AULD LANG SYNE

For Auld Lang Syne

For Auld Land Syne

My dear,

There—-a sign,

Among the tears,

Among the years

Gone by.

And

Always,

Finding here

Our joyful pair

In the falling days.

So soon the seasons

Come and go

And

The reasons

For love remain so.

For Auld Lang Syne

My dear,

I search the cloudless sky,

For storms

And

know,

A whisper of you

On a sweet breeze sigh.

In spring and

Early dew.

Of Auld Lang Syne.

We meet in the summer grass,

Full of youth

Alive with sass.

In winter’s aging time

With hearts aligned

And

Autumn’s future

Fills with past.

I sing to you.

My love’s sign

No other dream will do

In the deep night rhyme.

Between dark and light

On the tattered edge

Of passing clouds

We drift—- out of sight.

We drink the cup

Of kindness

You and me

Eternally

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

SOLSTICE

Sister Solstice

 

Down the hall

Late

The light turned off,

The bedroom dissolves

In a night moon glow

Slanting through the gated blinds.

There are different kinds of darkness.

Always

Is the wonder

If color lies

Where,

Imagination

Sees in shadow,

The forms of everything:

The bookcase here,

The dog on her bundle,

The tanka over the bed,

The chair over there

And

The play of illusion,

When

One wall seems infinite

Because

A night-light creates the world,

Lying just behind

A shimmering dimension.

In early dawn,

The moon is gone,

Its ghost lost in swirling fog,

Which

Beads drops of water

On the garden branches.

Fading forms in mist

Link what comes behind

To what

Appears vaguely in front.

The ground

Wet with mottled Bay leaves,

Playing gold

Among the berry twigs,

Beyond the death of frost,

Still shows life,

Where mice and rabbits are quiet,

Until,

The red hawks and feral cats

Swoop them out.

When solstice arrives

All is ice,

As freeze contrives to stop time,

Resting

If ever so quickly before dawn

In stillness.

I hang her four

Pure-white-paper snowflakes

Cut,

With concentrated precision

By

Tiny scissors

And

Hung on evergreen bows

That

She is ever lost

In the freeze,

In the stillness,

In the very perfect

Point of solstice

That

Is for her

Never

Knowing spring.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

HELP

Dear friends,

Andie and I are asking you to please help these guys. Both are outstanding peace and justice advocates. You are probably aware of TW’s photo journalism covering virtual every major demonstration across this nations of ours. Andie particularly likes Mary Oliver, whose name also happens to be one of my poet mentor influences. These two Face Book friends desparetly need your help.

I can so relate to their plight because in November I outlived the last of my life savings  that covered such costs as winter heating, car insurance, Andie’s expensive vet bills and you know those emergencies that reduce us to spam and Wonder Bread for a few weeks  (just kidding). I can’t think of two more worthy of help this season please give generously:

If the below link doesn’t work go to Adgita Diarie on Face Book and find my post:

Thank you     Much love and Happy Holidays    🙂 Michael and Andie

The Face Book link doesn’t open here, so I’ve asked Bill for an outside one you can use. Stay Tuned  HERE: theoriginalbillyllama@gmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas

It’s another Christmas

My love

White doves and red holly berries

Making us jolly by custom

Decorate and celebrate

Our

Illusions of hope

And

As always

From the eves of our old farmhouse

Hang icicles

As pale blue as your eyes.

They remind us that

Harm

Ever present

Is the zero sum game,

The bane of hope.

It will never be the same again

When

All beloved is treading

On that slippery slope of ending.

*

Nothing moves in the snowy cold

Except a gray fox

Boldly lopping and diving for voles

In the frozen north pasture.

Survival is an iffy

And

Dangerous game these days,

Warm and comforted inside

A log fire burning

We feel

All the same

Safe for the

Renewal,

The new life,

The spring

Lying feral and fertile

Under the blue snow and white skies.

I wait for the climbing roses

Growing to be free

From the broken down gardens of the old order.

I see their wildness

Escaping

Overgrown

Over the log-chopped fencing

Running green

Into the marsh that has reclaimed

The orchard,

Finding its ancient passage back

To the Waloomsac River

And

Vaguely

Blesses us

In its insistence of the natural way.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

MEMORIES

 

Memories

Late,

In a dark night’s blue

Spotting the bright crescent moon,

Remembering the passions of love

And

What happiness was,

Time collapsed.

