I went there

when I was lonely or bored.


As if it were a place

like the back porch of my house

where I sit with the dog

or The Bakery where people I know

go to drink their coffee

or the yarn shop full of color and light.


I liked

things there so casually,

not the way I like

a cat on my lap

or a walk in the field with the dog

or sitting beside my husband on the sofa,

each with a book and a mug of tea.


I could share

things there mindlessly,

not the way I share

worries and joys with Meg

when go for our morning walk

or the way I share with my Real Godmother

Eleanor when we email every morning,

or the way I share recipes and rants about the news

with my old friend Kathy

or the way I share time on the phone

with my sister or my son or my grandson

or lunch with Linda or Megaera or Carol

or pie with Jean and Mel

or energy with the Tai Chi class

or books with the Heretics

or life with the Spring St. Poets

or music with Encanto.


They said it was always free

but not as free as making music

or knitting socks or reading Proust

or weeding the garden.

Not free

like the smell of bread or apples,

like sunset across the meadow

and sunrise through the branches of the gingko tree.




. . .saves nine.

Can you stitch time? Catch

the threads and pull it together?

Mend the little tears that happen—

the morning you killed

irritated by a broken gizmo,

the hour lost cursing at traffic,

that meeting—all those meetings,

those obligatory parties—

great rips in sense and grace?

Is there a patch or stitch or weave

that can redeem those moments

that might have been salvaged

but because you didn’t even notice,

leave you with tattered scraps

not whole enough for rags?



May 2017




Once I read Latin, long phrases from Caesar and Virgil.

Now I practice Polish, but only after dark.


Once I played the piano: Mozart, Debussy, Bach.

Now I play simplified Gershwin songs when no one is around.


Once I had a small vegetable garden.

Now it is a jungle of vines and weeds.


Once I fell in love with a warrior.

Some things never change.


Once there was no space for anything.

Now time stretches before me like the sea.



At times I get up in the middle of the night and stop all the clocks, all of them.

~Hugo von Hofmannsthal, from Die Rosenkavalier


She stops the clocks

to hear the silence

defined by their tick and chime.

One must not fear the time.


She stops the needle,

and feels the space beyond

that only the compass knows.

That’s the place she goes.


May 17, 2017



November. I drove through the woods alone.

The chapel had not changed—yellow stone,

pine benches, carven altar, the wide, worn

boards of the floor, pale ceilings adorned

with stenciled flowers. I watched the sun

mark the walls with pattern as it shone

through the western window, low.

Once this was a shelter from the storm

around us.  Once, with you, I won

what my heart desired. But you are gone.

On the forest paths, in shadow, once we roamed,

no need for touch or speech. Some

nights we sang by the lake while moon-

light and starlight from heaven’s dome

brushed us with silver. My voice, a golden horn,

blessed the stones with song. Oh, none

but I can praise our music well, or write this poem!

Free and wise and fair were we, born

between the mountains and the sea, who turned

the wild wood into home.


The Qasida is an elaborate form. This is a feeble attempt.

April Prompt #6


 in which the initial subject disappears




Holy twelve year olds, our confirmation

dresses washed and put away, Pam and I

sat together in the quiet dark church

for our assigned hour, watching with Christ

in Gethsemene.

Light through the east window barely colored

the fair linen with blue, the brass pulpit

and the brass eagle gleamed a little.

The red light burned by the tabernacle

that on Friday would be empty, the way

the tomb would empty on Easter morning.

I read the story again from my new gilt-edged bible:


Jesus was forsaken by his friends.

I was sure I would never forsake him.

The story was so sad.

He was so lonely.


Pam and I talked about everything those days:

Camp Fire Girls and fairy tales.

God, and how we wanted to be writers.

Pam had a big brother instead of a little one.

Her black hair was curly instead of straight.

Pam’s parents had unusual names.

Her father Hill delived fuel oil and played the carillon.

Her mother Bunty was Canadian.

Maybe that’s why Pam put ketchup on her French toast.


Sometimes I think about Pam

when Maundy Thursday comes around.

a tiny gazetteer

a tiny gazetteer



Ostrowy, Poland.

Broken bannister painted brown. 


Somewhere in Quebec:

Three-eighths mystery.


Albany, Vermont 

Two sons, their separate ways.


Charlotte, Vermont.

Nothing but the garden.


Cleveland, Ohio.

Live geese in a basket;

Bavarian china on layaway.


Stowe, Vermont.

Pasture ghosts.

The wrath of trees.


Portland, Maine.

The freedom of the uniform.


New Guinea.

Crash and shatter.


Newport, Vermont.

Not dancing at the Inaugural Ball.


St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

First light.

First fear.


St. Albans, Vermont.

One lonely field.


Essex Junction, Vermont.

How the stars came out.


Burlington, Vermont.

The bottom of Lake Champlain.


Essex Junction, Vermont.

Walking a different way.


Johnson, Vermont.

One butterfly with stunted wings


Castleton, Vermont


The mantle falls.


Keelogues, Ireland.

Cemetery filled

with familiar names.


Warsaw, Poland.

Three tables.


New Haven, Vermont.

White oak.

Deep blue clay.


April 10, 2014