her smile

There is a tenderness about the night
a gentleness of the heart and hearth,
a craving for home and a warmth
that belies the still and willful winter air.

The moon knows this, and dipping
drowsily down around each
eagerly lifting fairy sweetly blesses
with lessening sorrows this simple man.

Night was when I first spied the spryly
playful image of her, a smile both
sumptuous and serene as keenly
I cast my glance about most beauteous she.

Had I time enough this exquisite maiden
to describe, still my words could not suffice,
for in her eyes I glimpsed more than
sweetness, but the tones of eternity itself.

I stared and stared and still my spirit
could not find respite from this need,
this pleading ponderous rooted being
that grows so to-ing and fro-ing within.

For have I not sought this delicious truth
for so many years, tearfully laughingly
dancing through a life that was at best
incomplete … until this soulful she

with teasing crimson curling locks
and a smile that sang of hearth and heart
and hope drew me passionately forth,
for in the night is a gentleness I shall never forget

and a voice that beckons me home.

Salt Lake City 09 February 2022


am I home?

broken bones so rootfully bore
down, sifting through coldest soil
seeking, longing for any sign of life

mother? are you here?

how long must a soul dangle
above this perilous precipice
before a hand reaches down

mother? am I home?

when the sky melted again
into azure grey I keening cried
not a why or a when or who, but

can i come home now?

We Scots Abroad

There be stanes an’ tones
frae this braw land
that compose honest hope
in our aging hearts.

Frae distant hills an’ glens
we longing sing
the echoing sangs o’ auld
that nane may forget

how crews o’ shattered ghaists
sailed lonely caravels
ower the cauld an’ angry main
seeking warmth an’ chance.

Yet frae aneath the weight
o’ solemn centuries
still we maste emphatic cry
that this is our hame.

Alba gu bràth!

Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands of Scotland

[Perhaps I should explain a bit, just in case the language seems unclear:
stanes = stones
frae = from
braw = fine
sangs = songs
auld = old
nane = none
ghaists = ghosts
ower = over
cauld = cold
main = the open sea
aneath = beneath, under
maste = most
hame = home
Alba gu bràth. = Scotland forever. [literally, Scotland until the Judgement.]

this is my own, my native land

wandering wandering
ever pondering sometimes fanciful
sometimes futile ends

notions of love, of beauty
imbue these steps with eagerness
and mighty imaginings

striving swiftly to discover
thriving under the cover of need
only to sit again in ignorance

because when all is said
and done, the wonders of it all
pall beneath the shround of why

you see, belonging has eluded me
drawing me on and on
to weary peaks of unknowing

i have prayed to silent gods
genuflected in the finest mosques
meditated on hallowed grounds

i have greeted numerous strangers
in various languages, smiling
at my own meager advances

and then turned away at last
knowing again that this is not
where i may rest my soul

but i do know this at least
that in habit, in name, in tongue
it is this i who defines me

wherever my steps may carry me
whatever duties i may fulfill
alba, my soul resides in you

found while wandering through a close in Edinburgh

an old man

it is only by time and
a very tired toleration
a collaborative insulation
that he dwells here now
insubstantially demeaned
observed without recognition

a much mellowed voice
rasping nicotine moans
and cottage cream eyes
wandering over soiled pages
leathered hands trembling
as he unfolds the map

“I done come f’om he’e”
he says with sad certainty
“this was ou’ home
my people f’om he’e
you ask anyone he’e now
they tell ya true—this was ou’ home

“my daddy he was a fa’mer
and his daddy befo’e him
it wasn’t the fi’e killed him
it was the land dragged him down
it was the land sucked him dry
sucked the life clean out o’ him

“so i done left, come out he’e
but this” he insists tapping the map
“this was ou’ home”
he closes his eyes
his sighs sinking ponderously
into the dusty earth


Fleetwood Church in Culpeper County, Virginia


he lifts the little one again
high as he possibly can
doesn’t even feel that
angry twinge in his shoulder,
hearing only the laughter
the brightest sound
he has ever known,
and she watches it all:
her father, her son
playing together again
home at long last
exactly where they belong
all of them, she thinks,
and her smile radiates
warmth across the room
and out the doors
and over the trees
to melt the coldest
the very coldest of hearts

Salt Lake City 26 Sep 2012

my love and the sea

how trembling this reflection now
as i too timid these steps do take
while you lap gently at my flesh

do you recall now how ages past
my breath you did endeavor to steal,
the beating of my heart to cease?

yet i survived and did return to you
your so sensual favors to court
and somehow earn your affections

you have been a home to me
a sanctuary from that all too concrete
world of lurid and angry ambition

when embryonic you did cradle me
in my youth you did enslave me
and fully grown you did my soul caress

why now then do you look upon me
as one whose like you have never beheld
a stranger whose touch means nothing?

ah yes, i see, grasping at long last
the message you so oft sought to convey
to a soul too lethargic to comprehend

i do not belong here, do i, not here–
in your reflections i do a world perceive
far from here, far from now and this

and you have wisely known all along
while i was too blind to see such truth
too crass such wonders to sense

i do not belong to this time this place,
but a land there is indeed and there
i will at last know our precious home

there i will know this perfect we

Salt Lake City 09 Aug 2012


I awoke this morning
to a different world
than heretofore known
altered most irrevocably
more determined pristine
and though I wonder
at this transformation
my passing confusion
was surely unfounded
for know you in truth
its ready explanation is
far less opaque even than
the most fundamental
axiom upon which truths
are said to be conceived:

it is, my beloved, you

who with bruised hands and
in strands of silken sorrow
a tapestry of tender joy
have so wondrous woven,
constructing even out of
catechismal chaos and
anguish of flesh and spirit
a lush and fertile garden,
a house of harmony and
enduring hope wherein
these thy boisterous bairn
may bounty and blessings
reap that you have sown

and may it yet be that in this
abode of accord and peace
in some welcome visitation
that I too one clear day,
should you trusting permit,
discover a place of my own
at your side, in your heart

Salt Lake City 15 May 2012