"Two wrongs may not make a right but a thousand wrongs make a writer.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Poetry As A Stump

The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads brings us Poetry as Insurgent Art  in the vein of  Ferlinghetti.  I wanted to participate.


Stumps line the rim of the ditch
cut down in their youth,
as a tree's life goes.
Roots full of life with a reach
wider than their whacked-off crowns
have nothing now to feed, cut off at the knees.
The parked bulldozer with its claws in the dirt
is poised to make smooth the way of man.
But saplings spring stubbornly from
stumps left alone. The tree remembers.

(The painting is oil and acrylic on canvas by Lawrence Ferlinghetti)



The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. 
                                                       - Chinese proverb



Sunday, March 10, 2019

Malcolm the Cat


Malcolm the cat sits beside the fence
and watches the chickens scratch and peck.
He watches the man fill the water bucket
and scatter the feed.
The sky is gray with March snow,
spring held at bay by an out-of-whack vortex
trees unable to bud, 
birds unable to sing,
crocus unable to bloom.
But Malcolm the cat washes his face and licks his paws and waits.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why Not


The vase of daffodils
sunshine in a jar
lasted a week on the countertop.
The red tulips matched her dress
and his bow tie.
Easter finery and greening grass
matted and soft underfoot
await the resurrection.
The cemetery
awaits a footing and a stone.
Why not believe as Camus did in French verse—
that two can become reunited as one.


Inspired to breathe by the Tuesday Platform, and in need of music and garden toads,
I ask, why not?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Memories Of Snow


The snowfall that fell in the night
left footprints by my door,
across the porch and through the shrubs.
They snaked around the bird feeder
like a fox and goose game
you know....the one children no longer play. 

Some see this as proof and tabulate gains,
justified in their belief that all stays the same.
But whether man or beast, the intrusion
is plain, how close these things creep
up in the night.  

Did they look in my window
like the cat on the sill? 
Sniff under the shrubbery for grass green there still?
For snow doesn't stay here anymore.
As the drip in the eaves to the bird on a branch,
footprints dissolve like a good man’s intent.
The snow never lasts anymore.




Oh! Tiger burning bright
trapped outside your pleasant home
learn new ways or lose the game.
What good were you anyway?

For Poets United, Climate Change Motif 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Wake


I met a man at a wake who knows
the highest point in the Great Lakes Basin
is a bluff where water drops nine hundred feet
to the untrespassed river bottom,
where the remains of the last wolverine were found
and where wolves crossed.
Others eat shrimp, drink wine and toast the deceased
and don’t know they don’t know
I’m pinned in place like a butterfly in a classroom
while he takes me into the forest to listen for loons.

I met this man who goes to Isle Royale for the silence
not for the call of the wolf
because in spite of what some say,
they might not be there anymore.
A man who pays attention to words
like a craftsman to the tile cutter slicing through water.
When I talk I feel his eyes
listening, listening.
And I want to go on and on about something
so he'll keep looking, and looking.

Was it the sound of water falling
or the warble of a water bird that infected
his story of kayaking on Lake Superior in a storm?
The cry of the loon is interrupted
by the clap of the skeet outside the yacht club.
They punctuate our conversation like a grammarian.
Shooters send their targets flying across the water
with no mind to the wake inside. Life goes on.
You only ever hit what you aim at.

The first time you hear a loon, you know what it is,
like the first time you meet someone
who could draw a map on a napkin you would follow,
but only the loon in lonely decibel can take you there.


Linked also to The Garden's Tuesday Platform 
as we remember Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize winning poet who recently died. From my favorite poem of hers  The Summer Day:  "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hauling Water


“It takes a heap of livin’
                                                            to make a house a home.”
                                                                        -Edgar Guest


Their door is locked
as they would never have it.
Curtains drawn
as they would never have it.

We dug her roses,
worms clinging to the root ball,
transplanted to where
they will be seen and tended.

Locked doors and drawn curtains
lead one to wonder
what’s going on in there.
It’s all a big secret kept from those
with no need to know what’s going on.

The old flowerbeds are choked with the weeds
she tamped down with the tip of her cane—
chives under the branching daffodils,
dirt soft and loamy from years of tending.
Mums in there somewhere, waiting their turn.

The footing is set for the headstone
and plastic flowers adorn graves
for Memorial Day.
But we hauled milk cartons of water
to and fro for the red geraniums planted there.
One foundation laid, another taken away.
New cement may be poured over mums
and sleeping tulips but we have pictures.
We know what was there.

Friday, November 30, 2018

For Father


The homeless man
stands on the exit ramp
with his sign for help.
We roll down the window
with a five dollar bill,
as dad would have done.


Rosy-cheeked in winter plaid
gave to us all that he had
Now snow blankets his shroud of boughs.


Back Home



This is linked with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads mono-no-aware , the challenge to write about change or loss, not full blown depression but a subtle, wistful sadness in the Haibun format (which includes a Haiku at the end)