Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Neither Here Nor There

An airport is nowhere
which is not something
generally noticed
yet some unnamed person in the past
deliberately planned it
and you have spent time there
for something you have done
which you do not entirely remember
like the souls in Purgatory
you sit there in the smell
of what passes for food
breathing what is called air
while the timepieces measure
their agreement
you believe in it
while you are there
because you are there
sometimes you may even feel happy
to be that far on your way
to somewhere

  by W. S. Merwin

Monday, April 29, 2019

Daily Life

Our daily life has fallen among prosaic things and ignoble things, but our dreams remember the enchanted valleys.

   – W. B. Yeats

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The day

The day flowed easily by itself
adopting a tempo of nonchalance
urgency begone
sink water drained and filled
the sun at the window, then clouds, then sun again
I walked and walked
the streets unfurling
as time unfurled
unencumbered by expectations

- - - Olaf Rude

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Patience of Ordinary Things

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

—Pat Schneider

Friday, April 26, 2019

i have dreamed

And I have dreamed
of the morning coming in
like a bird through the window
not burdened by a thought,

         Wendell Berry, from “The Design of The House: Ideal and Hard Time,”

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What Kind of Times Are These?

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Make Use

Make use of the things around you.
This light rain
Outside the window, for one.
This cigarette between my fingers,
These feet on the couch.
The faint sound of rock-and-roll,
The red Ferrari in my head.
The woman bumping
Drunkenly around in the kitchen …
Put it all in,
Make use.”

—Raymond Carver, from “Sunday Night,” in All of Us: The Collected Poems

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up? 
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

Monday, April 22, 2019

Points of View

The pioneers and the indians
disagree about a lot of things
for example, the pioneer says that
when you meet a bear in the woods
you should yell at him and if that
doesn’t work, you should fell him
The indians say that you should
whisper to him softly and call him by
loving nicknames
No one’s bothered to ask the bear
what he thinks

   by Ishmael Reed

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The visible and the in-visible

Some people move through your life
like the perfume of peonies, heavy
and sensual and lingering.
Some people move through your life
like the sweet musky scent of cosmos
so delicate if you sniff twice, it’s gone.
Some people occupy your life
like moving men who cart off
couches, pianos and break dishes.
Some people touch you so lightly you
are not sure it happened. Others leave
you flat with footprints on your chest.
Some are like those fall warblers
you can’t tell from each other even
though you search Petersen’s.
Some come down hard on you like
a striking falcon and the scars remain
and you are forever wary of the sky.
We all are waiting rooms at bus
stations where hundreds have passed
through unnoticed and others
have almost burned us down
and others have left us clean and new
and others have just moved in.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Gentle Gardener

I’d like to leave but daffodills to mark my little
To leave but tulips red and white behind me as
I stray;
I’d like to pass away from earth and feel I’d
left behind
But roses and forget-me-nots for all who come
to find.
I’d like to sow the barren spots with all the
flowers of earth,
To leave a path where those who come should
find but gentle mirth;
And when at last I’m called upon to join the
heavenly throng
I’d like to feel along my way I’d left no sign
of wrong.
And yet the cares are many and the hours of
toil are few;
There is not time enough on earth for all I’d
like to do;
But, having lived and having toiled, I’d like the
world to find
Some little touch of beauty that my soul had
left behind.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The art of losing

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

(Elizabeth Bishop, 1911 – 1979)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

