Thursday, December 3, 2020

Rabbits and the full moon of winter


artist - Wendy Andrews

Something about these images of rabbits.... something magical

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

His wing scythes down another day


Here's a wonderful winter poem by Robert Penn Warren

Evening Hawk

Robert Penn Warren - 1905-1989


From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through

Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,

Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding

The last tumultuous avalanche of

Light above pines and the guttural gorge,

The hawk comes.

               His wing

Scythes down another day, his motion

Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear

The crashless fall of stalks of Time.


The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.


Look!  Look!  he is climbing the last light

Who knows neither Time nor error, and under

Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings

Into shadow.


          Long now,

The last thrush is still, the last bat

Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics.  His wisdom

Is ancient, too, and immense.  The star

Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.


If there were no wind we might, we think, hear

The earth grind on its axis, or history

Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

From New and Selected Poems 1923-1985 by Robert Penn Warren,





Tuesday, December 1, 2020

He will come like last leaf's fall


It's December first at last.

Here's a poem from Rowan Williams that I especially love:

Advent Calendar

by Rowan Williams

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Last Day of November


Olga Knezvic     November Sky

Last chance to post this poignant poem by Lisel Mueller:

In November


By Lisel Mueller



Outside the house the wind is howling

and the trees are creaking horribly.

This is an old story

with its old beginning,

as I lay me down to sleep.

But when I wake up, sunlight

has taken over the room.

You have already made the coffee

and the radio brings us music

from a confident age. In the paper

bad news is set in distant places.

Whatever was bound to happen

in my story did not happen.

But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.

Perhaps a name was changed.

A small mistake. Perhaps

a woman I do not know

is facing the day with the heavy heart

that, by all rights, should have been mine.


Reprinted from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, Louisiana State University Press, 1996, by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller.


Andrea Kowch      Apple of my eye

Sunday, November 29, 2020

It is important that people be awake


The following is a poem about reading, and not just books.  I feel that I have been illiterate for many years.

Here's an enigmatic poem by William Stafford:

A Ritual to Read to Each Other


If you don't know the kind of person I am

and I don't know the kind of person you are

a pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.


For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break

sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood

storming out to play through the broken dike.


And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,

but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,

I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.


And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,

a remote important region in all who talk:

though we could fool each other, we should consider—

lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.


For it is important that awake people be awake,

or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.



William Stafford, "A Ritual to Read to Each Other" from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by William Stafford.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice (Norwood House Press, 2013)



Thursday, November 26, 2020

The World Begins at a Kitchen Table


Thanksgiving Painting     Hongian Zhang

This poem by Joy Harjo seems appropriate for this strange Thanksgiving Day:



Perhaps the World Ends Here


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.


The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.


We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.


It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.


At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.


Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.


This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.


Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.


We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.


At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.


Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.


"Perhaps the World Ends Here" from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.,

Source: The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1994)

Our Daily Bread     Saundra Johnson

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pause for Surgery


On Monday, November 23, I had Mohs Micrographic surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from the tip of my nose.  Basal cell is not deadly, but it is invasive and destructive.  So I also have a skin graft from the side of my face onto my nose.  Am swathed in bandages now.  Won't know what this looks like until next Monday,

This is the third "mohs"  I've had: a very large one in 2000, a smaller one on my left temple in 2015, and this one now.   All those years of sunburn combined with Irish/German skin have done their damage.

Here 's a poem I wrote about this a few years ago:



Although the rain ran like a canal

in the creases of the windowsill,

more of it pouring in, filling every crevice

of the screen,

dripping down the lip’s ledge to the floor,

the woman welcomed the wet of it

to her house.

She said, There’s too much danger in the sun.

It’s lied to me for years, she said,

while it crept up and turned its key in my face.





Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Owls have returned


Artist:  Carl Andrew Whitfield

The Barn Owl.

By Lindsay Waddell.



A ghostly figure floating to and fro

When the dawn comes, where does it go?

Back and forth across the rough grass

Searching for rodents on every pass.

Years gone by they were nearly lost

Had they gone ‘twould have been to our cost

We’d poisoned our land, the owls as well

Had it not stopped we’d all be in hell.

Now thirty years on and they have returned

The sight of one hunting is not to be spurned

Many a rat has gone to his doom

‘Cos a barn owl appeared from the gloom.

From dusk to dawn they quarter the ground

On light feathered wings there’s nary a sound

And when the chance comes, there is no mistake,

The barn owl another meal it does make.

