Monday, December 28, 2009

Poem published in Common Ground Review

The poem is about my experience last winter - had cancer treatments which made me so ill that I was very dehydrated and had blurred vision - couldn't read from Feb. to May. Thought I'd never read again. That was worse than having cancer.


I'm floating on a narrow mattress
on a desert island,
in an ocean of grey floor, pale green walls.
The plane has crashed.
I'm washed up,
stranded here,
cast away into a wilderness
of dehydrated silence.
my blurred eyes cast about
for signs of health,
for signs of death.
But I am a castaway,
shipwrecked by broken bowels,
by waterstarved heart.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow was general all over Maryland...

It snowed again --- Friday night, Dec.18, all the way through to late Saturday night,
Dec.19. We had about 20 inches. Beautful in the sun today....
birds back and forth at my windowsill: Redbellies, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice, House Finches, Goldfinches, Doves, Juncos, a female Purple Finch, and a Carolina Wren.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Surprise snow this week

It snowed beautifully Tuesday evening. My college students went out frolicking in it.

Somehow the snow in Emmitsburg seems poignant this year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Field Mouse on the Bird Bell!

I didn't get a photo ( found this one on Google Images) and our mouse was feasting on one of those nut/birdseed bells wired to the windowscreen --- but three stories up! Saw him there last night,gorging himself, and he was still there this morning, sleeping on the birdbell!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My New Chapbook

due out from Finishing Line Press on November 30.

Cover photo and design by my friend Deborah Humphreys

In the Hand of the Bander

( photo from Google Images)

In the Hand of the Bander

Not named for the coarse open fabric of flags,
but named after sifting seeds,
after blue dye from hairy blooms of the legume family
in India, Indigo Buntings flash,
hue of the portion of the visible spectrum from blue to violet
evoked in the human observer
by radiant energy,
by iridescence in flight.
Female Indigo Bunting
in the hand of the bander,
more subtle than your glorious mate,
deceptively brown,
outraged at your capture,
you biting the hand of the bander,
fierce as a falcon.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Poem: The Cat and the Fireworks

The Cat and the Fireworks

At the first volley of fireworks,
unseen except for flashes
of lightening like light,
the calico cat sprang to alert.
leapt to the windowsill,
retreated under the bed,
then emerged and sprang to the
top of the bureau.
A low growl rumbled from
her belly-
a sound I never heard her make before.
Deep, rolling growl
sound radiating through fur
as she watched from
her patrol post
for the duration of the fireworks.
She became the cat in someone’s bedroom
in London,
on the first night of the Blitz.
She became the cat distracted from catching rats in the church
in Dresden,
as the planes rained down fire and boulders.

She became the cat cowering in the doorway
in Baghdad,
When the Americans bombed Saddam
back to his bunker.

All the cats
in all the arrowstruck, cannonstruck
cities down the centuries,
interrupted, startled,
terrified, growling deep,
feral, innocent,
instincts bristling.

Some recent poems


Catering to the desire to see
further than is possible
when using the naked eye,
the desire to see the
Yellow- breasted Chat
who chuckles in the Cape May sun
from a distant treetop,
Binoculars present the opportunity.
Objective lens,
Ocular lens,
Porro Prism
Provide precision,
and even better,
Eye Relief.

Rubber eyepieces now crumble
from age, sweat,
skin oil,
bug spray.
Still the collimation offers
perfect stereoscopic vision.
The interpupillary distance
between the pupils of the eyes
is different for each person.
Thus the central hinge
permits differentiation.

The Yellow-breasted Chat
glows buttery gold
in the sunlight,
appearing eight times
closer to me
than he actually is.
I can almost see the lustful glint
in his beady black eyes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Waiting for Harry Potter

For six years or so I have been fascinated by the Harry Potter books and films.
I'm not sure why! I've read the books and watched the films more than once.
I've also been avidly reading the blogs of Travis Prinzi and Janet Batchelor,
enjoying their grownup perceptions about the characters, and even more, about the
craft of Rowling.

So, the Half-Blood Prince film is due out in less than a month. I'll wait to see it
until at least August, hoping the lines won't be so long then.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lost Planner

Sometime between Sunday and today, I misplaced my Monthly Planner.
This is bad. I had to call the doctor's office to find out the time of the appointment I know I have today... and even had to look up the phone number on the Internet, since the Monthly Planner also contains all the addresses/phone numbers in use this current year. I've retraced my steps and scoured my room, to no avail.
I must have left it at the nursing home when I visited Mom. Will return there on Thursday, and hope it's there.

I love Elizabeth Bishop's poem "The Art of losing isn't hard to master..."
because she describes my experience too. Lately I've been thinking of writing a poem called "Incremental Losses." But that's not a good way to start writing a poem.
I need to start with images. Maybe this Monthly Planner will be a good image.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Long time between postings.

In December, I was diagnosed with Stage IIb cervical cancer. From Jan.5 until Feb.26 I had daily radiation treatments, weekly internal radiation treatments, and weekly chemo. These treatments gave me terrible diarrhea, which caused terribe dehydration,
which caused, among other things, blurred vision. I ended up in our Infirmary from Feb.6 until April 8, recovering. It was truly a dark night experience.
I thought I would never read again, drive again, teach again. Not to mention that I thought I would die very soon.

So at this date, my vision has cleared. I can read again and drive again. I will teach again in the Fall semester. God alone knows when I will die, or if this cancer will be the death of me. It has certainly had an effect on my priorities.

Yesterday I began to write again.