Saturday Morning Quatrains

vacant chair on the lawn like a sutra
in drought-stricken California
sky has swallowed all the halos
my skin has turned blue as Krishna

a little girl called out to her friend
with a lilt to her voice like a monastery bell
puncturing silence, broken also by a plane
droning in blue raga of improvised sky

grandfather clock tolls an hour before noon
dog sleeps in sun, lazy as death
air’s stillness almost sets the mind whirling
everything exists in the present

ginger plant throws shadows of Japanese brushwork
on the patio where The Book of Balance and Harmony
lies closed while another small plane
chugs out of sight, leaving no contrail

“the world is so colorful,” Tenzin Gyatso exclaimed
after stating on his difficulties as Dalai Lama
a poem like a dance has to find its own end
and though some of mine trail off inconclusively

there’s always that last gesture last word
then I sit like an old man prepared for death
squinting at a cypress just past the bougainvillea
taking my Saturday morning with nonchalance

turkey vulture circles high above eucalyptus
trusting empty sky to accept its wings
it was what, three years ago, that pine was planted
look how it’s grown . . . and there’s a palm up the hill

gloating in its majesty, a buddha with no desires
I feel like dancing around the dead maple
standing below the hill like an immolated monk
too serene to bemoan the thirst that killed it

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