A hand is not fat’s yellow pillow


This oil painting of a hand is so startling to me, and I am frustrated because I can’t find out the name of the artist.

Anyway, here’s a poem by Jane Hirschfield:

A Hand

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.


Nor is it palm and knuckles,

not ligaments or the fat’s yellow pillow,

not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.


A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines

with their infinite dramas,

nor what it has written,

not on the page,

not on the ecstatic body.


Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—

not sponge of rising yeast-bread,

not rotor pin’s smoothness,

not ink.


The maple’s green hands do not cup

the proliferant rain.

What empties itself falls into the place that is open.


A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.


Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.


<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/yellow/">Yellow</a>


The Devastation of Hurricane Katrina


A short poem I wrote about that catastrophe:



The vast station of the levee

Devalued by the storm

Vested with weapon sharp

Fallen trees

Devoted flailing water

In the clotted heat.


<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/devastation/">Devastation</a>

Slowly our ghosts drag home


One hundred years ago, our world was in the middle of the terrible First World War.

We should not forget what can happen.

Here is a poem by Wilfred Owen, who died in that war:


Wilfred Owen, 1893 – 1918

Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us . . .

Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent . . .

Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient . . .

Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,

But nothing happens.

Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire,

Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.

Northward, incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,

Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.

What are we doing here?

The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow . . .

We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.

Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army

Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of grey,

But nothing happens.

Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.

Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,

With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause, and renew,

We watch them wandering up and down the wind’s nonchalance,

But nothing happens.

Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces—

We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,

Deep into grassier ditches.

So we drowse, sun-dozed,

Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.

Is it that we are dying?

Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires, glozed

With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;

For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs;

Shutters and doors, all closed: on us the doors are closed,—

We turn back to our dying.

Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;

Now ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.

For God’s invincible spring our love is made afraid;

Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,

For love of God seems dying.

To-night, this frost will fasten on this mud and us,

Shrivelling many hands, and puckering foreheads crisp.

The burying-party, picks and shovels in shaking grasp,

Pause over half-known faces.

All their eyes are ice,

But nothing happens.


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

The Theory of the Beautiful


I wrote this poem last week and revised it this morning:

The Theory of the Beautiful


The spider webs of fine wrinkles

start on the grin lines

like the orb weaver’s designs

wait to catch a gnat

or a mosquito

or at least a wince

or a wink.

I grip the skin

as I look at

sutures on my neck from

excision of a defect

from too much sun

in my youth.

The stock of available reality

goes down.

I’m a prisoner of time.

Hedge something around it,

I tell myself. How about

a hedge of hew

a word that looks like sew

on the page,

But sounds like a color.



eunice_kennedy_shriver_010_1__opt( photo of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died at age 88)


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/aesthetic/”>Aesthetic</a&gt;
<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/aesthetic/">Aesthetic</a>




Here’s a poem I wrote last year with the word “invitation” as its title:




Come alone, Baritone.

I will introduce you to Contralto

She reaches low and high,

Rich and throaty,

Breathy and languid.

Such music you two will make!

Better than the usual

Serious, Angry, Tedious, Brusque,

You two make music Breathtaking, Aching,

Music which flows unstoppable

As a mud slide

Down the scale of surprise.



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


Exquisite Candidate

Denise Duhamel published this poem in 1997,  but somehow it seems fitting for me to post it this year:

Exquisite Candidate

I can promise you this: food in the White House

will change! No more granola, only fried eggs

flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!

Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!

Pigs will become the new symbol of glee,

displacing smiley faces and “Have A Nice Day.”

Car bumpers are my billboards, billboards my movie screens.

Nothing I can say can be used against me.

My life flashes in front of my face daily.

Here’s a snapshot of me as a baby. Then

marrying. My kids drink all their milk which helps the dairy

A vote for me is not only a pat on the back for America!

A vote for me, my fellow Americans, is a vote for everyone like me!

If I were the type who made promises

I’d probably begin by saying: America,

relax! Buy big cars and tease your hair

as high as the Empire State Building.

Inch by inch, we’re buying the world’s sorrow.

Yeah, the world’s sorrow, that’s it!

The other side will have a lot to say about pork

but don’t believe it! Their graphs are sloppy coloring books.

We’re just fine—look at the way

everyone wants to speak English and live here!

Whatever you think of borders,

I am the only candidate to canoe over Niagara Falls

and live to photograph the Canadian side.

I’m the only Julliard graduate—

I will exhale beauty all across this great land

of pork rinds and gas stations and scientists working for cures,

of satellite dishes over Sparky’s Bar & Grill, the ease

of breakfast in the mornings, quiet peace of sleep at night.




the wild thyme unseen


Here’s an excerpt from “The Dry Salvages,” part of T.S. Eliot’s long poem Four Quartets:

… to apprehend

The point of intersection of the timeless

With time, is an occupation for the saint –

No occupation either, but something given

And taken, in a lifetime’s death in love,

Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.

For most of us, there is only the unattended

Moment, the moment in and out of time,

The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,

The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning

Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply

That it is not heard at all, but you are the music

While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,

Hints followed by guesses; and the rest

Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.

The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.



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