Poems [John Allen Cann]

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A EIGHT POEMS COMBINED

TO SPEAK OF TREES

LASSEN

MORNING LIGHT STILL HIGH

A JEWELLED THOUGHT

INTERIOR MOUNTAINS

COVERED WITH SACRED DIRT

THE CLOCKWORK OF STARS

EACH WITH HIS OWN CUP OF JAVA

TO SPEAK OF TREES

To speak of trees in a closed room

is one thing, to say

trees are truth,

they embody

the imagination---

is fine---one might even say

somewhere exists

an ideal tree

from which all other trees

take root---

yet to stand among redwoods

that rise so high

you must look straight up

to observe how they

portion the sky above you---

to feel their antiquity

and know they were giving back oxygen

long before the Mayflower

or wagon trains,

makes me a bit breathless.

The soft play of morning light

among the noble shafts

of redwood, how brightness

happens so far up

the dark, time-textured trunks

gives us a visible telling

of how the soul makes its ascent.

These redwoods around us

here at Big Basin

make stillness & silence

divinely companionable.

---John Allen Cann

10:22 am

25 March 07

Sequoia Camp

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LASSEN

What is it

about a mountain

that makes us want

to climb it?

Are we ever

the molehill ready

to turn ourselves

into something

immensely momentous?

What ancient impulse

dares us

to seek the peak?

Why is it we look mostly

at our feet

while we climb to the top

of a mountain?

Why do we become miffed

when the air thins

and the steep

just gets steeper

and you’re more winded

than you care to admit?

What’s that feeling

sloshing thru

snow-melt slush

while the vista of forest and lakes

lightens the soul

even as the boots grow heavier?

What is the wind telling us

as it thrums

around our heads

so all our words

are lost

before they reach our ears?

And how do we shape

into speech

the lyric satisfaction

once on the summit

& anywhere you look

the world is at your feet?

---15 June 07

Lassen Outing

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Morning light still high

in the firs along the east edge

of the mirror-still lake---

on the other side

the trees are already in full sun,

taller it appears

reflected in the smooth surface of the waters

than they stand

against the pale azure blue

of the sky we all live under.

Birds chatter in the branches

blending with the modest pandemonium

of voices over near the fire & coffee,

first thud & clink of thrown horeshoes,

& the wakening hum of winged insects.

Everything seems possible

when the mountain & all its life

brighten in the cool

of the morning air.

Cody Lake

7:17 am

29 July 07

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A JEWELLED THOUGHT

As the sun makes its circuit overhead

the waters below

are like a mind going through changes---.

Morning is reflective;

stillness lends the shore trees

their doubles

in the unruffled surface of the lake.

Soon quick gems

scatter on the slight ripples.

The wind starts coming on strong,

pulsations & gems

multiply & magnify---then

grow calm as the wind vanishes

so to gather breath;

shadows keep

slipping behind things.

So many jeweled thoughts

ride the quickened palpitations

of the sudden gusts,

& when the sun sinks

behind the ridge

& the wind dies away,

the surface of the lake grows dark

& tranquil

until the midnight moon

slashes molton silver

aslant the canyon

upon white fir doubled in the serene waters.

2:42 pm

31 July 07

North Bank of Cody

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

INTERIOR MOUNTAINS

The shadow grows across the valley,

wind settles into a half-sleep,

lime-yellow moss

glows on downward limbs

of lodge-pole pines

as if they’d left on their fur coats.

Clouds for the first time

since we arrived,

pale & thin at the horizon---

one, wide & flat,

smack in front of the after dinner sun.

We need these chunks & jags of granite,

the red & white fir, the sugar pine,

jabbering birds & glimmering waters

more than they need us.

We need Pyramid Peak speaking to us

of the mountains inside

we have to climb.

7:01pm

29 July o7

Up From the Cody Range

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

COVERED WITH SACRED DIRT

Night, sizzle of lamp,

moon coming soon, one revolution

past full,

memory of a rosy dusk

still fresh.

Voices wrap together,

stories interweave

guys coming from different

points of view,

talking family, talking pastimes, talking stars.

Soda, moon pies in young bellies;

bodies sink to sleep

covered with sacred dirt.

Down into dreams,

dreams where fear & desire come real,

dreams from which we wake

ready for the free air of day,

the keen light of the possible.

11:00 pm

29 July 07

Shady Acres

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THE CLOCKWORK OF STARS

First hour after mid-day

climb the thin trail up to Chapel Rock,

a deep wind,

a squadron of white cloud-planes

glide the azure,

fir wiggle in place,

the mountain hums

to itself in stone tones.

Like the man said,

we are always refreshed

when we can see

a great distance clearly.

Twit of bird, click of insect,

slow exclamation

of the wind

coming hard up the valley.

Only the clockwork of the stars

in my head
measures time,

the ants at my feet don’t bother.

As the wind flows up the mountain

washing all things alike,

what matter

how long I feel like a tree afoot?

1:41 pm

1 Aug 07

Cody

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

EACH WITH HIS OWN CUP OF JAVA

Morning belongs to the one hummingbird,

delicate speedster

gorging discreetly

with its stilleto beak

the night blue flowerets of the larkspur

that stand

among the profusion

of yellow daisies just off the creek,

omen of the unnameable.

We paced past the scorched corn lilies,

turned in the open

and let the first light

beam over treetops

blessing us with our arms open wide,

hearts alive,

birdsong & clanging cowbells

softly blending in the vivid meadow air,

kids back in camp

still asleep in their bags,

safely breathing in two worlds at once.

2 Aug 07

Cody Meadow