Hour of the Ghost Dance
No more will the scioto madtom
swim in Ohio’s Big Darby Creek,
gone are the ivory-billed woodpecker,
Backman’s warbler never to sing again,
gone three species of pearly mussels,
the flat pigtoe mussel, southern acornshell,
stirrupshell lost among the 36 mussels &
70 freshwater snails gone, gone forever,
bridled white-eye, Little Mariana fruit bat,
San Marcos gambusia, plants they pollinate,
plants they reseed, all lost, lost forever, all
thru heavy hands crown-of-creation madness,
the age now a time of fleeting souls never
to return, superstorms raking coasts, drought
borne of Hetch-Hetchy presumptions, fires
leaping over mountains, ancient sequoias
licked by flames, volcanoes spitting fire,
thousands dead weekly—ghost dance hours,
sunset hours, time of the fleeting stars
whirling in ever-turning ever-burning sky.
tonight, the full moon lights the snowy forest,
still blue dream beyond hope, beyond sorrow.
his memorials for harmony ignored again and again,
Chen Zi’ang spent a night with an old friend talking
mountains, streams, his coming journey to Loyang,
this night’s deep bonds memorials to one he might
never see again—the road leading forever away.
Du Fu found a dream refuge in his thatched hut,
despite poverty, free of slavish work, among family
and friends—yet endless wars and rebellions
drove him off. clinging to a single twig, only
moonlight over waters shaped his long journey.
As the mission to Mars approaches landing
I walk out to my greenhouse in moonlight,
stars scattered across the sky in subzero cold,
recalling all those faces in the past year,
endless parade of sorrows and anxieties,
those headed west into sunset and deep night,
finding their way to the campfires of elders
bearing their dreams in medicine pouches
out among the music of spheres, dancing.
I dream youthful pleasures sail skating by night,
shoveling snow 4 a.m. predawn clearing
600 ft. driveway, alone in blue-lit forest silence,
ice shining on the river beyond, my waking
dream journey so my mother might drive out
at seven, cross town even on tortured sliding days
dedicated to her students. I’d stride home
in silent forest’s blue light, full moon thru branches—
eyes on the river’s frozen dream and journey
to sunset and night, passing phantoms, as now.
Spirit Walk Sunset
many nights flaming
sunsets over the great lake,
so many pause,
surrounded by lovers,
kith and kind—
clouds over waves,
silence on the horizon,
blues yellows scarlet flash
across the heavens,
all borne of western wildfires,
burned forests and homes, terror,
the dead and delirious.
Here, endless funerals, horrors,
a bride giving covid to
a young mother in reception line,
a dear friend’s uncle dead,
family quarantined, one in the ICU—
after so many, one wonders indeed if
each is a first death like no other.
this day is a quiet mass for one who gave all
to open paths for others, for their own lives,
sorrow rimmed in the eyes of survivors
yet welcoming to old friends, relatives,
and a long ride home melancholy reflection among
woods’ mottled shade, long dry fields blueberry farms:
on a rare cloudless day dreaming of spirit walk sunset.
where will we be in a year, a decade, in memory?