|Archived Poems for 2001-2002|
|Archived Poems for 2005-2006|
|Archived Poems for 2007-2008|
|Archived Poems for 2009-2010|
|January '03||Here's to Midwinter||February '03||"More Than Stars In Their Eyes"|
|March '03||When Spring Comes Again||April '03||Nothing Gold Can Stay|
|May '03||"Jacaranda Blooms"||June '03||Sunrise on the Coast|
|July '03||Magic||August '03||Jack Do-Good-For-Nothing|
|September '03||There's a Kid Inside||October '03||October Song|
|November '03||Lighted Fireplace||December '03||December Respite|
|January '04||Winter Rose||February '04||Winter Sunrise|
|March '04||Fast Break||April '04||An April Rhyme of June|
|May '04||Beautous May||June '04||June|
|July '04||Halcyon July In Algoma||August '04||August 1968|
|September '04||The Day Is A Poem (September 19, 1939)||October '04||Ariadne On Naxos|
|November '04||Listen | 014||December '04||Winter Solstice, Camelot Station|
|Here's to Midwinter|
|Standing again at the crossroads
of Winter here's to midwinter
and the twinkle of bright eyes
and here's to me Tom Fool with my handful of holly
I'll write the wren boys in, in frosty Antrim
& the Welsh with the Mari Llwyd
I'll write a twinkle in those eye holes
in the lanes of Ceredigion
|Claret faced Christmas
talking turkey will have its full say
with carols till your ears melt
|but I'll write magic
in a star hung sky
and what the wind whispers
on the black roadside nowhere
where the dead & the unborn
listen whispers this:
every kiss should be about what will be
every tear must be for what will never come again
|here's to midwinter and the twinkle of bright eyes
here's to what cannot be taken
from the lowest in the coldest doorway
here's to what the highest cannot keep
with the highest walls
here's to what the granny and the wee baby knows
here's to the heart beat of the world
and here's to you.
I thought of various poems... but in the end this, though not strictly a poem, seemed fitting. Kalpana Chawla, my favorite astronaut, looked out on January 28, 2003, and saw the sunset overtaking the day, and the light and dark sides of Earth together. This is what she said later about that moment.
|More than Stars in their Eyes|
|In the retina of my eye,
the whole Earth and the sky
could be seen reflected.
So I called all the crew members one by one,
and they saw it,
and everybody said,
|When spring comes again|
|When spring comes again
Maybe she won't find me in the world anymore.
Now, I like being able to think Spring is a person
So I can imagine she'll cry,
When she sees she's lost her only friend.
But the Spring isn't even a thing:
She's a manner of speaking.
Even the flowers don't come back, or the green leaves.
There are new flowers, new green leaves.
There are other beautiful days.
Nothing comes back, nothing repeats itself, because everything is real.
|Alberto Caiero (11/7/1915)|
|Nothing Gold Can Stay|
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her first leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
A lavender canopy
over the asphalt
|Sunrise on the Coast|
Grey dawn on the sand-hills the night wind has drifted
All night from the rollers a scent of the sea;
With the dawn the grey fog his battalions has lifted,
At the call of the morning they scatter and flee.
Like mariners calling the roll of their number
|To eastward, where rests the broad dome of the skies on
The sea-line, stirs softly the curtain of night;
And far from behind the enshrouded horizon
Comes the voice of a God saying "Let there be light."
And lo, there is light! Evanescent and tender,
|A.B. "Banjo" Paterson|
And who shall say
Whatever disenchantment follows
That we ever forget magic,
Or that we can ever betray,
On this leaden earth,
The apple-tree, the singing,
And the gold?
A Cursory Nursery Tale for Tot-Baiters
Once there was a kind-hearted lad named Jack Do-Good-for-Nothing, the only son
So he set out in the world to make his fortune.