So many long years ago,

In the beginning,

He opened the gate

With its barren gray wood’s

Uninviting severity

To find its brother parity beyond the barrier

In a large spread of dead earth,

Whose only life was tenacious crabgrass,

Red clay

And

A dearth of beauty.

The way he met the ugliness of life

Was to create,

To garden

To attend the seasons

And

In his imaginative reasons,

There grew lush creations

 Seeming magical in splendid

Color, texture, fragrance,

Black earth for sand

Water for drought

And

The dance of Gaia in his joy

At rejecting sterility and neglect.

I learned to expect as new

Every day

An enchanted nectar paradise

Celebrating hummingbirds, butterflies, bees

And

Varieties of these soldier-angels of nature.

Finally, at the end

After invasive traumatic care

He returned home,

Confused, frightened and wary of place.

You are home my love,” I said.

He stood in front of his bedroom window

Overlooking his garden

And

Whispered:

“Wow.”

His last words.

Days later he was dead,

His ashes buried in the rose garden.

Passing this spot every day alone in grief

At dawn

I pause on the way to duty

 thinking, ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust.’

While

Stirring in the heart,

At the beginning of a new spring

A permanent sadness recalls

A distant memory of letting go:

While a dove flies into the storm,

‘Lost in Time,

Like all those tears in rain.’

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

TRACES

‘TRACES’

A collection of poems covering the experiences and emotions of love, loss and life in the context of nature and her seasons by a poet living in a small rural village and his adjustments to the loss of a love as he experiences the changes of seasons in his garden, remembers the past and reflects on the changing world around him with his little dog, Andie.

THE NEW BOOK IS OUT!
‘Traces’ by Michael Browne
available on Barns and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/traces-michael…/1134949183…

I prefer Barns & Noble because it treats its writers better financially although AMAZON does carry the book also: https://www.amazon.com/Traces-Mich…/…/0578592819/ref=sr_1_1…

Also available on Barnes and Noble are: ‘PENTIMlENTO’ a memoir;WOBBLY SABI, a colection of poems; REQUIEM DIARY, a collection of poems and for dog lovers….THE ANDIE CHRONICLES, a book about the life and times of a little female Cocker named Andie—a perfect gift for most ages.

On Barnes and Noble type in Michael Browne to find the above selections Thanks

All your purchases will be greatly appreciated to help get Andie and yours truly through the winter.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A KINCADE CHRONICLE

 

 

Kincade Chronicle

 

We rose early while the house was still dark and freezing cold. Dawn was but a few minutes away as we stood in the driveway on top of a hill and watched the east aflame in red and pink. “Do you think it’s fire?” he said. “I don’t think so.” I said , hopefully. “It’s a spectacular dawn.” Here I sit in a freezing cold study wrapped in layers of wool and a warm cap nearly a week later grateful that PG&E turned on the electricity yesterday. Understanding by implication that a more competent enemy could one day hack the mighty nation-state of California back into the Middle Ages.

 

Recalling those recent past days, I feel a heightened sense of poignancy about standing in that driveway with the good friend who gave me shelter when Andie and I were ordered to evacuate. The ground on which we were standing is probably one of the most beautiful pieces of land in the county, abundant with lush orchards, an exquisite hill of prize winning roses and a handsome ranch house and outbuildings. In a single stroke all could have been lost if a tsunami of fire danced over the holding line of highway 101 and destruction would have wiped out generations of endeavor of the old school Sonoma kind.

 

We were given our evacuation warnings at the end of last week. So. Andie and I began to gather up the essentials that we would want or need to begin again if the worst happened. Andie sensing my distress stayed glued to my heels as I padded through the cottage gathering ‘stuff’ like my 50 years of memoirs due to end up in an archive collection at the San Francisco library, copies of recent publications, a few select photos of loved ones, a shopping bag of clothes, documents like banking and passports and so on. All of Andie’s papers and special food, a few favorite toys were included, not to mention a half dozen peanut butter and jam sandwiches, apples and a few bananas.

