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Here you will find the writings of the poet Theodore Waterfield

Traveling in Circles

was I created,
or a piece of rock
that grew tired of waiting?
How many steps does nothing take,
until it leaves tracks?
I don’t believe I can be made.
Too many pieces coming together
in too many ways.

And then,
where did the heart begin?
Was that my idea?
To feel love.
To feel what a day feels?
Is there an equation
that writes that large?
That chases its tail like pi,
but never forgets
what it’s doing?

Do things really get made, God?
Did it take forever to make me?
Then why,
if it took the lifetime
of a universe,
to put me here,
must my life be so short?
A few moments.
A love affair,
and tomorrow,
nothing left of me.
How did you manage that, God?


What makes us
grow and break?
What makes us
fly to each other?
To where rockets go
to hang weightless
at the top of love.
Then fall.
In love with time
we fall.
The holidays of children.
Walks in rain and snow.
and sorrows laid to rest,
until one day
one of us calls out
and no reply is made,
and we listen
as the hours pass,
to little voices
inside us
turn out the lights
when you come in.

Where Life Goes

Life is not one thing in me.
I am looking into a cauldron.
Is that what I will be someday,
I ask?
All those faces.
They depend on me to answer,
but my lips are tight.
Pain puts me in a place.
Prayer loses me.
Memory is my imagination.
Hold me, my beloved.
My geography is you.
I have no place to go except your center.

The puzzle that I am
is what a wing has moved
and left behind.
Daylight passing strange.
A poem composing itself.
A love that does not wear out.
A frustration
to be removed from where
my soul is standing.
I want to be inside my beloved.
To be the ache of life
refusing to die,
and not lose the scenery
that is heaven in what I see.

Daylight Savings Time

Somehow we conserve an hour of time
when we turn the clock back an hour,
and then wonder what to do with it.
Is there time to fall in love?
Read the first chapter of a book
we might not have read?
Dare put a poem on a page
and display it on the wall
like a pinned butterfly?

Could we alter time and space
by some act as slight
as daring to think,
and cause a whole new galaxy
to emerge with a thousand planets
like our own?
And on one
an ultimate love be born,
and look to the heavens
to balance a hunger in her heart.

While, at the end of this gratuitous hour,
I go searching for an impossible dream
synchronized with me,
staring into windows catching the shadows
of the hour evaporating in the air
looking for a lost embrace.


The leaves are putting their shadows to bed.
Among my imaginal people who once were real.
I talk to them in melancholy.
I walk along implausible edges of my soul.
No one can write his story before it comes.
Does God do that?
Play jazz and watch the hours dance inside me?
I could never have seen you from the past.
The figures on the wall taking form.
The music, a different song each day.

That is how poems get written
before they blow away like leaves,
filling ditches, floating on water,
gathering around chairs on the patio.
Let them stay there.
Don’t sweep them away.
So I join you in conversation at the table.
In silence, full of words,
trading eyes, being young and old together.
Warm and cold at the same time.
The past indestructible,
the future up for grabs.
What a lovely way to spend a silence,
watching the leaves sail by.

Nothing is Trash

I write trash like everybody else.
Pearls, tin cans, the heap of history
made of paper snowballs.
Letters never sent.
Failures of passion.
In our best clothes
we tidy ourselves,
throw trash in boxes,
and present ourselves
like a flower,
that felt no storm, cold
in its gestation.
The flower opens its petals
in longing.
The pale of morning
or the fire of noon.
We are not trash.
We do not deserve the barrel,
collecting the distaff
of our joy and suffering.

I write trash that has
the destruction of the lotus
in its center.
The old face that is a child.
If I were the sea
I would want to collect
all the debris left of a life,
and carry it in my tide,
to the sepulcher of my depths,
and tell all the life in my heart,
this is an orphan,
ready to be born.
Sing to it.
Stroke its wounded heart,
and when we’re ready,
I’ll send it back
like a beautiful shell,
not trash at all.


And so they come,
these exhausting days of pleasure.
Good cheer and jangled nerves,
presents for everyone,
even those you would never
give presents to,
the too fat,
prosperous, arrogant, selfish.
And they get the best of these,
lest our gifts are lacking,
not big enough for their bowls,
and worthy of their exalted station.

And so the season comes on us.
Good will toward men,
toward tyrants,
toward judges,
toward anyone who would rob us.
And I spend time making lists,
but they are for those who owe me things.
Patience, when they shunned me.
A smile, when they frowned.
Understanding, when they read the paper.
Watched television as my heart broke.

My presents this year
are the seeds I put out for birds,
the occasional tulips eaten by squirrels,
the small child,
in fact all children who appreciate my toys.
The pleasure of ten dollars
pressed in the hands of strangers
fading in a crowd,
the pleasure of remaining silent
when I pray,
giving God a break.

It all goes back
to a child in Nigeria,
or was it Japan,
or perhaps New Guinea,
or wherever,
perhaps some waif in a castle,
or igloo.
But these children are all the same.

Like the chipmunks and squirrels,
or new hatchlings in the sea,
their eyes as wide as moons,
hearts pure as silver,
new coins,
pure happy souls,
laying with sheep
and surrounded by wolves
whose cubs
give me something in return,

In the Shade

Ever have a long conversation with yourself?
Stroll along wondering where you’re going
and then you come to a quiet place inside you?
All at once.
Like walking into shade.
And you look up and something in the trees
says hush, and you mind yourself to be still.
That’s when I become myself.
No one in particular, just me,
getting along and learning how to breathe.
It only lasts a while and then I start talking.
Arguing with myself and laughing.
Then I go away full like a meal
that fed my soul.
That says everything’s all right.
The way you’re going is all right.
That nothing harms you except yourself,
and that’s only ignorance,
where you find yourself is like the shade
you walked into.
A pause in living,
how you pray in bed,
and listen to the day comport itself to sleep.


When I am dead
who will fill my emptiness?
Whose eyes will see like mine?
Welcome storms
and dive into the sea
and love its waves?
Who will fill my transparency
and worship others?
Who will sleep
inside enormous dreams
and soar,
and walk on their water,
then plead for more?
I think
no one can.
No one could.
No one would dare
be quite like me.


I put my arm around the ash tree
in the garden.
Brother, I said,
I have grown all I can grow.
I have separated light
into flags,
and hoisted poems
to the top of their staffs.
You have grown
taller than the house,
and heaven knows
what you’ve seen,
when the dawn unfurls,
pink as a flower,
or the moon rises
orange as a jewel.

We have come a long way
from seedlings to branches,
learned names written from rain,
stories of people
and how they have grown.
Now, dear friend,
before the advent of winter,
let spring rise inside us,
ready to bloom,
once more,
once more,
though the snow not stop falling,
until it covers us both.