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Water Colors Awakening Corn Song
Falling, Falling Half Moon Bay Haiku (5)
Casualty Knowing Temptation
Haiku (7) Like a Princess Safe Harbors
The Tender Leaf Waiting Worlds The Link
Haiku (8) The Blue Hour
Joy and Pain
Haiku (6) Communion
Work Ethic
Agoraphobia Changes Intimate Strangers
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Water Colors

Beneath the liquid sky

of brilliant blue

billows of supple

sea grass bend and swirl.

Iridescent fish,

like aquatic


flash, dart, hover

then in sudden fear

take quick cover

among pink coral caves

and on the coarse canvas

of the ocean shore curl

the silent pastel waves.


There was no urgency
at first
only a curiosity
to discover desire
I was not guilty
of erotic visions
but of beautiful
an innocent lust
my secret
still dressed
in virtue until
the absolute candor
of my naked need
made me aware
of my blood speaking
a wild insistent
then like the center
of the sun
I was all fire.

Corn Song

All through the middle of America
there was a trumpeting of corn,
It's full yellow tremendous notes
pressed close to the swelling sky.
There were acres and acres where
the corn blared; consumed the frailer
human reed, swallowed up all lesser
themes, unable to stop itself.

Against the full golden theme of corn
was the lighter pizzicato of human
voices and the counterpoint of houses;
the bass of barns and lilting passages
of ponds and pastures. Bird calls
were a frill of flutes twisted round
the higher theme, to grace, but only
grace, the symphony of life.

Two coiled themes, the impetuous corn
song and the deliberate accompaniment
of man, bird and beast; each endowed
with the same integrity of purpose
and being, and the music of creation
soared glorious and triumphant through
the heartland of the nation.

Falling, Falling

The sun, visibly falling,
turned the sky thin blue
as the light shifted its weight
pulling the color toward the sea,
then a flash, a momentary shaft
of white slicing the water
like a sword of light.

Merging with the horizon
the sun trailed in its wake
a triangle of burning green;
a flame that lingered as sparks
behind the eyes.

A slow sunset would have soothed,
but there was no setting
to this sun, just a hot falling,
then purple darkness;
the sea suffused with afterglow.

Above the drowned sun Venus
appeared and red Mars;
behind them dim Jupliter,
and night began with sudden stars.

Half Moon Bay

And still, today and every day,
the dunes are lifted
stacked and slowly shifted;
their crests migrate
and reassemble with the wind.

They do their best
to raise their backs against
the weather and the sea
and block the wind borne
sorrows of the world.

In the tide pools
between rocks and coast
are small worlds of sand slide
and trapped seas; quiet
clones of the clamorous
blue water where all its wild
white gardens of spray
blossom and fall, blossom
and fall; to end
as broken flowers in the bay.

Haiku (5)

A butterfly
lights on my arm
I stand holding my breath.

Crickets chirp
a comforting sound
in the hot silence.

In the moonlight
a spider's web
like silver lace.

Golden corn
flattened by hailstones
then a rainbow.

Among the lily pads
play hide and seek.


In frightened glee swimmers brave

the surf while the timid

sizzle on the sand

or hide beneath giant lollipop umbrellas,

their color sucked up

by the thirsty sun.

Behind them the frizzled grass is

busy with mothers and loud with children.

Newspapered old men sleep

with the headlines pulled down

over their eyes, their brows

marked with a frown.

In the fading light of afternoon

picnickers surfeited with sun and sand

abandon play; retrieve their sleepy eyed girls

and boisterous boys,

catch the dog, ignore their trash, and leave.

The assault and battered beach is left

on its own to convalesce,

bandaged only with darkness.


A mug of tea, strong, sweet, soothing,

exactly what I needed. It warmed, calmed,

leaving me with a quiet mind and not thinking

about the subject of the poem I would write,

which seemed more like conjuring something

out of thin air than constructing lines.

I was at peace with the virgin light,

the tender leafed maple polished with morning dew

and seeing heaven in the heart of a rose.

Out of the silence came the muffled cry of gulls

full of sorrows; an almost human lamentation.

Then I knew what I had to pay atention to;

I knew what my poem should be.


