Writing a Tree

Picture an oak, or perhaps an elm,
lush and lofty, but it’s not the tree
that I invite you to see;
it’s the sense of its roots, gnarled
yet secure. It’s the sound of its limbs
caught in the whim of a whistling wind.

Stop for a moment … Catch your breath.
Take a metrical pause in the space
of its shade, or maybe make
a madcap dash through leafy
arcade like young people praising
a sunny day with the pleasure of play.

Take tiptoe steps so quietly, for
you’re never quite sure what you will see
when you are pacing the girth
of a shady old oak tree.
Leaves color Fall trochaically;
come Summer, you might meet a spondee.

Feel the texture of green leaf and stem.
Celebrate the perfection of them.
There in the dawn’s early light
you’ll see the forest primeval
before the blight. With senses so full,
who will think anapest or dactyl?

The sweet scent of a wood rose adrift
on the breeze, the mystical music
of a three part harmony
sung by wind, water and trees,
artwork of spiders glistened with dew;
take it all in, you’ll write a tree too.

Progression to Perfection

It began with love of craft…
the shading by the artist’s hand
of hues that shaped his face
and showed his soul, each line
a milestone.

She ‘used an old pen
to draw the old man’*
One hundred and two — his age
an amazement, his peace
earned by days well spent.

Eye and heart and hand,
in unison they worked
until when done, it was not
the love of craft one saw
but love of man.

*quoted from the artist’s remarks

You will find the painting at
Roswitha Geisler’s Skizzenbuch/Blog

The Love Song of Maud Gonne

Sometimes vows
will make themselves,
cement themselves
     inside unsuspecting hearts.

Years come and go,
faces change, and places,
until some twilight when crickets serenade
the coming dark.

In shadow of the swaying boughs
we realize the chance has passed
and still the vows
have lasted.

This poem was written some years ago after reading ‘When You Are Old’
by William Butler Yeats. I had forgotten about the poem until I read the following article a few days ago on a WordPress ‘Irish History’ blog

On Finding ‘Shadow’ at Sunrise

Wrought iron
curlicued on stone
allows the mind to wander
beyond the eye
           onto a stair
        that travels ever upward
     as far as the imagination
  can stretch…
as close to heaven
  as the morning sun
    rising to praise a new day.

A photograph found at Poetry and Art
inspired these words early this morning. The sun was just
rising here and for a moment seemed to spill over into the photo.

As Far as the Eye Can See

Ribbon rails turn a curve
and disappear beyond the eye.

She walks a path
between winding river
and honey scented gorse.

…A whirr of wings, a goldfinch,
a burst of full-throated song…

Vines and wildflowers tangle
through her mind.

The breeze is warm;
she lifts her face
to taste the sun.

Check it out…



The newly remodeled Poetry and Art blog has featured my poem
“The Turning of the Hands”. Francina, keeper of the key there,
is a world traveled photographer, poet, and artist. She features
a guest poet or artist a couple of times a month. There is also
a grand collection of her own work to be seen on those pages.

Many thanks, Francina, for featuring my poem and for all the talent,
energy and love you commit to the arts.

Calculating the Cost

In nightmares it’s everywhere,
that slick sheen coating
covering,  smothering flora and fauna.

The CEO counts the gallons
and moans. Lost profits
are his disaster.

Plastic collapses
under added scents. Consumers
claim it’s all political.

A mother and her ducklings
foot the bill.  Lobsters shell their souls
upon the beach.  Fish turn to stench.

Mother Earth heaves a mighty sigh;
the cost of oil, all angles and slants
and corners we can’t see around.

Déjà vu

You will know this poem
because it was born within you,
The vase is your vase:

The roses and baby’s breath
belong to you. The sigh
at such beauty

is your sigh. The tears
that fall with the petals
are your tears.

The Spring that bred them
is your season of showers
and sun.

These words are your words.
Only the arrangement is mine
and that is a tenuous thing.

I Knew You Better After Your Inheritance

written after reading An Inheritance
a short story by Craig Kirchner


You claimed the clock,
the one that hadn’t run
for as long as her mind

You tucked it under your arm
and ran
away from the pain
that followed you like a stray cat

sniffing the cream
in your coffee,
or the scent of Sunday
yellow in the snow.

You only knew
you had to go
before your head

or the last rust colored leaf
rasped its way to dust
in the vase
on the table that you didn’t take.