His mother's blessing and a crust of bread was his only stake,
And pretty soon he saw a frog that was about to be devoured by a snake,
And he rescued the frog and drove the snake away,
And the frog vowed gratitude to its dying day,
And a little later on his walk,
Why, he saw a little red hen about to be carried off by a hawk,
And he rescued the little red hen and drove the hawk away,
And the little red hen vowed that whenever he was in trouble his kindness she would repay,
And he walked a few more country blocks,
And he saw a bunny rabbit about to be gobbled up by a fox,
And he rescued the bunny rabbit before the fox could fall upon it,
And the bunny rabbit thanked Jack and told him any time he needed help, just to call on it,
And after all this rescuing, Jack was huffing and puffing,
And a little farther on the snake and the hawk and the fox jumped him,
And the frog and the little red hen and the bunny rabbit said they were very
Never befriend the oppressed unless you are prepared to take on the oppressor.
|There's a Kid Inside|
There's a kid inside,
And I have him with me always.
There's a kid inside
Walking down old high school hallways.
There's a kid inside
At a desk, at a dance, in the halls, in the showers...
There's a kid inside
To this very day
And he makes a try for the high pop fly
I can feel my hand, my trembling hand,
And he's there, he's there, he's there again,
And I never know when the breeze'll blow
But there he goes, he's there again,
He's there again.
I'll sing you my October song, there is no song before it:
The words and tune are not my own, my joy and sorrow bore it.
Beside the sea, the brambly briar in the still of evening:
Birds fly out from behind the sun, and with them I'll be leaving
The fallen leaves that jewel the ground, they know the art of dying
I used to search for happiness, and I used to follow pleasure,
But I found a door behind my mind, and that's the greatest treasure:
For rulers like to lay down laws, and rebels like to break them,
And the poor priests like to walk in chains and God likes to forsake them.
I met a man whose name was Time. He said, I must be going;
between each log
(from "Song of the Storm King")
Another slow day
For storm watching.
December on Vancouver Island
Generally consists of an unending stream
Of wave after wave
(Snow at elevations)
Attacking from Pacific Waters.
But this year
We have a young boy
Maybe you have heard of him.
Last week he made
For "Sunny" California.
I should be storm watching
For they have suffered our rain
And we, stolen their sun.
When I took my seat
On the balcony bench
For work today,
All I saw was sun and blue skies
Not what a self-appointed
Watcher of Storms
Is supposed to see.
In December on this Island
Any sun is a welcome respite
From the gloom of rain, rain, rain.
A clear blue winter sky
Is winning the Weather Lottery.
As I was
From the hand of a cool wind,
I leaned back
Under the solar warmth
And closed my eyes.
|Though Christmas closes in,
No vision of sugar plums
Danced in my head,
But brilliant hues of red:
Alizarian crimson, scarlet lake,
Rose carmethene, cardinal
Blazed within my eyes
As solar rays traversed
Tonight the rains
But for a few hours
I was self-appointed
Watcher of Winter Sun.
The bush scrapes winter's song
Against my window and, intending
Nothing lonely, whispers of
Roses where now lies snow.
only pale green moss
on the cottonwoods
(In memory of Dennis Turner, 1946-1984)
A hook shot kisses the rim and
hangs there, helplessly, but doesn't drop
and for once our gangly starting center
perfectly, gathering the orange leather
and spinning around to throw a strike
an underhand pass toward the other guard
who looks stunned and nailed to the floor
of a high, gliding dribble and a man
|in slow motion, almost exactly
like a coach's drawing on the backboard,
both forwards racing down the court
and filling the lanes in tandem, moving
between them without a dribble, without
until the guard finally lunges out
and commits to the wrong man
while the power-forward explodes past them
by himself now and laying it gently
but losing his balance in the process
with a wild, headlong motion
and swiveling back to see an orange blur
from Wild Gratitude
|An April Rhyme Of June|
Wind and shadow, wind and shadow
Pass o'er uplands brown and bare;
Violets sleep in the sleeping meadow,
Wings are still in the silent air;
June, O June, art thou anywhere?
Sun and shower, sun and shower,
Yet the presence of some new-comer
Lay your ear to the earth and listen!
Arthur Graves Canfield
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, beauteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
Paula is digging and shaping the loam of a salvia,
Scarlet Chinese talker of summer.
Two petals of crabapple blossom blow fallen in Paula's hair,
And fluff of white from a cottonwood.
|Halcyon July In Algoma|
A month of such
cloudless blue days
was a celestial wound
an amber bowl of pectin
highlit with mazarine.
