Creeks in full voice after rain,
a dusting of snow on Pine Mountain.
The river unreels a thousand miles
from the finger of a willow.
Loons call, steadily reaffirming
their covenant with the horizon.
A red fox slips by attending fully,
eye to eye, without breaking stride
through winter's pared down palette,
raw sienna, burnt umber, all-embracing.
We're captured in the amber light—
the earth near, infinitely near.
Ever since you were indistinct faces,
red and blue boats on a lampshade,
the bars of my crib, I've pondered you,
getting no closer — maybe farther away
as if my train never left the station
while the world shot by too fast.
Po Chü-i addressed his worn broom,
a winged ant, the greens of moss—
deep conversations with extraordinary
friends, praising and mourning.
I must be going the wrong way,
grappling with you gets me nowhere.
The bench seems welcoming,
a reverent mood waited for me here.
I attend to your long sky, your hawks
heading west, your dog looking back.
The winter sky is dirty nickel.
Crows solve walnuts with gravity and street.
Rain will fall with the south wind.
Gut feelings roost in my rib cage—
where's that blood clot that was behind the knee?
The far-seeing condor drops her plumes
from tremendous altitude.
I have my appetites, but there's hunger
from a larger place that involves me
in its hunting and gathering,
carries me up and opens the hand.
Churning airs raise dust
and leaves into sunlit whirlwinds
scouring the street.
Job's lord instructs his hornets.
Elijah's horses scream.
Thirty thousand single wings
come to life for the fifteen thousand
birds of my soul.
I pull down my shabby hat,
retreat a safe distance,
carry my crippled dog indoors.
Held to the light—
a spectral egg awakens inside
just beyond grasp
and elusive faces,
one that drowned at sea
fifty years ago with her dark eyes.
Near the hand
framing my phantoms in you,
drums on windowpanes
and almost reaches
Jesus is coming—
a crow as big as a small chicken,
acting like everything depends on him,
picks up a twig, puts it down, struts
into the crossroads and caws.
The gnarly old pear suddenly flowers—Lazarus
startles Lazarus. I can see through my death.
Winds plumb the hollows of a horse's skull,
the far shore near through the eyes.
The doe with the split ear is listening
in three directions while foraging
under the oaks.
William Stafford once said to my ears,
Maybe some things happen because
we’re paying attention.
A crow cocks one eye, then takes my picture
from the other side of his mind
and carries it off.
I climb golden Pine Mountain to greet
the dragons flying east at sunset
with their tails on fire.
Maybe if I just calm down
birds will land on my shoulders
and the one-eyed yellow cat will leap
into my arms and talk.
The pasture gate groans,
seven horses lift
There are birds
in the fountain,
bees in the lavender.
Richard Jarrette is the author of Beso the Donkey, MIPA Gold Medalist 2011, Finalist, Book of the Year ForeWord Reviews, and it has been translated into Chinese by Prof. Yun Wang. His next collection is A Hundred Million Years of Nectar Dances in which, along with Georges Braque, Giacometti and his dog, Samuel Beckett, Emily Dickinson, Lazarus, Glenn Gould, Odysseus, and the Lord make appearances among many birds and bees. He lives semi-reclusively in California near some mountains and a sea.