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Autumn sonnet

Here is one of May Sarton's wonderful autumn sonnets.  This was included in my mother's memorial service booklet.

If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
I I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure--if I can let you go.

May Sarton (1912-1995)

September arrives

Fall is my favorite time in Maine.  We're starting to see a few colorful leaves. I don't usually post my own poetry, but this one is very timely.  It is from my book THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS (Moon Pie Press, 2011) and is a pantoum, a poem form with very specific rhymes and repeating lines.  I love seeing so many tourists streaming south out of Maine.  Thanks for coming and keeping our economy afloat -- now please let us have our state back.  

a river of traffic, tourists migrating south
returning to places "the way life shouldn't be"
Winnebagos hung with lawn chairs, bikes, canoes
lemmings streaming away from the sea

returning to places "the way life shouldn't be"
wallets lighter, clothes tighter, cameras full
lemmings streaming away from the sea
we love their money but it's September now

wallets lighter, clothes tighter, cameras full
did Maine live up to their fantasies?
we love their money but it's September now
time to take back our roads, beaches, parks

did Maine live up to their memories?
those who stay turn our thoughts to winter
time to take back our roads, beaches, parks
and for a while, revel in the quiet, shorter days

those who stay turn our thoughts to winter
the visitors say goodbye and pack their cars full
Winnebagos hung with with lawn chairs, bikes, canoes--
a river of traffic thundering south

Light verse

I think successful light or humorous verse is harder to write than one might think.  It has an honored place in poetry, at least for me.  Here is a fresh example from Portland, Maine poet John McVeigh. (Used with permission.)  John's Moon Pie Press collection of poetry is called BURNING CHAIRS (2013) and is available from our website.  And by the way, that's a terrific song.


"and I seem to find the happiness I seek.."  ("Cheek to Cheek", song written by Irving Berlin for the 1935 movie "Top Hat" with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.)

After the many indignities of an overnight in the hospital--
and there are many, from the open-backed gown
to the 1 AM and 4 AM forced wake-ups for medication
to peeing in a container so that measurements can be made--
"Ooh! Nice pee! Good color!" the chipper night nurse says--
to the hacking and snoring of my unknown roommate
on the other side of the curtain
to the 99 channels of crappy cable TV,
it comes as a relief in the morning when the bedsore patrol arrives.

Yes, they do have to see my skin, and yes, all of it, so
could I roll to this side, oh, OK, now to the other side, yes, good.
Thank you, sir.  No, thank you, ma'm, a delight.
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
when we're out together dancing cheek to cheek.

Summer in full swing

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Here's a timely poem/song from the archives of Prairie Home Companion, written by Garrison Keillor.


It’s summer and some people head for the woods,
Canoe wild streams to show they’ve got the goods,
Hiking and biking and running outdoors,
But I think I’ll just go out and lie on my porch.

Just give me two pillows and a bottle of Schmidt,
And a big plate of snacks I can reach where I sit,
And a book about nature, and please will someone
Go get my sunglasses, I don’t care for sun.

To all outdoor persons I take off my hat,
They’re young, tan, and trim; I am old, white, and fat.
But I love my porch, I could sit here all day
Just drinking toasts to the BWCA.

Just give me two pillows and a bottle of beer,
And the Twins game on radio next to my ear,
Some hark to the voice of the loon or the teal,
But I love the voice of Herb Carneal.

I think of those joggers out running around.
It makes me tired, I have to lie down.
Someday a team of researchers will find
That jogging is harmful, it joggles your mind.

Give me two pillows and a bottle of Guinness.
Please don’t come in and say, “How about tennis?”
’cause I don’t like sweating, and I don’t like to lose,
And as long as you’re up, would you take off my shoes?

Within two weeks’ vacation, I sent for brochures
Describing excursions and cruises and tours.
They were lovely, full color, and they made quite a stack,
And I read them all through lying flat on my back.

