Tuesday, October 29, 2013



“Stay here,” I tell her.
I say it a lot.
“Don’t go” (locking doors),
though I know she will not.

It isn’t the larger 
Don’t go that I mean,
not here in this port
with the sailings we’ve seen.

My moments inside
stretch with fears hard to tell,
a stamping of boots
in a world of thin shells.

Yet always she’s waiting
just as she was—
as if what maroons her
might also cocoon her—

Can it be that it does? 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Grade

The Grade

Those who deprecate
routinely the labour
to raise inner and outer
(since no work’s ever
either)—these exasperate.
And they desecrate
with their small flippant flails
of simply and You just
the spirit-gym lather
reeking must
through perfumes of prescription,
the moment by moment
discipline grasped and grazed,
lost and retried
lost and retried,
to slog and lift conditions
up actual hills,
knowing the grade.  

Friday, October 25, 2013



These beams I’ve had in place so long
(some I found, some I added and improved)
—I can’t hope for shelter from them now.

Nor can the shingles fitted so carefully
protect me from the rain or cold—
not when rain and cold have moved indoors,
when icestorms and monsoons, all weather
sweeps unchecked from beneath the rafters.

When outside moves inside, the only
feasible dwelling is without roof or walls.
Home after home can only be no home.
Bright pinheads of stars, thin sways
of clouds and moonlight—in these

I have a chance to drift, learning a new element.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Small Fruit

Small Fruit

People ask for so little.
That is half the trouble, there.
If they asked for great gobbets
of self, more than any could spare,
mansions of effort and patience and years—
you could turn and reject
with a righteous shudder: Title
to all I possess can’t be yours.
But they need, so often, such small
fruit—a phrase on the phone, a sunset
stroll, a coffee pot shared—
and, still, you’re not there. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Outside Nature

Outside Nature

The shivering fit,
      the cracked lips,
          the shouting mind—
warm hands and a blanket, a moist swab, quiet words.

Such simple human remedies for what can’t be cured.

And really, will you be the one
who chooses not to provide them?

You will be the evening deer
that declines to browse, the blade of grass
that refuses to bow down before a storm,
the cloud that insists on sailing into the wind?

In obedience to what principle or whim
will you take your stand outside nature?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Sum and the Lack

The Sum and the Lack

What you know, what you can do, who you are
—all of this you bring to each moment
that will be born, with you and without you.

And what you don’t know, can’t do, are not
and never have been—this, too,
a far larger plenty, is what you bring.

And both—the sum and the lack—
are necessary, both are absolutely vital.

The attention that focuses what exists,
the opening that enlarges what exists
by receiving news outside itself—

One carves a door, the best door
that can be shaped to present circumstances,
the other makes a space in which
the door can swing, inward and outward.

In this way the event may arrive.

Thursday, October 10, 2013



I’m lost in a forest
and I’m scrambling like mad to get out—
I try this way, I try that—
but in every direction I look—the same trees! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Around Moira's Pond

Around Moira’s Pond

Where did you go?
To grief and back.
A slog to and fro
But return the longer track.

Longer—yet more quickly past,
Or else less clearly seen:
Phantoms in the forest faced
Burnt in a woodpile’s sheen.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak

Mine be the stillness
     that lets mourning perch awhile,
Mine the ventured budge
     that restores its fluttering style.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Poetry Unit

Poetry Unit

The poem’s subject
is:  theft.

Its moral (or
theme) is:  Don’t.

It has no regular
rhyme or meter.
Its stanzas vary
in length.
It is free verse.

Tone is notoriously
tricky, but
wry and resigned
could work, or

if you have to name
just one, go with
comic or (for extra
points) dismayed.

Rhetorical devices
are thin,
but the next stanza
is handy for
alliteration, assonance,
irony, and pun.

Sticky fingers filch
and pilfer.  Pincers
merely pinch.

The poem’s intended
audience is:
your teacher.

Its purpose
is:  an