Monday, September 22, 2014

on sacred ground

Cache Creek through the Narrows
Wichita Mountains - Oklahoma
September 2014
Sacred land to several aboriginal tribes

I stray onto sacred ground
The resting place of souls bygone.
Solace is what I seek,
But there is no solace
No succor to be found
Not here among broken, fallen stones.
Nor bent, wilting trees.
I search for you under the moon
Thoughts of you race through my mind
Feelings better left unspoken.
This was our place
The fertile earth from which the black rose of our love took seed.
We exchanged blood amidst these graves.
Transfused our darkest thoughts and dreams.
It is here too that our love died.
A fitting place for something that is no more 

-grim blackheart

Sunday, September 21, 2014

some rivers i've known

Crossing the River at Lome
 Togo, West Africa
February 2012

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Langston Hughes

Saturday, September 20, 2014

i gave it back to the sea

Monday I found a boot –
Rust and salt leather.
I gave it back to the sea, to dance in.

Tuesday a spar of timber worth thirty bob.
Next winter
It will be a chair, a coffin, a bed.

Wednesday a half can of Swedish spirits.
I tilted my head.
The shore was cold with mermaids and angels.

Thursday I got nothing, seaweed,
A whale bone,
Wet feet and a bad cough.

Friday I held a seaman's skull,
Sand spilling from it
The way time is told on kirkyard stones.

Saturday a barrel of sodden oranges.
A Spanish ship
Was wrecked last month at the Kame.

Sunday, for fear of the elders,
I smoke on the stone.
What's heaven? A sea chest with a thousand gold coins.

George Mackay Brown: Selected Poems 1954-1992

Monday, August 18, 2014

ode to an old barn

Ode to an Old Barn
Washington County, OH
August 18, 2014

It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell--as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope; and whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.

 from Charlotte's Web - E.B White

Saturday, August 16, 2014

that country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist

A Walk in the Ohio Hills
Washington County
August, 2014

"That country where it is always turning late in the year.  That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay.  That country composed of in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics and pantries faced away from the sun.  That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.  Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain."
- Ray Bradbury

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

they know the songs of grasses and the script of snakes

"The Mara belongs to the Maasai or the Maasai to the Mara.  The umbilical cord between man and earth has not been severed here. The Maasai pasture their cattle next to leopard and lion.  They know the songs of grasses and the script of snakes. They move like thin shadows across the savannah. A warrior with a red cloak draped over his shoulder stand silhouetted against the sun.  Beefeaters, blood-drinkers, the Maasai are one of the last strongholds of nomadic life."

- Terry Tempest Williams from An Unspoken Hunger

Friday, April 11, 2014

meditation on yellow

The Grand River below Pensacola Dam
October 2011

... paint in blue and black...sometimes gray - the colors of night - occasionally I surprise you with a mustard yellow, but then, I am a poet ...”
― John GeddesA Familiar Rain

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

portrait of a common buttonbush along cache creek

Common Buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis L.Cache Creek
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
 Comanche County, Oklahoma

Monday, March 24, 2014

beauty shows up

Valley of Fire
Near Las Vegas, Nevada

Beauty shows up
in the thorniest of places
down unthreaded paths
and up
in unreachable stretches
like you, in this world
of all possible worlds
and your light, your light
is the light of the ages

- miguel angel gomez

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

on the banks of the euphrates

The Grand River at Little Blue State Park
Mayes County, Oklahoma
October 2011

Thursday, March 13, 2014

tonight i write the saddest lines

In memory of Patsy Perkins Ryan
May 4, 1938 - March 13, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

climb a mountain to wash her spirit clean

Mouse Tank Trail
Valley of Fire - Nevada
©trryan - February 2014

This is my 83 year old cousin hiking with me on the Mouse Tank Trail in Nevada's Valley of Fire. In the words of John Muir - she likes to "climb a mountain to wash her spirit clean." 

She'll return from the hike with that backpack stuffed with plastic debris that only her eagle eyes can spot. She'll insist on driving the hour and a half back to her home and name the stars along the way. She has no use for the color purple or wearing a red hat; she says she might when she gets old.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

sermon on the mount

Calico Basin
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
©trryan - March 2014

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we will ever need--if only we had the yes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of its natural paradise which lies all around us--if only we were worthy of it.
-Ed Abbey, Desert Solitaire 

Friday, February 28, 2014

a light left on

Photographed at La Mamounia Hotel
Room #106
Marrakech, Morocco

In the evening we came back
Into our yellow room,
For a moment taken aback
To find the light left on,
Falling on silent flowers,
Table, book, empty chair
While we had gone elsewhere,
Had been away for hours.

When we came home together
We found the inside weather.
All of our love unended
The quiet light demanded,
And we gave, in a look
At yellow walls and open book.
The deepest world we share
And do not talk about
But have to have, was there,
And by that light found out.

- May Sarton

Monday, February 17, 2014

the snake charmer of jemaa el fna

The Snake Charmer of Jemaa el Fna
Marrakech, Morocco
©trryan February 2013


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