Here is a selection of my own poetry. If you would like to receive one of my poems via email each Thursday, contact me. Thank you for reading.
Tree branches remember leaves they once held.
Moon remembers its path across the sky.
Clouds remember what it is like to disappear.
Grass remembers green and always returns to it.
The pen remembers ink it once held
and how that ink has turned into words.
Words remember what they were before they were thought.
Cup remembers the silence of being empty.
Table remembers once being tree.
The vase remembers all the blossoms it has held
and how fragile the world is.
Rug remembers the bottoms of feet.
as wine remembers grape
and the painting remembers itself as a sketch.
Rocking chair remembers how to be still
as chimes remember
how they depend on wind to move them.
Stars must have long memories because they are so old.
They remember it is their sole job to shine.
Sun never forgets that either.
mountains remember volcanoes and earthquakes
and how to be very, very patient.
Ocean remembers where its edge is
and how to soothe sand.
Snow remembers cold
and how to fall without getting broken.
And the wind, oh the wind remembers where it was going
but then changes its mind.
Everything remembers something. What does the heart remember?
It remembers how passages of music have made it cry.
It remembers falling in and out of love.
It remembers its never-ending work,
to keep you alive each second of every day.
Veins remember how to be flexible vessels.
Heart valves remember how to let in just enough and not too much. .
The mind knows when it is falling down on the job.
It remembers how things used to be
easier than they are now.
Still, it remembers to remember.
Especially it remembers the old times, the old things.
It still carries your childhood phone number in its pocket.
and the way your mother brushed your hair.
HOW TO FIND THE TEMPLE
Begin far away.
Make stops as you approach.
Stand still … inhale the scent of the air.
Listen for messages.
Touch something unusual.
Note how the light falls.
Let your tears fall.
Send a prayer out on the wind.
Ask for what you want.
Kneel. Touch the ground.
See something very close up.
Look at the horizon.
Feel yourself between the two.
Set it all to music.
“Crazy Jane’s Religion”
After Robert Pinsky
When she had no direction, she made
instinct her map. When she had
no thought, she moved her body.
When she had no church, she worshipped
the air. When she had no prayer,
she laid down under the pine.
She had no priest, she followed the goddess.
When the fire went out,
she savored the sun.
When there was no choir, she drummed
and danced. And when there were no
holy books, she wrote her own.
When she had no horizon, she followed
the river. When there was no path,
she followed her heart.
Need was her tactic. Imagination
was her strategy. Sometimes it worked.
Sometimes she just said “Amen”.
Each day we try to put ourselves back together
We find our name waiting for us beside the bed.
The prayer we said last night still hangs limp on the hook.
The refrigerator blows us a cold kiss.
The calendar page blinks, as blank as yesterday’s.
This day must be shaped again from what is at hand.
We have to bake the danger out of our own daily bread.
Scrub invisibility off every surface.
We have to learn to love possibility as much as cashmere.
There is something electric
in the blond of Autumn.
How the trees
with a last blast
play their most beautiful
melody. How the moon
in the darkest sky,
the birds harvest
and fly off.
At the center of it all,
a sort of false death
that we know
is only transformation.
Isn’t that a lesson
we should take the trouble
to learn by heart?
Have a cup of coffee with me.
I’ll serve you fresh ground
with a little cinnamon,
a spoon of cream.
We can listen to the geese
overhead, and the rain.
We do not need to talk.
Only to let the warmth
of the cup in our hands
permeate the part of us
that is cold … the part
that has so much to say
and no words to say it.
There will be no need
to entertain or impress.
No reason to hurry
We will practice sipping
our lives silently.
And it will all be enough;
our two hands
holding some moments
of ease. We won’t want
anything we don’t have.
We will smile.
An Atheist Angel
There may be an angel
On the stone bench
In my heart.
Of all that passes through
That vital organ.
A silent thing
A second me
That has no “being”
And a tiny moral compass.
A dusting of snow
covers the back yard.
beg for seeds.
Another year moves in,
settles down by the warm spot
near the fire place.
It has all the time in the world,
is not full of resolve.
So few pages already written.
The plot develops
but is unrecognized as yet.
It must be lived into
more than imagined.
Last year’s birds return.
They have not given up.
The Muse is on strike.
The factory has shut down.
The paychecks bounce.
