Sunday, April 28, 2019

April still comes

This is how it looks where I live.    Even with all the hatred and suicide bombings and catastrophes,
April still endures.

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 71.  I still can't believe I am this old.

Aren't I still this person?


 The years seem to have been gobbled up in a whirlwind of busyness and activity, especially all the years of the 1980's and 90's.   Even the first fifteen years of the 2000's.    I don't have any wisdom to impart on this observation.

I can't get down to writing in these months, sad to say.  I keep falling into new addictions: Playing Solitaire, and watching/reading about "Game of Thrones" which I have very recently come to.
It's even worse than "Breaking Bad" because the story is so much more complex.


Friday, April 26, 2019


I haven't done well with poetry this month.... it just hasn't been coming... or I haven't given it enough time.


I've spent my concentration and energy on thoughts of the courtyard garden.

Anyway, the lilacs are blooming here, though I don't have any bushes in the courtyard garden.

Here's a poem by Amy Lowell:

"Lilacs, False Blue, White, Purple,
Colour of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England ...
Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversation with an early moon;
Lilacs watching a deserted house; ...
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom,
You are everywhere."

-  Amy Lowell 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

National Poetry Month - Day 21

Which is also Easter...

Here's a poem by Emily Dickinson:

"An altered look about the hills;
A Tyrian light the village fills;
A wider sunrise in the dawn;
A deeper twilight on the lawn;
A print of a vermilion foot;
A purple finger on the slope;
A flippant fly upon the pane;
A spider at his trade again;
An added strut in chanticleer;
A flower expected everywhere ..."

-  Emily Dickinson, Nature: April

Saturday, April 13, 2019

National Poetry Month Day 13

April is here and I am out and about...missed a few days.

Here are some words - not by me- about April:

from D.H. Lawrence:

"This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze."

-  D. H. Lawrence, The Enkindled Spring

from Rainer Maria Rilke:

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night." 
-  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke    

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Pink Trees of Emmitsburg

This past weekend I took part in the annual Saint Joseph College Alumnae Reunion. This was the small women's college I attended fifty years or so ago.  It's been closed since 1973, but we still meet each year.  What does that say about the bonds we made in that little college out in the country so many years ago?

Here are two poems I wrote about the place:

The Pink Trees of Emmitsburg



It is the first of all mornings.

The curtain rises,

the mountains bow,

extend pointy fingers

to a huddle of pink trees,

tulle ballerinas

in a world of black tights.

The audience,

hitherto numb and slumped,



The outlandish pink trees

shake their stiff crinolines

and the whole theater stirs.

The audience feels

loved like brides

in a world of divorces.


Too  frilly,

too old-fashioned,

the critics huffed.

The management closed the show,

closed the whole theater.


Only the caretaker

sees the pink trees dance.

They still dance,

so out of hand,

so outlandishly beautiful,

to the wind’s applause.



 This one was written 25 years after I graduated, about the Sister who was the president of the college:





Her black Irish eyes,

practical as tile,

suddenly open like onyx wells

as she snaps out of sleep.

The ragged breath

slips and then catches

on the edge of the cliff

from which she hangs,

and she’s back in the bed, saying

What day is it?

What day?


It’s the cusp of October,

humid, tropical, storming through the long afternoon.

Delirious, she’s letting old secrets

slip out around the oxygen mask.

She’s emptying the last closets


where worries of the details of graduations,

anguish of lost colleges,

irreplaceable keys

quiver in the corners.


If the moon answers to the name

Old Woman Who Never Dies,

What should I call her,

whose waning hand holds mine

as she pulls away from me

into the air of the clean cold Sunday morning?



Thursday, April 4, 2019

In the hand of the bander

Here's a poem from my 2009 chapbook   How the Hand Behaves:

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.






Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Saying the Rosary

Here's a poem from my 2010 book  Digging for God :

Saying the Rosary


I used to say it on St. Paul Street

In bed, to go to sleep,

That small brown rosary

From the souvenir store at the catacombs in Rome

Cecilia lying on her side, her hair swept back,

the slice in her neck..

How I used to fall asleep saying it,

lying on that sofa bed in the octagonal living room,

In my light night gown,

With the traffic pouring by outside,

And the window fan on,

In the heat of the summer night,

Praying to be spared from robbers

And rapists,

Praying for sleep

To pull me quickly and safely to the morning.

And he filled me with a song I never sang,

A rose I never saw,

Waves too distant for birds.



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Vineyard Stories

For Day 2 of National Poetry Month, here is a poem from my fifth book  Digging for God :

Vineyard Stories


One son was invited and he said yes

and he did not come.

The other one said no

and regretted it

and came.

Was that the same son

who was killed by all those

tenant farmers?

Were those farmers

the ones

who worked all day

and got the same pay

as the ones who came

at the last horn’s blow?

Did all this happen

in the same vineyard

that glistens in the evening sun

where the lovely macramé of

green strings

reaches out

for the anchoring pole?

Grapes are heavy in the

September air.

Here is a place for

the liar and the rash.

Here is time to say no

and change your mind.

Here, also,

the jealous

and the killer.

Here, harvest.



Monday, April 1, 2019

So happy it's April

I thought April would never arrive...

It's also National Poetry Month, and I am attempting to write a poem a day ( actually, a first draft a day.)  But I am not posting it here because then I wouldn't be able to send it out for publication.

So instead I will post one of my poems which has already been published.

Here is one:

How the Hand Behaves


How the hand behaves in times of threat:

sweat springing out,

cooling palms to silence, to clams,

or shrinking to shrimp,

shaking, pink,

or clenching

like a lobster claw,

fingers like teeth,

chomping in on themselves.
This was the opening poem in my chapbook  How the Hand Behaves,  Finishing Line Press 2009