Most Requested Poems 



Where Plovers Complain

When my body rouses at the slightest,
and I fear you will not return, and our lives
shrivel from the world's trumpeting,
I go in silence to rest, where your spirit speaks,
where plovers' complaints precede the dawn,
in a cove where waves continuously crest and crush.
I come into the resonance of music
unmediated by voice or strings. 

 
​           to pirouette

center your balance, stay
calm, place your leg in  a 
deep plie, lift yourself
over your toes, and turn,
and turn, and turn again.

To turn, and turn again
feel the turn, left knee out,
your arms held gently in,
then on demiplie,
come down solid, erect.




                        The Poet

As his books, his fame, and cataracts grew,

Borges spoke of his sense of The Art: Speak only

true words. As you approach Sophia's window,

Go slow. Too many words, is no song. Permit

each breath its speech against silence.


.                         The Month Between 

Weather wavers at April's door. Wind strips​ 
trees of unfolding buds. Intermittent rain 
flattens nasturtiums. What flips
the flibbertigibbet? brings a refrain 

of showers after sun? a mix of wet​ and warm, 
an on-again, off-again
affair of sun on snow, a false alarm
of a chill wind midmonth, a noise of wrens

in a new birdhouse, and hail on green fruit 
in an old apricot tree? Cumulus clouds
scull across the sky, the wind bruits
its own departure in a great roust,

only to leave behind the sense of rain,​ the scent of what's to follow, furthering spring.

 


The Afterimage 

                                                      Written after reading Mark Antonacci's The Resurrection 
                                                 of the Shroud. Antonacci concludes that contemporary 
                                                 technology has not determined the nature of the image 
                                                 which lies upon the fibers of the Shroud of Turin.


You --Your body laid out, bloody, unwashed --
unperfumed but for the nard -- upon
each eye a coin -- Israel's flowers tossed
beside it. Now, your suffering is done.

Toe to head to toe, wrapped in linen tight --
once rigor mortis set your body rigid --
before decay -- You radiated light, 
the flash of a millisecond, undid

death. -- Your body dematerialized.
The cloth dropped through the space it left behind. --  
The thinnest broth of color, there energized, 
reveals your wounds' responding prints, co-signed

with blood. Your face upon its warp and weft
proclaims your resurrection -- Your theft of death.

Windstruck


In the spring winds, you carried the fresh washed clothes 
out to hang dry on clotheslines. You hung shirts by their tails
and let the sleeves dangle. You hung pants upside down, 
shook the fabric, pulled the pockets out and let any coins fall free

for us to find. Sheets you hung by center-lines and the folds
swung open and closed in the flapping breeze. 
One by one, out of the basket, you hung towels, corner after corner, 
a varicolored string of rectangles, and shorts, handkerchiefs, socks—

You walked one line to the end and returned on the next, measuring out 
briefs and lingerie against the breeze, still cold from winter. 
We ran between the sheets and towels and let the yet wet
cloth slap our faces and the sunstruck sheets blind us.

How could we not praise the winds that sucked our laundry dry
and left behind sheets and clothing stiff with sky?



        A Madeleine of Peaches

                            With a bow to Marcel Proust’s Remembrances 

Rhubarb stalks, squat and ruddy,
diced, honeyed, set to stew--
fresh-picked peaches skinned, sliced and syruped,
set on the burner to brew.

My mother's glass Mason jars shine,
The past is about to congeal.
The time approaches to fill these jars,
wipe the rims, and set their lids to seal.

The scent of the rhubarb and honey--
the slip and syrup of peaches-- the heat
of the stove and the kitchen swirl. To my mind,
my mother appears, the images compete—

she, in her assisted living suite--
I, miles away-- a kitchen new to me--
this recipe hers-- these fruits, her planting-- even
these jars are hers, my madeleine, my tea.

I see her gardens' sweet produce, her patience,
foresight, plans. She focused my tasks, my days.
She fostered pear and peach trees, raspberries, rhubarb,
asparagus-- marigolds and zinnias-- bouquets

that lit her rooms-- her pleasant smiles, the warmth
and sweetness of her presence-- the reservoir
of grace she drew from. 
                                                The tick-tock stopped,
the alarm rang, and I turned to filling jars.



Through the Hut Door at Aslan's Keep

                                        "Don't stop! Further up and further in!"                                             called Farsight... --C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

As you gaze, along and through Yosemite's valley
from lustrous river to the Sierras' rim,
you are bidden, Come, you must come to see
what's further up and further in.

When shadows narrow the valley floor,
light outlines the scars, reveals the shine 
of the sheered-off granite faces, and opens the door
to further up, and further in,

into stone thrust up by earth's shambling deep,
stone clothed with light, stone that calls, Come in,
into our room, our enormous keep.
Come, further up, and further in.

As we glide in, the door expands
and this valley widens through all mountains
and brings us to them, mere borderlands
to further up and further in

where we ascend the spray of waterfalls
to more fragrant air, to fields of lupine,
under the dimple of a sky's open parasol,
the edge of further up and further in,

up Tenaya's gorge and smooth rock bowl
and around the sun-rimmed curve of a mountain,
to see beyond the higher altitudes
what is further up and further in.

Water, Music

a light rain
wrinkles the pond
cherry petals
white, spattered

crimple the pond
a hush of flutes drifts
white, spattered
in the tremulous air

a hush of flutes adrift
drops rain on and off
in the trembling air
from black twigs

rain drips on and off
cherry petals
upon black twigs
in a light rain 
.
What Did the Cornfield Say?
August 1904, Durand, Illinois


When the prairie whispers all morning, all morning,
when the cornfields are growing all night, all day,
where do guys go for a personal talk,
so no one can hear what they have to say?

Into the cornfields, between the rows
went Jimmy and Charles once they heard the news
away from Durand, away from the neighbors,
away from saloons, away from the pews

alone with the cornstalks, alone with the crows.
Spencer was dead and Felts was in jail.
"What did we know? What should we say?"
Stone deaf and old, Felts was charged with no bail.

"On the sidewalk where he died, where we were, 
passed out drunk. What did we see?
What did we hear? Felts walked up to Spencer,
stabbed him and left? Can we agree?"

"We got ta say something and say ‘bout the same.
We were passed out and we couldn’t see,
we couldn't hear. Shall we say nothing?
Anything you remember at all?"    
                                                                    "Nothing, not me."

When the prairie whispers, whispers all morning,
when the cornfields are growing all night, all day, 
where do guys go for a personal talk,
so no one can hear what they have to say?

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