Just give me two pillows and a bottle of Pabst.
I once was a traveler, but my interest lapsed.
I went thousands of miles the natives to see, 
They were sitting on porches and laughing at me.

Oh, the storms should be put on and that front door needs planing.
The window’s broken, the roof leaks when it’s raining.
But life’s too short to just work it away,
And besides, it don’t seem to be raining today.

Just give me two pillows and a bottle of Löwenbräu.
Please don’t come in and say, “We should be goin’ now.”
Keep all your schedules, calendars, and your dates.
He also serves who just lies here and waits.

Well, soon my old porch will be filled up with snow,
And one of these days I must get up and go
And put on my coat, pull a cap on my head,
Put on my warm boots and crawl into bed.

Strawberries – a June pleasure

One of the many gifts of June is fresh local strawberries. Here is a sexy poem by Scottish poet Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) on that very subject. For a swoon-worthy rendition, check out Tom Hiddleston reading this poem on YouTube.


There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air
in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you
let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills
let the storm wash the plates
from The Second Life, Edinburgh University Press, 1968

Farewell to a prolific Maine writer

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Blooming Spring, Finally

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This lovely short piece is by English poet A.E. Housman (1859-1936), who wrote just two slim (and beloved) volumes of verse: A Shropshire Lad, published at his own expense in 1896, and Last Poems, 1922. This poem is from A Shropshire Lad.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

Read the rest of this entry

Glimmers of Light

Here in Maine spring comes too slowly, but we are inordinately glad to see any signs. We’re still running our furnaces and wearing fleece, but the sun is stronger and the world is finally greening and showing color. As more of us get vaccinated, we can glimpse some freedom ahead. And National Poetry month is here to remind us of poetry’s enduring pleasures.

Read the rest of this entry

Honoring Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti died on February 22, almost 102 years old. He was a poet, publisher, journalist, bookseller and visual artist, very famous for his City Lights Bookstore, established in 1953 in San Francisco, California and still going strong, and his gutsiness in publishing Beat poetry. Ferlinghetti was an excellent poet himself. His book A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND is one of the best-selling poetry books of all time. This poem is from his book A FAR ROCKAWAY OF THE HEART, published in 1997.

A Far Rockaway Of The Heart

Driving a cardboard automobile without a license

at the turn of the century

my father ran into my mother

on a fun-ride at Coney Island

having spied each other eating

in a French boardinghouse nearby

And having decided right there and then

that she was for him entirely

he followed her into

the playland of that evening

where the headlong meeting

of their ephemeral flesh on wheels

hurtled them forever together

And now I in the back seat

of their eternity

reaching out to embrace them

What feathers our nests

The Things by Donald Hall (from The Back Chamber, 2011)

When I walk in my house I see pictures,

bought long ago, framed and hanging

–de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore–

that I’ve cherished and stared at for years,

yet my eyes keep returning to the masters

of the trivial–a white stone perfectly round,

tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,

a broken great-grandmother’s rocker,

a dead dog’s toy–valueless, unforgettable

detritus that my children will throw away

as I did my mother’s souvenirs of trips

with my dead father. Kodaks of kittens,

and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.

Painting: “Red Armchair In Pink Interior”, Lara Lee Meintjes

This poem seems relevant since we have all been cooped up at home so much in the past year. We are so familiar with the choices we’ve made of things to fill our houses. This peculiar time may inspire some to downsize and declutter, or at least ponder what is most important emotionally. I’ve had closet cleaning on my to-do list for a long time, but am not very motivated to get to it. I still have a cardboard box of family photos and artifacts that I had shipped to myself after my mother died. I can’t muster up the courage or energy to go through it. No one will want most of it when I die. I know that sifting through it will bring up a lot of memories and feelings, sad but also nostalgic.