For the farmer, and keeper alike

The sight of one hunting’s a lovely sight

And for those who think we’d kill these things-

I could do no harm to those fine feathered wings.

It can nest in my shed as long as it likes

Taking those mice to feed its chicks

Who sit in a row with so solemn faces

Won’t be long before they’re put through their paces.

And off they will go out into the Dale.

Artist: Jan  Brett

Friday, November 20, 2020

They hear all your wishes. They know all your dreams.


Crow      Art by Janie Olsen

I love this poem by Patrick Kavanagh:

Raven’s Rest

By Patrick W Kavanagh.

The trees whisper gently, “The Raven’s at rest”.

The chicks are all safely tucked up in their nests.

The green grass is sleepy as light slowly fades.

The sheep are all dozing on hills and in glades.

The faeries arise as the moon lights the sky.

If you quietly peek you can see them fly by.

They fish in the pond and they play in the trees.

You can hear their soft laughter float by in the breeze.

They love making stories and puzzles and rhymes.

That’s mostly how wee folk love spending their time.

They hear all your wishes. They know all your dreams.

But nothing they tell you may be what it seems.

I spoke to a seanchaĆ­ who once raised a stone.

He told me a story that’s second to none.

It’s really a puzzle, that almost got lost.

The puzzle is this, - that a swan is a ghost.

He gave me this puzzle as day turned to night.

I pondered and wondered ‘til dawns early light.

The clue was a duckling who grew into a swan.

The answer was, - sometimes that story is wrong.

A duckling’s a duckling – a child is a child.

And each should be cherished and cheerful and wild.

Each duckling is perfect in their special way.

There’s no need to wish to be swans some fine day.

I spoke to the Faeries, and they all agreed,

That swan-dom could just be an unhappy seed.

Much better to be the best duck you can be,

Than to swan around posing for people to see.

I know it’s a story that’s strange and bizarre.

But the moral is easy – just be who you are.

No need to pretend or to put on a show.

Being happy as you is the best way to go.

(seanchaĆ­ pronounced Shaun-chy. (Gaelic storyteller)

Artist:     Rosie Dore


Thursday, November 19, 2020

We arrive here improvised

Catrin Welz Stein   Woman with balloons in sky

I love this poem by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing Twice

by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing can ever happen twice.

In consequence, the sorry fact is

that we arrive here improvised

and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,

if you're the planet's biggest dunce,

you can't repeat the class in summer:

this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,

no two nights will teach what bliss is

in precisely the same way,

with precisely the same kisses.

One day, perhaps some idle tongue

mentions your name by accident:

I feel as if a rose were flung

into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me,

I can't help looking at the clock:

A rose? A rose? What could that be?

Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day

with so much needless fear and sorrow?

It's in its nature not to stay:

Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer

to seek accord beneath our star,

although we're different (we concur)

just as two drops of water are.

Andrea Kowch      Hay fire



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Choose a world of mystery and magic


Artist:  Jane Newland

Here's an encouraging poem from Patrick Kavanagh:

Help in Troubled Times.     

By Patrick W Kavanagh

Did you ever want to fly away from sorrowful and troubled times?

Have you ever wished that somehow you could soar above life’s cares?

The world is such a lovely place when seen from far above the clouds.

Drawing strength from stillness as you gaze down on the worried crowds.

There is peace in silence. There is joy and beauty in a cloudy day.

Laying in a quiet place to watch the mist-made dragons play.

Our imagination can build castles made for heroes in the sky.

Just as we build the future; although no one knows exactly how, or why.

When your life is too intense and you’re too tired to dream.

We will dream your dreams for you until your dreams come true.

Lay your head upon your hand and let us take you far away,

Into a wondrous world where angels sing, and laughing children play.

Our world is just as real as any world that fills your weary mind.

Close your eyes and take our hand to seek what you may find.

The taste of salt - the cold, wet, smoothness of a pebble from a childhood sunny beach.

The sound of autumn leaves that crinkle in your hand, and other memories beyond your worried reach.

We can take you to that long-forgotten world where everyone can live without a care.

We can raise your spirits with our laughter – we can take you far beyond illusion and despair.

Choose a world of mystery and magic – let imagination build a world that’s full of joy for all.

Trust in Love- for love is all we have to give to you, and love will never let you fall.

Close your eyes and breathe out all the worries and the troubles from your mind.

As you breathe back in – remember all those times when everything worked out just fine.

Every breath you take is victory, and life can be a battle – but a battle you have won a million times.

And, when the time to go has finally arrived, we’ll dance with you until the end of time.

Artist: Amanda Clark