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from Aromas Finer Than Prayer


    My first prayer is - no one gets hurt.
    The second - greedy bastards lose their shirts.
    Third - those who only claim to pray be divinely corrected.
    Fourth - the brainwashed be un-infected.
    Fifth - to neither expect nor not expect the unexpected.
    Sixth - these prayers emanate like the scent of honeysuckle,
    the sound of downpouring rain on a lightning lit meadow,
    the sight of doves lifting up in unison 
    sunlight on their wings nearly blinding our eyes.

    No more need to pray for peace.
    Across the planet,
    aromas finer than prayer.

      * * * * *

    REPORT TO WALLY 6-12-2004

    Dear Dad

    Took a bus ride uptown
    by your old office overlooking
    Washington Square Park

    there were still people there
    in the sunlight
    under a jet blue sky
    with children on park slides and swings

    and a man sitting on a bench
    looked like grandfather,
    and i couldn't explain how that happens so often, yet it does.
    A wide-smilin' black lady got on the bus
    like all was cool with the world
    and it's folks like her that make it so

    though i must report that sometimes
    the seeming epidemic of corruption and fear
    has many running for cover

    under a jet blue sky though far from where
    the children slide and most folks just keep on walkin', hummin'
    on a sunny June afternoon.

    And i must say thanks for all your kindnesses
    that still linger on like a haze one can almost touch
    or a breeze one can feel,

    and i'm glad to report
    that there is yet much light and kindness in this world,
    and so much so that
    there is no reason to quit now.

 * * * * *

from A Net for the Moon

      Free of the nets
      free of the ropes--
      moon on the water.
        -- Buson


      We try to capture moments
      at the local restaurant
      as a child tries to assemble
      a Mr. Potato Head on the restaurant floor
      asking what goes where
      until he figures how, himself.
      The holiday window lights
      blink on and off and on
      as the cars roll by on Main St.
      Trying to capture moments
      is like chasing butterflies with a net,
      or a net thrown into a pool of water to catch the moon.
      Yet we go on,
      capture moments with pen, with song,
      with photo, watercolors once the ink stops to dry--
      yet as we capture them,
      how many moments have rolled by un-noticed?
      Or in not capturing
      have you noticed the lights blinking,
      and the way glasses of wine unhitch the tongue,
      how the conversation rolls by
      solving all manner of problems
      with heartfelt words and a smile,
      all manner of problems solved
      as a child finds the right mouth and eyebrows
      for Mr. Potato Head,
      as the moon seems to have caught me
      staring out the window
      and then made sure
      there was something i too would be assembling.

 * * * * *

from Presence of Birds


        (note: New Mexican santeros make wood-carvings
        of various santos, or saints )

        Old hot eye
        hides behind a shroud of clouds
        on the high road to Taos
        past snow-grown orchards
        into Cundiyo
        where the dogs
        (after nearly hitting the car)
        greet me to their mountain village.
        Alongside his horse,
        a man with a trimmed mustache
        tells me to stay on the road
        to Chimayo
        where there’s a church, with a room
        filled with crutches.
        He waves goodbye,
        as the March storm grows thicker.
        His golden skin and easy smile tell me:
        ‘If you pray to the santos,
        they will pray for you.’
        Carving my way
        through the blizzard, praying to the santos
        of the road, of the eyes,
        santos of steering
        and traction.
        Birds flit from the roadside
        into the white air.
        Even the weather can not fool them
        from their spring.
        Arriving at the motel
        to the outstretched arms of a wooden St. Francis
        laced with snow,
        figuring --- must have been he,
        who put the birds
        in the blizzard.
        And someone must have heard me thinking- -
        of how the santeros pray
        as they carve,
        of how that road was held
        as a piece of wood.

 * * * * *

from Sprial of Life

            SPIRAL of LIFE

            The sun is a kite
            with a string to the heart
            by day, by night.
            The robin’s call strengthens at dusk.
            Migrating geese laugh
            over the ocean.
            The white
            eyeball of the moon
            emotes through space.
            Night spirals...
            the sky shades, turns,
            The geese are rowdy,
            a dog runs by the window
            into the spiral,
            sipping hot tea
            in the backyard,
            looking into the spiral
            until we say:
            “We’ve been here before,
            early this morning
            when the neighbor’s mower
            sent a spray of grass
            catching the light,
            just this way.”


© 2005 - 2018 Walter E. Harris III