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Sojourner Kincaid Rolle (February-March)

-Poems by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

  Poems by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
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Sojourner Kincaid Rolle


In Peace and Gratitude

(Near Painted Cave)


In a perfect world,

trees grow straight up -

limbs lifted in perennial worship.


At Pulpit Rock,

beneath a solitary pew,

a tarantula resides


praising the round world.

A lizard, lone like me,

sunning on a solitary boulder.


Purple profusions grow wild here -

spawned by an invisible philanthropist.

grafted onto rocky terrain


Not without sound

avians flitter in solitude

above our proud wandering.


Centuries of ancestral footsteps

foretell our own destiny.


 Lo’ the sleek manzanita

apothecary to the realm -

keeper of the species.


Caretakers and dandelions in residence  

among the trees and rocky nooks,

‘long the meandering Marie Ignacio Creek.


Sojourner Kincaid

Published in “Corners of the Mouth: A Celebration of 30 years of the SLO Poetry Festival (Deer Tree Press, 2015)


after a painting by Kt Boisse-Cossart

Dusk beckons a griot
shimmering  trees promise solace
a glittering golden pall hovers
like footmarks across the humble earth.

The wanderer's heart is sated
bathed in shadows of sycamores
roots shrouded in salty memory
holding close the secret meanderings.

Foreshadowing lends its prescience,
singeing each moment with intentionality.

Huddled in the crevices,
the matter of darkness
peers into the blurt of light
silently wailing in kindred solace.

It is difficult to disregard legend;
fertile maidens seeking consumation
tracking the  paths of ancestors
and mourned lovers in perpetuity.

Ascending the ivy-clung precipices
plummeting into the splattering abyss
filling the moss-lined grotto
watering the centuries with endless mist

Every return a renewal
the cycle of life and beyond
sacred place of beginnings
and endings.



River Tree


Grown and living by a water,


wise and ancestral,


eyeing the broad moving cargo of life;


its depth and its zenith.


Aside the slow swirling eddies,


Grand and spectacular, presiding over


the parade of rainbow trout


backstroking through fast-moving water


synchronizing the counter rhythms,


the fish jumping hallelujah


flicking braids of prayer high


hearing the heart-steady throat croak of bull frogs


the leg singing crickets


sensing the silent terrapin.//

/ /

An ancient tree knows springs


of lilies and winters of willow;


grass growing high as a hopper can jump


delicate wispy saucers of queen anne’s lace.


Dressed in deep verdant moss and ecru lichen


a platinum necklace;  beads of  dew


enticing tick and beetle fathom its crevices.


arms stretching toward the light


inviting squirrel and sparrow alike


to dwell within its refuge


To sup upon its nourishment.


To nurture generations of generations.



A tree standing by the river


Its own testament to itself



To history


To the future.


Where The Hum Begins


I am in a place
where water rolls across the stones
rippling in ranges
too high for human tones to mimic

It is a place
where mountains loom over land
so low it is almost level with the sea

In the distance
I can hear water falling fast
from a high plateau
brushing the slope of the solid earth
at sharp angles, diving
into the flow
where it falls, a continuous splash issues

It is at this place I dwell
between calm and turmoil,
between yang and yin
between memory and amnesia

between today and tomorrow
between sate and want

In the magic hour
when the tide changes
In the right moment
where each second becomes the next
in the pull of the moon
while the water ebbs and flows

In this place, I stand
on land rocky like a river
land where boulders abide
deep within the soil

It is a place of peace
even as on the billowing sea


Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Published in:  The Poetry of Peace  (Capra Press – 2003)


...Therefore the way of the soul...leads to the water,
to the dark mirror that lies at the bottom."

Carl Jung

The mountain  obsidian  shale
cups the green water
in the palm of its oddly shaped hand

Mountain  immovable  ageless
harboring sage and chapparal trails
where Chumash elders roam

Mountain  with sphinx gaze
watching a million tides recede
watching the endless trek and settle

The Seraphim whisper
Echoes dance among the willows
looping the angelic harmony

The lake  ancient as the runted hills
gathers the oldest secrets of the valley
close to its cleavage

Open to any soul questing
touching bottom  a costly discovery
deep in the quiet place


Published: Common Ancestry (Mille Grazie Press, 1999)


