Insidiously creeping stuff,

insinuating into food

and other places much more crude,

rasping ones’ skin until it’s rough.

It slides inside my shoes you see

and fills them full, no room for feet

and thence prevents my being fleet.

It seems it just won’t let me be.

By going to the sea it seems

I must sacrifice some comfort

for the joys that the ocean brings.

Like seeing how the sunlight gleams

and how the shrimp boats come to port.

My heart soars as the ocean sings.


Ghosts of Clam Chowder

I Learned What a Villanelle Is

I watch there while the water waves

water o’er which a seagull jives

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

the sea holds many sailors graves

cradled there an otter thrives

As I watch there while the water waves

the mighty sailing ships were brave

yet for their bones the osprey dives

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

it matters not, good men or knaves

the sea care little as she takes their lives

And I watch there while the water waves

becalmed and mad sometimes they’d rave

or yet made scrimshaw with their knives

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

for fish or treasure their all they gave

leaving behind their grieving wives

Still I watch there while the water waves

There where the dinosaurs did bathe



To see around the bend

I’ll follow every wind

In search of what comes next

Curiosity ever vexed

I’m going yondering

Gone to see the elephant

‘Cuz I wonder where it went

Sure it’s just over the hill

My feet cannot be still

I’ve gone yondering

A perfect place I know to be

O’er the mountains, beyond the sea

Just there across the river

I see paradise forever

I’m yondering again

Someday surely I will rest

Having found the place that’s best

Although I think that probably

For me he’ven’s in the journey

Forever yondering.


Ocean Blues

ocean blues

Work in progress (Waves)

I sit and watch the water wave

in which the dinosaurs did bathe

water that oversees the birth of whales

and saw the death of ships with sails

water that has touched the shore of Borneo

yet carried home an eskimo

water as alien as space

moving with infinite grace

water rising up as cloud

is falling onto fields we’ve plowed

water wherein grow the clams

it turns the turbines in our dams

water that has taken lives

but cradled there an otter thrives

(into which the osprey dives)





Sifting, shifting

sliding, seeping

it is everywhere

adhering to the dirty clothes

scraping there, across my nose

inside tightly sealed containers

stuck to sandals and my trainers

in my ears

and hair

and teeth

gritting in my sheet for sleep

insidious, ubiquitous


t’ween my toes

and up my nose

and even in my, yes,

well, you can guess!


Going To the Ocean

I went to see the ocean the other day. Most people would say that they went to the beach, and I did that, but I had come to see the great ocean-sea. I have been to other oceans, other seas, and found them beautiful, sometimes seductive, always fascinating, but none of them are the ocean of my heart. Only the wild Pacific, the great ocean-sea, the stuff of legends and dreams, whales and whalers, surfers and Eskimos chasing dinner in their kayaks.The ocean of my childhood. I sat on the sand in a lawn chair (in deference to my knees) and stared at the water. Not being a sun worshiper (sun worshiping Oregonians have to go elsewhere for their fixes) I wear jeans and a sweat shirt. There is a jacket in the car, after all, this is the Oregon coast in early May. Since my mother had melanoma I wear a big straw hat too. You have to tie it on unless you want to spend the day chasing it. Watching the waves roll in gives me such peace that it becomes almost palatable, radiating off of me in some giant aura. I sit there and smell the comfortable, salty, dead fish and rotten seaweed smell that belongs to the ocean and watch the surf, and the seagulls as they soar and squabble. It would be nice to claim deep thoughts, but if I think about anything it is usually the japanese current which runs the pacific ocean. The water before me has come recently from Japan, by way of the frozen north. It is on its way to Hawaii and South America, Australia and Borneo. It has touched the shore of Africa. I wish to learn its secrets, but it is unlikely to tell me, the inscrutable sea. Sometimes I think about all the things that live within it, their lives, their feelings and their journeys. What it must be like to have the freedom of the entire ocean. A whale, with no alarm clock, that travels from pole to pole, wherever the mood and the krill take it. An Orca, hunting seals, an octopus with their odd locomotion skittering across the sandy reefs, tangling myself in my many arms, even a fat bull walrus, bossing the girl walruses and crashing my body against the other males for dominance of my walrus tribe. occasionally I wonder what it would be like to be a sailor, living my life on a rolling deck in the middle of that vast trackless wilderness that is the face of the ocean, knowing her in all her moods, the excitement of a new port on the horizon. Then I think about all the times I have been to the ocean, going clear back to when I was a child, chasing waves with my brother and sisters. Clam digging and crab pots, shrimp guns, boat rides in the bays, fishing for flounder, that time we caught a baby octopus in a tide pool, the harbor seal that almost came up in the boat, the red worm-like critter my sister was so proud of finding right up until it stung her, funny stories and serious coming of age. We grew up here as much as anywhere and it weaves itself into your soul. I have seen it in sun and in shadow, even in raging storms, its power calls me and calms me. It is one of the places my heart lives. Mostly though, I think of nothing at all. I just am alive, happy and free. It is more than enough.


Beach Sunset

Beach Sunset

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