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.



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

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.

Red oak.

Deep blue clay.

April 10, 2014


Dear Santa Claus,

I learned long ago
that you were really my parents.
Dad built the doll beds
and Mom dressed the dolls.
Often my wishes were not
granted because
they had no money.

But I want to thank you anyhow
for the feeling I always had
on Christmas morning
when I woke in the dark
knowing that you had come.
Thank you for the certainty
that it was the light step
of your reindeer on the roof
that I’d heard.  Thank you

for bringing me, sometimes,
better things than I’d wanted
even though I hadn’t been
very good:  the ballerina
with jointed legs,  the microscope
in the wooden box.  I still
have them.   And thank you
as well for the disappointments.
The cheap Betsy Wetsy knockoff.
The pale blue mohair sweater
comes to mind, too, though
by then, I’d stopped believing.
Life is complicated.  Thank
you for teaching me that.

O, Santa, I want you back again.
I want the Christmas tree lighted
when I get up on Christmas morning.
I want an orange in my stocking.
On the table by the rocking chair
I want to find that empty plate and cup.
I want to hear again the faint jangle of bells;
I want a dust of snow on the living room floor.




Anytime you need an extra hour
remember you can do it;
no one will care.

Tell your boss, the teachers at your school,
dentist–whomever–TIME CHANGE!
It depends, as Einstein said,
and hours are anyway makebelieve.

Even sunrise and sunset
are most precarious,
depending as they do on balance,
the fine rim of universal turn.

For the days to be long,
for time to pass slow,
there must be markers of excitement, but

why would I want a comet to fall,
anything but this
graceful swing around the sun,
this easy similarity of days?

How the Magical Thinking works:
You notice that all is ordinary,
and you’re thankful.

You’re asking for trouble;
now things will fall apart.
This is no mere superstition.

It doesn’t matter what you think.
Troubles come whether you will or not.
It’s how evolution happens:
adaptation to stress,
the tiny advantage in your genes.

I have stopped handing mine along;
trouble is no longer my necesssity.
But the times don’t listen;
still the auspicious hours arrive,
still they pass.

Listen, time passes.
Listen?  Touch it–the texture
like tight wound wool,
rows of pattern knit in color,
yarn around the fingers,
needle click.

Smell it pass–
the coffee brewed again,
yeast to bread to toast.

Can you taste it–
time–flavored like wrinkled apples,
new maple syrup,
the cherry lollipops you coveted
way back, when you were a kid.

Hindus have a Day of  Paint.
Children learn early to paint themselves first,
with water color, before someone else does it
in color that will remain till the skin wears away.

Though we might not suspect it,
we are never groundless, here.
We have all the dust of time
solid beneath our feet.