Gentle Earth, I beg of you –
Whisper to us the first sign of spring.
Annul this wintry despair
And a season of life anew, bring.
From the depths of Baja
Carry the warmth in upon a draft.
Poke the sunshine through grumbly clouds
And send it down as a gilded shaft.
Clothe the desert with the raiment
Of fleeting sheets of white rain.
Implore the wildflowers that they
Bestow upon us a fantastic display.
Help the button-face of the brittlebush
Peep over the dead, crumpled brush.
Bring forth the canyon penstemon.
Make the Mexican lime cactus flush.
With one stroke of rain
Paint the delicate creosote yellow.
Order the Engelmann’s cactus to raise
Their trumpets of fuchsia and blow.
Tempt forth the birds to sing – hark!
I beg, usher in March.

~~~~~~~

Coming from within a rising hedge
     Of voluptuous white oleander –
I sensed a turmoil; one writhe
     Seduced better than before

And within the naked boughs
     Of some palo verde – in a rustle
Of few leaves – I thought I saw
     Among them a potential

So quick and sullen, I almost not
     Deemed it worthy a mention
Until a lone grackle squawked
     That vernal suspicion

Then the wind flirted with a sage
     Whose mane shimmied – fervid –
As if the breath of Earth had encouraged
     Spring to dance for him.

~~~~~~~

What a brutal sun that assaults the cliffs
Where cacti and mescals dare to abide!
Here and there, dozens of petroglyphs
Decorating the canyon may be espied.

In large nesting circles neatly drawn
In evaporating wisps and bold squares
In a sun giving thanks for every dawn
In little starbursts and stick figures

In a deer, in an eagle looking strong
In a war scene foretold by prophets
It remains unsaid – time is not long
But to the same end, everything drifts.

~~~~~~~

SWEET CRICKETS

Sweet crickets, the tune
You’re playing tempts me to sleep.
By your tune I will drift off
Better to a place dark and deep.
The low moon and toads
As well as I are your audience.
Why, even the saguaro blooms
Have opened with interest!
The night shall soon bend over
And kiss my eyelids closed.
From Earth’s port into the sky
Of oblivion, I shall make my abode.
But should I judge your tune
To be my favorite solace
Promise me you’ll return
One night to play for me again.

~~~~~~~

Good morning, fair cardinal –
How are you?
How are your children?
Your plumage is nearly outdone
By the sun’s golden hue.

The mattress is firm –
My blanket is coolly sheer.
What’s that?
Come outside, be with us?
Sorry, my bed is too cozy a lair.

~~~~~~~

Behold the marvelous wildflowers!
How they boldly carpet a sloping glen –
Our gift from Earth’s seasonal showers.

Hardly is the desert recognizable
Come March to an untrained eye when
Spring has announced herself in full

Except for occasional saguaros –
The perennial observers to this annual display –
Perched on the precarious ledge they chose.

Penstemon and globe mallow are in glee;
Even the palo verdes celebrate
By showering the ground with yellow confetti.

~~~~~~~

Bees labor not in vain
For their task is plain.
Listen - how they hum
Around the myoporum.
Purple buds then show forth
Declaring their handiwork.

~~~~~~~

Come, graceful brittlebush
   And creamy globe mallow blooms.
The winds of spring call you
   Again from the sandy tombs.

Come, you dashing lupine
   And join the wingnuts on the hills.
Go and place your annual stake
   With them near the trails.

There is room, woolly daisies
   And Engelmann's cacti, on the plain.
Come dressed in your best trimmings.
   You are favored by the sun.

I will swing by and count you
   Among my treasured finds.
Fill my life with flowers
   So I know that I'm alive.

~~~~~~~

a little frog
sits on a warm rock
busy relaxing

~~~~~~~

SUMMER RAIN

Listen to the raging summer rain
Mercilessly battering the ground
Bouncing like rubber balls all around.
Rain is a little miracle gained
In the desert when it comes unbound.
My head is made silent by the sound.
This sense of cleanliness will remain
Because everything has been washed down.
The corner curbs of the street have drowned!
Harder still it strikes my window pane.
A peculiar sun breaks through a cloud
Tho’ the raindrops continue to pound.
Listen to the raging summer rain.