Turn the page

I have never been so glad to put a year behind me as 2020. On top of the obvious stuff like the tension around the election, a global pandemic, economic hard times and isolation, on Dec. 28 my beloved Maine coon cat “George Cooney” died at age 17. George was extraordinarily friendly, smart and beautiful. His mother and her kittens were rescued from a street in downtown Portland. Here he is at 6 months old. I miss him a lot. Thank you to my friend Kevin Sweeney, excellent poet and cat lover, for this wonderful poem, which seems appropriate.

Chaplinesque Hart Crane (1899-1931)

We make our meek adjustments,

Contented with such random consolations

As the wind deposits

In slithered and too ample pockets. /

For we can still love the world, who find

A famished kitten on the step, and know

Recesses for it from the fury of the street,

Or warm torn elbow converts. /

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk

Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb

That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,

Facing the dull squint with what innocence

And what surprise!/

And yet these fine collapses are not lies

More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;

Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.

We can evade you, and all else but the heart:

What blame to us if the heart live on./

The game enforces smirks; but we have seen

The moon in lonely alleys make

A grail of laughter of an empty ash can,

And through all sound of gaiety and quest

Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.

First Snow

This is my kitten Tallulah watching it snow last year. In southern Maine we are supposed to get 2 to 5 inches tomorrow evening. Here is a thought-provoking poem by Louis MacNeice (1907-1963) from The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice, copyright 1967.


The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was

Spawning snow and pink roses against it

Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:

World is suddener than we fancy it.

Read the rest of this entry

Travel in your mind

In this pandemic year where it is not safe to travel, books and television have become even more important to me. I’m a fan of Scandinavian noir–mysteries set in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, or Norway. Henning Mankell and his Wallander series of books are one of my favorites. I very much enjoyed two Scandinavian TV series: “The Bridge” and “The Restaurant.” Be sure to watch the Swedish version of “The Bridge”, which is the best. It’s dark but absolutely compelling. “The Restaurant” is a three season series set in Stockholm on the Roku Channel and Sundance Now, very popular in Europe, which I think is as good as “Downton Abbey”– terrific production values, acting and costumes. Thank goodness for ebooks from the library, Netflix and Prime. Now if we can just get to the end of this very difficult year. I think better times are ahead and hope that you feel that way, too.

A poem for fraught times

Here is an unusual poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. One of its themes compares the waning of the year to aging. From Selected Poems, copyright 1963. (Please forgive the slashes between stanzas. I haven’t yet figured out the much more complicated new version of WordPress. I will!)

A Sunset of the City

Already I am no longer looked at with lechery or love.

My daughters and sons have put me away with marbles and dolls,

Are gone from the house.

My husband and lovers are pleasant or somewhat polite

And night is night.


It is a real chill out,

The genuine thing.

I am not deceived, I do not think it is still summer

Because sun stays and birds continue to sing.


It is summer-gone that I see, it is summer-gone.

The sweet flowers indrying and dying down,

The grasses forgetting their blaze and consenting to brown.


It is a real chill out. The fall crisp comes.

I am aware there is winter to heed.

There is no warm house

That is fitted with my need.

I am cold in this cold house this house

Whose washed echoes are tremulous down lost halls.

I am a woman, and dusty, standing among new affairs.

I am a woman who hurries through her prayers.


Tin intimations of a quiet core to be my

Desert and my dear relief

Come: there shall be such islanding from grief,

And small communion with the master shore.

Twang they. And I incline this ear to tin,

Consult a dual dilemma. Whether to dry

In humming pallor or to leap and die.


Somebody muffed it? Somebody wanted to joke.

A short poem to start fall

Here is a poem by T.E. Hulme (1883-1917), an influential English critic and poet who has been called the father of imagism. He was killed in action in Flanders at age 34.


A touch of cold in the Autumn night–

I walked abroad,

And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge

Like a red-faced farmer.

I did not stop to speak, but nodded,

And round about were the wistful stars

With white faces like town children.

