Evening Prayer

image:“House At Dusk” Edward Hopper © 1935

Evening Prayer


sun sits low on the horizon
dusk slowly advances
the breath of night begins to stir
all the daydreams are gone to bed

I sit quiet
close by the open window
soothed by the cool breeze
warmed by the memories
that huddle ‘round me

from far into the past
they drift
forward through the years

they visit gently
one by one

memories of those
I’ve been well to know
those I’ve been blessed to love
those that have got beyond
a tender tear for every one

a sweetness fills the air
just a touch of soft regret

my heart is full
my spirit calm
I surrender
to fate’s embrace

would this evening never end
but soon
the lingering day
will bow its head
twilight too will fade

as the waxing night
blankets my chamber
I fall still
and pray

pray to be carried away
in deep
peaceful sleep

• • •

rob kistner © 2012

• this piece inspired by this visual prompt at Magpie Tales


…inspired by the first day I met my wife, 25 years ago…




had she not appeared in that clearing
so lost

had she not crossed my threshold
on that september day

had not her voice
drifted like silk on a summer breeze
to wrap sheer and sweet
around my heart

had not I been drawn
like a bloom to the morning sun

had not I been captivated
as a hummingbird
by a drop of nectar
crystal on a velvet petal

had not my love come down
soft as a rolling mountain meadow

had not this dream been born

had not my life begun again

• • •

rob kistner © 2012

• linked at Magpie Tales


Two Moments

These are two poems about two powerful and indelible life-moments I shared with my son Justin.

The first “Night Sky” is about the courageous moment he chose, at age fourteen, to leave his mother’s home to move across our country, to live with me in Oregon — through the years of his high school and college graduations, and his early career. This was an incredible gift he gave me.

The second, “Book of Days”, is about the moment, two days ago, when he and his wife Christine, moved from Oregon to pursue a career advancement — a deeply bittersweet moment for me.


Night Sky


you arrived in spring
asking why I’d left

I had no good response
but the other shoe had fallen
with a deafening thud
so what was I to do

you looked startled by life
and asked me about sorrow

I had no good response
so I took you in
and watched as you untangled truth
marveling at your balance

for 19 years
together we watched the night sky
and wondered about love

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

Book of Days


in the book of days
clearly it is written
your time for moving on
beyond the reach of yesterday

in this book of days
so too is it written
clearly mine grow short
my grasp loosens on tomorrow

our miles apart grow greater
our time together lessens
as you pursue the future
I slip further in the past

and per the book of days
this is the way of nature
the son becomes the father
the father bows away

yet stands this father’s dream
would that this space between
but vanish with this pain
of bittersweet farewell

that the book somehow rewritten
would bend both time and space
and my days once more
stretch full to your horizon

• • •

rob kistner © 2011





to grow up
is to chase off
our innocence
our naïve belief
in the world as a beautiful place
to harden against the magic
of our childhood dreams

but if by chance
we can cling to just one
perhaps we can hold on
to our precious sense of wonder

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

• photo: “Alice in Wonderland” by Yuki Valentine


NOTE: To celebrate this day, I have re-published this piece I originally wrote in 2008.
It is entitled “October”.


October is upon us, as we enter our autumn season here in the Pacific Northwest. The cycle of renewal will begin in western Oregon, where I live. The summer’s dry period has ended, and agricultural irrigation has ceased.

Harvesting explodes in October, including the grape harvest in our many vineyards. A period of renewal will follow the gathering of this autumn bounty, as the soil is left to recover.

The fruit and nut trees, the vines in the vineyards, and the crop fields will begin the slow period of winter revitalization, in anticipation of the growing seasons to come in the new year. The Great Mandala of life turns steady.

The rains that begin in late October, increasing into November, will work their magic — plumping Oregon’s world-class Christmas tree and holly crops, renewing the sparkle of these holiday icons, readying them for harvest.

Wild nature will also enter a period of recovery and renewal. The flowering plants that have dropped their petals, and the grasses and brush, gone late-summer golden, seek these nurturing rains.

Mighty evergreens pause, conifers drop their cones, and deciduous trees shed their leaves – all go dormant, and rest. The vast Northwest forests are enriched by this period of rejuvenation.

Streams, whose water levels have dropped considerably, will come to new life when rains begin to replenish their flow. Sockeye salmon start their run to the sea, as Chinook begin their spawn. Rainbow, Brook, German Brown, and Cutthroat Trout, as well as the numerous other species of fish become active as the waters rise and cool.

Bear, deer, cougar, elk, coyote, big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope, hawk, osprey, eagle; the varied and plentiful wildlife of our region begin preparation for their unique winter rituals.

