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  • We Holy Fools

    We Holy Fools

    We holy fools who find perfection
    In the thread-thin eight legs of a spider
    Who has ventured onto our work space
    Realized he was in danger and now
    Is running for his life.!

    The wonder is how each leg still runs
    In unison with the other. If I had the
    Desire to swat it, I would have to
    Stand, lean, with a roll of paper
    Or similar substance.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Spider has reached
    The edge of the table. A quick turn
    And down its leg he scoots! A
    Narrow escape, is he able to realize
    This? No matter. He is equipped with
    What he needs to survive in his insect
    World.

    Our world is not as simple to fathom.
    Layers upon layers of interaction with
    Other species have not taught us lessons
    In how to survive while sharing our
    Planet with any other human. We mark
    Out territory and call it “ours” when it
    Is really a gift of the Great Spirit who
    Has given us the commandment to “Love
    One another”, And those who have tried
    And encountered failure may become
    Bitter.

    What can we do when the planet we live
    Upon is too small to hold all of its residents
    And the supply of food is not sufficient to
    Feed all of the creatures who begin, then,
    To squabble and fight over what remains?

    I s there truly nothing but violence left to
    Assure our ability to survive? When we
    Cannot stop the rich and powerful who
    Take more than we need?

    Where are the philosophers, the writers
    Of texts, and letters and scriptures?
    How do we love our fellow man when
    He hoards the food we need to nurish
    Our children?

    What of our earth itself, battered and wounded
    by men greedy for its riches.
    The beautiful mountains which once stood
    Ethereal, draped in blue mists in the twilight
    Now blasted into pieces of limestone and shale
    Left over when the machines dug and scooped
    Seeking out the last lump of coal?

    If the earth and all its left-over pieces of bounty
    Were taken from us tomorrow, what would we
    Say, what would we do? What promises, what
    Prayers or curses would bring back the earth
    As it was? Bring the trees and the prairies
    The sacred groves where people long ago
    Gathered to give thanks to whomever
    It was who had opened for them
    Such a vast richness of treasure!

  • Tumbling Down

    Tumbling Down

    When you smashed that porcelain plate,
    You briefly paused, I thought you’d wait
    To gather the pieces, I was wrong.
    I heard you swear, then you were gone.
    I am in limbo, should I tell
    That the plate just simply fell?
    It was more than some cheap dish
    It had their picture and the wish
    For a happy first anniversary
    Deeply resented by you and me.

    I gathered the pieces, threw them away.
    No one will slash their wrists today.
    More moonlit madness, my gaudy queen
    Chant Lady Macbeth for your next scene.

    Words: Swear, turns, chant, gaudy, briefly, deeply, moonlit,
    Limbo, wrists, tumble, porcelain, papers

  • Worlds...

    “Worlds are altered rather than destroyed –“ Democritus

    How dark the nights were then!
    In our second-hand trailer by the lake
    Just you and me beneath the starry sky
    A coal-oil lamp, flashlights, batteries

    We fell asleep listening to the sound
    The waters made when talking to the shore
    In the darkness we talked in whispers
    Daybreak and the wild geese called.

    “I want to keep it wild,” was what
    the woman said when a sudden heart attack
    took her husband and left her with a debt
    too large to carry and there was nothing
    she could do but sell.

    The developers came and took out half
    Of the trees. Graveled paths cut through
    To the water. Golf carts rented for
    A “wilderness tour” cut through the beds
    Of wild lilies and along the shore.

    That year the wild geese stopped,
    But flew elsewhere for their breeding.
    Music blared where the golf carts ran
    New trailers appeared on every lane.,

    We left, of course, though our hearts
    Are sad. Other “wilderness retreats”
    Beckon with their day-glow signs.
    We bought a house in town.

  • The Best-laid Plans...

    The Best Laid Plans…

    Shivering by candle-light
    Short is the day, weary the night.
    Mending jeans to make them last
    Everything wears out, much too fast.

    Once we believed we had a plan
    Packed in our dreams and took a stand
    We planted crops in sturdy rows
    In the hot sun they wilted, nothing grows

    If no rain comes. Bitter our day
    Insects came and stole away
    What we had saved for our tomorrow
    Broken our hearts, and filled with sorrow.

    Heaven is so far away
    We struggle onward, day by day.

