Here’s a poem by George Jonas that I have loved for about 40 years. The last two lines mean more to me now than they did 40 years ago:
The Circle Narrows by George Jonas
It is quite possible
That our common thoughts come to us from the sea
Our doubtful soul follows the herrings
And we all die after the 11 o’clock news.
Still there is
A certain self which I for my part
Keep wrapped in tinfoil among my private papers.
I am less and less concerned
With a planet I share with Arabs and caterpillars
With a country I share with fellow motorists
With women who share me with film directors
And with a heart that after minor adjustments
Could be used by a customs officer.
The trips I will take from now on
Must only be a few inches in length.
“By understanding and paying close attention to our speech patterns, we can move ourselves from near desire for change into commitment and action.”
sidebar in Spirituality and Health magazine
By the humid August breeze
understanding came to me
and I recognized the beckoning.
Paying no mind to the warning of the feral cat
close to the marshy construction site,
attention focused on the clay Calvert dust
to shake it from my shoes
our shame at the cutting of the trees
speech became useless.
Patterns of swirling flies,
we’ve hesitated like Swallowtails
can forage around the polished bush
move placidly through the steamy air
ourselves watching them
from inches away.
Near enough to kiss
desire to fuel that yellow power
Commitment like roots
and purpose like wind.
painting: Children Going to School by Thomas Greenley
Here’s a poem I wrote about 30 years ago. It’s hhe title poem of my first book, from 2000:
At the Year’s Elbow
September smells in the air
like the first awareness
of freedom’s limits,
of the inevitable
Still green leaves
elegant with lacy
bug eaten holes,
rustle in the
still warm sun.
A bug runs up your arm
and changes directions
at your elbow,
the year’s elbow.
A slight body language of wind,
a gesture of paling light says
you are here
at the year’s elbow.
In the morning,
will go back to school.
In the evening,
the light will move away