Waiting for Cranes


Waiting for Cranes

For Tom Mangelsen


Waiting for cranes

In a cramped camera blind

We recorded the Platte River sounds,

Rippling water and the long evening songs

Of seeming countless unseen birds, focused

And scattered voices overlapping, counter-pointed, turning

Undirected vocal baroque tapestry, orchestral calliope,

Cacophonous, melodious, anonymous, stippled

Painting, water-falling poetry, holy offering,

The longing lilt of Spring, freely cast into

The ending day, into the coming night,

At once random and one,

Distant and near,

Song and ear

As one,


And clear.


That evening the cranes never came

Yet we tumbled forth, forever filled.



Small Town Night

Small Town Night

From that long ago distance

Of my small town sheltered youth

I remember still so clearly seeing,

On one deep blue starlit night,

Framed and cross-veined by then

Stark and leafless trees, lines

Like thin rivers reaching

Star bound Orion caught,

Cast and held, beheld poised

Mid stride and moving timeless

Above my sleeping, tree-lined street

And how alive then seemed

All the skies on that clear

And youthful dreaming

Distant small town night.

Lost Creek

Lost Creek

The rich dry falling, curled

Walnut brown parachute

Sails of sycamore leaves

Zigzag down, falling,

Floating then stately down

The layered, limestone-lined,

Gentle celadon stream,

The early Fall afternoon

Earth, air, and light etched

And embossed, back lit,

Gilded and butterfly splined

With dappled leaves,

Tall yellow blooms,

And black dragonflies.

Sage Ecology


Sage Ecology


Delicate gilia

And brusque paint brush

Scattered scarlet and orange

With the pink and blue pastels

Of chiming bells, crane’s bills,

Lupine, and penstemon

In bloom among the pungent,

Black-branched, jade green sage

Lure in, darting, the quick-tongued,

Needlepoint, petal-tickling,

Probing, stirring whirl and blur

Of broad-tailed hummingbirds,

With wingtips whistling,

Weaving briskly rhythmic

And trilling metallic green

Through the rich sweet nectars

And colors of a mystic land.