We meet again, halfway to the sea; we touch again, halfway from the snow. Our disentangled lives have floated free through range and farm and city far below, and far away from home. We floated free within the groove of the river’s quiet flow. Our lives are channeled—this we clearly see; our cut of land determines where we go; but how we go is up to you and me. Entangled as we are again tonight, salute the past, then say a last good-bye. Remember me as I appear tonight and I’ll remember you with an inward eye until the whispering river meets the sea.
Day of Pentecost May 28, 2023
NOTE: I wrote this poem in 1990 for the 30th reunion of the class of 1960, San Marino High School, San Marino, California.
The temple was not built with living stone. Nothing made by human hands can last forever. The second temple’s time has passed after more than half a millennium, as you can see. The Israelites built it; the Romans tore it down.
Come to him, the living stone, and be a living stone yourself—in a spiritual house for all eternity.
Women’s work: for mother and daughter, work goes on hour by hour. They grind the grain into flour, make a paste by adding water, and place the dough onto a stone in the smoky oven. They work to the bone in the sweltering heat while the men gathered in the temple are cool and clean.
To the human eye, the cornfield empties itself of value for the rest of the year.
Ragged rows of stubble stretch to the fog-bleared tree line.
Large puddles of freezing rainwater and patches of old snow punctuate the dun-horse devastation.
The autumn crop is obedient to the point of death.
Tranquility is shattered by a rising crescendo of trumpeter swans haggling over their landing spots.
Gleaners from the far north fill their bellies with the final treasures of the field, then rise in unison to the heavens, each as heavy as a small suitcase at Sea-Tac, necks fully extended, bleating furiously, as they bolt for the breeding grounds.