Chaparral Sunset

was trimming and turning an artichoke for steaming when I realized I had a big thistle in my hands, the spines and thorny waxen leaves proof of the pudding. All it took was one good prick for me to flash on this poem, which I wrote when I first arrived on these dry hillsides, chaparral which has now been  displaced by ticky-tacky. What a place to experience ones own sunset!


Day sheds its sheath of light,
the skin of things a wisp,
a wreath, every blade clinging
to the flare once pulsing within.

As shadows climb the hills,
the heavens spin above;
caught in their swivel,
a luminous planet or two.

Below thrive thistle, laurel, sage,
manzanita, sumac and rue.
Breeze brushes their gilded
shafts. The dessicated bristles

of their involuted bracts
leave audible scratches
on the silken shroud
of evening’s amber whisper.