October nudges autumn into winter — a peaceful time of restoration here in this breathtakingly beautiful region. A regenerative calm lies upon the lush land, as the season of sky-water arrives to quench nature’s thirst, and revivify her energies.







as the gardener shades her tend
bending close to nourish and protect

so too nature stoops
to embrace and refresh
her pacific northwest paradise

her autumn shadow upon the land
she leans down
and lets flow life-giving waters
to enrich this lush realm

she covers her beloved eden
in a soft blanket of moist cloud

a shelter from harsh winter
to insure spring’s rich bounty

abundant fruits
and nuts
hill-climbing vineyards


towering trees
too numerous to imagine

endless grasses
and flowers
all will be spring succulent
from buildiing winter waters

mountain streams
valley rivers
swell with migrating fish


soon they journey home
these fresh waters of new birth

birds and animals
flock and gather
embraced by this season
of quiet renewal

in step and harmony
with this cycle
they too will welcome spring
with plentiful new life

a sustaining love
this affair

nurtured to witness
the eventual spring


• • •

rob kistner © 2008


• Oregon Autumn rain on conifer needles
• Autumn at Sokol Blosser Vineyards, Willamette Valley Oregon
• Sockeye salmon, Deschutes River, Oregon
• Autumn Cascade Mountain Lake, Oregon

Heartfire (redux)

…I did a gentle edit and rewrite of this poem from a year ago,
in response to the May 2nd prompt at Big Tent Poetry




the velvet nape
of your slender neck
swept with wisps
of silken hair

the tender swell
of your pouted lips
blossomed full
in comely glisten

your quiet sighs
of smouldered passion
hushed and low
in twilight deep

sterling moonlight
that fondles you
in slumber nude
‘neath midnight’s window

autumn sunrise
crisp and fresh
blushed coral
on your waking smile

sunlight’s gold
that falls dreamlike
filtered soft
in old growth forest

unspoiled nature
to far horizons
from where I gaze
on mountain’s crest

christmas eve
a quiet snow
fresh fragrant cedar
my child’s joy

splendid jazz
inspired verse
an evening breeze
a soul-felt tear

pristine beaches
pacific sunsets
silvered waterfalls
laughter with you

what fires my heart
what stirs my soul
what turns me on
these are a few

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

Fret Not

…written for Day #30, NaPoMo 2011…


Fret Not


people are consumed
by endings
speak of their finality
their permanence
their absoluteness

but I say no

in this age of recycling
endings are not absolute

eventually inevitable
but in that
they are not so special
not unique


these are unique
these are absolute
they only happen once
they are not inevitable
not guaranteed

they require a complex
set of variables
to come together
perfectly timed
properly executed

and in that
they are singular
very very special

so let us not fret
nor dwell
nor waste emotion upon
something so commonplace
as endings


let us seek
let us anticipate
let us celebrate

these amazing culminations
of elusive possibilities

they are so full
of promise
of potential
of mystery

so worth our wonder

• • •

rob kistner © 4/30/11

Time Traveling

…written for Day #16, NaPoMo 2011…

Time Traveling


careful hands
peel back cracked
and yellowed protectant
from dark and aging pages

in long-ignored
dusty albums

my wife is liberating memories
life moments

faces and places
call from another time

a beautiful young bride
a proud new husband

our sweet children
and not

family and friends
here and gone

other visuals
strangely vague
yet hauntingly familiar
draw me
spark warm recall

remembered laughter
tears gratefully less bitter

captured images
collect on our coffee table

so too
do insistent emotions
cascading one by one
and all together

the grand thief

who would steal
the treasures of our heart
who would hold hostage
the moments of our journey

beautifully arrested

deeply moved
tears well and glisten
stirred by heartfelt gratitude
for this proof of life

of love

• • •

rob kistner © 4.16.11

Pepper Head

…written for Day #5, NaPoMo 2011…


Pepper Head


I was the walrus
the fool on the hill
I was the nowhere man
perhaps been nowhere still

but when they took the stage
and raised their voice in song
they roused my golden slumber
my spirit sang along

I strolled to strawberry fields
along sweet penny lane
and when miss Rigby died
I felt McKenzie’s pain

stowed in the submarine
and sailed beneath the waves
down with the octopus
among the coral caves

and when the sergeant
struck up his lonely hearts club band
I fell in step by step
to march off to Pepperland

but before I’d hit the road
I wound up hurt in bed
a delinquent name of Maxwell
took a hammer to my head

he’d come through the bathroom window
I forgot to shut it tight
I should have known better
but it’d been a hard day’s night

my friends had called for help
doctor Robert came in time
I’d said doc don’t let down
he did not and I feel fine

cops searched helter skelter
looked here there and everywhere
but they found clues for no one
I said let it be I didn’t care

leaving home, you won’t see me
I said heading out the door
when I saw her standing there
my lover from the night before

oh darling let’s go day trippin’
I want to hold your hand
down this long and winding road
it won’t be long to Pepperland

now we’ve come together here
me and my belle Michelle
she’s writing paperbacks
the kind the drugstores sell

we have no plans to get back
we’re swept up in the allure
of Lucy and her diamond skies
on our magical mystery tour

• • •

rob kistner © 4/5/11


…limitless talent, unfathomable spirit…



• written for Writer’s Island





winter’s journey ends
lengthening light bears witness
spring crests and breaks
here at the equinox

life bursts forth
poking through pliant soil
unfurling on barren branch
here at the equinox

nature stirs in song and call
celebrating new birth
sustaining the cycle
here at the equinox

my heart leaps
my spirit dances
to this rhythm of renewal
here at the equinox

• • •

rob kistner © 3/20/11

Evening Grace

…this poem was inspired by prompt #139 at One Single Impression.


Evening Grace


as dusk descends
my stride holds steady
buoyed by the gentle embrace
of the downing golden sun

early shadows fall soft

vesper’s velvet blanket
drapes ’round my shoulders
envelops me in calm

there is still road to travel

eager to keep the journey
I’m drawn by the beauty
of the rising moon in sunset

coaxed by a soothing breeze
I venture on toward my love

rolling amber fires the lane
spreads warm ‘cross the horizon

mist begins to rise and waft

nestled in the valley
I see my hearth & home
veiled copper in this eventide

my heart quickens
stirred by this gorgeous vale
the ribbon of its brook
entwines my soul in wonder

my smile sweetens
my pace livens
I hum a quiet evensong
in the grace of this splendid day

• • •

rob kistner © 2010

…artwork entitled “Evening Glory” by: Steven Mitchell

To Soar

This poem is offered in response to prompt #23 for 2010 at Writer’s Island,
the Ginsberg ‘american sentence’ is offered in response to prompt #136 at One Single Impression.

To Soar


to feel the warmth of early spring sun
to wander through old growth
to see the sunset into the pacific
to breath in the fragrance of summer
to see joy in another’s eyes
to hear my child’s laughter
to be breath-taken by art
to be dazzled by autumn’s palette
to taste the richness of chocolate
to immerse in the rhythms of music
to see the morning dew sparkle
to hear the sweet lilt of a thrush
to know the quiet of snowfall
to raise my voice in song
to drift on a clear mountain lake
to get lost in poetry
to feel your gentle touch

…is to soar

• • •

to just try to fly is to fall short, one must expect to soar, then leap

• • •

rob kistner © 2010

You & Me

I offer this piece in response to prompt #69 at Carry On Tuesday,
and prompt #18 at We Write Poems,
also the September 6th prompt at Big Tent Poetry,
and the September 8th prompt at Three Word Wednesday

You &Me

(a poetic quadratych)


The Secret

what I said was
don’t touch
go away
leave me be

while inside
I cried out
draw near
stay with me

you are light
you are pure
you are joy
you are free

I am not
I am dark
I am beast
can’t you see

without you
there is much
you don’t know
about me

The Revelation

I lived at the light’s edge
that pooled in the night
on the bleak back streets
of the sad brokenhearted

I hid in the anguish
of the loveless who cowered
in the dark nightmare alleys
of the lost and forgotten

I fed on the grief
of the mourners who wailed
for their horrific loss
in the ruins of death

this was my heartscape
black as mid-winter night
a lightless horizon
no glimmer of hope

trusting was toxic
no foothold for love
relations were carnage
scattered lifeless and cold

The Change

’til a beautiful being
eyes brilliant and true
approached from afar
bearing tinder of love

the graceful arrangement
was deftly ignited
and patiently tended
the fire gently stoked

afraid to come forward
I held outside the glow
but your kindness drew me
we stood by the blaze

with passion it roared
its light pierced my blackness
its heat thawed my soul
my cold heart was warmed

The Miracle

you wrapped yourself ‘round me
gazed into my eyes
your kiss soft and serene
was the essence of healing

with you in my life
I am darkness removed
soaring and weightless
radiant and rising

vital and caring
my spirit’s renewed
illuminated wholly
by a new dawn of dreams

• • •

rob kistner © 2010

• photo above is of the GOASTT, digitally enhanced by: rob kistner 2010