Under A Sea Blue Sky
>  Imagine the fisherman thick with sleep,
>  a lifetime of  dawns
    aboard his treasured vessel
>  easing slowly from the harbor
>  slipping into the silent waters.
>  Each embark tinged with hope,
>  the quest for what the day may bring
>  the welcome slosh full against the hull
>  the rhythm of  the broached
    sometimes bold in the blue of a cloud-free day
>  sometimes faint in the opaque fog grey light
    with a hook to secure the mooring buoy
>  a braille to scoop the occasional off-deck catch
>  a gentle way so not to disperse the sought,
>  a lone man sets out to the open sea.
>  He knows he is not her master.
>  How could that ever be?
>  His secret is to cipher her ways;
>  to tango with the undulating waves;
>  Countering the pelting mist
>  steadying the whirling eddy
>  plunging into the foam.
>  It is the weighed down well-sunk nets
>  plumbing the depth off the Channel Isles
>  and the strategic traps precisely set
>  where Yellow Rock crab prowl the crevices
>  that feeds this livelihood.
>  Four hundred years in the marrow
>  this is his life; his chosen way.
>  With a closed-mouth prayer for return.
>  It is the dive that fuels his passion.
    Ultimately, it is the swells that taunt his fate
>  deep down where the urchin bed
>  silk walls of water lift and fold
>  the billow and wallow.
>  Long after the last descent
>  wistful for the daily communion
>  to be as  one with the great undersea,
>  he dreams of the mariner's life.
>  Remembering the squalls of yesterday
>  relishing the hard-won bounty -
>  to live and not die off silver beaches,
>  he sings a song of faith and gratitude.
>  These are the memories of a fisherman
>  under a sea blue sky.




green and moist

solid and stoic within


burst loose

from a granite facade

high in the hills


Who knows the eons

the seasons, the reasons

Here I lay


well-traveled gneiss

indistinct yet unlike

any other


Shapeshifter pebble

heartstone, boulder

I am strength


I have rolled far and farther

absorbing the flicks

and sticks


Snuggling into niche after niche

Random accomodations

among the multitude


surviving storm and sun

gathering like riches

whatever presents itself


All the stuff of you is with me


As I grow older, I roll less

my years on the earth

have been long


No vault to other climes

no transport to a distant horizon

I am at the call iof destiny


My future is not mine to know

I move at the whim and will


of other travelers other forces


I can only stay strong within


Barnacles cling

to my succulent body

slaked and content

something of wet



desire my nemesis

want  a distant



Here I hold the stillness

I bask in the intermittent sun

Its warmth my solace.


I’ve Often Sat

I’ve often sat 

near softly

rippling-by-me brooks

amidst sweet-smelling clover

and bee-kissed blossoms

wildly growing in safety –

our own sacred place

where only our being mattered

not to be plucked or cut

nor trod underfoot.


I’ve gazed for hours

in time-suspended thought

upon these wondrous blues,

yellows, and sometimes, purples

lovingly caressing 

every breath of honeysuckle

or night-blooming jasmine –

our essence shared in every inch of air;

our sparks inextricably mingled,

forever redeemed.




Desire decorates the road to rainbow's end. 

What we seek there draws us

as if it were attainable. 

I seek solitude.  That place

far off from the crowd -

its pace in counterpoint

to the din of everyday. 

The way hidden

in the underbrush. 


In search of such,

I have followed false spirits

down beaten paths

where tender trees

once slight and proud

now lay slain

upon their own roots' breast . 


In my jealous seeking,

I, too, have broken

virgin grass and budding twigs

which might have lived

 - and died -

untouched and whole.

 Standing on the Place    

Where Langston's Ashes Reside


In humble apropros

Standing within the circle

That holds in loving care

All that lies between-


All the tellings


All the signifyings


All the ironies


All the justifyings.


In silent repose,

A boundless legacy.

Threads in the fabric

Of all that cloaks us -


A variable perfume

A mutable augur.


 Minds Linked In Brotherhood


Hats set at attention

White coats pristine

Shoes shining like obsidian


Trousers creased razor-sharp

Men thin as rails

extended their hands in service


Mouths filled with manners

Hearts set on overcome

Minds linked in brotherhood 


An overground army

Against the grand difficulty


Along the eastern corridor

traveling to territorial limits

following tracks of pioneers


Moving across the great divide


 The Rising

Second wind is a mysterious force -- like second light.

-- Galway Kinnell

At the rounding of each plateau,

insinuations of greatness

ennoble the bounding ascent.

Volumes of gentle air


without imposition, ripple the


Legions of lodge-pole pines,

evergreen, ever faithful,

lift their arms in perennial salute.


Rimming the majestic plane,

a coronet of mountains.

Above the high sierras,

the silence of light reigns.


 When Utopia Was A Dream


When she was young

she didn’t know


when she was old

she couldn’t remember


when it was light

she couldn’t see


when it was dark

she was cold


she just wanted to die


when there was music

she couldn’t hear


nothing was funny

she couldn’t laugh


when she was sad

she couldn’t cry


when there was food

she couldn’t eat


when there was wine

she couldn’t drink


when there was wealth

she was poor


Plenty of clothes

she couldn’t wear


a garden

with no flowers


barren trees


a fountain with no flume


a sparrow with no song


where there was love

she could only long


what she wanted wasn’t there


she wanted to be


where money didn’t matter


where love was not elusive


where cold was a stranger


where war was taboo


where fear was obsolete


where groundwater

irrigated the vegetation


making rain unnecessary


where the sun kissed


and didn’t burn





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