The clusters of offshore islands
interrupted this plain
like a frozen pod of granite dolphins,
their pink backs aligned
by a forgotten glacier.
Cetaceans forever bound
for the heart
of the Wisconsin ice age.
And slowly, hypnotically
when the sun went nova each noon
a haunted stillness
enclosed our island. A
calm so lucid
that the flight of a single bird
through the resonant air
was a portentous event
of invidious design.
The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.
|The Day Is A Poem (September 19, 1939)|
This morning Hitler spoke in Danzig, we hear his voice.
A man of genius: that is, of amazing
Ability, courage, devotion, cored on a sick child's soul,
Heard clearly through the dog wrath, a sick child
Wailing in Danzig; invoking destruction and wailing at it.
Here, the day was extremely hot; about noon
A south wind like a blast from hell's mouth spilled a slight rain
On the parched land, and at five a light earthquake
Danced the house, no harm done. Tonight I have been amusing myself
Watching the blood-red moon droop slowly
Into the black sea through bursts of dry lightning and distant thunder.
Well: the day is a poem: but too much
Like one of Jeffers's, crusted with blood and barbaric omens,
Painful to excess, inhuman as a hawk's cry.
|Ariadne on Naxos|
The threid that reeled him in has brocht
me oot — oot o' the nairra mask o' thirled
weys tae the clear licht o' day.
I spied him wi' the lassies, dandlin' them
But heroes ha'e thir uses. I 'ticed him
Derkness like midden reek, beast swite
Noo I sit here on Naxos, mangst myrtle
an' hinnied thyme, an' watch
his black sail slide awa doon
the sun's track tae the warld's end.
Barefit I'll gang my ain gait.
E M Buchanan
thirled - bound by obligation,
|Listen | 014|
I threw a snowball across the backyard.
My dog ran after it to bring it back.
It broke as it fell, scattering snow over snow.
She stood confused, seeing and smelling nothing.
She searched in widening circles until I called her.
She looked at me and said as clearly in silence
I called her two more times before she came
That was this morning. I'm sure that she's forgotten.
|Winter Solstice, Camelot Station|
Camelot is served
By a sixteen-track stub terminal done in High Gothick Style,
The tracks covered by a single great barrel-vaulted glass roof framed upon iron,
At once looking back to the Romans and ahead to the Brunels.
Beneath its rotunda, just to the left of the ticket windows,
Is a mosaic floor depicting the Round Table
(Where all knights, regardless of their station of origin
Or class of accomodation, are equal),
And around it murals of knightly deeds in action
(Slaying dragons, righting wrongs, rescuing maidens tied to the tracks).
It is the only terminal, other than Gare d'Avalon in Pais,
To be hung with original tapestries,
And its lavatories rival those at Great Gate of Kiev Central.
During a peak season such as this, some eighty trains a day pass through,
Five times the frequency at the old Londinium Terminus,
Ten times the number the Druid towermen knew.
(The Official Court Christmas Card this year displays
A crisp black-and-white Charles Clegg photograph from the King's own collection,
Showing a woad-blued hogger at the throttle of "Old XCVII,"
The fast Mail overnight to Eboracum. Those were the days.)
The first of a line of wagons has arrived,
Spilling footmen and pages in Court livery,
And old thick Kay, stepping down from his Range Rover,
Tricked out in a bush coat from Swaine, Adeney, Brigg,
Leaning on his shooting stick as he marshalls his company,
Instructing the youngest how to behave in the station,
To help mature women that they may encounter,
Report pickpockets, gather up litter,
And of course no true Knight of the Table Round (even in training)
Would do a station porter out of Christmas tips.
He checks his list of arrival times, then his watch
(A moon-phase Breguet, gift from Merlin):
The seneschal is a practical man, who knows trains do run late,
And a stolid one, who sees no reason to be glad about it.
He dispatches pages to posts at the tracks,
Doling out pennies for platform tickets,
Then walks past the station buffet with a dyspeptic snort,
Goes into the bar, checks the time again, orders a pint.
The patrons half-turn--it's the fella from Camelot, innit?
