“Between the Hours” Now Available for Purchase

Although I’ve recently begun to post again on Flowerwatch, I had stopped regularly putting up new content some time ago as I was preparing everything for publication in book form — I happen to be one who prefers to hold in his hands the tangible and tactile article! That volume is now available. It’s called “Between the Hours.” I’m so happy to have it completed and available for purchase. I’m confident that readers of my book will have an experience similar to mine and that of some friends and family members who have now been living with it for the past year or two. Their experience has been that it is pleasant to open it up at random, or to read page by page nightly. I’ve heard that it’s relaxing or inspiring. I’ve been very happy with these comments because I see no reason to publish works that don’t provide a real reward to readers, something that uplifts, soothes, relaxes, inspires, or brings other forms of pleasure that last longer than the time it takes to read a few words printed on a page.

Between the Hours is the fruit of my heart’s labors in this garden of earthly life. These poems arise from my interactions with the forces behind the visible while I’m out in the woods, the fields, the lawn or garden, or during the night in the company of stars and crickets. I hope that these treasures that were given me while engaged in such excursions might in turn purchase for the reader something of the peace and pleasure that they have for me in the silent moments of their creation.

Between the hours is a collection of two decades worth of the author’s poetry, writings, and art. The works have been integrated into a natural progression of time through the 24 hour cycle of the day, each period representing characteristic qualities of natural principle. In the early morning hours we find ourselves waking to a new day, new inspiration, new insights, new energy. In the late hours of the night, one finds the vastness of time and the cosmos overwhelming the senses and calling for a deeper, inward reach towards greater insight and a more whole perspective on one’s life. Between the Hours can be a night-stand book that will provide soothing relaxation, deep reflection, pleasant diversion, and new perspectives to fuel dreams and inspire action.”

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Flowing Down the River

When Princess Di was taken out of the world at a young age back in 1997, and around that same time Mother Teresa also, somehow it really hit me that the world was moving into a new era that would demand much more of each individual. It seems there is currently unfolding another such period of time, taking things up a whole step in significance and requiring a new degree of spiritual fortitude.

Of course, where much is demanded, much is also given. These dichotomies of destruction and renewal are like birth pains, it seems to me. While difficult, in order to bring about a new life they also seem to compel the soul perspective so that the mind may be relieved of the troubles of its unavoidably limited scope. If the spirit can be allowed to enter into the picture, then maybe the dust of the whirlwind will be transmuted into the descending gold of renewal. An age of greater balance could be the child that’s given.

In 1997, while I was musing over the significance of the passing of those two women, the following song, which I call “Flowing Down the River,” poured out through my fingers and streamed across the piano keys. The song, for me, was a kind of refuge and a reminder, a restorer and a comforter, through which I found myself deepening into the inner strength that is as great as one’s love. Having forgotten the song awhile back, it returned again recently. I spent some time last spring refining it a little, and then I made the following recording.

While I’ve written music ever since high school in the 80s, my life has placed other demands upon my physical resources and so I will ask for your forbearance: I’ve not been able to spend the time required to refine my performance skills! But, I wanted to share it now. I hope you enjoy it!

More of my music is here, if you’d like to explore further.

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A Day in Her Company

Kevin Trammel · A Day In Her Company Duet (Clarinet & Bass)

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Yeats Via Kilmer

I think it was Yeats who said… You see a tree, and you observe a truth about the tree. And you’re hit with it. The magic of the tree. It’s a spiritual thing. Beyond the physical life form of the tree. So then you write, and write, and write about the form of the tree, and the life of the tree. And the spirit of it. Until your own personality is gone from the words. When you’re gone from the poem, it’s a poem.
-Val Kilmer, Val

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The One Who Carries the Knife

“God guard me from those thoughts men
think in the mind alone.”


-William Butler Yeats

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Water with Friends

With Tu Fu and Li Bai I drink
this wayside rock-spring luminous water
missing not at all
the wine we shared
at the Temple Mount Tavern
just the night before.

The belly-deep laughter it brings
rises even more easily
and cleans away the heavy air
that clings from city troubles.

-Kevin Trammel
9/18/2021

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Late at Night

The swirl of wind relenting; 
the turn of water descending;
the slow winding down
        of the cat into sleep.