Parts of poems lie on the floor
gathering dust and rust.
I peer through the dirty windows…
What am I to do?
I imagine trying to shape
a handmade, one-of-a-kind poem
one made of fine exotic wood,
hand rubbed, like the ones
you see in the New Yorker.
But, I know
that’s not going to work.
And anyway, I am sort of jealous
of the Muses sitting across the way
in the bar, eating nachos,
in the middle of the afternoon,
laughing, telling stories of the hapless
poets they work for.
I’ve half a mind to join them.
Thanksgiving by the Sea
I have been watching the dolphins
and I would like to learn from
the way they thank the ocean
with their playfulness. Or maybe from
the seagulls that thank the air
by whirling in circles. Maybe I could
learn to give thanks like surfers
that fall into each wave laughing.
Or maybe I could praise the darkness
like the sliver of a moon slips itself
into the night sky -- a brilliant
thank-you note without words.
Or the way the ocean reflects
back the glorious sun at dawn
and the way the waves sing
the Halleluiah Chorus constantly.
The world teaches us over and over
how to be thankful.
Praise with your joy – it is enough.
In the cottage of my heart
there is a collection of smooth stones,
call of a seagull,
waves that lap on the shore
of what matters most.
I drift. Time separates,
Queen Anne’s lace blooms
beside lavender thistle.
Moon rises full,
reflected in the glass
of the dark lake.
Here I am asked
simply to rock
beneath the truth
of my life
A Cup of Sun
I sat by the river this morning
determined not to fish for a poem --
until a perfect yellow leaf
floated by – a little cup of sun.
I watched it bob along
without hurry or regret
and then go over a small waterfall
It would be good
to learn to travel like that
before I die.
When the gates of the Hebrew new Year swing open,
I, too, am given the chance to atone;
for the petty disappointments I continue to carry
for songs I could have sung and didn’t
for un-danced dances,
kisses given without heart
for words I wish I could reel back
and my resistance to gray days, rain and boredom.
for times I was not mindful
and others were harmed
for sitting in the back row
demanding that the world entertain me
for clinging to outcomes,
forgetting that heaven is here on earth.
My prayer is
that the process
to soften them,
into the stream
of last year
where they might flow
by the river
What if you refused
to give up the wings
sprouting from your scapula?
If you decided you could,
after all, fly?
That you were not content
to be fastened to earth forever?
That you could rise high enough
to see the big picture,
could soar beyond
the borders set for you?
That you would not remain folded?
What if you lifted off
the perch of all you know
and flew out the open door
of what cages you?
An Altar of Disappointments
would have lint, cat hair,
paper with singed edges.
It would have receipts
for purchases that in the end
did not make you happy.
It would have rainy days,'
of the nothingness of boredom.
It would have candles but no matches,
tickets for movies you missed
and alarm bells would be ringing.
There would be shopping carts
in the two open parking places
cold coffee in styrofoam cups
and it would still be raining.
The goddess of disappointments
would be telling you
to be still and breathe
and think of your gratitudes
and you would want to smack her.
Ode to Being Average
Praises for the B- student,
the runner who finishes fourth,
the woman whose roots are showing.
Praise to those who drive dented cars,
wear sweaters with a small stain,
who don't belong to book clubs.
To the ones whose gardens have weeds,
whose kids drink in high school,
who love to sing but can't carry a tune.
Praises to those who are 15 lbs. overweight,
those who have bunions
and aren't sure if God exists.
Hallelujahs to those who love their cats
and don't care about the cat hair every where,
for those who sometimes eat cold cereal for dinner.
Praise for those with a common cold
and for sadness that seems to come out of nowhere
for those who never miss Jeopardy at 7:00.
Praise for those who are half an hour late
and forgot to bring the papers,
and can't remember the password.
Well, you know what I mean,
in other words
Praise for us...
you and me.
All our mediocre moments
and our average selves,
the one in us who doesn't quite measure up.
Let's have a come-as-you-are party.
I want to be a crow
To circle around
my own desires,
flap my gregarious wings,
proclaim my place
and carry off remains
of dead things,
tell dark oily truths
into the light.
To pierce the air in a voice
that must be reckoned with.
To eat and eat and eat. Rip
into what is craved
and then lift off
on ebony wings
unafraid of stuffed shirts
hanging on dead wood.