Category Archives: Poems for Grace

Poems for Grace

A Judge wearing tennis shoes married Grace and me in his home overlooking the Pacific. That was July 14, 1956 or Bastille Day. Now in 2014—57 years later, she has died, with Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags waving her into the light. Here are a few of the poems I wrote for her through the years. Her deep presence in loving kindness runs through them, along with her smiles and laughter.

In addition, the Syndic Journal has my reading of several of these poems. For Grace

This poem in 2010 explains why there are none from our early years.

Someone else

Those early poems
false starts
so many lines crossed out.
That stuttering child
so afraid
he can’t say anything right
so afraid
to feel your great love
and reflect its tone and texture.

“Sorry, you must think
I’m someone else,

Finally I started to see you
with my heart
and then I finally learned
to finish our poems.

One day closer

So many old pleasures!
Have we lost the capacity or the whim
to be a little wild and sensuous
to wander out along unknown roads
without a map?

Are we really that old?
Too old to leave
the electronic tentacles of our
cable cellphone internet broadband walkman
infested nest?

If we broke out of our habitual lives
created a new life together
in this seventy-seventh year of our lives
what would we lose?
What would we risk?

Our fortune is certainly safe
invested in memories and mementos
in images and feelings
scattered across our fifty five  years together
and apart.

Today we are one day closer to death.
Isn’t that occasion
for joyful improvisation
opening our eyes
full of one another
surrendering the sad old projection of
Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

Come into the garden
let the morning air chill our skins
then warm ourselves
flesh upon flesh
in the cave of our bed.

January 5, 2010

Just another sunset poem

My Lady saw
that open space to the west
under the storm clouds
still hanging over us.

Come, she said,
it’ll be a special sunset.
She drove Martha and me
down to the bay shore
to see the grayblack clouds
an intense deep red
growing from within.

as though that magnificence
were somehow insufficient
a thunderstorm broke loose.
Bolts of lightning
ran across the horizon
from San Bruno Mountain
to Mount Tam
striking down to Earth
all along that arc
of deep textured sunset.

The awe of the twilight time
that followed
that was nearly forty years ago.
The thunder still sounds in my ears.
My eyes are still amazed
by the lightning cutting across
the dark red of the clouds.

My Lady’s name is Grace.

Stereo poem for My Lady

I originially performed this poem on stereotape
with two channels of words dancing back and forth.

My Lady taught me life.
My Lady taught me love.
My Lady taught me to be


She feels.
She feels.
She feels.
Deep, deep,
like a bear’s bite,
she feels.

My Lady sings old juke box songs
and drinks white wine in the afternoon.
When she drinks white wine
she talks like a bulldozer . . .
or a bear.

In a forest
or a prison . . .

My Lady hangs
mirrors in our house,
magic mirrors
blazing out

My Lady’s name is Grace.
She walks along behind the tide,
throwing stranded starfish
back into the water.
She talks with clams
before she cooks them.
She’s kind that way.
I think I’ll stick around
and light her fires.

Deep, deep,
like a bear’s bite . . .


My Lady taught me life.
My Lady taught me love.
My Lady taught me to be

A bear
runs through
her dreams.

Deep, deep,
like a bear’s bite . . .

my Lady’s laughter,
shapes the universe.


my Lady’s laughter,
shapes the universe.Love laughter.
Bear’s laughter.

Magic mirrors,
she hangs magic mirrors
in our house.

She talks with clams . . .

Love laughter.
Bear’s laughter.

A bear runs
through her dreams
eating mother, father,
sister and brother,
all except My Lady.

Do not
leave me,
says the bear.


Magic mirrors,
magic mirrors
do not lie.

Love laughter.
Bear’s laughter.

My Lady sings
old juke box songs . . .

Do not leave me,
says the bear.

My Lady’s Hexagram
is K’un, The Receptive.
She would flourish
in a forest or a prison,
in a castle or a desert.
She receives life
wherever she is.

Magic mirrors
blazing out


My Lady’s name is Grace.

Sonoma Fog Light

The last poem I wrote for Grace before she died.