This is for the women

This is for the women 
With 9 to 5s 
And 7 to 3s
First shifts 
And graveyard 
With full times
And part times
Who have more month left
Than money
But still make rent
With passports
With no stamps
With vision boards
Of destinations
They are saving to see
With dreams they tuck away
And pull out late at night
Or early in the morning
While the babies are still sleep
Turn it over in their hands
And then shelve it again for safe keeping
This is for the women
Without titles without pensions
With some college
And a lot of loans
With late night classrooms
Online studies
Who won’t give up
Who run the world
On grit and perseverance
This is for the women
Who are anything but
But the world sees as regular
This is for the magicians
Who weave spells of hope
For their children
While putting their hopes on pause
This is for the over the counter
Beauty Queens
With Wet and Wild Lips
And Walgreens legs
And Suave smelling hair
For the women who look in the mirror
To see some one familiar
Because they rarely see reflections
Any where else
For the hustlers
Who with tired feet
And tired backs
And spirits whispering
Keep moving
We are almost there
For the women who know
Liberation isn’t found in the clothes they wear
The shoes on their feet
But the dignity in their souls
This is a song for you
And resilient
Moving mountains for your family
I see you
stunning and strong
I see you
Brilliant and beautiful
I see you
Making a life
Out of think air
Today is for you
An ordinary day
Unmarked on the calendar
No decorations at target
No songs to commemorate
Just an ordinary day
Full of promise
Full of possibilities
Full of hope
Full of magic
Just like you
You who pushes on
You who doesn’t give up
You who bends but doesn’t break
This is for you
You with the stars in your hair
Sun on your lips
Moonlit cheeks
This is for you
You are anything but regular
You are the

    - - -   Leslé Honoré

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Like everyone else, my heart is broken by the Notre Dame Cathedral fire.

None of us will ever forget the feelings of sadness and horror as we watched those flames.

Photo by Ag Photographie

I'm still trying to process those feelings and I'm not sure I'll ever have the words to properly communicate them.

Anyone who knows me already knows I'm a fool for Paris.

I've talked at length here about the time I've spent there; first in 2017 with three great traveling pals - Lesa Holstine, Lisa Aiken Butler and Vickie Smith.  There are many Meanderings and Muses entries with lots and lots of photos.

Next was last year with Donald.  And I was happy beyond words that he fell every bit as in love with the city as I did.  Again - lots of entries here about that trip and lots and lots of photos.

Donald and I stayed in an apartment on The Île Saint-Louis which is one of the two islands in the Seine. It's connected to the Île de la Cité, where Notre Dame stands, by the Pont Saint-Louis.

Our apartment was less than a mile from Notre Dame Cathedral, which meant we passed by it several times a day.

And took pictures almost every time we walked by.  Of course.

This was our last day in Paris last year. I was a tired girl. Happy and in love with Paris. Sad to say goodbye.  I think Donald captured all that in this photo.

Who could resist the charm of the gargoyles?

and it was even lovelier in the evenings.

We weren't able to see the gargoyles as well, but knew they were there doing their best to guard and protect their Lady.

I am forever grateful to have seen and been able to enter this beautiful iconic cathedral.

The feelings that came over me as I walked inside were surprising.  

I'm not a person who embraces organized religion, although that's not to say I'm not a believer in higher power.

Notre Dame Cathedral stirs feelings with its majesty and its quiet peacefulness.

And I will remember how much fun Donald and I had while taking a silly and flirty little picture of me with the dignified and graceful Lady of Paris.  

We'll be going back to Paris this year.

We will still love it.

But it won't be the same.

We will go by to pay our respects to Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

And we will remember.

And we will cry.

And we will go back again in the future to see what she has become.

We know she will be different, but her spirit will never dim, and she will live and she will always, always be grand.

"She is rocked by the waves, but does not sink."

Many heartfelt thank you's to the 400 Parisian firefighters for risking their lives to save as much of Our Lady of Paris and her artifacts as humanly possible.

Vie associative des Sapeurs-Pompiers



Related Poem Content De

If ever there were a spring day so perfect, 
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze 

that it made you want to throw 
open all the windows in the house 

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage, 
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb, 

a day when the cool brick paths 
and the garden bursting with peonies 

seemed so etched in sunlight 
that you felt like taking 

a hammer to the glass paperweight 
on the living room end table, 

releasing the inhabitants 
from their snow-covered cottage 

so they could walk out, 
holding hands and squinting 

into this larger dome of blue and white, 
well, today is just that kind of day.

