Poetry from Rick Hartwell


False Spring


False spring’s soft rain subsides to

snow flurries and icy winds

annihilate too-early growth; buds

blush and drop without blooms.


Raucous tempest buffets pairs of birds,

challenging them to seek safe

nesting sites for mating as sapphire

skies turn first opal then ebony.


*    *     *


Approaching death the higher castes

in feudal Japan entered religious

orders seeking to die as monks or nuns

expiated of sins from former lives.


Winter cleanses only what is no longer

fecund; that which would otherwise

fester, ferment, accumulate detritus.

Death exists as the herald of birth.



Heavy dewdrop depending from

the tip of the corn-leaf;

Snake-size or frog-size, enough

to water a single kernel.


Recalled that First Nation peoples

used to water corn

One cup per day only, per plant

in a droughted land.


Watching two lizards circling,

doing periodic pushups;

Perhaps a courtship ritual, with

discrepancy in size.


On second-thought – two males

squaring off for territory,

Choice . . . until interrupted by a

child, unintentionally.


Do not start what cannot be finished.

Coastal Morning – Oregon


Dawn-Robins listening for worms

against waves’ percussive backbeat

hitting the jetty at Winchester Bay;


Lush grasses provide plentiful fodder

for shorebirds as fishing boats ply

their trade out through the channel,


Over the bar and through the surf-line,

as the Umpqua’s fresh water turns to

salt and seabirds escort the fleet west.

Soft Caress


Silence is as much a sense

of touch as of sound –

less sense than sensation.


Dark shadows on snow,

vivid contrast to conifers

ranged against a slated sky;

dark emerald spires

puncturing crystalline air

with their bleeding twins

seeping sharply across a

scene of unbroken snow.



Having finished Edw. Abbott’s Flatland,

for the how many-eth time I don’t know,

I’m struck by several thoughts:


As indicated in the book, by analogy,

one can conceive of a fourth dimension –

a projection of a solid through space and/or time.


Buddhist thought regarding reincarnation

envisions this dimensionality as a

projection of human existence through time.


What comes after or beyond such a

transfiguration of extended humanness?


It should be the Nirvana of all-beingness

or ever-beingness; a fourth-dimensional concept.


It is not the soul set free, but the limited

three-dimensionality of human existence

given entrance to the fourth dimension –

space/time – or whatever it should be called.


A Buddhist view would be of a returning,

reincarnation, to the three-dimensionality of

the then present, but in an altered form –

progressional or regressional – in a

hierarchical system of sentient beings.


Ultimate transformation would be an altered state,

extended projection, of the current form of

sentient being through time or other medium.


There is, as well, a connection here to the Gaia Hypothesis

(an almost sentient, self-directed Earth) which I am not yet

able to apprehend fully, but which I would like to see.


Perhaps I just should meditate on such dimensionalities.


Richard D. Hartwell

When hate is in the seeds, you can only harvest weeds. Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees

In joined hands there is hope; in a clenched fist, none. Victor Hugo, Toilers of the Sea

An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind. Mohandas Gandhi, The Mahatma

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. Like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, he believes that the instant contains eternity.