when i came here

may the new year bring you peace, companionship and adventure…may all beings be happy!

cropped-dawn-patrol-2.jpg

when I came here, I believed

it was the mountains that called,

 

and so they do – Dogen told us this

hundreds of years ago.

 

these mountains walk.

these blue mountains always

 

walk. How slowly we must see

to see this. the morning sky

 

speaks softly running west to east,

reaching to embrace the mountains –

 

fog and rain,

the blue white brilliance of snow.

 

everything is a sign

to those who would see. Winter

 

is here. the grasses of summer

are brittle and brown

 

beneath my feet. Up ahead,

a dozen mountain bluebirds

 

break cover as one, each

a singular sliver of blue, each

 

a slice of heaven, rising,

spiraling up into this limitless sky,

 

reaching

for the embrace of the mountains,

 

yearning

for the blue-white brilliance

 

of snow

 

© 2018 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com/jfinkimages.com

 

 

message

message

for jessica, who showed us all that gentle does not mean weak…

 

Message

we got your message in the morning

that she’d died the night before

on the other side of the world. tears

 

mixed with iceland’s rain. so cold

so very far away. Every one of us

is so very far away

 

© 2017 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com/jfinkimages.com

 

Let Us Come Together

This Spring and early Summer, I’ve been struck by the richness of community, the simplicity. With heartfelt gratitude for family and friends…

letuscome

let us come together

 

let us come together here

on the rocky spine of this world

 

let us suspend all judgment

of ourselves and of those

we would hold as friends

 

let us watch the shadows

of the clouds as they race

across this darkening land

 

let us hold this hour

in the companionable silence

of those collected here

 

let us ask for nothing more

 

than the warmth of these hands

than this breath

than the tender, fragile heart of this day

 

let us cherish one another

and in this,

 

let us be glad

 

 

© 2017 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com/jfinkimages.com

 

 

Home

This was written for the wedding of my oldest son last month. Life…

reception

 

Home

 

the man on the radio

said children first learn

there are three dimensions-

 

height and width and, of course

length, like a shoebox, or a house.

and only later do they learn

 

of the fourth dimension, time

the one that lends meaning

to all the others – standing here today

 

as we watch you prepare

to begin building your life together

I am acutely conscious of time

 

of how the immediacy of youth

can ripen of its own accord

into patience

 

of how we begin by thinking that love

is something that happens to us

like a bee sting, or an unexpected fall

 

and only later do we see that love

is something organic, that if we’re lucky

is something we might grow

 

to inhabit, like an atmosphere

or more, something that might

come to infuse us, like blood.

 

the older I become, the fewer things

I take to be certain. But some few things

I do know. I know that keeping score

 

is never helpful. I know that love

for one another is cultivated

through an appreciation of small things.

 

I know that even amid the uncertain winds

of this life, in this you might find shelter —

that if you are willing to work together

 

with patience, and with love,

and perhaps with some small measure of grace,

you must certainly succeed

 

in constructing of your lives a home.

 

© 2017 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

 

 

Wild is

frost

Wild is

(on the last flocks of November)

wild is small sharp sounds
rising through black, bare-limbed trees

wild is the weak
slant-light of morning

wild is uninvited, intrusive
discordant

wild is sudden

wild is imperative, urgent

wild is now and now
and now again

wild is a restlessness
a knowing
a coming together

wild is long fluid lines
spilling across an azure sky

wild is ragged and unstable

wild is perpetually adapting

wild is a fathomless
round eye

wild is feathers and fat,
muscle and hollow bones

wild is the cry of the straggler
desperate to catch up

wild is the cold hard fate
of those left behind

wild is thousands of wings

wild is the flock rising as one
over stubbled fields

wild is the wind

wild is the coming storm

wild is the snow
falling now in silence

to sanctify this precious

darkening world

 

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

the stretch (Detroit ’68)

for the world series, and for boys and baseball…

detroit-1962-2

 

 the stretch (Detroit ’68)

 

it’s bottom of the ninth, two men out

two men on, so I’m pitching from the stretch.

 

he’ll be looking for the heater, so take a little off,

go outside, right at the crack in the second

 

porch step. it’s September, and the Tigers are a game up

with three to play – Freehan is flashing the signs

 

Ernie Harwell’s voice is in my head—“how could the skipper

leave the kid in the game at a time like this?”

 

as I start my motion, the runners go — absolutely everything

comes down to this–down to this lonely kid throwing

 

and throwing again, down to hitting that porch step, down

to this ball spinning now toward home

 

down to the twitch of the hitters’ hands, down to this cutter

finally starting to bite

 

detroit-1962

© 2016 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

first sight

greeneyes

 

do you believe in love at first sight,

they ask? ascending this endless ladder

of lifetimes, each has once been the mother

of the other – and so too must we all then

have been lovers across these countless lives.

how else to explain this knowing, this too-

intimate recognition, this glance from the woman

on the bus that draws the air from your lungs

extracting your heart as she rises and goes

the accordion doors slapping shut behind her

leaving you with nothing but the memory

of those luminous eyes,

never, in this lifetime,

to be seen again.

 

 

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

 

wet dogs

foot

 

maybe mornings like this

are the price we pay

for all those years of compromise

of being barely close enough

to each other. We’ve survived,

at least we share that, such a thin

blanket to cover the cold spots

on cold mornings such as this.

Yet I do like grey winter days

when the wind rattles the leafless trees

and the world turns without shadows.

heading out, my dog looks daggers

up at the clouds — he doesn’t understand

the rain, why he should have to endure

these cold tears falling from a sheet metal sky.

Neither of us has ever been very good

with cause and effect, or the subtle attributes

of time. What choice is there but to carry on,

as we always have, sniffing at the rotten snow

heads down, shaking ourselves dry, nose

to tail as we go – just cold, wet dogs

searching for a place

that’s safe and warm and dry.

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com