 - -  Billy Collins

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Wade in the Water

           for the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters

One of the women greeted me.
I love you, she said. She didn’t
Know me, but I believed her,
And a terrible new ache
Rolled over in my chest,
Like in a room where the drapes
Have been swept back. I love you,
I love you, as she continued
Down the hall past other strangers,
Each feeling pierced suddenly
By pillars of heavy light.
I love you, throughout
The performance, in every
Handclap, every stomp.
I love you in the rusted iron
Chains someone was made
To drag until love let them be
Unclasped and left empty
In the center of the ring.
I love you in the water
Where they pretended to wade,
Singing that old blood-deep song
That dragged us to those banks
And cast us in. I love you,
The angles of it scraping at
Each throat, shouldering past
The swirling dust motes
In those beams of light
That whatever we now knew
We could let ourselves feel, knew
To climb. O Woods—O Dogs—
O Tree—O Gun—O Girl, run
O Miraculous Many Gone—
O Lord—O Lord—O Lord—
Is this love the trouble you promised?
        Tracy K. Smith1972

Monday, April 15, 2019

Variation on a Theme by King David

Praise to you!
Praise to you my snappy love!

Praise you in clean socks on a Queens-bound
train; praise you
for your famous avocado
sandwiches; Praise you from Brooklyn to blasphemy!

I've called the mayor to praise you; & a third-
base coach; even
that no-neck accountant
who doesn't have the decency to nod hello
has agreed to praise you!

Praise you with bongos and fine fancy
tea; praise you
with rhumba, tango & marmalade; praise
you with your knickers at your knees!

I praise you on Flag Day, & on whichever equinox
allows for the balancing of eggs;
I praise you with eggs!
Brown ones & jumbo & Faberge Tiffany blue!

On the white of your wrist I praise you;
on the vacuumed throw rug; I praise you full-
page on Sunday! With faxes
& foxgloves & brushed cotton sheets;
with sky-write & timbrel &

wink! Let every soul
in the Battery Tunnel honk
her horn to praise you! Praise you
with ripe limes & wrestling mats;
praise you tax-free with agates and tin foil
& all sparkly things!

Praise you with foggy spectacles and Wisconsin green cheese!
Praise you to the afternoon of orthopedic sneakers;
praise you from poinsettia to piccolo!
Praise you & praise you & praise you!

My love,
from Brooklyn to blasphemy I praise you!

-- L. B. Thompson

Sunday, April 14, 2019


At the last minute a word is waiting
not heard that way before and not to be
repeated or ever be remembered
one that always had been a household word
used in speaking of the ordinary
everyday recurrences of living
not newly chosen or long considered
or a matter for comment afterward
who would ever have thought it was the one
saying itself from the beginning through
all its uses and circumstances to
utter at last that meaning of its own
for which it had long been the only word
though it seems now that any word would do

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"The old threads are unraveling,
Get your needles ready.
We are stitching a new quilt 
of humanity.
Bring your old t-shirts,
worn out jeans, scarves,
antique gowns, aprons,
old pockets of plenty
who have held Earth's treasures,
stones, feathers, leaves,
love notes on paper.
Each stitch
A mindful meditation.
Each piece of material
A story.
The more color the better,
so call in the tribes.
Threads of browns, whites,
reds, oranges
Women from all nations
start stitching.
Let's recycle the hate, the abuse,
the fear, the judgment.
Turn it over, wash it clean,
ring it out to dry.
It's a revolution
of recycled wears.
Threads of greens, blues, purples
Colorful threads
of peace, kindness,
respect, compassion
are being stitched
from one continent to the next
over forests, oceans, mountains.
The work is hard
Your fingers may bleed.
But each cloth stitched together
Brings together a community.
A world, our future world
Under one colorful quilt.
The new quilt of humanity."
~Julia Myers

Art Gina Litherland

Friday, April 12, 2019

I am Waiting

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Peonies: A Poem by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver