Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: A Morality Play

A Morality Play

If practice really does 
A perfect mastery make,
My wagon full of props
And I, mere mortal, win
Praises from the town.
Pride here on the straw
Sweeps his hat to take a bow.
Envy seethes deep inside the chest.
Even this is practice for the end:
Wipe the grease from my chin,
Mount the boards, proclaim aloud, 
Loud enough to wake
Sloth sleeping at the reins. 
Shout, "Final! Doom!"
Drive this one, clink and rattle
To the tomb.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Picture from Psychadelic Adventures


Do not clip my wings,
for if I try, and flutter
like a light-singed moth,
I die.
Do not steal my spark,
for if I try, and stumble
in a darkened cave, 
I die.
Do not take my song,
for if I try, and have no voice
to raise to Heaven,
I die and I,
I am a tapping on the sill,
a shadow on the wall,
an echo in the mind,
a curiosity, a loss,
a blank-paged book,
unstoried and unsung,
hero-less, unlit, 
fluttered, fallen, blind.
Undone. Undone. 
I die. I am undone.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Write Their Days Enchanted


My daughter says
the children always
bear my scent
when they return,
a sort of story
on their skin.
And so I walk the aisles
spraying paper strips
too small to hold a verse
but heady.
and Red 
Flower, Fleur,  Poppy.
We'll spray their days
Let's write their lives
as childhood
ought to be.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gather Us In

Gather Us In

Gathering and hunting.
The long trek, the bow, the musket drawn.
Earth's gifts bagged 
or roped and dragged 
or splayed across the backs
of other beasts.
Man breaking bread with man,
lifting it in thanks: through your goodness.
Cruising the aisles, I gather in my cans: 
beans, pumpkin, French-fried onions,
whatever they may be.
Hunt for the right spiral-sliced ham, 
turkey so heavy, I can hardly lift. 
Yams, onions, apples, real butter,
pre-rolled crust for pie,
cider, wine, frozen balls of dough, 
ready for the yeasty heat of praise.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pardon, Me.

Pardon me my confusion,
You see, I'm feeling lost.

First it was the time coiled up in a net.
Then it was my mind hanging on a string, and yet,

Totally tangled, jangled,
Nothing worth the cost:

          Pardon me, I'm lost.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Never Once Am Turning

Never Once Am Turning

the wagon, 
I am packing

with the few things 
worth the keeping

mostly, leave behind me
more than I am taking

turn my back 
to burned out stubble

in the dewfall haze 
of morning

on the rutted roads 
I'm riding

feel the cooling grace 
of moving

Monday, November 4, 2013



So, finally, this is how it begins.
One day you're painting the walls,
And the whole thing caves. It starts with a crack,
Then a softness of collapse at just a touch.
Peel away the paint and you will see: the house is eaten,
Its shell filled with layers and layers of cells,
Incubator and birthplace to things that buzz and sting.
Tear out the hive and patch the wall. No matter.
Apply the paint, but still. You know what things may wait
Behind the sheen, how weakness feels and fear,  
And finally, you know how it feels to be betrayed.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting Room

Waiting Room

The woman in the bunny pants
is  most patient of the patients;
waiting seems her nature.
Maybe these appointments 
have become her only outing.
She's going out among 'em, 
as my old dad used to say.
Among whom, I always wondered;
now I know: the dead, the dying,
the sinner sick of sinning, 
the patient weight of living 
all too much like drowning.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Young and Easy

Yesterday was the birthday of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It was the power of Thomas's poetry that snared me at seventeen. I've been lost in poems ever since. Now much older than he lived to be, I fool around at writing, but really, I'm just a great audience for real poets. 

Kerry at IGRT reminded me of Dylan Thomas's birthday, so I blame her for this:

on reading Dylan Thomas in October

And so,
The gifts that sift and fall
On fallow ground
Grow old and spotted
As October's rose
Or the hand that holds them now.
Unyoked, you plow plant reap
Fine wheat.
Too soon, too young
You scatter, seed, outrun
The dying sun.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Caves of Ice

 Caves of Ice

If I could make a cave of words,
Untangle skeins of thought
And shape a cool blue icy haven,
I would surround myself as in Merlin's day.
If I could fashion thought into a lake,
I would eschew the fires of life
For numbing ice, for solace in suspension.
If I could penetrate the deep with this,
And words alone protect me from my sin,
Then I would say let frost begin its holy work.
Turn burning springs of strife to caves of ice.

Hannah at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads brought us this photo and a challenge to write about caves. Go to IGRT to dive inside other poetic caves.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Burning Leaf

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet and playwright, ardent feminist 

Burning Leaf

How simple and how hard is this:
To see the grass,
To only touch the flowers,
To feel the sun ,
To not bow under boulders,
To know which light is yours,
To follow it back home.

Poets United challenges us to write about a poet we adore...hence, meet Miss V. 