~~~~~~~

April – breezy and demure –
Make yourself at home.
I’ve kept some tea warm.
Here is a seat of nature –

A trunk on which to sit.
The birds announced your arrival
By chirp and warble –
I’d been waiting for it.

I saw wildflowers in full flush
Arrive just ahead of you.
The bees buzz as if to say “hello”
And throng around the brittlebush.

Company is such excitement!
Show me your light winds –
Stir them up in the mountains
But thirty days – then what?

Oh pretty April – do not go –
You are one of my favorite guests.
Stay for a few months –
May calls but burns me so.

~~~~~~~

I know a place
Where one can lounge
And drink a refreshing dew
Where no worry survives
Where no sounds intrude
Where angels on its pathways
At times may be found
And religion is one truth
Where foundation meets clouds;
A place of peace.
It's under mesquite trees
Over their medusan roots
And below the blazing sun
And its omnipotent proofs.
It's by the pale mescals
Under a tender stalk
Between granite boulders
In shades of ochre and chalk
And among the cactus
Where there is silence.

~~~~~~~

TRIOLET #3

The Arizona Queen of the Night –
She is a most mysterious flower –
The one seen dancing in the moonlight.
The Arizona Queen of the Night –
In a pale gown, appears near June’s height.
Have you been lucky enough to see her –
The Arizona Queen of the Night?
She is a most mysterious flower.

~~~~~~~

I heard my name called in the wind –
Stirring up in my heart a thrill.
Neither a person at the trail bend
Nor stationed upon the hill
Did this phenomenon portend.

A second stronger wind waxed –
Rushing through the valley.
Hearing my name again, I was vexed.
By the rattling of bursage leaves –
The calling out was masked.
As the wind came, it hushed as quickly.
It waited for what I’d do next.

I listened – the valley was still.
Spirit of goodness –
I whispered – or of evil –
I bid, let me pass
If that be your will.

~~~~~~~

A stare stabbed me –
My eyes darted – a presence
Loomed large, electrically.
A horned owl was my assailant.
A rest in a mesquite tree
Made a meeting of chance.

Through the glass door –
The dividing line of succession –
We wondered about the other
Who should have dominion.
By the talons I could discern
‘Twas the owl that won.

~~~~~~~

VILLANELLE #2

Through this character is learnt:
By loneliness and challenge
In the silence of the desert.

Only in solitude do trials impart
Permanent lessons, not in a village.
Through this character is learnt:

Necessity is taught by thirst.
Life is worthy at the canyon ridge
In the silence of the desert.

It's learnt by listening to a calm heart
Not by the horror of war's carnage.
Through this character is learnt:

Knowing Adam prevailed when cursed.
Humility became his wage
In the silence of the desert.

Your strengths matter here first.
Worldly views become abridged.
Through this, character is learnt
In the silence of the desert.

~~~~~~~

Rather than talking to walls
I’d prefer a saguaro
For the wisdom they know.
Centuries – they come and go –
Leaving mysteries unsolved

And the traditions Loss mourns
Told through centenarian eyes
Could straighten crooked lies
With some persuasion – surprise! –
Instead they bristle with thorns.

~~~~~~~

a November breeze
one palo verde blooms
anyway

~~~~~~~

By a gently flowing creek –
   I saw a swallowtail flutter
About my head, as though meek –
   And land softer than a feather.

He was large enough, I swear –
   To sit in all of my hand.
He did not mind that I was there
   Or that I was entranced.

Soon, a second butterfly
   Distracted him by swooping down –
His mate, I surmised.
   How fiercely they swirled around!

Then breaking up, they moored
   To sup water from the red rock
Like two tasters of one accord
   Complimenting the good stock.

They were loving my attention –
   At least it seemed so.
Raising their wings in the sun
   Made a flash of black on yellow.

Then came a convenient wind;
   The two undocked at bay
And taking quick advantage –
   They sailed playfully away.