October: When to Worry

A poem for October, for always.


The Old Man – a poem

The old man paused on the bridge
a favorite stop
upstream of the lazy oxbow

where a boy once watched
the milky gold
afternoon light

spill through the alders
into empty space
over still water

its silent weight
filled the air

suspending dragonflies
as they patrolled the cattails


as if they knew
the lateness of the hour.


August: A Poem on Mortality

By Anya Krugovoy Silver, who died in 2018 after breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 (also the year she gave birth to her child). This poem of courage and insight is typical of Krugovoy’s lyrical poetry and her bittersweet, wise reflections on mortality as she lived with cancer. She said she saw her poems bloom during these years, and her writing helped her live with loss and grief. August, a beautiful poem.


Writing is an act of recovery and self defense.




Your absence is not what you think.
It’s not your chair expecting company
or mail left unopened.
It can be moonlight.
I think of how I find happiness:
I’m walking in a meadow,
sun full on my face.
It comes not because
I miss thorns and nettles.
It comes because
my feet sink into sweet clover
and I smell wild roses before
I spot them spilling
over the split rail fence.
I know you by your presence.
One day
I’ll set your phantom free
but not until
I fill your void with light.


A Poem is the Old House

A poem is the old house 
on your street,

front door unlocked,
dark until you enter.

Let your eyes adjust,
pull aside the curtains
and leave open the door.

The poet knows how darkness obscures, and darkness magnifies.

You might find this room cozy
or cavernous and cold.

You’ll move room to room.
Some rooms enlighten or confuse;

this house holds artifacts of another life.

An old piano fills one lilac-scented room;

on the worn plank floor, sheets of ragtime and Bach
waiting for you.

After an unsettling turn, you’ll find a grand room,

one staircase candlelit, the other dark.

Explore them now, or return
with a friend.

When you are ready,
the door’s unlocked.

The poet built the house;
you bring light.


Fidelity – Poem


These days are not grey 
as I will remember.
These days of low fresco skies
watercolor apples 
life, still life. 

These nights not empty 
as I will remember,
of silver moons,
cinnamon light. 

So much depends on forgetting.
But one promise 
I will remember 
every day 
each jewel of light 
grinds down to cool darkness. 

A Masterpiece on Loss

This masterpiece “One Art” by Ellen Bass (1976) taught me about loss as well as the possibilities of a poem.


On Writing a Poem

I’ve been thinking about why I read and write poems, and what they mean to me. Aren’t those questions as old as poetry?


Matsuo Bashō was a 17th century Japanese master of haiku and poetry. This line comes from a passage he wrote on the meaning of poetry.