Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. — Leonard Cohen
This is what I’ve asked of houses in the past:
Keep out the cold.
Keep out the rain.
Turn aside the creatures,
The ones who favor crumbs and jam,
Those that lust for cashmere and merino,
The others who flit through torn screens
Alert to my breath—and how can I stop breathing?
Keep out the singeing breath of a Santa Ana,
The damp fog rising off the lake.
Keep the sun from stealing the colors
Of the carpet for its own glory.
Give me solitude, stillness.
Keep out the darkness.
Make of this place a sanctuary.
Now, of this house, the first of my own making, I ask:
Be at ease on this small
Parcel of ferns and moss
Under fir and madrone.
Bring me the noises of the night,
Soft scitterings that let me know I’m not alone.
Let the browsing deer keep me company.
Breathe in the fragrance of tannin
Distilled by gentle rains.
Hear the heavy winter winds
Churning the waters of the strait
To foamed brine.
Let in the light
Straying through a scrim of needled branches.
We will both bear our scratches
And not fret over their deepening
But grow more imperfectly perfect.