Friday, December 30, 2011

We Long for Youth

When youth meets age, passion urged to mellowness,
Ourselves engaged with
Time, the unacknowledged guest,
Often turns our thoughts toward Death.

Innocense lost!
Oh, anger’s cost!
In old age we know our truths!
Our children grown
With babies of their own,
As memories live—we long for youth,
Oh how we long for youth.

This is a response poem to T. E. Brown's poem, When Love Meets Love.  Here is Brown's poem:

WHEN love meets love, breast urged to breast,
God interposes,
An unacknowledged guest,
And leaves a little child among our roses.

O, gentle hap!
O, sacred lap!
O, brooding dove!
But when he grows
Himself to be a rose,
God takes him—where is then our love?
O, where is all our love?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Maple Leaves

Citrine bits scatter sown over

The lake’s memory of black quartz

Drift like golden light-filled dories.

So the sowing goes all day

Across the broad field of the water,

Off and on, in gusts of well-populated wind.

But sometimes in an artful dropping,

One by one, each leaf settling on its twin

Until the maples lose all their inhibitions.

List poem:

I am a secret

longing to be whispered,

I am the clock face

you must check time and again--

my hands steady and deliberate,

pushing forward.

I am the blue that precedes

blackest night indigo and iris,

and  follows dawn,

the blue of forget-me-nots.  

I am bright and dark,

a welcome and a warning.

I am a slow and studious

walk through the woods,

a joyous leap from the driftwood log.

I am driftwood, changed by water and sun

and dead to the place I came from.

I am the most inner pink crook in the conch shell

and I am the broad smile of sky

over open pasture.

I am the honest cold pain

of ice cubes between teeth,

the spreading warmth of sun on shoulders.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Return to September

Our idle hours for months
Had been
Campfires and ghost stories,
Drive-ins and the Hocus-pocus of
Tadpoles to frogs,
Cutting across fields then
Checking each other for ticks, and
We practiced oblivion
As far as school and winter
Was concerned.  The dread of
Virgin # 2s sharpened to spears and
The shrieks of new tennies on
Polished floors was postponed until
The last two weeks of sunburned cheeks.
In my day,
A shiny new penny
In the eye of each loafer for good luck.

Monday, September 26, 2011


A noisy cloud descended
Upon our pasture bare
And called to my attention
A flock of starlings there.
They clacked and shrieked in numbers
Impossible to guess
On their way to somewhere
They stopped there to eat and rest.
The ground seemed black and moving,
Swathed in the feathered herd.
Such boisterousness, it seemed to me,
Should not come from a bird.
Like a thousand nagging sisters
Haggling on my lawn,

They sat noisely discussing
Almost an hour long.
There rose in me an evil
To dabble in their fate.
I snuck out near their resting place
And stood beside the gate.
Mischieviousness in my heart,
I loudly clappped my hands.
A silence fell over the pasture, then
Like the whoosh of a thousand fans,
They rose as one together
And lifted into the air.

Above the trees, it looked as if

A black cyclone hovered there.
Just as a pang of guilt

Began to swallow me
This noisy, black cyclone

Settled back into my trees.
I gladly opened window,

I gladly opened doors
And listened to the starlings song

As I sent about my chores.

In honor of T S Eliot's birthday, a challenge to respond to the Wasteland. 'April is the cruelest month of all'

Should April be the cruelest month, then
August will do us in, all

the sparks flying of sun off water

igniting the tinder of past loves and losses.

Bright lit corners along the curbs, beneath

the trees shaking every last leaf

of memory down upon us, the whisper

scraping of what once was, the hushing of the now

warm wind, always fortelling the winter

of what might have been.   We curl up

beneath that scorching summer grin, infatuated

with the light and cloudless days only

to find fitful rest between the roots remembering

the green of life above us, in our yore.  Gone

the hyacinth and lilac, gone even now the lillies,

sere.  You are the only vestige of desire.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Watch. The twilight,
golden tinged, washes into
the purple-black ink of night,
the sky a watershed,
moist with desire and dew.
In the dark a whisper
from the trees
as birds settle in, all of it
together, writing
a mystery as the year
turns pages and brings us
forward, a chill
of anticipation.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reading Milosz at Dawn

Under the first light of morning the snow is blue. 

The dog thinks he must go out.

Once outside, he barks choppy notes up and down a canine scale. 
With it he breaks the peace, shatters it,
seems to ask “Can I come in now?”  He adds to this staccato
a plaintive little howl, much different from the warning of
his deeper song,  “There’s a stranger in the yard!” 
He signs his request in the air with the cold, white vapor
of his whines, the second evidence of his desire. 

I need a break from him; he’s always scratching himself and licking,
crowding the foot of my bed, and snuffing around me
looking for a handout.   Indifferent this morning, I know
he can wait outside a little longer without any harm. 
He is not at peace indoors or out.

For him I rise early.  I put on the coffee.  No going back
to bed, so I read Milosz.  Under the small light above my book
with a calendar beneath it with my life pencilled in,
the poet fragments his faith in God on one page, then pieces it together
on another with the glue of no reason
apart from, he could not, that we do not,
endure without believing. 

Without belief in God,
he argues with himself and us, we

are each our own number of days,
we become only one of everything that is named. With our lives
we shout and sing against eternity, then we are shrugged off
with indifference.  Between the words I understand, God or no God,
we are like the flash of a falling star; from a great distance
silent and barely traceable, a part of something larger
that we cannot fully reflect. 

Beyond my window, the snow is dead white,
the sky is a glaze of colorless daylight.
The coffee has gone cold and my friend, the dog,
still hopes in my affection with his voice echoing
against the dark forest beyond the yard. The echo reminds him
that someone listens.  He remembers me
as the warmth of the kitchen,
as the full bowl in the corner,
as the salt of my palm,
as the one who croons his name and knows
the softness of his ear.  Will he remember
I've sent him out into the cold, made him wait
without answer for so long?
We both listen until
I am compelled to let him in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Little Girl Early

Little girl early on the bus
Folded up in your mama’s lap
You are sneakers,
And colt legs, long brown hair
Freckled nose and, oh, don’t forget
Those sunglasses—sky blue today.
You are elbows tucked
Into the space between your knees
And shadow of puple fleece coat
You are nodding head early
Against your mama’s chest
You are sunlight falling on your face
Denim and lace settled deeply
Into the early bounce and sway.
The bus holds its breath
Until the next stop.
Just as you dream, it sighs “wake up!”

The Glamorous Sun

I cannot write this morning
well enough, though it rises in me—
the glamorous sun
surrounded by the red fame of dawn,
the pasture sending up its fanciest
dragonflies, electric blues and ecstatic emeralds,
to stitch the sunrise to the sweltering
afternoon.  Before that mid-day heat and noise
erupts, I recognize the frail song of cardinals.
It is like cotton candy melting into me,
the ether of it makes me hungry for more.  Soon,
they will retreat into shade and into stillness.
Knee-high, the grass whispers together
and the moment floods me.  From somewhere
a wind chime dangles notes in the air.
The pines swing their incense into the breeze
like a prayer.  The risen sun sets the cicadas to work,
their melodies like muffled flint striking the day
into fire.