And Kay chuckles soft to himself, and the Court buys a round.
He's barely halfway when a page tumbles in,
Seems the knights are arriving, on time after all,
So he tips the glass back (people stare as he guzzles),
Then plonks it down hard with five quid for the barman,
And strides for the doorway (half Falstaff, half Hotspur)
To summon his liveried army of lads.
Bors arrives behind steam, riding the cab of a heavy Mikado.
He shakes the driver's hand, swings down from the footplate,
And is like a locomotive himself, his breath clouding white,
Dark oil sheen on his black iron mail,
Sword on his hip swinging like siderods at speed.
He stamps back to the baggage car, slams mailed fist on steel door
With a clang like jousters colliding.
The handler opens up and goes to rouse another knight.
Old Pellinore has been dozing with his back against a crate,
A cubical chain-bound thing with FRAGILE tags and air holes,
BEAST, says the label, Questing, 1 the bill of lading.
The porters look doubtful but ease the thing down.
It grumbles. It shifts. Someone shouts, and they drop it.
It cracks like an egg. There is nothing within.
Elayne embraces Bors on the platform, a pelican on a rock,
Silently they watch as Pelly shifts the splinters,
Supposing aloud that Gutman and Cairo have swindled him.
A high-drivered engine in Northern Lines green
Over on the first track, surrounded by reporters,
All glossy dark iron and brass-bound mystery,
The Direct-Orient Express, ferried in from Calais and Points East.
Palomides appears. Smelling of patchouli and Russian leather,
Dripping Soubranie ash on his astrakhan collar,
Worry darkening his dark face, though his damascene armor shows no tarnish,
He pushes past the press like a broad-hulled icebreaker.
Flashbulbs pop. Heads turn. There's a woman in Chanel black,
A glint of diamonds, liquid movements, liquid eyes.
The newshawks converge, but suddenly there appears
A sharp young man in a crisp blue suit
From the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits,
That elegant, comfortable, decorous, close-mouthed firm:
He's good at his job, and they get not so much as a snapshot.
Tomorrow's editions will ask who she was, and whom with....
Now here's a silver train, stainless steel, Vista-Domed,
Behind the carsheds, on the business car track, alongside the private varnish
Of dukes and smallholders, Persian potentates and Cathay princes
(James J. Hill is here, invited to bid on a tunnel through the Pennines)
Waits a sleek car in royal blue, ex-B&O, its trucks and fittings chromed,
A black-gloved hand gripping its silver platform rail;
Mordred and his car are both upholstered in blue velvet and black leather.
He prefers to fly, but the weather was against it.
His DC-9, with its video system and Quotron and waterbed, sits grounded at Gatwick.
The premature lines in his face are a map of a hostile country,
The redness in his eyes a reminder that hollyberries are poison.
He goes inside to put on a look acceptable for Christmas Court;
As he slams the door it rattles like strafing jets.
Outside the Station proper, in the snow,
The sun is winter-low. Kay's caravan is rolling.
He may not run a railroad, but he runs a tight ship:
By the time they unload in the Camelot courtyard,
The wassail will be hot and the goose will be crackling,
Banners snapping from the towers, fir logs on the fire, drawbridge down,
And all that sackbut and psaltery stuff.
Blanchefleur is taking the children caroling tonight,
Percivale will lose to Merlin at chess,
The young knights will dally and the damsels will dally back,
The old knights will play poker at a smaller Table Round.
And at the great glass station, motion goes on,
The extras, the milk trains, the varnish, the limiteds,
The Pindar of Wakefield, the Lady of the Lake,
The Broceliande Local, the Fast Flying Briton,
The nerves of the kingdom, the lines of exchange,
Running on schedule as the world ought,
Ticking like a hot-fired hand-stoked heart,
The metal expression of the breaking of boundaries,
The boilers that turn raw fire into power,
The driving rods that put the power to use,
The turning wheels that make all places equal,
The knowledge that the train may stop but the line goes on;
The train may stop
But the line goes on.
|Ridges | Walden | Pine | Black Oak | Little Pine | Chestnut | Haw|
|Greenbelt | Emory Valley | Key Springs | Newfound Gap | Pellissippi|