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Tim Bellows


Directive for a Fantast

Learn—be the divinity
in a wild land, river,
any small flock flying up and down mountain slopes,
scanning for pine seed.

Slow yourself.
Out of questions and angers.

Learn and be liquid currents,
their lightening singing
inhabiting the air, wind, ice.
And sunlight from another day.

Adapted from A Racing Up the Sky by Tim Bellows and Kerby Smith. Eclectic Press, 1998.



For the One Teaching Dreamers.
Gifts at Dusk.

How many times can I step
into his wooden boat.
To meet his dreams,
my dreams?  In how many seas

can I gather and hand out
his white roses, yellow violets,
pinpoints that flash like eyes?

I feel warm as his wider ocean.
My heart answers it.  Streams
flow underground below the waters.

In dizzy miles above us
his wind currents
whisk across the tops of clouds.

Birds and fish hover
in their elements around us.
His boat rocks.
The boat is still as his sleep—

deep as sunset gold
or one gull´s curved flight.  The lights
of stars are seen on the tips of waves
that continually shut their eyes.

The stars and I are waking up
as the breath of the master
sets us free to float
on the ocean of the only dream.



Nothing to Contemplate

Monks ring the bells,
arrange time,
watch the dry, single-winged fruits
fly.  The far end of the valley,
the cradle of it,
puts its fingers to their lips
and helps us all to arrange
nothing in mind, eternity
being the sound—across scrubland—
of a gust against the ash trees,
a single wave hitting stones.



North Shore, Sierra Lake, Summer

In the dust-colored aspen,
these moments of wind

before storm.  They
gather your life in.  quiet.

as the pounding in the sky.



Yen Mountain Moon

My body of granite and mica
would chase down crooked words
black as winning    But oh my body
kill the ravens of speed and let
my other body go—
                                      body of indestructible lights
Let it change the miles
on desert waste clean as snow
Let it glide and trace
the filament inside autumn
                                                 over Yen Mountain
                                                 a hook watching
in my body of lights
I travel fine thread
The gold in every season
                                                 Leaves curled
                                               like the hands of messages
                                               written for children        I need
                                               only sainthood to read
Oh body of lights
let the flower open in sunny air
Allow the sun to burrow
into angled old bones
silver eyes
                      Allow sun
into teh roundness of infants
Let the petals fall
Do not hesitate
                                Sunlight on the moon
sends daylight back
for any body I could name
I´ll fly among the trees
among moon pillars
that stream through
                                          soaks a distant forest

   I sit where sunrays
     chant divine atmosphere
     It is all daylight
     It is all no day
           A thread among the stars
           My bodies have quite leaping    I settle
           in a leafy affection    I spin out
           layers of story for a fast runner
           a motionless dreamer
           a sea of crickets
                                                Trees without end



Slate Colors, Fading-Down Reds.
Fresno River.

Watching night come down. Pickup tail lights
bounce up the gravel road across the river.

Evening kite dives hawklike on a stony sky.
Sparrow-sized birds make streaks across the view.
Cries of children. Rustle of river passing.

A man, hip-deep in the flow, the gray turquoise.
Frayed pastel clouds drinking the slate light.

Quick sound of a fish kissing the surface below me. Heron
riding the air into low trees down the bank a ways.
And scraping sound goes on behind me - crickets at work.

And haiku masters without sound—
or so I imagine - touching the shades of these things,

touching the finger-painted river that
tumbles in silver shimmers toward sunset,
the fading-down red beyond the sliding of water.

I start to remember my sadder friends—
how they talk on about being alone. Why

can't they sit on this bank and be
spinners on this sky? After all,

if I can stare into water whirls where my own love
turns in its cones
and spreads away through the whole of waters,

then I can be anywhere—back along the roads,
sitting with a man who lives in wheelchairs, and we're both

touched, our eyes brightening like any eyes
watching snow-fields on a mountain.

And here is the man, shoving at his wheels, rolling himself
down along the lineup of boxy midtown stores.

And here, the natural drivers of pickups,
the children with kites folded for the evening ride home.
They can be with him, be in his unexplained fire and forward motion,

be with us. Close. The sky disappearing in the end of sunset.
And things being right as other watchers begin musing in town:

Something about a drive tomorrow.
To go and sit. To watch night come down,

pickup taillights bouncing up the gravel road
after the dives and loops of evening kites,
hawklike on stony sky.

Adapted from A Racing Up the Sky by Tim Bellows and Kerby Smith. Eclectic Press, 1998.



Poem Partly Found

white-shirted men.
To think of the lives

they have made.  They
accuse Alabama grocery-chain truck driver
Willie Edwards, age 25,

of making remarks
to a white woman.

January 23, they
force him at pistol point to
jump to his death from the Tyler Goodwin Bridge

into the Alabama River.
The abundant flow.

Think of tears
on the earth world.


Tim Bellows, with a graduate degree from the Iowa Writers´ Workshop, teaches writing at Sierra College in Northern California.  In November 1997, his Huts Under Smooth Hills was nominated for the 23rd Annual Puschart Prize.  He continues to publish rambunctious, compassionate work (in some 85 journals), to gather a collection of poems (Dreams of Long Grasses: Poems In and Out of the Body), and to polish his collected essays on poetry and perception (Toolroom for Dreamers).  He recently published, with Kerby Smith, A Racing Up the Sky.
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