wash the trees
wash the ferns
wash the moss
wash the grass
soak the ground
swell the streams
swell the river
rain for frog, toad, and newt
rain for raccoon and deer
rain for coyote and fox
rain for bear and salmon
rain for hawk, raven, and turkey
rain for cow, goat, and sheep
rain for farmer, mother, and artist
rain for shopkeeper and student
rain for truck driver and poet
rain for scientist and dancer
rain for priest, pagan, and skeptic
rain for poetry and song
rain for memories and dreams
rain for love and joy
rain for California
beautiful wet winter California
On my bedroom roof
a thousand kisses
A woman walking across
the parking lot to her car
wearing a T-shirt that says
and a teenaged boy
walking with his bicycle
wearing a T-shirt that says
Lord Dunsany is on the internet,
his once rare little books of fantasy
now out of copyright, a free download.
He once compared writers to raft-makers
on the doomed ships of their civilizations.
Words scraped on clay tablets can survive
when the buildings that contain them get burned,
paragraphs can get quoted by later authors,
a memoir can be read by a director
and brought to life as a movie seen by millions.
I wonder about electricity,
how well it may float on the seas of time.
These books online might be ephemeral
as sparkling reflections on the waves,
or will the ease with which they may be copied—
no tedious labor of medieval monks—
ensure that many copies will be made?
This could be like copying DNA,
preserving the words of the book of life
for four billion years— but even that raft
will someday get wrecked when the seas of time
get boiled away by our sun turning red giant.
I’m trying to imagine Dunsany
in a starship’s cultural data store
as they move to a better universe.
Most likely, the gods of Pegana will get lost.
The death god will no longer make his sign.
The drummer of time will tire and stop drumming.
The god who made the gods will then awaken.
At a party for the master of the house,
three girls clap and sing while one plays flute.
Headbands and collars sparkle as they sway,
sheer white dresses showing every curve,
cones of aromatic resins melting.
Blossoms of blue lotus in the wine
intensify every joy and pleasure.
Now two naked girls dance round the room,
beauty slightly enhanced by jewels and beads,
telling stories with their arms and hips—
and there time stops. This is just a painting
of the girls with lyrics for the song
from the wall of the master’s tomb.
water from the sky
fractal pattering of drops
but last winter’s cold dry sun
and this summer’s long hot days
make each moment of
an all day gully filling
downpour so precious
appreciate the normal
mundane miracle of life
water off the roof
like a bead curtain between
windows and forest
the fresh smell of leaf litter
the bright green of ferns and moss
elation no gloom in this
the problem with a spiritual quest
is either you never find anything
what you seek isn’t obvious
or you find something and it doesn’t work
and you become disillusioned
or you find something and it does work
and you become insufferable promoting it
and if it ever seems to stop working
you’re either really embarrassed
or you pretend it’s still working
no matter how unhappy you are
Longer than haiku,
a poem begins to take shape
on blue post-it notes.
On the roof like a slow stepping cat,
off the edge a count of crystal drops,
more than drizzle, less than downpour.
Dim daylight through the big windows
leaves the entire living room shadowed.
The verdant outside is flecked with yellow
apple and alder about to shed leaves.
From midnight to midnight, continuing
rain gives me security and comfort.
I won’t need to burn all my firewood,
or worry much about next summer’s fires,
and water will keep flowing from my spring.
copyright © 2014 Carl Miller