide as much as we seek.











I reached the peak

Of that mountain high

I had some questions

For the silver sky

The sky – it had

So much to say

Yet I learned not a thing

That day







a thousand thousand

thousand nets the world has knit

in this one instant,

then in the next those nets transform

our newer needs to other nets







Love's a fantasy,

living work.  Yet if you don't

work, the fantasy dies







I tried


I tried to emulate his honesty

the courage of his modesty

but every word I wrote

I saw my boast and cant


I sought to step like the garden rats

intently in need but so ready to flee

(like they understood they’d never be caught)

yet openly concealed in my every thought

my vanity and headstrong glee

(like I feared otherwise I’d never be seen) 


I prayed I might master

in the words I set down

the truth that was me

and the voice I’d found

but it always was clear I’d gathered

at best like some spring bouquet

the passing thoughts of other

fledglings and sages

(though perhaps a grain

of savvy lay in

my hope that this

still might suffice)                       and


I wanted to be

beautiful as you

yet the best I could do

was give thanks

with closed silent eyes

for the homeliness of my soul

and lay my pen quietly down

upon the paper