In the breeze the twilight trees

are gently quivering;

from overhead an apple falls,

red gold, like one in Eden,

and in the disheveled air,

tempted, we turn and touch

each other...shivering.

Haiku (7)

Beneath the fig tree
Of last summer.

Both singing.
The bird on the branch
The girl on the grass.

I run into the field
Waiting for lightning.

Enamored of spring
But seduced
By summer.

I see your face
No matter how tight
I close my eyes.

Summer storm
Electric transformer becomes
A giant sparkler.

Autumn tomorrow
But today
The peonies bloom.

Like a Princess

Sleeping, a white rose hugged to her heart,

the petals flaring in her breath gently fall apart.

Innocent child, her face aglow; a dream comes in

with stars, the curtain blows, scattering the rose.

On the paper walls are painted trees; behind the trees

a castle shows, and a proud silver steed galloping

goes. The child stirs, rises. Still half in dreams

on the stairs comes softly down, like a princess

in her white sleeping gown.

Out into the almost breaking dawn; her bare feet

barely denting the dewy lawn. Stars flicker, grow faint

and one by one are gone. While the watching moon sheds

a tender light she wishes not on the first star,

but the last, for midsummer night is fading fast.

Child of dreams, fragile and like the white rose,

fair, makes her drowsy way back up the spiral stair

to the crystal castle waiting for her there

with its haughty horse that races round and round,

its pounding hooves making not a sound.

Before the last star's fled, nestled snugly in her

downy bed dreams once more fill her angel heart and head.

Safe Harbors

We need safe harbors in our mind

Away from life's turbulent sea;

A golden strand where unconfined

Our weary spirits can breathe free.

A day, a minute or an hour

Of solemn solitary thought;

Perhaps gaze upon a flower

And contemplate perfection caught.

Safe harbors are the heart's retreat

To silent serenity's shore,

Where sweet dreams and memories meet

And courage on white wings can soar

The Tender Leaf

Grief too great

to find the ease of tears;

tears can only bring

relief to lesser grief.

Grief so deep it sears

the marrow of the bones

and turns the world

to ashes and sharp stones.

Grief like a storm

raging in the brain;

darkening the days

like winter rain.

But even grief can't outlive

its bitter season

and life, like spring,

once more unfurls

its tender leaf.

Waiting Worlds

Last night I had a dream sublime

Of a world somewhere out of time,

where lived a people kind and wise

With dusky skin and amber eyes.

Clothed in robes of purple and gold

Their beauty wondrous to behold.

Though foreign to my earthling ear

Their speech was magical to hear.

They dined on fruits that freely grew;

Drank a wine of sparkling dew,

Wore fragrant flower coronets

And kept white unicorns as pets.

They lived in castles made of glass;

Played sweet music on harps of grass.

No discord marred their peaceful land,

Built on shores of turquoise sand.

Their sky was red, their moon was blue

And silver birds in twilight flew.

Crystal clear was their sapphire sea,

Singing its song of destiny.

Impatiently I wait for night

To dream again that lovely sight,

Of waiting worlds with skies of flame

In galaxies that have no name.

The Link

My childhood home sags with the weight of age;

Ruined now, but proud on memory's page.

Upon its crumbling walls a climbing rose,

Though feebly, with some strange devotion grows.

Autumnal leaves lie rusting on the ground

Where once the pale amemone was found.

The garden's glory, lost to time's neglect,

I can, with perfect detail, recollect.

White, pink and purple hollyhocks stood tall;

Bright sentinels against the grey stone wall.

Nasturtiums trailed their blossoms in the grass,

Gleaming like ancient coins of burnished brass.

Tiger lilies towered with feline grace

Over ferms delicate as Spanish lace.

Those scenes of my lost innocence and youth

Were golden with the purity of truth.

Now past and present forge a fragile link

As life's brief twilight trembles on the brink.

Haiku (8)

Just before dawn,
in the garden
a rose bud opens.

Autumn wind.
From the parched hills
smoke rises.

Peaches ripen
in the moonlit orchard.

Sudden breeze
into the soft grass
a ripe plum falls.

Tying a shoelace
his hands
just like my father's.

snow fallling
on snow.

