Morning Poem, April 25, 2017

This morning the quiet fills the house

And lays on the floor

And streams through the windows

Nothing moves

And I sit and watch and listen

And see into this old house

Its floors and walls and hallways,

Once grand.


Who lived here before?

And did they know mornings

Of flowers and music

And coffee and bacon and eggs

Did they watch their children grow

And then catch a train to somewhere?

I heard that Duke Ellington

Wrote his best music

In the mornings

When the door to his hotel room was open

And he could hear the maid’s vacuum cleaner

Somewhere down the hallway

Then the morning breathed

And everything inside him relaxed

That’s what I feel now

Touching all that is invisible and left over

From all that was visible and has gone,


copyright 2017

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morning poem, april 24, 2017



Oh, how I love

Wandering out in the day

The sun high above

And its gold on the hay


I’ll wander till night

I will work and I’ll play

And I’ll feel myself right

To be out in the day


And when I get home

Then I’ll sleep like a king

For all those who roam

Have hearts that can sing


copyright 2017


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For John Fogerty

I’ve always been a John Fogerty fan.  Back when Creedence Clearwater Revival was in its heyday I waited anxiously for each new single and each new album.  Rock and Roll was never better.   Broke my heart when they disbanded.  Anyhow, here is a lyric I wrote with good, old John in mind.
If you find this, Mr Fogerty, and want to make it into your next hit, all I want is half the writing credit.

I want to hear an old, familiar song

That I’ve never heard before

I want to understand that time

Has stopped before my door


I want to think the spirit there

That prospered way back then

Is still alive and waiting for

It’s sun to come again


They say the past’s not really gone

The thought makes my heart quiver

‘Cause I left the keys to my T-bird

Beside that old Green River


The years have passed since then, I know

But if the stars were right

I’d drop this suit and tie right now

And go back there tonight



Oh, if I’d hear just one more song

That had that flying sound

I’d turn the radio up loud

And I’d turn time around

copyright 2017

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Morning Post, April 21, 2017

How long has it been since I have noticed the seasons?

I walked out this morning to get into my car to drive to work.  Just like every morning for the past thirty years.   That twenty-yard walk is about all the time I spend out of doors anymore and I don’t even feel that.  I have one coat, a light jacket, really, that I wear all year until the summer.  It’s all I need for the five minutes between leaving the house and getting the heater going in the car.  And it is simple.  One coat; one day; one more day.

This morning I did not wear the jacket.  I had misplaced it and it was April and not cold enough to justify the time and frustration it would have taken to find the jacket.  And when I went out I felt the spring chill and it was like feeling the world again.  I took my first, regular steps toward the garage, but then I stopped, not knowing immediately why.  But I had caught the scent of something that reminded me of something else.  I still don’t know the source of it.  It was probably some mixture from the blossoms of those little ground plants that come up in the spring on the hillside above our subdivision.  But it was the same – or seemed the same – as the light scents that floated in the air on my walks to school at this time of year, this season of the year, so many decades ago.

I knew the seasons then.  I looked forward to summer.  The freedom from the classroom; the freedom from the morning alarm.  And Christmas and the anxious hope of better surprises than I had actually asked for.  And later I learned of the magic of spring.  How the scent of the blossoms could transport me and whisper promises.  There were days then when the forsythia and azaleas and ironwood painted the hillsides with such vivid crimson and gold that I knew I had entered another world or at least knew that there must be another world.  These days promised and pointed to something that summer, despite its heavy green growth, never quite delivered

As I stood there that morning, between the door of the house and the door of the car, I knew I was in danger.  I admitted to myself again that what I had forgotten of the magic of life, the magic of the earth, I had forgotten deliberately.  I had to face the day.  Face the days, that is.  Reality.  The fact that bills had to be paid and that every bill was getting higher and every paycheck lower and every day at the office taught me that the only wisdom was anxiety.  There was never enough time; never enough energy.

