Monday, July 14, 2014

Prayer of the Soil


Let me not be rocky ground,
parched and cracked, burned by sun
green then yellowed, bitter, brown,
all good intent, but fallow, shallow.

Let me not be choking weeds,
grasping, climbing, blocking sun
roots that run, smother seeds,
thick and high, but sticking, pricking.

Let me, God, be fertile soil,
tilled and plowed, enriched by sun,
abloom with wheat, embody royal
Word made flesh to flourish, nourish.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mourners Come and Go


come and go,
come and go.

The ones I know
sit alone in
separate rows.

We're all of us
alone as we come
and as we go

to and fro,
to and fro,
alone, alone,

all, all alone
as we come,
as we go.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Morning, Royal

         Photo credit unknown Internet source. (Please let me know if it is yours.)

Morning, royal
the finest time of day.   
Sitting at my work,
I watch and wait
for the world to show her
magic: trees not trees
and then, they are.
Looking from my book,
already I see leaves
now greenish,
in the time to form these words, 
now golden glow.
Alchemy: darkness into leaden grey to gold.
Above the hills, azure sky.
Time for me, too, to turn,
my finer self dissolved by morning light, 
into baser things:
earth and air to
breath and blood.
Transmuted in the dark,
I turn, return, to clay 
in brighter light of day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Lingers


What lingers

When all is said --

Not words or even breath --

When all is done --

Tools in the shed,
Crusted Gloves 
Drying on the shelf --

Creation, dying cell by cell.
Even pruning
Asks too much,

When all is said.

When all is done --

This shell.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day

Painting, Mary Cassatt

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
"  -- Kahlil Gibran

This poem is for my children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, those who have flown, are testing their wings, and those still in the nest. I love you all. 


Your breath on my cheek
My neck, cold when you leave

My arms, suddenly light,
Raised in thanks and praise.

I learn from the birds.

Relentless in their task,
They feed their young until at last --

I shade my eyes 
Against the endless sky

And watch you fly.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One More Day

Blue as the sea, Sierra Madres rim Bandaras, bay of flags. 

Mist bruises the mountains not yet burned by sun.

Time for us to go, even though the colors hold like glue; 

magnolias and wild flowers beckon.

One more day, you sing. 

One day more I sing in chorus.

In days, the sea will be a spectre,

pirated colored glass the only reminder of paradise,

fossil, flesh, and sand.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to Read a Poem

What I want to say is
you can't rinse and stack a poem.
You have to let your hands
slip across the page.
Wrap the rhythm round your fist
and plunge into the lines.
Turn the words until the stains
of last night's tea are gone.
Get between the tines.
Feel the sharp knives inside the soapy sea.
Wash, rinse, and hold it to the light.
Let it shine like finest crystal.
I want to say
a poem must be scrubbed
before you place it on the shelf
like last night's news. 

Rub it. Read it clean;
Read it, feel it, repeat.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


This poem was written after one glance at Odilon Redon's "Mystery" and as part of the IGRT challenge by Hedgewitch to write an ekphrastic poem on one of Redon's works. The lamb in the poem is from both the painting and an experience shared with a dying loved-one who asked, "Who is that man over there?" When asked what man she meant, she pointed to blank space and said that man with the sheep." She was a lifelong Catholic. She "should have" seen a man with a glowing heart. She saw lambs. Mystery.


the final mystery
hanging on the wall

a man
a lamb
a cup

a man with a lamb in his hands
a man cradling a cup
like Lazarus, a man raised up

around my neck
upon my wall

that man 
that plan 
that mystery

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What the Net Holds

“the tongues of dying men / 
enforce attention like deep harmony.”
                                                                   —W. S. Shakespeare

One final time, we wait 
for you to speak the truth 
we know you knew.
Your dry tongue clicks,
lips like gaping fish.
Not air you strain
from or to, but the wish 
to speak of beauty, harmony, 
and truth. Too late.
We come too late in the day
for you to say, and yet we stay
suspended in the possibility
that the air we breathe
has molecules of you
dissolved and thrown 
against the deeply mortal reef.
When finally we leave,
our nets are filled, heavy with
the poetry we seek.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How the Peacock Got His Tail or The Night Has a Hundred Eyes, a Hundred Eyes, but None Do See

In mythology, the story of Zeus, Hera, Io, and Argus is a tale of lust, trickery, death, and honor.  In brief, jealous Hera turned Zeus's lover Io into a white heifer and set the hundred-eyed watchman Argus to guard her. Hermes, a god known for trickery, lulled Argus to sleep by playing music on a reed and by telling monotonous tales. Zeus was able to recover Io, and Hera placed a hundred eyes in the tail of her favorite bird in tribute to Argus.

This tale of the tail is written for the April 1 d'Verse prompt to write about an animal. That's my recently created artwork up there, so I have peacocks on my mind (obviously). Why? I don't know. Why not?

How the Peacock Got His Tail
the night has a hundred eyes, a hundred eyes, but none do see

One hundred eyes to guard the prize,
But every eye did close.

As Argus fell to Hermes' spell
That lulled him to repose;

And Zeus did laugh to take the calf,
Sweet Io, from his queen;

The watchman gave his life to save
Hera's pride supreme.

And Hera, moved by gratitude,
Although the fight she lost,

Placed the eyes to memorialize
Poor Argus and the cost.

The peacock's fan, to modern man,
A thing of rare beauty;

In ancient days, a tribute made
To eyes that no more see.