Red Stone

Note- some poems are prompted by a word or a phrase, perhaps an experience. This was suggested by an impossibly beautiful tree deep at the head of the unfortunately named “Negro Bill Canyon” off of the Colorado Rive near Moab Utah.  

red stone

by the time we reach the top of the canyon

we’ve walked through most of our words

this trail of sand and stone, the solitary blooms

of tattered desert flowers. this deep in the canyon

all light is reflected, shattered light,

passed from rim to rim until it settles like mist

luminous dust, a dry and brilliant rain.

we never know what we’ll find in the deepest canyons

of our lives like these incandescent leaves,

such improbable green, or this stone, the rich red

of freshly oxygenated blood, the red of iron and of time,

of pressure and erosion, the true red of benediction, the hard,

hard red of redemption.



green eyes old bones







didn’t we kiss for the first time

yesterday, on this too brief passage

through the invisible gardens

of time? the dogwoods


by the old dutch church drop all

of their flowers at once, blanketing


the ancient graves with white

for a single day each year. memory


is all the immortality we’re offered.

this, at least, we must promise one another –

me, I vow never to forget your eyes,

and you, you my love

must always remember my hands.




Poems From Retreat – Shambhala Mountain Center July 2014, Part I

Poems sometimes surface while on retreat. Most simply rise and then fade away, but a few linger long enough to be written down. Here the first of several from a recent retreat in Colorado

golden heads

mountain center

Part I

grasses, tall

ready to seed. sage



the incongruity

of six bright

blue flowers


across the path,

yellow columbines–

aliens everywhere


Part II

vetali, vetali

life, life!


so little water here, so



grow spines

so as not to be eaten


then explode three


yellow flowers


for each of us

its either bloom

or die


© oldbonesnewsnow/J.A. Fink



cactus head

Spring in the Wasatch

Two untitled pieces from a spring afternoon in the mountains


(after dogen…)


one day while out

walking, the mountain may turn

and hand you your heart –


this is your heart, don’t lose it

near here lies the road





a cloudless blue sky holding the mountain



winged fairies

from the cottonwoods


dancing, swirling, the profound



of immeasurable

blossoms on the old crab apple


all the small birds have returned

bringing a smooth


southerly breeze, well being

beyond words

Why a Flower?

if Valentines day was a life and not a day….


because of its speechless improbability

this miracle of green emerging soft

so shyly from the damp dark


because it feeds equally on sun and rain

relishing both always reaching

to unite heaven and earth


beacause of is powers of alchemy

transmuting the rot of all passing things

into colors beyond imagination


because when the last color falls

and the stems begin to bend in mourning

the perfume will still fill the room


the sweetness of spring will still linger

on the gardeners’ fingers



© Old Bones, New Snow J.A. Fink

Centennial Valley 4- land, water and sky. Final images from Centennial Valley Montana

Ordinary Magic


shortly after the apple

the labeling began, all the

this and that, the these

and those, all the ins

and outs – who decides?

this discriminating mind

as useful and as dangerous

as a knife –what makes one

bloom a flower and the next

a weed? here is a power

beyond all words– choose

to suspend judgment for even

one day, and suddenly it’s

no weeds, it’s all flowers

it’s ordinary magic

blooming everywhere

© J.A. Fink, June 2013