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Caravan

It seems to me from years of grace
that the best poems come out of the night.
They softly, swiftly descend
on wafting leaves with starlight glistening.
They never guess nor ever look back.
They mince no words and pour images
that tingle in the heart like flowing wine.
They reach forth from before time
and travel from their origin
like the khabir leading a long awaited caravan
of treasures ’til then unguessed and ever unsurpassed.

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Love’s Stride

Life is sacred and holy.
Life is free and lovely,
free as the summer breeze
that turns silver in the trees;
lovely as my sweet belle
bent over the brimming well
and beaming surprised when I from behind
reach ’round to make her mine.

How sweet the breath of life,
the pruning of our strife,
the lifting of the heart
in the brilliance of day’s start.
Like the face of the sea,
life’s face chameleon be,
and tunes its shape and color
to the air, the sun, stars, and wonder.

What she tells in her stride,
and all her majestic abide,
extols the smallest thing
and graciously humbles the gravest king.

-Kevin Trammel

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Robert Frost’s Alchemy

He came from the orchard with something new —
fruits of unseen forms, containing
rhythms before undanced, rhymes ’til then unsaid,
born forth in a long meter indulging its labors,
like a man with a load going uphill
and coming back down again just for the thrill.

He grasped the dust of sunset
settled upon the farmer’s brow
and unwound threads of apple burlap
which he steeped with dew from sunny vines
on which the sprinkled dust became gold.
He held the weathered industrious sparrow
gently in an equally weathered hand,
and whispering to it what he couldn’t write
brought song that made the workday trials light.

When a man in an empty house is graced
with a rosy-cheeked guest from winter’s waste,
he raises the hearth-fire and brings
a jar of hard cider from rare visited wings
and a pipe and ‘baccy are brought to bear
and soon the stories spill forth to share —
this is Robert’s gift and grace.
We come for warmth and leave drunk from his place.

-Kevin Trammel

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Sweetness

The cat while hunting pauses
and lifts his nose to taste
the nectar of morning.
He softly blinks his amber eyes
from the pleasure of the kiss
of dew scented air.

-Kevin Trammel

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Her Arrow, My Awakening

Through a heart-shaped opening
    in the forest canopy, the moon
         descends like a silver arrow.

-Kevin Trammel
6/24/2021

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Looking Down, Up

Yellow dandelion dust
   on my sandals —
a smile returns.

-Kevin Trammel
6/20/2021

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Breathing Easy on the Path

The cedar smiles
in mists’ billows
above the dancing falls

Kevin Trammel
7/2/2021

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Walking the Old Road, Sunset

A pigeon and a junco
    browsing windfall seeds
along the dirt road —
                  sunset.

-Kevin Trammel
5/6/2021

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Feathers of Stillness

Feathers of Stillness
by Kevin Trammel

Feathers of stillness fall
too soft to excite,
down from the shadowed shelves of night.
They drift slowly along
the now still, smoothe sands of day,
languidly leaving shallow lines
of mystic calligraphy
soon to dissolve in lapping tides of sleep.

Lie down, sweet, with a soft smile, my love,
and tender take the hand awhile
of the lavender-gowned mistress
who breathes enchanting lays
in subtle rhythms that seduce
the restless mind to lie at ease
and let the dreaming soul arise.
She it is who sweeps the skies at night
with her broom of gentle clouds
that star-born dreams may restore
and mend to crickets’ susurrous applause
what it is that you most fondly live and adore.

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The Fate of John the Pure of Heart, the “Bright Star”

The Fate of John the Pure of Heart, the “Bright Star”
-Kevin Trammel

The world cares not at all for the poet —
Man’s world, that is, for Nature’s loves her, or him,
with a soft love
that is harsh only for the flowering of insight and eloquence:
insight in the sleepless night of a thousand crickets;
eloquence on the stream of laughing waters.

But Man’s world hates the poet.
Even when It professes love, It holds
beneath Its darkish cloak a glinting knife
of jealousy and contempt for all that’s love and loved.

