Three old Taoist philosophers

 Three Taoist philosophers

Three old Taoist philosophers as tabbies and calico
Chat on the magnolia branch
Sharing deep thoughts about the
elegance of sunshine and house finches,
the poverty of human spirit,
the art of stalking,
the cleverness of politicians;
Viennese skeptics who branded Marco Polo a fraud,
the North Star,
the scent of books
and a few more of the ten thousand things.




The old stone savage.

The large boulder is a natural monument to the great herds of bison that once ranged over the entire prairie and aspen parkland and was used as a "rubbing stone". After the bison disappeared, domestic cattle continued to use many rubbing boulders for the same purpose.I discovered this rock after writing my story.


The old stone savage moves slowly. You and I would not notice his nomadic ways.

A rock of considerable size, the old stone was only a speck of primal mineral dust when earth’s violent labor pains delivered its raw materials. Angels clung to each other in fear and awe of its clamorous birth.

Having arisen to the surface, the young stone left his siblings behind and traveled on an ice flow until he came to the valley floor where he now rests.

He is surrounded by wooded hills, rocks born of another but congenial family. Cows often scratch their back on his shoulders.

If you are fortunate enough to find him awake, you can hear him sing. Wordless songs mostly. Deeply resonant melodies that harmonize with the valley dwellers.

He doesn’t consider himself a composer. His songs are stolen scraps of tunes he’s gathered over the centuries. Just snippets of melodies, but his repertoire includes a considerable variety, both classical and modern in rhythm and metre. Waltzes. Gregorian chants. Orchestral symphonies from the oaks. Jazz ballet from wildflowers. Fickle refrains from the springtime stream. Echoes from the canyon.

Two hawks spiral great circles in thermal updrafts. For a moment, he feels the breeze under wide spread wings.

A sweet-scented magnolia, white flowers cupping the moonlight, catches a thousand quartz eyes embedded in the old stone savage, igniting a fire which burns in the caverns of his ancient weathered heart.


This was written from a writing prompt I got from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. “Take a poetry book. Open to any page, grab a line, write it down, and continue from there. If you begin with a great line, it helps because you start right off from a lofty place.”  

My poem was Mending Wall by Robert Frost and my line grab was ‘an old stone savage’.In Robert Frost’s poem it is spring and he is walking his fence line, struck by his neighbor’s appearance as together they replace stones in their mutual wall. “I see him there bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top in each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.”

In my mind the ‘old stone savage’ became a large boulder and a sentient being. I developed a great affection for this ancient rock as he relayed his life story to me.


Worldview of a leaf

A single leaf falls. Like a single hair, it’s one among ten thousand.

What’s so special about that leaf, you ask. It looks like all the others.

But it has its own story.

 Because of its placement in the world it saw the morning sun from a slightly different angle.

Because of its position on the branch the wind tested its strength more than the others.

Because it was painted with its own brushstroke, its worldview was uniquely colored.

 On the way down, the leaf told me its life story Ecstatic that someone was listening.

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