I Write This At Our Old Table

Your appearance
in ghostly form
explains your disappearance
to a small degree.

I preferred it
when you lived and breathed
but accept seeing you
at your old haunts.

In some of those places
your voice hides in corners
and I hear them
as a whisper even when in song.

You ask about your life.
I am reluctant to explain it
since I believe
you should be letting go

for release into the next world
and what it holds
but it could be you have amends
to make after death’s epiphanies.

Not amends but forgiveness.
Not them forgiving you.
But you forgiving them
in their presence and to their faces.

This is so bitterness and pain
fail to lock you to these familiar places
even though I remember them
as places of laughter.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


The pre-dawn dark
enclosed the house.
The first light I turned on
intruded and deepened
the surrounding darkness.
There was not enough moon
for illumination
and I did not think
to turn on the blue flame first
then fill the kettle.

Out the window
the absence of stars
marked the mountains line.
There. That bend.
That indentation
which will be white soon
is where you are.
In the litter of leaves
and pine needles
that now cover
our thoughts of you
where we spread
your ashes.

And not where you are.
You believed you rejoined the whole.
God is the word we use
to define the whole.
Our solar system equivalent
to a single atom
of something infinitely larger.
Atoms trading places.
Always in motion.
Your water, by fire, evaporated
into the air then clouds.
Your ash when the west wind kicks up
moves your carbon toward Kansas.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Sin arrived as a ripple of change
emanating from a story of loss.

Memory made it original
and entirely of self.

Creator made it not at all
but made the change possible.

A spell written in sand
removed by the lapping tide.

A spell as in time.
A time lived consciously.

A beautiful disconnection.
Not disappearance.

But not loss either.
Not sin.

A scattering of reflections
like sunlight scattered off cut crystal.

Off descending water droplets
that form rainbows.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


A stranger’s smile
is best
because it implies
no conflict
and a willingness
to be reasonable
with the possibility
of new friendship.

Unless the smile
appears to be
a cat’s smile
and I feel
long whiskers grow
on my face
and my spine
into a mouse’s tail.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Seeing Answers Only In Looking Back

Paul gave no explanation
for his sour face
or why the tide
avoided his bare feet
as it rushed past.

I could tell he readied himself
to leave this life he knew so well.
To remove himself from our town
and place himself in a new town
where all things were slightly different
even the common language.

Not like he heard the eternal voice of god
make some pronouncement
about anchorages and moorings.
But he did hear his inner voice
moving away from our shared community.

I said I understood and anticipated
such an action by him
due to his behavior this past year.
That was a lie, but a white one
so he would not see my hurt
at what I knew his heart told him to do.

He never did explain his sour face
or the ocean’s refusal to touch him
but this type of wonder
often precedes major arrivals
or departures.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Shore Turn

We walked down to the beach.
A dozen whales lay out of the water.

The carrion birds told us
they were not alive.

The sadness of it all
unlocked something inside us.

We were only four in number.
We walked into the surf.

We unzipped our skins.
We swam out of the bay as whales.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Three Years

With the arrival of 1 Dec 2021 (today) I completed 3 years of posting a poem per day. That was the commitment I made, prompted by my misreading a note from my sister about successful blogs.

Thank you for the time you spent with my poems—whether you were an early follower or just joined recently. The idea that 498 people per day read my poetry is very gratifying. To those of you who chose to click “like” when you liked a poem, I appreciate it. The “likes” give me an idea of which poems resonate with other people.

Posting one poem a day for three years turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I made it a priority and allotted an hour a day to writing. Six days a week I wrote poems and the seventh day I edited what I wrote during the week. The system worked well. I am fortunate enough that once a week Dianne loves to relax and hear me read pieces aloud for the first time, which becomes part of the editing process.

I intend to continue to post poems regularly, but expect a missed day here and there when the creativity-well goes dry and needs time to refill.

Love & Light. Love & Unite. Tree & Leaf. All the Sleeping Bees.


Anguish of Unmet Expectations

Dora labors to turn newspaper pages.
Not aging. Or illness.

It is the news
that weighs upon her hand and arm.

Without the benefit of building muscle
as she turns through politics to sports.

Even when she listens to podcasts
they so often fill the air with heavy words

that the weight carried in implications and portents
settles deep in her lungs

and clogs her ears with depressed speculation
and what ifs.

It is as if our American society is an organism
about to self divide to form two.

Such is the movement away from union.
Pushed by lies like a century and a half ago.

Different lies, but lies all the same.
And passions lit like bonfires

with effigies of the opposition
and dirty tricks turned in the cast shadows.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


The blue woman
wore white
with exposed shoulders
ankles and bare feet.

She lifted her arms
in musical notation
to conduct the thunder
like a symphony.

The crown of the open hill
where she stood
exposed domed granite
and sparse grasses.

As the storm advanced
across the valley floor
the thunder echoed
and reverberated its approach.

The electric blue lightning
leapt cloud to cloud
superheating the air
and expanding it rapidly.

The blue woman snatched
a shock wave up in her left hand
and used it like a lasso
to hold the storm over her fields.

She swiftly yanked the improvised cord
to squeeze the cloud into rain
but it groaned like her fat uncle
trying to button his blue jeans to no effect.

The storm bucked and kicked
and tossed its horns
like a plains buffalo
instead of an open range steer.

She recognized the futility
of trying to domesticate the storm
and set it loose
to speed northeast.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Gills Lungs

For all the names
applied to organisms
for their ability to adapt
to evolving circumstances

some of those organism
choose a hallucinogenic twilight
over facing
the hard work of change.

No! I do not utilize elaborate
words and metaphors
to speak obliquely about
David’s drinking.

Nor the amount of weed
gone to smoke or brownies
in Edward’s apartment
before noon.

I mean, with or without us
the earth and its creatures
will move forward, adjusting
their molecules

like the first fish
that dared to crawl briefly
onto the beach sands
some geologic long ago.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney