David Mason
  • David Mason
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Security Light

  • The glow outside our window is no fallen star.
  • It is futility itself. It is the fear of night
  • a neighbor burns with, nightmare of a stubborn child.
  • I dreamed of chasing crows in a dark of sea fog
  • and no wind, the chill smell of kelp and changing things,
  • knowing the sea’s edge and the sand met where the fish lived.
  • I saw the waters running out to meet the water
  • coming in, the small crabs lifted off their claws.
  • I saw the trysting place of cormorants, the cliffs
  • of guarded nests where eagles watched like sated kings
  • alive, alive at the moving sand clock of the sea
  • where all’s dissolved, where earth itself is taken down.


  • Cut blossoms floating in a bowl of water
  • are what they are. Someone saw and gathered
  • the pale white and yellow stars and leaned
  • intimately down. To know the fragile blooms
  • with breathing color is to be reborn
  • astir, astray and happier than before.
  • They float to survive now, a mystery like the dead
  • wake up to in the cradle of the night,
  • flesh of frangipani sweetening the bed
  • between the mown grass and the Southern Cross,
  • and if the memory bleeds at such a loss
  • it’s only the cost of living with desire.
  • So let the sphinx moths hunting nectar there
  • where none exists be go-betweens for life,
  • purposefully duped. Let the perfume rise.

The Great Changer

  • Without a song to find a lover by,
  • some days she floated like a driftwood log,
  • beached at high tide beneath a dismal sky.
  • She was not Salmon Woman swimming under fog.
  • She was not Echo, nor was she Talking River.
  • She was not Thunder and she was not ever
  • the mouse who changed her skin for woman’s skin.
  • She was not Milky Way. She was not Moon.
  • She had to move a mountain with a spoon
  • and never ask forgiveness of the sun.
  • When change came it was a gradual dying.
  • She was not Owl Woman. This was not flying.
  • But she was Fox and found her gnawed off limb
  • and the Great Changer came. And she welcomed him.


  • The baby’s bawling and the old man’s laughter
  • rise from the center of the same I am.
  • Say it to windows, doors. Say it to rafters
  • on rivers of light. Say it to the breaking dam.

David Mason was Poet Laureate of Colorado from 2010 to 2015. His books include Ludlow: A Verse Novel, The Country I Remember, Arrivals, News from the Village, The Scarlet Libretto, Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade, 2004-2014, and Davey McGravy: Tales to be Read Aloud to Children and Adult Children. Mason divides his time between Colorado and Oregon.

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