Bed In Summer

trees summer sky

When I was a child, we had a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A CHILD’s GARDEN OF VERSES in the house, and I was fond of reading it over and over.  The book first appeared in 1885 and has been reprinted many times with different illustrators.  This is a poem from that book that I think has stood the test of time.  It captures the longing a child has to prolong a summer day.



In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.


I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people’s feet

Still going past me on the street.


And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

Poem for July

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Here is a summer poem set in the city, by William Matthews (1942-1997).

The details in this poem pile up to evoke an uneasy, rather sad feeling.




Haze.  Three student violinists boarding

a bus.  A clatter of jackhammers.

Granular light.  A film of sweat for primer

and the heat for a coat of paint.

A man and a woman on a bench:

she tells him he must be psychic,

for how else could he sense, even before she knew,

that she’d need to call it off? A bicyclist

fumes by with a coach’s whistle clamped

hard between his teeth, shrilling like a teakettle

on the boil.  I never meant, she says.

But I thought, he replies.  Two cabs almost

collide; someone yells fuck in Farsi.

I’m sorry, she says.  The comforts

of loneliness fall in like a bad platoon.

The sky blurs–there’s a storm coming

up or down.  A lank cat slinks liquidly

around a corner.  How familiar

it feels to feel strange, hollower

than a bassoon.  A rill of chill air

in the leaves.  A car alarm.  Hail.


summer quote

By the Light of the Moon

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The moon, of course, is the subject of thousands of poems.  I was thinking about this looking at a sharp moon in a very clear sky in Maine last night.  Here is a poem by Carl Sandburg (1878-1967),  a somewhat out-of-fashion but marvelous poet. He won three Pulitizers, two for his poetry and one for his biography of Lincoln.

Back Yard


Shine on, o moon of summer.

Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,

All silver under your rain to-night.


An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.

A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month;

to-night they are throwing you kisses.


An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a

cherry tree in his back yard.


The clocks say I must go–I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking

white thoughts you rain down.


Shine on, o moon,

Shake out more and more silver changes.


moon night sky

Honoring an American poet

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Gary Snyder

Today is poet Gary Snyder’s 90th birthday, as Garrison Keillor reminded us on The Writer’s Almanac.  I first read and loved his poetry when I was a college student in California in 1969. Here is a poem of Snyder’s from his book AXE HANDLES, copyright 1983 by Gary Snyder.


One afternoon the last week in April

Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet

One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.

He recalls the hatchet-head

Without a handle, in the shop

And go gets it, and wants it for his own.

A broken-off axe handle behind the door

Is long enough for a hatchet,

We cut it to length and take it

With the hatchet head

And working hatchet, to the wood block.

There I begin to shape the old handle

With the hatchet, and the phrase

First learned from Ezra Pound

Rings in my ears!

“When making an axe handle

the pattern is not far off.”

And I say this to Kai

“Look: We’ll shape the handle

By checking the handle

Of the axe we cut with–”

And he sees.  And I hear it again:

It’s in Lu Ji’s Wen Fu, fourth century

A.D. “Essay On Literature”–in the

Preface: “In making the handle

Of an axe

By cutting wood with an axe

The model is indeed near at hand.”

My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen

Translated that and taught it years ago

And I see:  Pound was an axe,

Chen was an axe, I am an axe

And my son a handle, soon

To be shaping again, model

And tool, craft of culture,

How we go on.


Poem of gratitude in this scary time

This is the loneliest National Poetry Month in my memory, with no live readings. It’s heartening that creative people are figuring out new ways to share poetry on Zoom, YouTube and other platforms. As clever as these virtual events are, nothing can take the place of a live audience in the same room as a reader.   The strange “new normal” we’re living in seems like the right time to post this simple, powerful poem about not taking being healthy, or one’s comforting routines, for granted.  It’s a favorite of mine by the late New Hampshire poet Jane Kenyon. (from Collected Poems, copyright 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.)


I got out of bed

on two strong legs.

