Storm Lightning, Charleston SC



One of mine from thirty years back:


Storm Lightning, Charleston


Juice rises in straw like bad wires,

current flash from nave to buttress,

unseemly, followed by whacking thunder.

Harpy’s hammer against

garbage galvanized,

an old man in the alley on New Year’s eve,

smashing his kitchen pot,

his household hammer.


Death in the grass,

in the sidewise rain,

birds flee to the

side turned leaves,

all their palms up.





<a href=””>Storm</a&gt;


Night Journey


Here’s a poem by Theodore Roethke:

Night Journey


Now as the train bears west,

Its rhythm rocks the earth,

And from my Pullman berth

I stare into the night

While others take their rest.

Bridges of iron lace,

A suddenness of trees,

A lap of mountain mist

All cross my line of sight,

Then a bleak wasted place,

And a lake below my knees.

Full on my neck I feel

The straining at a curve;

My muscles move with steel,

I wake in every nerve.

I watch a beacon swing

From dark to blazing bright;

We thunder through ravines

And gullies washed with light.

Beyond the mountain pass

Mist deepens on the pane;

We rush into a rain

That rattles double glass.

Wheels shake the roadbed stone,

The pistons jerk and shove,

I stay up half the night

To see the land I love.





The Guest is Inside

I am out of town and haven’t had wifi on my laptop until today.  Today’s prompt made me think of this poem by Kabir:

sprout seed

The Guest is Inside


The guest is inside you and also inside me;

you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.

We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.

Let your arrogance go and look around inside.

The blue sky opens out farther and farther,

the daily sense of failure goes away,

the damage I have done to myself fades,

a million suns come forward with light,

when I sit firmly in that world.

I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken.

Inside “love” there is more joy than we know of,

rain pours down although the sky is clear of clouds

there are whole rivers of light.

The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love.

How hard it is to feel that joy in all our four bodies!

Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.

The arrogance of reason has separated us from that love.

With the word reason you already feel miles away.

How lucky Kabir is, that surrounded by all this joy

He sings inside his own little boat

His poems amount to one soul meeting another.

These songs are about forgetting dying and loss.

They rise above both coming in and going out.






<a href=””>Guest</a&gt;


Peace comes dropping slow


Here is my favorite island poem,  by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats:


Lake Isle of Innisfree       by William Butler Yeats


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Innisfree    Louch Gill  Sligo




<a href=””>Island</a&gt;

Tending the Fire

Fireplace fire

This prompt reminded me of a poem I wrote about  12 years ago:


Tending the Fire

Still I am in the hands of the unknown God; he is breaking me down to his new oblivion…



Don’t you love a good fire?

About every ten minutes,

add a small log.

Keep feeding it.

The heat must be intense enough,

constant enough,

steady enough

to set a husky arm of oak to

burning from its core.


It’s messy work.

Grit from the twigs on the polished floor,

black soot from the poker

on my hands.


My father told me how to keep a fire burning.

Now he sits in the cold winter sunlight

at the Home,

when the sooty darkness

catches the twigs of day,



I sit before the fire in the dark living room,

on the floor before the fire,

feeding it,

watching it like a TV show about my

still burning, though crumbling love.

The flames orange my face.

Roaring silence

issues from their hunger.

Fire in Fireplace













<a href=””>Burn</a&gt;


It will sigh with pleasure


I wrote this poem about twenty years ago, but it is also true of my present relationship with my present garden!


Rules for Action in the Garden


Sidle up to the garden and speak to it.

Applaud the crocuses.

Kiss the rose.

Push the tulips.

Pray about the old blueberry bush:

oh garden god, just let it die; I don’t have the heart to dig it up

. Caress the evergreen now taller than you,

which you planted when it came to your knee.

It will sigh with pleasure at the memory of your hand,

the violence of its uprooting and replanting,

hurt of the dirt pushed around it,

ecstasy of comforting water.

Yell at the robins who eat the sweet cherries

before you reach them.

Prostrate yourself in the grass,

with its thatch and uneven patches,

weeds and moss and mole tunnels.

lilies garden in woods  2007



<a href=””>Pleasure</a&gt;