The night table


Outside the open window

Quarry Brook gives voice

to the night. Reminds me

the world is without beginning

or end, our view ever-changing.


In another room the dog

stirs. The cat watches.

My love’s foot presses my leg.

I match my breath to hers

then back again. Eyes open.


On the night table:

three translations of

the Tao Te Ching; two books

of Jack Gilbert’s poetry;

one of Arthur Sze (thanks

Jamie D.); Spell of the

Sensuous by David Abram;

The Selected Poems of Po Chu-i,

translated by David Hinton;

Merleau-Ponty’s, The World

of Perception; a card announcing

Studio 21 painting exhibitions

I will never go to; a round tin

of Badger Balm, certified organic

goodness for hardworking hands;

two pair of glasses; one foam

ear plug; a digital alarm clock,

lamp, iPhone and drawer full of stuff.

Garden Bird Facts on a dusty shelf.


In my mind I run through

the inventory, writing it

into a portrait. Sometimes

you can hear geese at night

further down, on West River.




17 thoughts on “The night table

  1. This is one of my favorite pieces of yours, Chris. I simply love that final stanza and closing line in particular. The presence of those geese “further down” on the river is so full of presence. Be well, my friend.

  2. I never knew you wrote free verse poetry :-).. what a wonderful snapshot of those moments you laid before us.. well done Chris!

  3. This is a beautiful portrait. And just the thing I needed to read right now. Thank you my friend. One of the nicest things about poetry… and not found often, is when another speaks for you in the dark night…

  4. This is so beautiful … I read it few times, just to see the painting delivered by words. Snapshot of life.

    Thank you,

  5. I must try this one day! Listing the contents of a drawer or a night table. I love the comforting thought of the round tin of Badger Balm sitting there. It speaks of something from my childhood. Tins of ointment and the whiff of strong goodness. Badger Balm is of course a delicious alliteration (proud to show you what I learnt from high school poetry lessons) 😀 I love this. Sharon

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