san francisco peace and hope

Chapter 8: LIGHT THE SKY
"Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


After days, months, many years,
you've had something of everything.
Everything as in sudden changes
in the weather, and moods.

The moon plays you at night,
still whispers to you in its
slipping away with the early
morning light. The sun and
the assembling day: buds open,
blossoms engage in the great
exhale/inhale. In-visible
pain and glory take form
as cells, shape-shifting microcosms.

A sixth sense wakes you, delivers
messages from the all and one
at once and forever. Hear
the absent voice return—
here you are singing the songs
from your dreams. We have yet
to talk of the trees or the seas,
the great language of animals
and the peace that settles in
when we let it be.

Oh, you say,
suddenly as you now know
that all the lost time is being
painted across the canvas of life,
words dropping into place on the page.

The story will find an end,
but then again, again, come again …

John Rowe

A Poem in My Pocket

This poem I have
whether wind, rain,
or cold
it's a sweet and
sunny day
I carry in my pocket
as warm as summer
all pleasant years

Danny P. Barbare

Lena Levin, Shakespeare Sonnet 77 ("The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear”), Oil on canvas


Lacquer exercises patience
in the doing, in the drying.
Even paper must find
the patience to accept
a new weight brushed upon it.

And patience for the one seeing
who lingers over a few prayer flags
knowing why she loves
all things brave enough to hope
or who delights in a tree's single persimmon,
an offering to next year's harvest.

And, yes, patience for herself when she weeps
over a bowl of plums so exquisitely content
no thought to be
anywhere or anything

Kit Kennedy

Let a Memory Stay a Memory

You can't go home again
or recapture the past
it's a fleeting gazelle
in an African wild.

Like going back to visit Holy Hill
a small Catholic shrine
in the Wisconsin countryside.

In the 60's an old church
surrounded by thick green woods,
an altar piled high with crutches and canes
left there by the "cured"
intimate, comforting.

By the year 2000 it had evolved,
two levels of parking lots
unsmiling men directing traffic
crowds in the new store
of religious artifacts
and a café.

Let a memory be a memory
can't go back.
That was you
whether you like it or not.

You ask, "can I do it over?
it wasn't that much fun!"

You might get another chance
if you believe in the hereafter,
time travel,
only for the fittest,
and there's a lot of space out there.
Rest with the memories.

Jane Rades

Jane Norling, Love the Woods, Oil & graphite on wood panel

Blue Beauty

There is beauty
that aches
beauty that ekes
out a living and
beauty that
leaks tears.

There is driftwood
beauty, polished
lapis beauty
and mosquito
trapped in amber
dug out of a muddy hillside

In the tangle
Shaman peddles
cinnamon bark
right off the living tree
and piercing azure stone
from his own
dripping jungle.

It is not enough
to be a passer-by.
We must ache and drift
eke and flower and take flight.
Be trapped
in amber sap, be
dug out polished
hawk our own
living bark right off.

Holly Wotherspoon


New residents remain common as fog
On Tank Hill. I see the busy present
And do my best to stay a step ahead.
To the north there is a bridge, a tunnel,
Cliffs along the shore dissolving to points,
The distant and not so distant future
Covered in mist. The coastal cypress, like
Eucalyptus, thrives gathering fog drip.
We stay because it is too expensive.
Because nothing looks ordinary here
Your art mixes gnarled roots and rough tree bark
In front of elegant Victorians.
I want words to shine through trees and fog,
Elemental as the pressure of sunlight.

Ken Saffran

Philip Lewenthal, At the Beach, photograph


She called for help her absent desires.
Chained by void between the walls.
The warning and despair of the call she heard.
She prepared with laughter the reception for the time delayed.
She was dedicated to tomorrow.
She tippled herself with freaking fruits.
Thousands of withered evenings she curled up in doll's lap.
With long tongue she distorted lies and truths.
Most greatly she challenged the challenge with challenge.
From existence to banality, she caressed bodies.
With infinity she is selecting the active volcano.
With instinct luck she is shaping tenderness.
All in the puzzle, she stops tomorrow with her forefinger.
A nightingale is mourning its feather.
The meaning of the shipwreck is not to be played in this poem.
She continues her absence,
Happy under the stars.

Tatjana Debeljački

How Stellar the Stars

How stellar the stars!
How welcome their intrusion into our night, as
if to say: "We see you, too,
little ship."

Surviving the onslaught of time, the
Exterminating winds of creation,
Beginning as nothing more than a great gust,
Congealing into a self-immolating
Firecracker of hydrogen,
Bound by the twisty-twine of gravity,
Emerging as a full-blown sun,
Eminent and resplendent:
Forger of elements,
Nurturer of planets,
Seeder of moons,
Progenitor of life,
Then to project itself,
a mere pinprick,
Across the universe,
At such distance and speed,
As to be incomprehensible
To the small minds of men and women,
As to rob us of our reason,
While awakening in us
The unreasonable-ness
of Wonder
And the incandescence
Of its grace.

Gary Turchin


I watch a bird fly the sky

its sleight of wing
nipping night's navel,
sweeping stars down that
hidden umbilical cord

suddenly snare a solitary
filament of the
sun's yawning light

spiraling skyward,
this portentous creature
unclasped its numb nib
and let fall a morning glow

of such unfolding
I felt my face

in the dawn

Stephen Kopel


No words arose, no lilting language
in response to birdsong threading through
the illuminated freshness of morning.
Cloud cloaked the mountain,
encircled the horizon,
though here,
the offering bowl of the garden
filled with light.
Wisdom's voice did not chime,
no revelation sang
from the faces of flowers.

Only stillness,
and the wind calling
to the sleeping beauty of peace.

Sherri Rose-Walker
Copyright, June 5, 2014


We drive south, cross
the Golden Gate Bridge,
sky and water.

At ocean's edge
we cling to
platform railing,
imagine we are gulls
or sea eagles
electric with salt.

Spray stings eyes,
platform quakes; mist
plays tunes on our bones.
Tide-shadows shift over
autumn's gray-green expanse,
the horizon a silver streak.

We scamper back up, drive on
to the Palace of Honor and art,
delighted to hear a docent say:
painters of the ocean
stayed intimate with the sea
in all seasons.

Claire J. Baker

Winnie Thompson, Sunset, Mixed media



Every now and again, then yet again, science floats up
out of her silence. Parallel Universes, she whispers, or
String Theory, Uncertainty Theory or Newton's Laws of Motion.
Some poets, painters, and dancers and drummers look up
from what they've been doing to tune in. Tell me about it,
they sometimes think, but, knowing, don't say a thing.
To know or not to know - this is the kiss, the lick to cherish
and woodshed for the moment light shines on all we know.

Al Young