It might have been

otherwise.  I ate

cereal, sweet

milk, flawless

peach.  It might

have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill

to the birch wood.

All morning I did

the work I love.

At noon I lay down

with my mate.  It might

have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together

at a table with silver

candlesticks.  It might

have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed

in a room with paintings

on the walls, and

planned another day

just like this day,

But one day,  I know,

it will be otherwise.

forsythia close up



Poem for Trying Times

Photos of iconic places like the Piazza San Marco and Times Square empty – the way we’ve never seen them – are haunting.  What a difference a month makes.  It’s hard to grasp how strange this spring is and will be: no Easter celebrations, baseball, Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon. One comforting and positive side of this plague is a flowering of online music, poetry, museum tours and art offered to everyone for free.  April, National Poetry Month, will be very different, but poets will always keep writing and sharing their work in new ways.  Here’s a poem that speaks to the uncertainty of life and how quickly things can change.  To anyone out there reading this blog, stay home, stay safe and let your creative voice be heard.

NOTICE                          by Steve Kowit

This evening, the sturdy Levi’s

I wore every day for over a year

& which seemed to the end

in perfect condition,

suddenly tore.

How or why I don’t know,

but there it was: a big rip at the crotch.

A month ago my friend Nick

walked off a racquetball court,


got into his street clothes,

& halfway home collapsed & died.

Take heed, you who read this,

& drop to your knees now & again

like the poet Christopher Smart,

& kiss the earth & be joyful,

& make much of your time,

& be kindly to everyone,

even to those who do not deserve it.

For although you may not believe

it will happen,

you too will one day be gone.

I, whose Levi’s ripped at the crotch

for no reason,

assure you that such is the case.

Pass it on.


empty piazza san marco

Spring Marches slowly


seed catalog flowers

We’re in that time of year between true winter and real spring – classic Maine “mud season”, when the temperatures veer wildly and a lot of us are greedily perusing garden and seed catalogs.  We know we can’t plant outside until May, but we can dream.  Here is a wonderfully rhymed poem by Robert Frost, published in 1927.


These pools that, though in forests, still reflect

The total sky almost without defect,

And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,

Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,

And yet not out by any brook or river,

But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds

To darken nature and be summer woods –

Let them think twice before they use their powers

To blot out and drink up and sweep away

These flowery waters and these watery flowers

From snow that melted only yesterday.





Dreaming of color in a white/gray month

Delphinium New Millennium Dwarf Stars SKU 64015

Jane Kenyon was a passionate gardener.  Like another New England poet to whom she is often compared, Robert Frost, she paid close attention to the seasons and their effects, and uses simple language to convey deep feeling.

February:  Thinking of Flowers

Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.

Nothing but white–the air, the light;
only one brown milkweed pod
bobbing in the gully, smallest
brown boat on the immense tide.

A single green sprouting thing
would restore me. . . .

Then think of the tall delphinium,
swaying, or the bee when it comes
to the tongue of the burgundy lily.


Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)

How to be a better reader (out loud)

cat with book, glasses

I’ve attended a lot of poetry readings, both as a reader and an audience member.  Over the years, I’ve evolved some pretty strong opinions about what makes a good reading.  So for what it’s worth, here’s my list.

