Poetry by Charles


What Nourishes Me

I am nourished when I am. . . .

. . . feeling my body running on rain dampened streets

for I know that I am healthy.

. . . wading through deep snow in a blinding blizzard

for I know that I am strong

. . . sharing a cup of tea with a friend,

for I know that I am listened to.

. . . lying wedged in a yoder love ball

for I know that I am united.

. . . eating slowly and reverently,

for I know that I am disciplined

. . . watching and smelling spring coming,

for I know that we are all changing.

. . . losing myself in the timelessness of a drawing,

for I know that the process is more than the result.

. . . beading in sweat in yoga class,

for I know that I am energized.

. . . taking a moment to sample all my senses,

for I know that I am slowed down.

. . . able to laugh at my own mistakes,

for I know that I am alive.

. . . singing a song and sanding the door,

for I know the peace in simple tasks.

. . . sending a thought and a letter to a friend,

for I know that I am giving.

. . . just listening and learning,

for I know that I am growing.

. . . holding my rock from breitenbush,

for I know that I am guided.

. . . speaking my questions in class,

for I know that I am fearless.

. . . not speaking my questions in class,

for I know that I don’t have to prove anything.

. . . feeling the smooth skin of someone that I care for

for I know that I am tender.

. . . feeling God’s loving hands cradle me in light,

for I know that I will never be completely alone.

. . . sitting alone and listening to the river,

for I know that I am enough.

—Charles Campbell


When I’m out

walking in the woods

and my head

is so fast in the clouds

that it is full of empty

I pick up a stick

and I carry it

and I feel primal

and I feel better.





I went on a windy walk

upon which I thought

of many things.

It was a wet morning

and the trees swayed

and fluttered wet leaves,


to sink like spiral stones

and lay as rain flattened tapestry

perfectly composed

on asphalt.

I felt liberated

from my past

from my past masters

I thought of my past masters

I said, they’ve got nothing on me


I said

don’t underestimate those fellows

They’ve been doing it

for a long time


And they’ve got Nothing on me.

And I heard my other side say,

If you want to talk

we can talk

just come find me

Otherwise I’ll just be

I’ll be in my legs

walking on wet leaves.




The Old Growth

I sit at my pine top table

to write on paper

made of trees

and think of a place

where the sun is like lace


to the ground

Towering pillars into green clouds

The cathedral room

No comparison to those

the hands of Men

have wrought

and so sweet the smell

of moss, musk and fern

the perfume of a thousand years

Somewhere the chain saw

will always bite

Somewhere pulp mills

give me paper to write

Some forests go

and some we grow

But These places must remain




A Dolphin’s Space

To share a dolphin’s space

once more

and see the treetops swaying

their golden lit plumb bob song

of the surf

Painted on majestic mountains

with limbs stroking

moving water

and without the tummy rumble

much anymore

Oh what it must be like

to breathe

through a hole in the top

of one’s head

And just hang in the water


By grace

if I’m lucky

I might get another chance

To share a dolphin’s space

once more

and not even know

they’re there





I feel

my mission

is to Awaken

the sleeping Power

that lies in my circle

of friends

my lover