Man’s world is based on commerce not upon the beloved.
Commerce of ego, commerce of contempt, commerce of greed,
that strives even against nature to make a commerce of love.
Love of sky and love of Man
is not the love of so many men.
Their numbers inter the songs of crickets under concrete,
and exhaust the laughter of waters unto a dry parcel.
There is no room in such dungeon of a heart
for ought but festering creep and dank shadow.

Nevertheless, the poet sings still,
and still, by the still waters,
sees in that mirror what makes a heart a heart,
what tells the love of Man to live,
for living is love’s way no matter all this dying.
And for the poet the song is enough,
though he starve and scrape along the streets
or under the dripping eaves
for some bread, some hearth, some idol of a heart.
She smiles when the sounding words flow in like wine,
when they pile up like blossoms under the plum,
while they spin a yarn of thick warmth
for a cloak about his shoulders and
a pair of heavy weather socks upon her feet.

And all mankind is lifted up.
All of love is lifted up.
What is light and life are made to shine.
For all mankind is it done… and never undone.

July 27, 2021
After watching the film “Bright Star,” about
John Keats and Fanny Brawne

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Drinking with Li Bai

Drinking with Li Bai
by Kevin Trammel

I fall asleep in the chair
reading Li Bai’s white-hair-poems-at-heaven’s-gate —
it’s the eve of my sixtieth year.
I wish I could drink wine with him, who loved wine so,
beside a chattering mountain stream in autumn,
casting poems into the water
like smoothe stones, and laughter!

O, what glorious laughter it would be!
Such laughter as only the Taoist sage may know.
The laughter of the gods!
Laughter that comes from complete indifference
to the world and its endless, insoluble perplexities,
and freedom from its ceaseless toil
whose fruits are merely the bitter fuel
to charge the never-ending ritual
of work-a-day unto day unto death.

If the gods are placated by that ancient rite of survival,
then they are no gods of ours,
we who love the Tao and drink of its ever flowing waters,
receiving the most blissful inebriation,
abiding the sanctity of that temple
of fresh breezes in nodding ferns and grasses —
behold the eloquent dance of cedar boughs
in response to the drawn bow
of a soft stream-side breeze.

Li Bai will drink with me,
I know he will — perhaps
he does right now in an inner haven
where souls, having laid aside the body’s travail,
may rest and restore their brightness
and enjoy company
with their fellows on similar travels.

Here’s to us, my fellow poet,
as we drink deep and have no shame
for the inebriation which
even the gods envy,
that which opens the inner eye
that the soul may swoon
within the vastness and awesome consciousness
of its own divine grandeur.

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A Little Tune Based on the Kalevala (Good for the Heart!)

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Recipe for Sweet Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? Take a handful of poems, and with a glass of fresh spring water! Below are several worthy soporifics from the apothecary of poetry.

*

The Day is Done
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is done, and the darkness 
      Falls from the wings of Night, 
As a feather is wafted downward 
      From an eagle in his flight. 

I see the lights of the village 
      Gleam through the rain and the mist, 
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me 
      That my soul cannot resist: 

A feeling of sadness and longing, 
      That is not akin to pain, 
And resembles sorrow only 
      As the mist resembles the rain. 

Come, read to me some poem, 
      Some simple and heartfelt lay, 
That shall soothe this restless feeling, 
      And banish the thoughts of day. 

Not from the grand old masters, 
      Not from the bards sublime, 
Whose distant footsteps echo 
      Through the corridors of Time. 

For, like strains of martial music, 
      Their mighty thoughts suggest 
Life’s endless toil and endeavor; 
      And to-night I long for rest. 

Read from some humbler poet, 
      Whose songs gushed from his heart, 
As showers from the clouds of summer, 
      Or tears from the eyelids start; 

Who, through long days of labor, 
      And nights devoid of ease, 
Still heard in his soul the music 
      Of wonderful melodies. 

Such songs have power to quiet 
      The restless pulse of care, 
And come like the benediction 
      That follows after prayer. 

Then read from the treasured volume 
      The poem of thy choice, 
And lend to the rhyme of the poet 
      The beauty of thy voice. 

And the night shall be filled with music, 
      And the cares, that infest the day, 
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, 
      And as silently steal away. 