  1. Don’t take more than your allotted time.  Practice your reading at home so you know how long it will take.  Otherwise you are shorting other readers’ time and probably boring your audience. Some readers set their phone to time them, or have a friend in the audience signal when time is getting near.  But if you practice, you should know exactly how many poems to read.
  2.  Always leave them wanting more.  If in doubt, read less.  If the reading is engaging, people will find your books or online work later.
  3.  I think it’s good to start by reading at least one poem by another poet.  This makes the reading more interesting and makes your own reading seem like a bit less of an ego trip.
  4.  Decide what you’re going to read ahead of time and MARK THE BOOKS or papers you are reading from. Don’t wing it and shuffle pages making your audience wait.  To me this is charmless, amateurish and dissing the people listening.
  5.  Vary the tone of what you read.  Don’t read all sad or serious poems.  Throw in some funny ones or alternate forms.
  6.  Do minimal explaining or introduction to your poems.  The poems should stand on their own.  Rambling stories are rarely as entertaining as you might think.
  7.  Speak clearly and loudly enough.  Bring your glasses.  Print out poems in large font if you have trouble reading.  Don’t assume the lighting will be good.
  8.  Wear something you are comfortable in.  Make some eye contact with your audience.
  9.  Gauge your audience and have backup poems.  Some venues or audiences are not appropriate for poems with curse words.
  10.   If you are a poor reader of your work, tend to mumble, not speak up, rush through your poems, or are just really nervous reading, the experience will be stressful for you and your audience.  Consider getting some coaching or take a speech or acting class. Performing your poetry in public is a very different skill from writing it.  It’s all right not to be a great reader, but every poet can be a good reader.


A poem to end the year

Yevtushenko older1932-2017 Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1932-2017) was a charismatic, internationally known Russian poet, actor, director and political activist.  This is a translation by Boris Dralyuk of one of Yevtushenko’s poems.  It came to mind because as the year winds down, many people, including me, struggle with the bittersweet, emotionally loaded nature of the holidays.  We may love the lights and decorations, the get-togethers and presents, but we also miss the loved ones we will never see again.  I miss my parents, who both loved Christmas, intensely.  I honor them by baking Mom’s holiday cookies, putting old family ornaments on my tree, and looking at photos of Christmases past. But none of that negates their absence.

This poem is about how each person is irreplaceable, no matter how quiet or anonymous a life they may have led.


There are no boring people in the world

There are no boring people in this world.

Each fate is like the history of a planet.

And no two planets are alike at all.

Each is distinct – you simply can’t compare it.


If someone lived without attracting notice

and made a friend of their obscurity –

then their uniqueness was precisely this.

Their very plainness made them interesting.


Each person has a world that’s all their own.

Each of those worlds must have its finest moment

and each must have its hour of bitter torment –

and yet, to us, both hours remain unknown.


When people die, they do not die alone.

They die along with their first kiss, first combat.

They take away their first day in the snow…

All gone, all gone – there’s just no way to stop it.


There may be much that’s fated to remain,

but something – something leaves us all the same.

The rules are cruel, the game nightmarish –

it isn’t people but whole worlds that perish.

A poem that doesn’t name its subject

In southern Maine we are getting our first significant snowfall.  Here is a lovely, clever poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) which never names its subject.

snow landscape

It sifts from Leaden Sieves –

It powders all the Wood.

It fills with Alabaster Wool

The Wrinkles of the Road –


It makes an Even Face

Of Mountain, and of Plain –

Unbroken Forehead from the East

Unto the East again –


It reaches to the Fence –

It wraps it Rail by Rail

Till it is lost in Fleeces –

It deals Celestial Vail


To Stump, and Stack – and Stem –

A Summer’s empty Room –

Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,

Recordless, but for them –


It Ruffles Wrists of Posts

As Ankles of a Queen –

Then stills its Artisans – like Ghosts –

Denying they have been –


November for Beginners

Despite wild storms recently, we still have some colorful foliage here in Maine.  For me the time changeover is hard; I don’t like the dark closing in so early.

Here is an elegant fall poem by the wonderful Rita Dove, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995.  Copyright 1981 by Rita Dove.




Snow would be the easy

way out–that softening

sky like a sigh of relief

at finally being allowed

to yield.  No dice.

We stack twigs for burning

in glistening patches

but the rain won’t give.


So we wait, breeding

mood, making music

of decline.  We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.

We ache in secret,



a gloomy line

or two of German.

When spring comes

we promise to act

the fool.  Pour,

rain! Sail, wind,

with your cargo of zithers!


fall leaves and blue sky