where the warblers go to eat the purple berries

warbler, magnolia higbee beach nj sep 7 2013 dpf-9907


Here is a poem of mine from about 20 years ago, set at one of my favorite places in

Cape May New Jersey:



Rain on the Hedgerows at Higbee Beach



I do desire you, God.

Your touch like rain on my face,

Rain on the landscape of my heart,

Like a meadow full of weedy

Brown late summer grass,

Full of field sparrows,

Tangled vines full of thorns and berries,

Pokeberry, chokecherry, hackberry trees,

Full of cedar waxwings,

Your rain lingering like dew on that thicket

That is my heart,

That thicket of desires, thorns, thorny questions

And leaf-berry thick hidden places

Where the warblers go to eat the purple berries

Of my passions, my regrets, my dreams,

Fears, imaginings,

A thick, overgrown path, Lord, wet with your rain,

Growing and ripening al that fruit for your

Spirit to eat,

Your Spirit in the wings

Of a million birds passing through me.







<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/purple/”>Purple</a&gt;




Born on a Green Day

growing grace farm green tree


My birthday is April 27, so about thirty years ago I wrote this poem:

April Birth


I was born on a green day

with shoots of April green sparks

flashing in the trees.

Light green leaves pushing

white blossoms into flight,

having just arrived,

Olive green birds with white breasts

jumping from branch to branch.

The sun poured lime green smells

on the hands of the warm wind.

Grass green bugs began their march to summer.

I opened my tiny voice

and my newborn cry

was a green poem

to Tuesday afternoons.





<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/it-is-easy-being-green/”>It IS Easy Being Green!</a>









I’ve had my share of necessary losses




Here’s a poem by Judith Viorst:


The Pleasures of Ordinary Life



I’ve had my share of necessary losses,

Of dreams I know no longer can come true.

I’m done now with the whys and the becauses.

It’s time to make things good, not just make do.

It’s time to stop complaining and pursue

The pleasures of an ordinary life.

I used to rail against my compromises.

I yearned for the wild music, the swift race.

But happiness arrived in new disguises:

Sun lighting a child’s hair. A friend’s embrace.

Slow dancing in a safe and quiet place.

The pleasures of an ordinary life.

I’ll have no trumpets, triumphs, trails of glory

. It seems the woman I’ve turned out to be

Is not the heroine of some grand story.

But I have learned to find the poetry

In what my hands can touch, my eyes can see.

The pleasures of an ordinary life.

Young fantasies of magic and of mystery Are over.

But they really can’t compete

With all we’ve built together: A long history.

Connections that help render us complete.

Ties that hold and heal us

. And the sweet, Sweet pleasures of an ordinary life.

Judith Viorst


child with chicken



<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/ordinary/”>Ordinary</a&gt;

Symptoms from the Doctor

book cover Campo

Here’s a poem by American poet/physician  Raphael Campo:

What the Body Told

By Rafael Campo


Not long ago, I studied medicine.

It was terrible, what the body told.

I’d look inside another person’s mouth,

And see the desolation of the world.

I’d see his genitals and think of sin.


Because my body speaks the stranger’s language,

I’ve never understood those nods and stares.

My parents held me in their arms, and still

I think I’ve disappointed them; they care

And stare, they nod, they make their pilgrimage


To somewhere distant in my heart, they cry.

I look inside their other-person’s mouths

And see the wet interior of souls.

It’s warm and red in there—like love, with teeth.

I’ve studied medicine until I cried


All night. Through certain books, a truth unfolds.

Anatomy and physiology,

The tiny sensing organs of the tongue—

Each nameless cell contributing its needs.

It was fabulous, what the body told.





<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/symptom/”>Symptom</a&gt;

Cry Aloud at What Has Happened

gulf coast sunset by laurafire

Gulf Coast Sunset    by Laura XFire


Here’s a poem by Robert Frost:



When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud

And goes down burning into the gulf below,

No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud

At what has happened. Birds, at least must know

It is the change to darkness in the sky.

Murmuring something quiet in her breast,

One bird begins to close a faded eye;

Or overtaken too far from his nest,

Hurrying low above the grove, some waif

Swoops just in time to his remembered tree.

At most he thinks or twitters softly, ‘Safe!

Now let the night be dark for all of me.

Let the night be too dark for me to see

Into the future. Let what will be, be.’


bird dusk



<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/acceptance/”>Acceptance</a&gt;

to see the world in a grain of sand

grain of sand buble

Writer Meg Winikates, in her blog on Massachusetts poetry,said that “poetry delivers maximum impact with minimum word count. Each word bears greater weight than in average daily conversation, and each line is precisely crafted to fit the scope of its sense. “

Even though this poem by William Blake is far from minimal, his “auguries” have maximal power:


Auguries of Innocence


To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage
A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thr’ all its regions
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State
A Horse misusd upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear
A Skylark wounded in the wing
A Cherubim does cease to sing
The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright
Every Wolfs & Lions howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul
The wild deer, wandring here & there
Keeps the Human Soul from Care
The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife
And yet forgives the Butchers knife
The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that wont Believe
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbelievers fright
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belovd by Men
He who the Ox to wrath has movd
Shall never be by Woman lovd
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spiders enmity
He who torments the Chafers Sprite
Weaves a Bower in endless Night
The Catterpiller on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar
The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat
The Gnat that sings his Summers Song
Poison gets from Slanders tongue
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envys Foot
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artists Jealousy
The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags
Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags
A Truth thats told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent
It is right it should be so
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity
This is caught by Females bright
And returnd to its own delight
The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of Death
The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air
Does to Rags the Heavens tear
The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun
Palsied strikes the Summers Sun
The poor Mans Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Africs Shore
One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands
Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole Nation sell & buy
He who mocks the Infants Faith
Shall be mockd in Age & Death
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall neer get out
He who respects the Infants faith
Triumphs over Hell & Death
The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons
The Questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to Reply
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesars Laurel Crown
Nought can Deform the Human Race
Like to the Armours iron brace
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow
A Riddle or the Crickets Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply
The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will neer Believe do what you Please
If the Sun & Moon should Doubt
Theyd immediately Go out
To be in a Passion you Good may Do
But no Good if a Passion is in you
The Whore & Gambler by the State
Licencd build that Nations Fate
The Harlots cry from Street to Street
Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet
The Winners Shout the Losers Curse
Dance before dead Englands Hearse
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day
Newton 1795-c. 1805 by William Blake 1757-1827

the label, the labor, the color, the shade


I love this poem by Robert Pinsky. I will never again wear a shirt without thinking who made it.




The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians
Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band
Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze
At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes—
The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her out
Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.
A third before he dropped her put her arms
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once
He stepped to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers—
Like Hart Crane’s Bedlamite, “shrill shirt ballooning.”
Wonderful how the pattern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked
Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord.   Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartans
Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,
Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
To wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,
The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:
George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fit
And feel and its clean smell have satisfied
Both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,
The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.
blouse label