Thursday, December 23, 2021


We are shepherds, you and I,

not Angels or Magi.  We tend

to our hearts and souls, minds

and bodies, gains and losses, joys

and sorrows, dreams and desires,

regrets, the story of our lives.

Like the shepherds we are, we 

are outside the city gates.

We see the star Herod has 

heard of but has not seen, hear 

the song of Angels, put the two together

and go to see what we can only call

a mystery: that union of the divine and human,

that promise of if so once how 

so not always.  The murmured

response, “Like us.”   How curious

the mark of a cross on the infant’s back.

We see all we need to know,

return to the hills to greet the dawn.

-Byron Hoot

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Walking on Water

The freedom of not being

tied to the past feels 

like a boat unanchored

in a storm until you get

your water legs and walk

on the water placing one

foot and then the other

between, upon the waves,

the ebb and flow of what 

swells up from above,

below.  It’s difficult to do;

harder to learn the dances

the improvisation of now

invites you into.  The sign

to hell may read, Abandon 

all hope who enter here.  But

the sign to paradise says,

Abandon the past that will

not let you dance on the waters

of life.  I’ve always fancied 

myself as a dancer 

especially now walking

on the water.

-Byron Hoot 

Monday, November 8, 2021


More rain, more wind, colder, more

leaves have fallen, more light now

though the trees less shadowed.


There is an art to being seen through,

knowing when to discard what 

blocked the light the way leaves do.


The trees themselves refuse the penetration

of light, but the leaves give over

to the revelation of falling and rising.


Which is a form of beauty, begs the 

question:   How can we be more

like leaves, like trees, the sun?


The implications staggering. . . 

-Byron Hoot  

Friday, October 15, 2021

I Take Note

Now, there is gold on the ground,

the curled, foiled beauty of shapes

no hand can make, the veined

artistry of fallen leaves in the perfection

of release from trees.  There’s a grace

in knowing how to let go, a two-step

act of letting go and going to

and in-between the air, some call 

the winds of destiny.  A word not too

strong for falling.  A word as true

as it has ever been.  And the gold 

that turns to decay to feed again

the trees and the leaves and the

falling.  I take note of what I see.

-Byron Hoot

Sunday, September 26, 2021


I have often talked myself

out of the moment  I have

wanted to be in losing time 

and eternity and all the implications

in-between wanting no words

but only the spontaneity

of the right act with no forethought

to capture anything and no

other thought than to be held

No wonder we're a little lower

than the Angels who know how

to move in silence and get things

done; no wonder when we do

we whisper,"Paradise.

-Byron Hoot

Friday, August 20, 2021


I hear a crow, think,

“Carrion.”  Have to

reconsider that which

feeds is not always

from a cornucopia.

Inherently I think some-

thing dead nearby;

inherently I feel my 

eyes narrow to see.

I know what feeds 

does not always appeal

to me and for an instant

I see me circling.

-Byron Hoot

Monday, August 9, 2021

Dost Thou Remember

Dost thou remember, dearest heart,
Before our lives were torn apart
How oft we met beneath the pines
Through which the silver moonlight shines?

Dost thou remember, fairest one,
Our midnight joy rides and fun?
When oft we took paths obscure
And found delight in each detour?

Does memory fail you, oh, my love,
How from New River's heights above
We lingered long midst leaf and fern,
While friends awaited our return?

Will time erase the tragic scene
When love and passion swayed my Queen?
Where lash-horns met across the trail.

When storms had passed and fogs dispelled,
Some wondrous scenes our eyes beheld;
Again we view the flock with pride,
Each lamb is safe at mother's side.

But time has turned another page
And storms still in your bosom rage;
One question I would ask tonight:
Will love or passion win the fight?

-Walter C. Harris
Long Branch West Virginia

Improv or The Only Certainty

Awakening is an improvisational act.

The unity of dreams is contrasted to

the unity of Nature the eyes first take

in.  The improv is tricky for me; I often

forget how I have chosen and how this

place has chosen to be home for me 

and how long it has taken me to say

the word “home” with any meaning.

Each morning there is that sense of where

am I.  The sliding images of inner and  

outer scenes dance with me, one step here,

one step there.  The rhythm of shadows beat

everywhere.  And then I remember I’m

improvising all the time not only upon

awakening.  And home is now, where I am,

where I dance at dawn, where I hear and

see, where I walk in dream as if the ground

is underneath my feet, where every moment

is a crossroad, each step sliding in a direction

unknown and I whisper the word “home’

in exile longing.

"Want a miracle?  Plant a seed.  Panteha

-Byron Hoot

Thursday, July 1, 2021


Although the air shimmers in the hot June sun,

there is coolness in the wide bend of the Cahaba,

where the river widens, slows, flattens, and bursts

into a shallow glistening sea of white Cahaba Lilies

as I float silently by in my ancient canoe.

Submerged in crystal clear water, Cahaba Lily bulbs explode

from bedrock island clusters of green reeds into spider shaped flowers.

Each flower is an exploding star which blooms only for a day,

flashing, flashing, flashing, flashing in the sun.

An old man and young boy sit invisible in shadows on an

old tree trunk extending over the river. In silent concentration

they hold silver wire snares over the water; trying to catch redhorse

sucker fish schooling along the bank. Motionless, then jerking

and yelling they throw the slimy grey suckers into a large metal bucket.

It seems strange to see men fishing from a tree without poles.

Redhorse fish still live in the Cahaba feeding

on small snails, a good indicator for good water quality.

At Hargrove Shoals you can see thousands of snails

on the rock bottom, some places so thick

you can't walk without the crunch of stepping on them.

The river runs fierce just down the hill from the old square limestone

Coosa county jail with its eight barred windows and gray steel door.

I can hear the runaway slaves singing “He's the lily of the valley.

Oh my Lord ! King Jesus in the chariot rides, Oh my Lord!

With four white horses side by side.”

I paddle my canoe upstream toward the fisherman trying not to

interrupt their harvesting of fish. We talk about the declining

numbers of fish and fresh water mussels, the danger of new dams,

bank erosion and sewage pollution. We invisibly embrace

our shared love of the river together.

Laugh if you like, but now I am dreaming I’m on the Ganges

which is flowing from Vishnu’s toe; I’m on a boat to heaven,

Bhagiratha is praying for my rebirth; I am riding on Shiva’s hair,

bathing in her waters. I am in another world.

(stanza break)

The shadows lengthen and the air cools as I drift

among the clusters of lilies. I awaken to a fluttering of flashing

iridescent dragon fly wings, iridescent greens and blues vibrating in thin air,

slim as a pencil, a solitary glider, clear sugar crystal wings, 

a fairy calling me into these island clusters of reeds and flowers.

Her flight path leaves sparkling fireworks

in it’s wake. There is something beautiful in

the way she experiences the world.

There must be a dead pioneer who knew me

buried somewhere under the water.

How crazy I am to follow a fly, into the lilies,

into the underworld, into a watery labyrinth of shadows.

It’s no good choosing a middle path;

we have to risk damnation; we must follow

the white light of the dying lily.

-W Roger Carlisle 


We are shepherds, you and I, not Angels or Magi.  We tend to our hearts and souls, minds and bodies, gains and losses, joys and sorrows, dre...