Crystal Cove, New Year’s Eve, 2003
I pick three bleached pebbles with thin blue veins
and array them in silent invocation of the triple gem.
My mind in a ductile reach attaches to shapes
as the loud tongue of impermanence lashes the shore,
spitting out broken shells, licking clean sandpiper footprints.
Came here just a week ago, rejoicing with friend and wife.
Now enthroned alone on a layered disc of metamorphic rock,
I survey creation with a mind as calm as the tide-pool
enclosed, near my foot, in its own web of interdependence –
sea anemones and slivery fish – still and ready to spring.
A keyboard softly taps the faded doors of memory:
skimming the film of time like a water-fly on a pond.
It rains outside and the tin roofs boom. Fierce eddies
tear hyacinths behind boats, dark and filled with soot.
It’s a broken record with a cut groove I’m stuck on,
reliving scenes with drifts that put me inside a hum
until it explodes with sudden shafts of veined lightning:
my father lying down one evening to die, or smoke
from burning villages choking up the noon sky.
Then the rain stops and crickets scream —
memorial crickets on damp rice-fields,
where the keya blooms and sends out scented rings
in discs of pleasure that cut clean to the bone.