Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

PSALM VI

1

what blows
to kindle sunset and sunrise
sprouts wings on the field

is faith planting
for a harvest at the end

all these tough nuts to open
amid rest

*   *   *

each day
always more
bands of light

turn within
fields and currents

tempted by more as well as less, but first
those cries being born

*   *   *

crossing water
invites rest

answering the call to dinner

2

 when we are vanilla
           chocolate the strawberry
rhubarb and asparagus
a cake topped in cherries
sweet corn and trout
with apricots and peaches
the scallions, leeks, garlic
carrots, potatoes, yams
spiced pumpkin
whipped cream, fresh butter
applesauce with pancakes
a bowl of black walnuts
yogurt and sharp cheddar
            or baby Swiss
when we are sap returning to maple
when we are …

when we are snow peas or sugar snaps
            a pear or …
fordhooks or limas

3

I’ve had a taste of these things
Hindu Yogi
Zen Buddhist
Sufi
Amerindian
Mennonite, Dunker, Amish
Old-Style Quaker

all of them, with holy visions

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set, click here.

PLAIN GRAY AND GRAYING

Within the range of distinctives
of nasty red, the Capitol black
the ethereal albino instead
he aligns with the eastern gray
and the western gray.

Yet who would be saint of the squirrel?

Not Lord Rama, who caresses one
as a pet. Nor the cultivating Hermes.

The Blackfoot know him as Old Man.
As he was becoming.

*   *   *

of course squirrels have faith
of a practical sort
in running the wire, in leaping from a branch
and landing a full eight feet between trees
with such airy jurisdiction

*   *   *

in a flash         such as music
or the tail        as a sail

just leap
and grab hold somewhere    

*   *   *

the question, at heart, what was in his blood?
as well as what was it becoming?
not the patriarch, then          free from bondage

*   *   *

overhead, the years overlap
underfoot, the roots tangle

to be light, then         lighter than pigeons
or laughter and tears

become gray pussy-willow                 at the end of winter

Poem copyright 2015 by Jnana Hodson
To read the full set of squirrelly poems,
click here.

INSCRIPTION UNDER THE LID

to the glory of, et cetera

just keep singing
or moving your fingers

all these years, still floating

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of
Partitas, click here.

ROUNDED WITH LIGHT

rounded stones of the shoreline
or a garden path glisten
many navy blue or nearly straw

others speckled with indecision
speckled, within and without
what grows hard as rock on a rock

nearly black stones exposing white ridges
to the light, blue veins, like mothers
slate-blue orb cleft with white quartz

some color of cooked lobster
glow of berries
in dull eddies

of clamshell or snout of rising seal
given an eye, the face of a cod or shark
approaching with its mouth closed

another burnt
and still burning
none yet look like washed potatoes

between them, broken mussels and sand
firm in clear brine
each retaining its shape, for now

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

NERVOUSLY, IMPULSIVELY, SCRATCHING

what happened to all the nuts
planted back there
acorns with their hearts ripped out
all his transports in this cosmic trap
in the breach             the yard could as easily be jammed
with half-buried books
waiting to be devoured

all the same, he darts into hidden pages,
spitefully                   aware his plot was unfolding
more than ever expected

Poem copyright 2015 by Jnana Hodson
To read the full set of squirrelly poems,
click here.

BY UNINTENDED DESIGN

relocating
once again recognize
some possessions as useful

simplicity, sincerity, modesty, honesty, justice
that dwell in the Life and Power

when goods are tools
style arises within purpose

*   *   *

addressing basic practices
ordering well-made clothing
that’s both simple and expressive
and fits properly
liberates
from inbred feelings of victimization and deprivation
O Holy One

to choose what is not fickle
instills elegance
of clear function

I’m a sucker for clean, balanced design
outward expression of orderly life
gingerly facing the idolatry of things
made from metal, wood, stone
and yes, plastic

look, there’s nothing wasteful

O Holy One
elegant is also simple in design and execution
though not always easily accomplished
(the skillful hand and eye – the years of mastery)

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set, click here.

IN PLANNING FOR THE YEAR

Just what more do we need
in addition to the beginnings of two panels of ferns
behind the lilacs – my woodland mirror

or a blooming tepee with gourds and climbing beans
surrounded by zinnias for my Lady of Sunday Comics
in the heart of the exposed swamp

and the race to implant the kitchen-door garden  …

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.

SIMPLE LYRICS

Charles Ives, supporting a childhood memory
with a cosmos of commotion
how holy!

me? I’m an American, through and through
who wonders just what it means
to be bred in the USA . one, that is, without
the increasingly militaristic outlook

one also passionate about
symphonic and operatic repertoires
and steeped in the history of painting

the apologetic place of American artists
(especially in classical music).
only rock, country music, and the movies
seem exempt
and ever so profitable, as an industry

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set, click here.

BY DAY, BY NIGHT

1

I admire a lighthouse more than a ship
without masts, as a qualifier

anchored in some upstanding foundation

I, who have roved the continent
and no further
gaze from the shore

or out, from the water,
to peer at each obelisk
instructing the coastline

yet masts, in open sail
could make this a wash
or a wish-list

2

I look in vain for a painting or photograph
of ocean only
always some shoreline
or ships – naval battle
conflict or simply
what attempts to bridle wild space

the lighthouse, as a genre, especially
countering the fabled variations of blue

at last, O’Keeffe’s large canvas of clouds and sky
comes closest
even more than her cross by the sea

3

costly as a ship
to construct and to run

this marker
of commerce, progression, and change
made obsolete, still

a warning as welcome

faithfully alludes to danger
in homecoming

a way around obstacle
a passage through the mouth
to safe landing

as much as the other abode
sailors justly dread

4

in daylight, a solitary standing figure
a sentinel
upright numeral one

a spire, a prayer
shrine, stupa
gravestone

defiantly erect penis

by night, its repetition
insisting
“Here! I’m here!”
as much as “Beware!”
in a tally of shipwreck

once with its whale oil and great lenses
arrayed on a crystalline comb
investment in life

such magnification
casting its spark
so far

this rock, uttering its expletive
to death

pinprick of light

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodso
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

HOLE UP OR RUN

he could hole up
with long-suppressed luminous temperaments

if only he could scale every surface except glass
shimmy up the black steel pole and raid the bird feeder
hang upside down from a sunflower

moving toward transition
an untested dream
from the stockpile     admits to darling insecurity
in the hole     the tree     the ground

faint implausible rhythms     chirps more lasting
if not so lucrative

*   *   *

every tree branches, so you choose in a flash
and keep running     in the desert he had wondered
about squirrels so far from the nearest tree
the ones who live in burrows
whether somewhere they’d made a wrong turn

a deer makes a bigger target
than foraging for dynamite

Poem copyright 2015 by Jnana Hodson
To read the full set of squirrelly poems,
click here.