    Words: Shivering, growl, rows, mending, burst
    Heal, time, pack, root, heaven, plan

  • "Specials"

    “Specials”

    All of the snapshots in my childhood album
    were in black and white. I had to explain
    to my children that in “those days” a child’s
    camera only used black and white film.
    Even movies in Technicolor were considered
    rare and people would be as impressed by
    the color as the story.

    Color television arrived just as my children
    were growing old enough to follow a movie.
    I remember “The Wizard of Oz” which turned a
    drab landscape into the Emerald city of Oz,
    when Dorothy’s farmhouse departed Kansas.

    It became a matter of pride to have a color
    TV in the living room and move the old
    Black and white into a child’s bedroom.
    (The “Three Stooges” movies were already
    in black and white.) When a “Special”
    was announced, everyone would gather
    in the living room. We would nibble on
    snacks and our whole family would spend
    the evening together, everyone at home, safe.

  • Lives of Plenty

    Lives of plenty

    All through that summer of our beginnings
    Our quartet, a natural blend of young voices -
    Voices that had rarely heard the warning
    Sirens – those blunt additions to our small
    Collection of folk melodies, work songs,
    Even children’s rhymes with a strong
    Beat that everyone could march to,
    Yes that was our response to the seasons
    Of terror, the stings, the grinding routine
    Of working days and study at night and
    Still time for parties, dances and what
    Else but romance, romance!
    How many broken hearts and lost jobs
    And dreams that would never see the
    Light of day.

    That was our coming –of- age in a world
    Already dying, over-crowded, polluted, lost!

    Words:
    Natural, plenty, addition, broken, quartet,, warning, course
    Response, blunt, sting, grind, rival, job

  • Of Weather, Lake Erie and a nice place to live

    Of weather, lake Erie , and a nice place to Live.

    Our weather is not predictable
    It is a rabbit being pulled from a hat.
    Some years – nice bunny rabbit
    Green grass, crocuses, spring

    Bad years – it’s Wyle E. Coyote
    Cancellations and closings!
    Snow comes rolling in big clouds across
    The fields. This year brings March
    Without a bud, a green leaf, a crocus.

    Our summers are great. The lake
    Looks blue until you get up close.
    Then its algae and pollution. “ Not
    Like when I was a child” Words
    Repeated all too often. “Save
    Lake Erie” was a slogan a few
    Years back. The lake is still here.
    Just be careful when you drink
    Its water.

    Memories of days gone by – they
    Might not have been happier but
    They were less polluted.

  • Thaw

    Thaw

    The muse stroking her harp by the shed
    Is slowly sinking into slush.
    And the row of armed snowmen
    Are helpless in the mire
    As rain drops turn ice
    Into running
    cold water
    that says
    Splash.

    This form is called a "Nonet"

  • Lost, Lost, lost

    Lost, lost, lost
    (the echoes tremble)

    You must have known I could not
    Let you go
    Into a night no matter how gentle
    The welcome sang

    So far away so far
    You traveled until the Pacific
    Once more called you to
    Its chilling bosom
    Its promises of forgetfulness
    “No one will ever know.”

    You had long ago outrun
    My grasp, my weary time-
    Worn words
    Repeated until only despair
    Stood alone
    And it decided
    Here

    And so it was
    But we depended
    On the kindness of your friends
    And so you traveled
    Wrapped in your forever sleep
    Back to your beginnings
    And now you rest with us.
    Sweet girl,
    Sweet girl.

  • Like a long, green Snake

    Like a Lazy Green Snake

    Catfish loved that river. We did too
    Small boys and old men, women who
    Fried the fish and served them on big platters.
    Summertime in the great depression but
    Down at the river, living was a celebration..

    A motley crew. we kids in our cut-off jeans
    Straw hats , always barefoot, big cotton
    Rags in our pocket that we wrapped around
    Whatever creature we managed to catch.

    We were living in a paradise of mud
    And water. Our catches were few but
    Appreciated. We stayed at the river all
    Day, munching bread and jelly sandwiches
    Drinking water Mom filled for us from the
    Kitchen sink, river water could make you
    Sick. Girls complained about the mud.
    Mom got mad when we tracked it through
    The kitchen.

    Old willow trees grew along the bank. We
    Believed they were there when the Indians
    Lived here. They were all twisted into
    Strange shapes, It was easy to climb out on
    A branch and lay there watching the water
    On its trip to the sea, Someday we would
    Go there, too.

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