Terri Glass PoemsRead and hear sample poems by Terri Glass on topics ranging from nature to ecology to spirituality to love. Her language is embodied in the senses and will transport you into another moment even as it evokes your own poignant insights or memories.

Audio Clips

The Fox Path

The Hole in the Rock

The New Body

Orange Divider

Sample Poems

The Hole in the Rock

The sunlight is only reaching a corner of the porch. It is 10 am. It is now the fall of sunlight, the last glimpse of fuchsia, the golden turning of leaves. The air retains a coolness even though the forecast is in the 90’s today. What turns in me is something ancient, cryptic, hieroglyphic. I barely understand the language, although I feel the faint lettering inscribed into the lining of my veins. It is pulsing, staccato-like. I realize that part of me has been mute to its existence. The part that feels like a dead snail shell. Maybe I could take that part of me to a place I call the hole in the rock.

The whole rock. This place is located at the very southern end of Rodeo Beach. One day, the tide as low enough to hike 3/4 mile down a sandy and rocky stretch all the way to this large rock with a perfect arch that exposed another view to the sea. When we arrived, the tidewater receded enough for my friend, Peter, to venture out through the hole. My neck cricked as I watched him disappear. I stayed on the rocky ledge afraid of surprise attack surf. But the fact we made it to that edge of beach amazed me. I had never caught the tide that low. To the hole, to the golden gate passageway, to the other side of eternity.

Beauty and complexity. Beauty and simplicity. The surf flows through, the surf that carved the hole in the rock. The water spills from one side into another like a whisper that goes from the ear into the center of the brain. This is where the starfish cling, their rays pointing in all directions. This is the beginning of fall, the subtle passageway into darkness, the sublime harvest, the building of protective layering to keep out the cold.

The code is ancient, the code has a reason. Hieroglyphs dance over the waves, carve letterings into the rock with a hole. From far away, a lone seagull suspended on a billow of wind, spots this with eagle-like clarity.

~From The Body of the Living Future and The Song of Yes

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The Pond People

Crawling out of the pond
with their webbed feet,
they know the ways of ducks,
the calls of Canada Geese,
the stone silence of frogs.
They can stand for hours on one leg
like a Great Blue Heron
and long to have the wingspan of a harrier
to glide over nearby fields.
They wince at the click of camera shutters:
so they come out before daylight
and retreat before seen.
But I have seen them. I know who they are.
More delicate than creatures of the Black Lagoon,
they are part dream, part myth,
more real than my ten fingers and toes.
They are the pond people who know
the water world. They are our ancestral blood.
And if you wake up early enough,
you may catch a small movement
from the corner of your eye.
Look at your feet-
have they been blessed with algae?
Can you feel the shaft of a feather
piercing into your skin?

~Published in the San Diego Poetry Annual, 2016

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River Keeper

I want to be a beaver, a simple creature with two glassy black eyes and a spatula tail with which I whack the ground when I please. I want to gnaw down some rough barked trees and jam a river, your river. I want to jam your river with logs, limbs and leaves. I want to waddle and jam and slap and mow. I want to mow down a forest full of willows with my big chunky teeth and let my olive sized nostrils whiff the aspen breeze.

I just want to be a beaver, not your beaver, a beaver. With mud and stone in my forepaws and timber between my teeth, I want to build a 6 -foot high dam that dazzle muskrats and minks. I want to outflank the Army Corp of Engineers and infiltrate every river, stream, and creek.

I want the handsome fur coat that no, you cannot pet. And live in a den underwater that’s not a welcome habitat for any wishful human to probe, poke or peer.

I want to build a bridge between water ways with logs of birch. When I waddle, I want my underbelly scrape the detritus of earth. I want to string the seasons into some kind of thatch, a seal from winter storms where I languidly rest.

I want to be a beaver, with a thick fur pelt and a bouquet of stiff whiskers. I want to go my beaver ways and not be bothered by fishing line or tack. I want to gnaw, whittle and whack. And build build build up that pile of sticks to block out your scent: you musky human, with your lures and animal traps.

~Published in the San Diego Poetry Annual, 2015

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Sea Stars

As if fallen from the sky
their five points illuminate
the bottom of the sea.
They have lived for centuries,
blood orange, deep purple
with perfectly symmetrical arms
now tearing off
and crawling away
from their bodies:
“sea star wasting syndrome.”

Can you imagine what that feels like?

Maybe the bombing victims
of the Boston marathon know
when that blast
left so many with shattered limbs.
Our nation severed
in so many directions.

The ocean now acid.

Today I found a tiny headless snake
squirming on my back patio. “What?”

I look at my body — still intact.
I love my arms
when they swoosh the summer air
as I hike up Mt. Burdell.
The balance they create, the multitude
of purposes they serve.

Whole populations of sea stars
along the Pacific coast
vanishing like cities at night —
lights going out
one by one.

As their arms rip away
leaving their bodies in a limp mass,
I do my morning yoga — triangle pose,
my body five pointed.
My left arm vertical toward the sky
from where stars fall.

~Published in About Place, 2015

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Wind Turbines of Altamont Pass

Standing upright on barren hills
facing both sides of the freeway
catching the smog
spewing from automobiles
catching the wind in wild blades of steel
killing kestrels and red tailed hawks
generating energy for power grids
lighting the streetlights of grimy alley ways
lighting the traffic light that turns red.
You stop breathless at these colossi
the loneliness of gray metal against blue sky
and ask what part of you
feels like this —
what part of your loneliness
churns thoughts inside your head,
kills the flight of your imagination
but lights the dark alleyways of your doubts?
What part of you
has hardened to your own spirit
longing to find the nearby delta
where egrets wade and rivers converge?
What part of you stands on barren hills
thrashing your arms toward the universe
hoping that all this thrashing
does some good in the world?

~Published in About Place, 2015

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Just Another Day

It’s just another doughnut day in the universe.
I want to smash my face into flour, fluff and sweetness
and forget anything that prevents me from feeling
the absolute joy of birdsong or yellow balloon
whether it be deadline or telephone line,
the electronic busyness of our lives;
for there are rows of tulips conspiring pink
and lovers breathless next to willow trees,
there are lilacs whispering among their twisted trunks
and windmills whirling through Van Gogh’s ear!
There is color everywhere
and sprinkles of hope in my heart
that you will feel the freedom
of renegade rivers and the vast expanse
of starry starry nights.
Connect the dots, the body of water
between us, this great flood of love
that seeps through and beyond the earth.

~Published in Back to Joy, 2014 and Earth Blessings, 2016