The danger was that this morning – my brief and unplanned experience of it – would remind me of who I once was, what I once believed and hoped for, and what I had become.

copyright 2017

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Waking Early


The marble sky

And birds that fly

The blossoms blue

And crimson, too

I close the door

And sweep the floor

copyright 2017

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Night Poem, April 18, 2017


They walk through the cloudy night

The two of them, arm in arm

The night is warm

No jacket required

In and out of the streetlamps, slowly

They talk of some day long ago

When the children were young

And they piled into the Chrysler van

And sailed south to some ballfield


Those were simple days, they say

Yes.  And these are good, too.

Yes, all of it is good.


copyright 2017

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Afternoon Poem, April 18, 2017



The rill slides over the brown rocks

Laughing as it goes, clear as the spring air

The riders passing glance aside at the stream

Under the budding canopy

There in a blue pool a dark  dart

And here in some slick channel

A tiny dimple on the surface

What moves?


Farther up a blue heron lifts from the water

From the ravine

Its wings so broad, so slow as to seem

Floating, weightless, effortless

All beneath the shade blanket

Of maple and elm.


copyright 2017

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First Day of Summer


This is the day you’ve been waiting for

All the ducks are in a row

Sunlight, freedom, tank of gas

And all the friends you know.


Your songs are playing through the trees

Now green with summer’s blessing

Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, too

All of love confessing


And when you finally see the light

You’ll understand the how

And every disappointment past

Will seem like nothing now


Over water, over wood

You’ll run and feel like flying

You’ll take in hand what once was lost

There’ll be no more goodbying


It’s the magic that you always dreamed

Would issue from your breast

You’ll have the world in full at last

The truest and the best


Copyright 2017

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Afternoon poem, April 17, 2017

I ran beneath the fresh leaves in summer

Under the trees left on the hillside, acres left alone

In places there were lines of daffodils

Marking the lines of vanished lawns

Where houses had once stood

Fifty years before


Those people kept pigs and cows

And grew their own food

On the far edge of my forest

(I only went that far once)

There was a hen house and chickens and ducks


In the forest there were giant oaks here and there

That had been spared in the last cutting

They might have marked an old property line

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morning post, April 17, 2017

I am early.  The first students won’t arrive at the school for almost an hour and the office won’t open till then, but I am here, as usual, right after the janitor unlocks the front doors.

It’s winter now – January ninth, a Tuesday – and dark as midnight.  I walked this morning to avoid taking the car onto the snowy roads.  The school is not a mile from my house and when one is rightly dressed and the walk not too long, well, the weather is actually a pleasant thing, wind and snow and all.  The roads are so empty on mornings like this one I find myself imagining that I have gone back in time and almost expect to see a horse and cart behind the moving light in the distance.

I love the bundling up.  The gloves and scarves and the proper coat and hat; the overshoes.  One feels secure and complete in them.   My hangers are in the corner of my classroom and next to the old radiator and for the first few moments after I hang my overclothes I can catch the clean scent of the snow melting from the woolen coat.

In the business of the day I will hear complaints from my fellow teachers about our conditions here.  They will talk of our low pay and of students and parents of students and our own administrators who, they will say, “make our jobs impossible to do.”  I smile and offer no rejoinders, but this job is heaven for me.

I come early every day for the purpose, I tell myself, of getting organized; for thinking through the day ahead.  But when I am here alone, I find myself almost rapt in an attention to what I have been given; what I am allowed to do.  I look at the books stacked on the shelves below the windows and think of the treasures they contain.  Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Twain, Poe, Hemingway.  I think of the wall of windows itself.  The men who put them there and the money that paid for it all and I dust off a desk top here or there and hope silently that this place will never change, that it will last forever, and that one hundred years from now young students will sit in these desks, absorbing the wisdom of the ages, learning of love and honor, as the winter sun climbs in the east and sends its rays through these tall windows.

copyright 2017

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