Sunnyside Phlox & Parsley, Imnaha Canyonland . . .
On the road in the American Northwest.

If we are lucky, the sight of such a beautiful little cluster
of wildflowers will reawaken the natural sense of wonder
in us of the child's mind. If we are lucky, we will pause a
moment, take off our heavy packs, breathe a bit more deeply
and sit a while on a sunny slope like the one pictured above.
And if we are lucky, we will see ourselves asking the perennial
question of the literal mind, "What flower is that?"

For to know the flower is so much more than a mere name.
Is it not to breathe the same air, to feel the same light against
one's skin, the same wind in one's hair? Is it not to sit with it—
in situ / in place—as the saying goes and thereby come to
know with one's whole instrument, as it were, with all one's
senses, the place it calls home?

Here's a little poem, written in what I call my wayside style.
These are pieces with a certain playful tension between outward
form and the inner movement of sound. They are composed
in natural geometric fractals, which to my eye and ear flow
very much more like freely running water or, well yes, the
arrangement of floral patterns and leaves on a stem. The
poem is call The Literal Man, and is about the straight-line
brittle beings we all become once the child in each and every
one of us is for whatever reason lost:

The Literal Man

Stretched between the most distant of
stars and the
sparks which fly from the
candle’s match
is the silver string of
young intelligence,
a vibrant face among the flowers,
resonant with the music of all


Still close
to the ground
where perception begins, before
thought’s cells grow thick and woody walls,
and where meanings still
flow and freely merge,
where triangles and squares become
rounded in rhyme, and where the moon
is an apple on the
tree which has its roots in the sky.

Break the string
and the apple falls
into the lap of an unhappy

grown-up, eyes dull with
years of TV,
which does not change, which does not change;
where sense stays at home, alone, a-
fraid to venture out,
and becomes
precisely, neatly, bounded in

Break the string
and the stars
at night will fail to cohere and

start to fall,
no longer turning
around their centers,

no longer,
threaded together,
in song.

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2008
(created: V.18.2008)