The Size of Hope

Humbled by a spider whose web
I compromised, I apologize to this mite
a thirty-second of an inch in size.

Having noticed its perfectly formed web
with the spinner at center, resting up
for the lesson it was about to teach me

the possessor of greater size but lesser
sense compared with this fellow creature.
An exploratory poke undid perfection.

Repentance is hollow, as I know it’s too
late to undo the damage I’ve done.
But not too late to learn this lesson

and to leave untouched the rest of the web
whose author is once again resting––alive––
I hope––to possibly spin again.

Word+Word+Word

Therein, nevertheless, heretofore, notwithstanding––
I love those words, strung out in a line.
Their firmness has authority with enough
flexibility to join words together with other words
to compound meaning and push at syntax.

I’d like to date such words, feeling they’re loaded
with whatever is needed to teach therefrom
something unknown heretofore.

The Accidental Hydrangea

Just in time for a summer wedding
the white hydrangea bloomed.
Both guest and greeter beside the mailbox
it grew from the gravel of decades of winters
plowed to the side of the road. Each white
puff a bridal bouquet, doubled in number
of blossoms this year at the time of the first
anniversary, with an added blossom
of the couple’s own: a baby girl, born.

Photograph of My Son in Brooklyn, 1995

This poem is reprintd today in commemoration of those who died, and those who lived and saved others on September 11, 2001.

O beautiful boy in the photo, Twin Towers looming
behind you across the East River, crowded with boats,
vehicles pressing their way over Brooklyn Bridge
busy, busy, while the viewer’s eye can’t help looking
up with awful knowledge of what will happen six years
hence, when what was beautiful once comes crumbling
down, and there’s no hope of reconstruction of those
tumbled towers with their personal cargo burned
and crushed to a lethal powder that stings the lungs
of workers, who in their hurry to save whom they can
among the broken, inhale the death of countless others
desiccated, seeking to be borne away from calamity,
from catastrophe, from the end of life as they’d known it.

And you, my son, what of you embodying life
on the other side of the river, seated innocent
above the fray, a trick of the camera having you
eye those distant towers as if you were Gulliver,
and they a Lilliputian pair affixed to your right
shoulder. It’s all illusion except for the deaths
to come and the look of the young man you were
seated on a parapet above the river, eyeing
the future and what you thought it could be.

 

Sun

The warmth of sun straightened my back
from the question mark of older age.
In my seventh decade, I found the sun
worshiped in all places and times
of the living earth and understand
why as statement rather than question,
my straightened back all the answer I need.

Keeping On

I interrupted an insect feeding
on the leaves of a young apple tree

new growth evident in spite
of damage, a sign of hope and per-

severance. We have need of such signs
under the crush of events that happen

in every life. No one is spared
difficulties, or blessed depending

if life is viewed as a training ground
or a flash of cruelty some might call their god.

The Watchers

Three watchers dressed in black
stood shoulder to shoulder in dream.

They looked at me through a building
of brick, no visual barrier for these

who had come from another place
to reassure me I have no guilt

in telling the truth. I take their gaze
with gratitude. It isn’t love, but justice
in their look.