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the quiet world

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

I was playing around with the Poetry Foundation‘s smartphone app, where you can search for poems by subject or mood, or even use a roulette-wheel style randomizer, and I found this lovely poem that seems very relevant to our Twitter-oriented culture. (Even though it predates Twitter by 8 years.)

I agree with Nancy’s observation that this poem reminds her of when she and I were first dating long-distance :-).

The Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel (1998)

In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

poem: still gets me home

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

walking home
by the ugliest way
still gets me home

poem: tiny blue flowers

May 3, 2011 Leave a comment

two-inch deep moss,
a 2000 foot drop, and
tiny blue flowers

Out hiking the other day in the Columbia River Gorge, at one point the steep trail led up an exposed rocky face in a series of switchbacks. Before then, the trail had been going through the forest, but now it was clear just how high above the valley floor we really were, and my acrophobia would hit me in the face at each switchback. Now as it happens, on hikes I’m usually very interested in looking closely at what’s around me anyway, but suddenly it became very important for me to focus on the feel of the deep moss on the shaded side of the rocks, dry and slightly crunchy outside yet slightly damp inside and soft like a thick thick carpet, and on the quite interesting particular shade of intense blue of some tiny flowers on the rocks’ sunny sides.

Eventually we reached the summit and its spectacular views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, but I think my memory of the feel of the moss and the color of the flowers will outlast that of the distant peaks.

Returning, we took the much longer, much less steep trail down the side of the slope. :-)

 

poem: dusty guitar

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

the dusty guitar
leaning against the TV
by a well-worn remote

Sad, isn’t it? OK, more reading and guitar playing, and less TV-watching, is on the agenda.

moon viewing

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Two haiku I wrote at the autumn moon-viewing at the Portland Japanese Garden:

melancholy flute –
sunset reflected like fire
in distant windows

eyes closed –
murmuring voices
and the piercing flute

Can you tell I enjoyed the shakuhachi flute music? :-) The koto playing was amazing too.

The night was clear so it got dark quickly, even with the full moon. Resting my camera on a bamboo railing I was able to take a long-exposure picture of the path:

A hand-held long exposure of a five level lantern, just for fun: