Saturday, June 30, 2012


Five-syllable lines:
Gulls on the buoy
Rain, wine-sweet evening
Halcyon day trips
Scent of linseed oil
Named rocks on the shore
Pantomime of joy.
These have seven syllables:
Ocean, lead-gray, almost flat
Concrete marked to look like brick
At two hundred bucks a night,
You’d think the plumbing would work
Canadian strawberries
Irremediable loss
Without further evidence,
He assumes they are in love.
More five-syllable:
White glow on the pond
Nineteen-fifty Ford
Fading August light
A long way from Maine.
But then three:
Childhood dream
Their tree house.


Outside, the bay is that August blue
Of sailboat masts,
White spires beyond the shore.
The workshop leaders want us to
Write with other people’s words,
Describe something that shows
What we believe.
In this long day
We are quickened, finally sated
With new ideas, images,
The insights of strangers and friends.
A canoe, I write, hovers near the dock.
He quickly sees they are not callers
But fishermen run aground,
A casting plug caught in a small maple,
Snarl of line, leaf and hook.
Mild inconvenience yields
This fine New Hampshire morning
To something else...
I do not go on.
People have begun telling
How faith pulled them through surgery.
I cannot use borrowed words
Or say what I believe.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Philip, now eight, begins to sense
Tectonic shifts under his feet.
Granddaddy, he says,
In the chill of a November night,
After basketball at the Y,
Will my children know you?

November 2008

"Overtime" appears in Still Crazy, January 2009

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"The Aorist Tense"

We grieve in vain
For memory’s wandering off,
That favorite corduroy jacket of the mind,
Worn, thread-bare, elbows patched.
A young man learned three different times
Then lost
The aorist tense in Greek
And how to extract the meat
From soft-shelled crabs,
Wielding with a surgeon’s skill
Tiny tweezers and scalpels,
Sugar, vinegar at the ready.
These days, when there is need,
He slips inconspicuously
Into the computer chair
And lets Google help recall
Who played first base
For the Philadelphia A’s
In the summer of ’48.
It’s been a while since he’s had need
Of the Greek aorist
And many years and miles
From Shibe Park
Or the shores of the Chesapeake Bay:
That friend who had the cottage there—
Gone now, of course;
What was his name?

November 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008


Next year’s calendar came today
From the museum shop,
Impressionist landscapes,
Colors not just right,
Still, a gesture of hope.
I fill in dates carried forward
From the past.

Each day I drive by the memorial park,
Ordered rows of artificial plants.
We refuse to make plans,
A gesture of defiance.
Still, it crosses your mind.
Those flowers will not return to dust.

November 2008