Friday, October 4, 2013


artwork used by permission of Catrin Welzstein
in association with d'Verse Poets
I am gone, and this goes on

You have your smoke

The girls talk quietly about their lives

I am not here, but this goes on

Up and down the yard

The children run

Juliet picks flowers

As the sun begins to fade

Someone clears the plates

This goes on and I am gone

The way your smoke dissipates above,

Gone the way of dandelion fuzz.

Friday, September 20, 2013

because I'm still in love with you

because I'm still in love with you

This moon lights brightly through the pane
and blues you feature by feature.

I watch your peaceful, even breathing. 
We've gathered in the grain, begun the winter wait.

This time of year, the moon seems nearer, brighter, dearer.
Sleep, my love, your fearless peace, 

for I will see you dancing soon, 
on this Harvest Moon. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



The leaves loose early now,
As hapless children
Pull away and run.
Bereft on barren branch,
Spotting in the sun,
Late apples cling 
Where just days past 
We loved beneath the green ---
Green scattered now, 
Leavings,  gold then rust,
Gone to ground too soon.
Too soon the hurried rush,
The barren branch,
The fallen, spotted 
Sticky, ripened fruit.
Too soon the leaves,
The fall, the spot of rust;
Outrun, the frenzied, scattered 
Sweetness gone to dust.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What I Carry

What I Carry

What I ought
Is in a pocket
In my heart.
Tucked into my heart, 
I carry 
What I ought.

What I do, 
Is on my shoulder;
Like a boulder on my back
I carry
What I do. 

What I know, 
Is in my hands;
In my open hands, 
I carry 
What I know.

But what I ought
Is in a pocket,
In a pocket of my heart;
I carry what I ought
In a secret part,
Tucked into my heart.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dance Me to the Edge of the Moon

Dance Me to the Edge of the Moon

Calypso to the edge of the moon,
                    (Crickets' cryptic drumbeat tune)
Dance me to the edge of the moon.

Dance the rapid banging beat
                    (Thrust and bite of all belief)
Turn me to the banging beat.

Turn the climb into the dance 
                    (Darkened precipice of chance)
Make me see the climb as dance.

Calypso to the edge of the moon,
                     (Leverage the bite of doom)
And dance me to the edge of the moon.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Begins and Ends in Dust


Begins and Ends in Dust

This is the door
I stand before:
The entry, ivy and rust,

Hinge that groans,
Wood that moans,
Step that is covered in dust.

This is the door
I stand before:
Heart that stills with trust,

Body that groans,
Mouth that moans,
Hands that are speckled with rust.

This is the way
I go today:
The way that all men must.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lorem Ipsum

Lorem Ipsum

I just noticed
how the  lighted screen
looks ripped across the top
like the mini yellow pads
that clutter and stack a desk --

to dos and dones, calls recorded
calls returned, hand-drawn charts,
the stuff of later talks,
pages ripped,  discarded
starts and stops.

The keys along the bottom
click away as if something really
is depressed and strikes.
How like a life this screen,
bright as the eyes can take,
yet cold and flat and final
as the hand that hits delete 
but does not think to save.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When the lights went out

When the lights went out

And the winds blew hard, harder
Than Appalachian summer ever sees,
And the children ran dripping to the house
While Poppy held then gave the umbrella
To the yard, family and guests --
Fourteen in all, gathered beneath the stairs,
Children up and down like popping corn,
The littlest one cried mommy, mommy, mommy,
Who was somewhere, later learned,
Moving trees that blocked the road,
Unable to go forward or go back.
When the  winds died down
And the sky cleared off as if it never raged,
And the damage was surveyed,
And neighbors came together for a change
To tell their various stories (all the same),
The children gathered pool toys from the yard,
The men, the bent umbrella from the tree,
And the eerie sound of no electricity --
The lack of sound, gave life a different sound,
Pure and clear, the sound of feet and breath,
The sound of living on and living through,
The littlest gathered candles for the dark
And built a tale to tell again, again, again
As the power hums, of the fun we had 
when the winds blew hard on the day the lights went out.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Still, the clock

Still, the  clock:
Back and forth
Settled, regular, like the heart.
Staccato notes
Dum dee, dum dee, dum dee
Patterned background chatter
Morning song that fades
With the scrape of shoes

Monday, July 22, 2013

Night Blind

Night Blind

It always  was your sight
That banished darkest night,
But now my Light is spent,
For while I dozed, it went
The way of leaving things:
Bags packed, a cab, the rings
Bereft beside the bed
Atop a note that said:
When darkness turns to day
And chases dreams away,
Yet you remain in night,
Long longing for the light,
Think on me and know
I didn't wish to go.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A strange glow calls me from my book

Come away. Look about:
Orangish yellow light behind
The lowering clouds --
Even the grass is burnished.
Poplars glow before mountains,
Heavy in dark relief--
The whole world is written in
Gold leaf, every branch and sheaf 
Illuminated, testament to glory.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Your burrs rub me,
Hitchhike for the ride.

Your nettles pierce
Until I bleed.

Your juice gets under my skin,
and so, I itch.

The  difference, I find,
Between a weed and a flower

Is desire.