I never managed to find a way
for you and me to live at the ocean
that and a thousand other dreams
I never managed to realize.

So now I drive up Highway One
through foggy landscapes–
you always loved them the best–
gathering the images of lupin in seas of grass
cedars and cypresses, sheep and cows,
barns and tacky vacation homes
all soft in their gray splendor.

I stop and walk along the Sonoma shore
pausing for you at the edge.
The sun breaks through the winter fog
shining the waves breaking up around black rocks
shimmering the water’s backwash
into flashing electric pulses
rushing to me through the milky air.

I know you’d know that vision
like you seeing your own true self in a mirror
like me looking into your clear bright eyes.

January 2014


violets and lavender

In her last weeks Grace breathed in lavender essential oil when she was short of breath. It always helped relax her lungs and remain calm.

I planted violets and lavender
for you
Spanish lavender,
French lavender,
English lavender
Your birthday’s too early
for the violets
to be in bloom
but I’ll show you
the new plant
just under the Silk Tassle.

Our years together
have been rich with flowers
beautiful rocks and songs
poems and stories
and quiet conversations.

I bring only little gifts
this year.
Looked tonight
for another Aladdin’s lamp
so you could wish
for income that doesn’t
dry up.
But all I can give you
is my intention
and a rain check
for a bouquet of
sweet violets come Spring.

Happy birthday, my true heart!



“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.”
The Buddha, as quoted by Sogyal Rinpoche                    

Tiny clear Crystal Jellies,
 Purple-striped Jellies
   moving with slow, undulating grace
  through bands of light and darkness
and outside the glass, a young couple,
 faces close, share this dance.

Comb Jellies, delicate diamond spheres,
 release their long fronds
     to gather plankton.
  An older woman remarks
         to no one in particular,
 “That’s so amazing!
         You know, they have no brains, no hearts.”
I think, her life too, from egg to grave,
         would move with such grace
     if I had eyes of long vision.

Sea Nettles,
       saffron diaphragms, pulsing –
 plumes and threads
     swirling through the water
  as they slowly descend.
A father tell his young kids
     about the painful stings
       of these jewels,
  but the youngest
    dances smiling in a circle,
 her coat overhead as a mantle
      fingers undulating in the air,
      quietly singing,
 “I’m a jelly baby.
      “I’m a jelly baby.”

 Grace & Ernest Lowe May 13, 1993 at the Monterey Aquarium

Jelly fish at the Monterey Aquarium
Jelly fish at the Monterey Aquarium

For Grace

Singing Kyrie Eleison
  Christe Eleison,
  tuned to the roar of the Tule River,
I see a grey Water Ouzel
   bobbing and wading
  into the rushing stream.

Little torrents of water
  billow over him
  as he ducks his head to feed.


A blue dragon fly
  glides low
   over the dancing river.



I am she

I am
    she is
          the sea,
  and I’m roses
                and roses.
She knows
          about me.
      I forget
            what I know.

I am
     she is
           the vase
     with my flowers,
             her roses and roses.

She asks me
              to sing
      a song of her light.


I am silent
      as a rose-colored
   waiting to feel
                      once again
I am
   she is
        the sea.


No instructions for this game!

For the Wedding Day of Ghette and Frankie

At Christmas in 1997
my Lady Grace
     asked for a computer game
             named Myst.
It was just like marriage—
                 beautiful images,
     lots of buttons to push,
                      but no instructions!

What a wonderful trip of learning we had
            moving through the mysteries,
     the underground spaces,
                      the tracks and pathways,
          gazing at the stars and
                            pulling the levers
  to find out what would happen.

Grace and I were married
            by a judge on his day off,
           him wearing levis and tennis shoes,
    no cord and veil bearers in attendance,
       just us and our folks
                  looking out at the blue Pacific.

That was 43 years ago
         and we still go on learning this game,
      meeting each other in new ways,
                        in new places and
            spaces of love.

We send magic and mystery to you,
       dear ones,
              and the blessings of our years
   that keep getting better.

Ernie Lowe, with Grace