In Praise of Water

the bears and Yeats would know _ Roethke

I have gone to the river many times,

to the slow waters that curl among their stones

With absolute certainty, to the small voices,

That emerge from the granite’s fissures, whispers

Of the deep pool below the falls, ripples

That pulsate outward, like the blind

Feeling their way through the dark, the first word

Beginning to form, the primal word

Beneath all languages, the utterance of snow,

The silence lurking in the cedars,

The unseen map of the otter’s journey.


Was it a bear that I saw one night

Sliding downhill on a cardboard sled

Toward the county dump? He too belongs

To those older waters, to the bog

Teeming with scents at the base of the mind,

The ice on which one ventures out


Cautiously, one step at a time,

to those lonely rivers that wonder through cornfields

Like drunks, seeking a passage to the sea,

To the bones that litter the prairies of the Dakotas

Where the wind moans, causing the ghosts

Of Sioux ponies to lift their heads.


I know I love best the small

Brooks that come down from alpine meadows

After Winter’s low ebb, wildflowers in bloom

Beside their banks, headwaters of the Colorado

And the Missouri, the trout in them iridescent

As lost jewels. I can sit here for hours

without a thought, watching the water pass by.

A part of me goes out with it.

It might as well be my soul is water.


Already it has gone many miles!

Flowing on into the orchards of the lowlands

Whose pale blossoms drift on the current

Like those that once filled the funeral barge

Of an unknown king.


By Jay Griswold


In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counter word in English. It is the verb vacilar. It does not mean vacillating at all.

If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.

ie; Let us say we wanted to walk in the streets of Mexico City but not at random. We would choose some article almost certain not to exist there, and then diligently try to find it. 

From Travels with Charley…

I am vacilando in my life.

This has been my life.

~ Roxy Whalley ~

Gypsy Toes–A Poem

Deeply ingrained

This gypsy blood

The longing for new pastures



I wish these toes would stop twiddling

Lay still and be at peace.

Though the body is tired

The soul weary

The toes still tap, tap, tap

They try to escape their comfort zone

Their safe encasement

Their protection from the elements



They tap on the door,

Lets go, lets go they call out loud

Lets go somewhere new, unknown

Lets explore, explore.

Lets face the newness

Defeat the fear

Experience something new

Something new.

Lets find that place we haven’t found

Lets find the place where I can rest my weary appendages

Where I can snuggle into the softness,


And comfort of home.

It is out there somewhere,

Lets go.

Roxy Whalley – July 2012

(All rights reserved)

Magical Mornings and Tea in Bed

Mitzi at the Cocks Comb (her bib is to cover the license plate)

Just for a moment, pretend you are me, and imagine this;

You’re laying in bed in your car, all snuggled and warm inside your sleeping bag. Your subconscious mind becomes aware that the first light of dawn is making an appearance, and you open your eyes, lift your head and peer out whichever window your facing.

The moon is still there, hanging low in the sky, but the sky is a pale white all around. You turn and look out of the other windows, and see that dawn has arrived. You’re parked along The Cock’s Comb in the Utah desert, and the tilted rocks of the earth stand like sentinels over your camp, leaning away slightly, twenty to sixty million years of the earths layers exposed by some catastrophic event.

It is still too early to get up, too cool outside the bag, and your face feels cold, so you snuggle back down into the feather bag and pull it over your head to block out the light.

Then the first bird sings. This morning it is a warbler. You lay in your bag and listen to it’s varied song, with it’s lilts, trills and warbles. It is sitting in a tree close to the vehicle, and you hear every little note.

Other birds start to chirp, tweet, and sing, and the warbler goes on for about ten-minutes.

You lay still and meditate on it, your breathing relaxed, your mind focused on the only sound around, the birds.

Then, for a while, there is silence. No birds sing, no wind stirs, you are far away from civilization, and all you hear is the rustle of your sleeping bag, the steady beat of your heart, your own breath, and if you really focus, the faintest buzz, which might be your imagination, but you’ve come to believe is actually the energy of the planet.

Then the birds start up again, with cheerful chirps, louder and more persistent, and the sun starts to peek over the rocks turning them a deep red, and you decide it time to have a cup of tea.

Tea in bed

Next to your bed is an ice chest, on top is you camp stove, some water, and a little camping pan. You fire up the stove and heat water for tea.

Once it is ready, you hold the mug to warm your hands, and sit back to watch the band of light on the rocks slowly approach your vehicle as the sun gets higher in the sky.

You sip on the tea while still in bed (without having to leave bed to make it), until the sun reaches your vehicle, and the cool air turns warm.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get your computer out and write about it, just like this.

This is how many of my mornings start, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to experience them.

Roxy Whalley (April 16, 2014)