 

And so we waited. As the sun was setting PG&E ordered our little village to evacuate, all two thousand plus of us in the dark, all on the only road out of town to join approximately three million others and 148,00.00 in West county Sonoma to three or four shelters in Petaluma and the Santa Rosa Fair Grounds. I knew where Petaluma was, having been there a few times over the years, but had no clue where these shelters were. I am 73, live alone with my dog Andie, am somewhat disabled, have glaucoma and a cataract in one eye, all of which make me a hazard driving at night. It was frightening. I figured I could make it to the Fair Grounds, because I found it by accident several times getting lost on Highway 12 in that miasma of bad planning called Santa Rosa. But, since they were only taking animals I figured maybe they would have a soupcon of mercy and let me in as Andie’s guide human, or if I could find that old Halloween Minotaur costume we could pass as Beauty and the Beast. Where to go was a distressing dilemma, so I figured we’d go to Sebastopol up the road and stay in the Safeway parking lot, close to where a dear friend lives. She asked another friend if we could stay at his place for a while. A neighbor insisted we meet at the Safeway lot so she could be sure we were safe. This little vignette is a perfect illustration of the better angels about us that we see day in and day out, who when the chips are down stand with us and care about our well being.

 

It was also a profound lesson for me in the truth of my situation. I’ve lived a very adventuresome and often dangerous life and by second nature thought I could still think my way through it all by sheer mental will. Those days are well over and I am increasingly aware of how vulnerable I am now. The habits and comforts of managing my life in the small cottage, in the small village in which Andie and I live simply do not translate into crises situations of the magnitude we have all just experienced.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with Supervisor Linda Hopkins, who lives in our village that her main feeling was one of gratitude for survival, for safety and for those alert and caring better angels that appear in times like this to comfort, aid, and provide the encouragement to survive and make sure our pets do too.

 

I thank with the deepest appreciation neighbor med-tech Josh, who stopped with the red emergency truck to ask if I was OK, did I need food? Neighbors John and Melinda, who brought me delicious deli food from their escape place in Napa, For Cathy who brought me a food box filled with delicious munchables, For Susan and her daughter Ali who waited for me at Safeway, for all the neighbors save one, who have not quite forgiven me for posting an Occupy First Street on my gate back in the day. I imagine they might conjure me bare butt weeding in leather chaps wearing a tiara to scare off the crows. Still, I find them good folks because the raise beautiful loving black labs and Andie likes them. They stayed and promised to let me know if they were leaving.

 

Finally, last not least my loving old friend Susan Lamont and Thomas Bonfigli. Susan came all the way from Santa Rosa to help me pack and get things put in the car in anticipation that it would be difficult for me in the dark. She was right. I was so rattled by our final escape I forgot to take my insulin and left the door open wide! The screen door was closed though not allowing raccoons, possums or that local skunk family to move in. Several days later Susan brought some delicious banana bread and if you have ever eaten a Lamont baking product you can well envision the joy we felt. Andie got a bite several days later when old friend Susan Chunko, Susan Lamont and I sat in the garden on a warm autumnal day sharing war stories, life stories and dissing all the incompetent pissants and martinets that make our lives miserable.

 

And, then there’s Tom Bonfigli, a no BS, activist warrior after my own heart, who rescued me and Andie from freezing to death in the Safeway parking lot, gave us shelter and provided a couch to sleep on that could rival the bed in any Ritz hotel. Some days later Tom came to the door with a SOS box filled with wonderful eats and two softball sized pears from his verdant garden. Can’t thank you enough my friend for your kind and generous heart.

 

I want to keep this missive upbeat, but would be remiss if I didn’t express my heartbreak, disappointment and anger over the complete and incompetent treatment of those most vulnerable among us by state authorities, PG&E and the local officials: the homeless, the isolated elderly and dependent others desperately needing a kind and caring hand.

 

Burning

 

The milky, humid sky

Holds a pink sun at dawn and twilight.

A soft golden glow

Bathes the garden

In a show of exquisite light.

While,

Our world is burning

The emerald green hills of winter

Are withered,

Yellow,

Dry,

Fodder for the flames,

Which burn away

All in their path:

Memories,

Photos,

Things,

Beloved Pets,

Wild creatures,

Beings

Fleeing death

With only seconds to know the end,

And

The substance of everyday life

Gone in a roaring minute.

Nobody talks about the terrible sound

That surrounds all that is dear

Clearing the land of all living beings.

Bringing the reality of hell

And

Destroying all things,

Which give texture and meaning

To mortal life.

A tiny rabbit

Is pulled from a culvert

Carried down the hill

And

will make

Hope spring eternal.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments