Seal Rock


            Bending from the shore

            Like the bow of a god

           The rocks guard the coast from storms.

            Noisy seals find calm waters

            Nearer to the land.


            We were surprised to see the beach

             Peopled by white driftwood.

            We built a fire

            And watched the distant waters surge

            Above our heads, farther away.


            I thought about those rocks

            Created in the blood heat of volcanic storms:

            How they've retired now

            To watch and chastise the waves.

            They stand calmly;

            They do nothing rashly

            Despite the disquiet of mist and foam.


            Back home that night,

            I held you like a bow.

            The sea was surging in our thighs.

            Yet we had found calm waters

            Near land.

                                 from Piedras (1978), first appearing in Prism Magazine (Corvallis, Oregon, 1974).



Sand Dunes


        Low-lying fog nibbles at the grass roots

       Where the sands are dancing away.

       I feel the dunes moving under me.

       I almost lose my balance.

       Row on row they climb

       Up to a shore of bent Douglas Fir

       Stunted and dying in the wind.


       From the far-off hills, green with forests,

       Water is flowing fast.

       It meets the sands in a large lagoon.

       The sands sift themselves into the quiet waters.

        They are marking slow time.

        Seagulls cry out

        Bright in the thickening fog.


        Can this be the true coast at last?

        I've seen darlingtonia trap a fly.

        There's a long way to go to reach the ocean.

        In this backwash of sand,

        This bowl among the dunes,

        I can hear my heart beat,

        I can taste the warm blood

        Reaching out, hungry for stable land.


        I cry out for you on these sands.

        Your eyes are my surf;

        Your hair is my white wave.

        I would lie down with you

        To warm this place.

                                  from Piedras (1978), first appearing in Portland Review (Fall, Winter 1982).



Shore Acres


        Slabs of titled rock

        Turning from the sunset.

        The clouds are also tilted;

        The sun goes through the chicks.


        We wait for falling water

        To wash the rock.

        We watch the flowering light

        Moving toward the land.


        The order of gardens

        Sinks slowly behind us.

        The ocean knows no lasting fences.

        A band of light precedes its foam.


        Waves and light are allies;

        Together they build new headlands.

        And clouds and rocks find ways

        To grow sea palms.                             from Piedras (1978)



Bandon Beach


    I asked the dark rocks

            to speak to me,


    and I heard. . .

            the seagull's cheer,

                    the wave's shout,

    the barnacle's squirt,


    and I saw. . .

            the face of the rocks turn,

                    the lips open,

    the mouth move,


    and I smelt. . .


    and I felt. . .

            the cool, foggy breath.

                                        from Piedras (1978)



Trust Rock

                for Susan

    Eyes ask for 


            hands move to



    I sit down between

                        your legs

            to stare into

                                    your face.


    Soon we are


            you lean back as I

                                    hold you.


    You stretch my arms

                            far out,

            bending my back



    I lift you up

                        to me.

            and we em-



    We relax on each

                        other's skin;

            we learn to feel



    I repeat your


              you repeat



    We embrace a-


                and a-

                                    gain.    from Piedras  (1978)