*

Rest After War
by Kevin Trammel

The stone that sleeps
beneath the pine
its troubles are no more:

the pressing heat, the searing flame
of earth’s volcanic turmoil
have marched their warring legions far
away beyond the forest door

their cacophonous clang and drum
expired from any memory

(Find this and other lovely poems in my books Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

*

Now the sun is sinking
In the golden west;
Birds and bees and children
All have gone to rest;
And the merry streamlet,
As it runs along,
With a voice of sweetness
Sings its evening song.

Cowslip, daisy, violet,
In their little beds,
All among the grasses
Hide their heavy heads;
There they’ll all, sweet darlings,
Lie in the happy dreams.
Till the rosy morning
Wakes them with its beams.

-Anonymous

*

The lark is silent in his nest,
The breeze is sighing in its flight,
Sleep, Love, and peaceful be thy rest.
Good-night, my love, good-night, good-night.

-Paul Laurence Dunbar

*

Sunk is the sun behind the western trees;
And the long shadows melt into the dusk;
The garden-flowers look palely from hushed leaves,
Scenting the breeze with heavy-laden sweets.
Sleep.

Now falls the night, down-sifting through the air
Lulled waftures of soft-dripping silences;
And slumber-breathing darkness shrouds thine eyes.
Sleep.

The idle hands lie folded in the lap,
Forgetting the long travail of the day;
The playthings we call work are all put by;
And all the rankling of the bitter world,
Like a dull snake, coils up itself to sleep;
And peace falls, like a flutter of white doves.
Sleep.

-From “At Nightfall”, by Albert Phelps

*

To Sleep
by John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

*

Sleep, sweet sleep,
sigh the day’s last sigh
and heed the long day’s cry
for surrender, succor, and surcease
at last in saving sleep.
Solemn, still, serene and silent
standing tall as the silken Cyprus
which paints the pale sky
with long cottony strokes
of rich black ink…

At last, no more to think.
Let the weighty time leaden with care
collapse in dust beneath the stair
which I ascend with sleep
enrobed of dreams
emitting radiant sunshine beams
aloft, afloat, loved at last
supping contentment in
stillness’ rich repast…

Sleep, sweet sleep
sigh the day’s last sigh
and carry me on silent midnight feet
upon the shimmering star paved road
where healing dreams have their abode;
there by bubbling streams restoring,
and upon a sandy sleepy lapping shore,
lay me soft and let me wake no more.

O sleep, soft enchanting sleep,
carry me on your starry midnight streams
where nothing is as it seems
and lock me in your hidden keep.
Teach me again the riddle of sleep.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

*

At last the day bows towards its sleep
in reddened face of lingering sun
which quickly closes last its eyes and seeks
another sky… where others run
their daily course and toil.

Here, in blanket of cricket song
and promise of moon,
stillness has won its throne and soon
will stretch itself wide and long
towards boundless space and deep into the soil,
and become a sea…
whereon I’ll place my secret boat
and let full sails fall free.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

*

How comforting!
The
cat
sleeps

curled
inwardly
warm

and calm.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

*

Incantation for Sleep

Upon the trees a hush of softly rustling leaves descends
A stream of whispering waters through the forest wends
A traveler rests with cloak he quietly mends
And I close up the boundless tome of thoughtful ends.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

*

Gus the cat is making
his little sleeping sounds
as the still night’s cathedral sky
drops silk curtains upon the trees
and the moon’s silver tide
glimmers in the folds.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

*

Balm and Benediction

Let sleep fall like warm rain —
dreamless as a moonless night,
soundless as the stars,
deep and still as
the forest pond that reflects them,
imbibed and sated as the roots of cedars
stretching into water laden loam.

(by Kevin Trammel;
Find this and other lovely poems in my books
Between the Hours, and Gathered Rain)

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For Us Travelers…

Stranger, rest your weary legs under the elm ; hark how sweetly the breeze murmurs in the green leaves ; and drink a cold draught from the fountain ; for this is indeed a resting-place dear to travelers in the burning heat.

-Anyte of Tegea (Translation by. W. R. Paton)

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Keep Always the Time Like This, Let Not Time Keep You

Ah! what a life were this! how sweet, how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroidered canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects’ treachery?
Oh yes it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.

–Shakspeare, Henry VI

Go beyond that locked-door clock: Read “Between the Hours” (click here for more)

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