Old age.
I stand at the window
the last leaves fall.

Desert sunset.
Under rock ledge
the scorpion waits.

The Blue Hour

There's nothing quite like it

that blue hour at twilight

when the air is soft

and all sounds are muffled

by the power of pale colors

which can only be seen

out of the corner of the eye

like an obscure star.

The heat exhausted flowers

and night tinged trees exude

a minor, but compelling,

perfume and for a heartbeat

the evanescent atmosphere brings

to mind a time and place when

we had all been lovers and beloved.

Joy and Pain

Writing poetry is more

than free associating,

it's allowing a graver

voice to be heard beneath

that nervy lyric one

and like a heart slowed

by its burden

into occasionally

missing a beat the sound

changes, deepens,

and we experience,

as if for the first time,

the joy of seeing

and the pain of being.

Haiku (6)

Flock of crows flying
over fields of golden wheat
I think of Van Gogh.

By candlelight her
face a pale lotus blossom
fragrant with desire.

Softly, serenely
in the green depths of the sea
the whales are singing.

Eyes like violets
scarlet lips soft as roses
girl in a garden.

Silent eloquence
a soul captured on canvas
Rembrandt self portrait.

In the blue of noon
not even the birds noticed
Icarus falling.


What shall I talk about?

He is so deaf I have to say

everything at least three

times and even then....

But I brave the smell of illness

in the halls, make my way to his

room, by wheelchairs whose aged

occupants frown, mutter, gaze

inward at some saner past.

His is the bed by the window.

He gives me a sweet smile,

and calls me by my mother's name.

Sitting close I hold his hand,

frail and withered as old leaves.

We sit, like lovers, speaking with

our eyes, feeling the love that

flows between us in spite of gaps

in age, health, memories. The

silence is a blessing. No need

to dread the lack of words.

Now is the quiet time.

Work Ethic

At twenty five my days began
In revolving doors.
Clutching my badge of business,
An attaché case, I clicked my heels
Across the lobby’s’ marble floors.

Confident in my conservative suit
And perfectly coiffed hair
I was pneumatically propelled
Breathing second hand smoke
And recycled air.

In thirty years I progressed from a tiny cubicle
To a desk next to a noisy hall;
From cold tile to thick carpet,
Mahogany desk and window wall.

Now at seventy plus I get up late,
Or wake at dawn and watch the sun
Creep cat like across the lawn.
Later I play at gardening
For an hour or two, or simply
Put my feet up and enjoy the view.
But, strange as it may seem,
I miss the work I used to do.


It’s September and my child who is almost five has started school.
I’ve never walked him to the bus, been inside his classroom
Or seen him on the playground with his new friends.
In the mornings I pack his lunch; peanut butter sandwiches,
Carrot sticks and perfect polished apples.
Kissing his sweet cheek I smile and wave from the door
Like the best of mothers. But if I try to go outside I freeze,
Feel fear like an electric shock, terrifyingly real.
My heart races, my legs grow weak; my senses come unglued and whirl.
What good is free will if I can’t take my child to school,
Walk down the street or go into shops?
My world’s becoming an ever smaller place.
Can I exist as a prisoner in a house, a room?
Like a genie trapped in a bottle will I shrink to fit the space?
My immortal soul I’d give, if, free of fear,
I could go out into the world and simply live.

In Memory of Kate
Free at last.


The painting was finally finished
In a month when sunlight, at a certain
Hour and angle, still warms the air.
In the picture’s foreground a fringe
Of bleached bracken and crushed grass.
Near the opposite bank a young girl
In a yellow dress stands ankle deep in the stream
Looking at something or someone in
The distance, one slender hand shading her eyes;
Behind her on the bank are silver birches
And one sycamore that shows
A hint of autumn on its turning leaf.
Three clouds huddle on the right, faintly blue,
And a dark smudge of unidentifiable
Birds in the upper left seem a premonition.

Intimate Strangers

At night you pull my body to yours, silently,
Acting out of appetite, not love.
Desperately I search for meaning in the act,
But find none beyond itself.
Satisfied, you turn your back, sigh, stretch
And sleep. Desolate, I stare
At the darkness in my soul and weep,
Cursing my imperfections and you.