Friday, August 25, 2006
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Low eighties, with a cool breeze off the sea, —
Just having lost my notebook, in the brain’s
Light traffic, a lot of half-baked ideas
Insert themselves, as shadows on the hill
Of all the lesser loves that flew away
Without a glance back at the lesser me.

October’s caddis hatch on the McCloud
With you, would be the essence of a dream,
My love, the underhand casts come easy,—

Where two sapsucker-fretted apple trees,
Lean over water, the tail of a pool,
Fruit ripening toward August’s house party,—

Lichened live oak trunk, Bewick’s wren, one bee,

Goldfinches perched on grass stems that barely
Deflect under their weight, in Martha’s garden
—I’m trying a strangeness out, from me to thee...

Good ’98 cab shared outside the cave,
Out on the open terrace, drops of rain
To punctuate the just-waiting-to-see
If I’ll improve, or falter, — casually,
Buddhas descend as darning needles, then—

Evening levies cloud columns off the sea,
Tree swallows and fair-weather cumulus
Buoyant enough to bear sadness away—
Wind dapple in damp forest, what to say?

An iPod with the earphones on the table,
The music thread-thin, as though far away,
Strains of Quartet No. XIII, Opus
130 (in B flat), long waves
Break thirty miles away, on Ten Mile Beach,
But visible to us, from our eyrie.

(Being uncertain what we had in mind,
We’ve settled for the static symmetry
Of one continuous unbroken song,
Insistent, as if dismantling the sun,
The sky itself, the earth under our feet,—
Begun again, the world may come out right…)

The neighbors hung sachets of lavender
Soaked in a mountain lion’s urine, so deer
Would stay clear of the vineyard. Let me pee
On that boulder of sunwarmed tufa. France
Has fallen. Damn! I’ll miss those bastards. Being
Enchanted by that girl in the library…

Last winter, studying calligraphy,
You found at last your own Ts’ao-Shu, “grass style”…
I moped around those endless rainy hills,
And found a couple pounds of chanterelles,
Dug with my folding C.R.K.T. blade,
The Op. Iraqi Freedom model. Hey—

Sautéed in tarragon, butter, sauterne,
Served with a crusty baguette, chardonnay—
And you’d no more consider leaving me
Than life itself. (I’d never questioned how
Life planted me on this shore, where the breeze
Turns over all the silvery olive leaves.)

Read Elements of Typographic Style,
In French, translated it back into Greek,
And back again. Got lost along the way.
Worked through a hundred proofs, and sadder now,
But hardly wiser, worked right through one day,
Singing the names of rivers, winds, and months
(All mostly feminine in ancient Greek),
And played hoops with the kids, gave booze a pass,
Worked on my dribble, will continue, too,
Until Lear dominates th’ offensive glass.

From fire and flood, from mudslide and cold rain,
Earthquake, volcano — California
Breaks up, gets reassembled, —your beauty

Breaks down “resistance” to the ordered new
Life in the live oaks. What they claimed is true:
While standing out in the electric field,
We’re brittle as the grass, struck by the sun,

Passion of fence lizards, life on the run—

Hard wired to hide among the blackberries
And bracken, by the little mountain spring,
Brush rabbit trembles, shadow of hawk’s wing
Scythes by.
Right now, I’m happy as a king.


truepeers said...

Sweet Return.

Syl said...

Optimists see lifegiving rain and pollenation, pessimists lightning and bee stings. Americans embrace both but are renewed by nature. You've found your peace.

I think I understand the French now.

David Thomson said...

I don’t read much poetry nor fiction. Still, this poem is enjoyable.

Jamie Irons said...


I think I understand the French now.


Thanks for your comment!

(And thanks, Truepeers and David, too!)

Jamie Irons

Jamie Irons said...

By the way, the poem, being a bit long, rather "hogs the page" of our blog.

Can someone instruct me on how to use the "Read More" feature?

Or direct me to those instructions?


Jamie Irons

Rick Ballard said...


When you compose a post, this line has been automatically inserted (use "Edit HTML" mode to read it):

<span class="fullpost">

The introducyory paragraph goes before that command, the balance of the 'Read more' portion goes after it. At the very end you have to type in this:


to end the command.

You can try it with this post - click the pencil icon and use the 'Edit HTML' tab to make adjustments. You can't hurt anything.

My compliments on the poem. I hope to see more.

Jamie Irons said...

Thanks, Rick.

For some reason almost all the editing tools I used to have (including "Edit HTML") seem to have gone away.


Jamie Irons

Jamie Irons said...


I got it to work!



(Obviously, I'm not a web-posting genius, unlike my four boys.)

Jamie Irons

Syl said...

Thanks for asking the question, Jamie, and thanks for answering, Rick.

I just fixed my long post of the other day.

Buddy Larsen said...

A visual nature-feast, bifurcated by the verse that reminds us that despite all her splendor, mother nature needs man to appreciate her:

(Being uncertain what we had in mind,
We’ve settled for the static symmetry
Of one continuous unbroken song,
Insistent, as if dismantling the sun,
The sky itself, the earth under our feet,—
Begun again, the world may come out right…)

Hope Springs Eternal, thank the Lord.

Doug said...

Is that what determines what goes in the preview of the RSS feed also?

The Mad Fiddler said...

I would like to take as much time savoring this as you might have taken composing it.

I'll have to come back and wander in your garden.


Dymphna said...

Words are instruments we use to beat out tunes on broken drums for bears to dance to, when all we really want to do is move the stars to pity -- Flaubert

Well, I think you managed to make at least a few of those celestial objects blink a bit.

Well done, well crafted.