who was never very wise,
a water-spirit in a pond
grew enamored of the comely blonde
matched his gaze and filled his shallow eyes.
all the dawns, it never dawned on him
such a face would shatter at a tear
flee his touch or why the pond's veneer
duplicate an overhanging limb.
spirits featured in the face of waves,
lips of fountains or the fountainhead
images of us in nature's stead,
on the way the world behaves,
as the spring of youth matures tomorrow
Old Man Winter and old age, we look
look and ask the figure in the brook,
long ago Narcissus did, "Who are
who tricked a Queen with her replies,
a sentence only to respond
gradually became a vagabond,
voice, unable to extemporize.
Narcissus at the water's brim,
fell in love, but when he said, "Come
timbre of the forest said, "Come,
she became the selfless eponym
words we put into the mouths of caves,
teeth of canyons and the woodenhead
Though nature's ministries seem led
honest voices in the open naves,
and inspirational and true,
words resounding from an overlook
only ours, as once beside a brook,
heard from Echo, "Who are you?"
The Silent Partner, Story Line Press,
1994. Reprinted by permission of the author
and Story Line
Press, Ashland, Oregon.