Step by Step: Walking Poetry

Sunday Walk at Dusk

I walk back from the asphalt of the school playground

where I picked up a piece of wood

a tree thought

brought down

in the wind of  two nights ago.

along the sidewalk home

someone might mistake this branch for a gun

in the headlight glare.

I carry it loosely swinging by two fingers

pointing the delicate web of lichen into the headlight

to reflect pale green above the gray silver bark.

maybe they see me and think

about the darkness that I am not.

maybe they only see me vaguely with no comprehension

simply a blank silhouette against the dark shadow trees

the sky holding the last of the day’s blue around

the edges of oncoming clouds.

Maybe they see me and think.


Walk on a Winter Night

I walk back from the corner store,

my foggy breaths lead me up the hill.

Orion in the southern sky, so clear,

the crescent silver just over his outstretched arm.

all against the indigo sky dome.

My face, upturned, stinging, shining moonlight back up.

streams of water on the driveway

frozen into low slick speed bumps,

shattering the moonlight on glass curved surfaces.

I place one foot on an ice stream,

feel it start to slide so easily, no friction.

I stand just a little longer, face growing numb,

warily placing feet down the driveway,

careful, watch for ice glimmers

up the steps. open the door.

the warm inside leaps out, pulls me in

pats me on the back with a jolly, “Here you are again!”

I am surrounded in a warm island

afloat on a tranquil sea of a winter’s night.


Sunday Walk with the Dog

We reach the top of the little hill

through the muddy forest

suddenly noticing the heron

still, silhouetted

by the green-brown pool reflecting the sun

the “croaaak” of a frog echoes.

At my intake of breath

shadow wings spread pushing up

out onto the sky and stroking away

receding to the horizon.

On the way back down

We pass a pile of rocks gleaming in the afternoon sun

As we continue past, my mind is on

happy beaches of polished and dull stones

piling, sorting

hours just scooping wet holes

down through the layers

of finer pebbles just big enough

to see a bit of color

thinking maybe I could dig

down to the place where the rock

cradles the beach to the ocean’s breast

that pure touch of water

that grinds the mountains into sand.

The dog did not say much only walked and peed

happy to have walked and come home.

When I am on the beach

will I think of the heron?

or the pile of rocks by the road to my house?

or ocean?

or tiny pieces of mountains?

A Cold Walk at the Lake

The Air is dry and no white condensation

billows out of our mouths as we talk

Hunched in our layers

trudging at first

then as we find the warm place

in our stride

we able to almost ignore

the numbness of our extremities

At the end of the circle

around the darkening water

two owls speak

gentle penetrating questions

as the shadows fill up

the empty spaces in what is

left of the day.

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