March 12

All is a-melt, including my soul
bound tight these months
by cords of cold that release it
gently, so as not to shock
with the feverish heat of change.


“Blue Collar Daughters” to Read

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, Judith Robbins will join poets Claire Hersom and Susann Pelletier for a reading of their poems and conversation about poetry in their lives.

This event, dubbed “Blue Collar Daughters,” is the first in a monthly series of community poetry and conversations sponsored by L/A Arts.The event will take place between 2 and 4 p.m. in the L/A Arts Gallery, 221 Lisbon St., Lewiston.

A donation of $4 is suggested, and there will be light fare offered. The poets’ books will be available for sale.

Stung by the Spelling Bee

A cardinal rule of spelling is i before e
except after c. Historically a follower
of rules, with spelling no exception,
I had always misspelled sieze.
It looked right but it wasn’t until
my daughter’s epilepsy broke the spell
of that rule as it applied to seize or seizure––
that it would never ever qualify
as inadvertent oversight again.


The dismantling proceeds apace.
First the eyes lose their luster.
Then “what?” becomes your most
spoken word, leaving “the” in the dust.

Smell? Gone these many years.
Vestiges of taste remain. Thank God
for touch, which wins hands down
as the last and most precious sense of all.

A Hero and Saint for Our Time

At least once a year, I re-read Tom Junod’s article on Mr. Rogers in the November 1998 issue of Esquire magazine. The theme of the issue was new American heroes, and Mr. Rogers, wearing a red cardigan, was featured on the cover.

With each year that passes, the truth of the article, its simplicity and profundity, and importantly, the excellence of the writing that does justice to the man, becomes clearer and clearer. Fred Rogers was so concerned about children and what they were watching as pie-in-the-face “children’s programming” on television, that he spent the rest of his life making TV programs that would teach children about themselves, their families and their communities; that would teach them they were lovable and capable of loving.

He accomplished this through interviews with people from the neighborhood; in visits with various professionals at their work sites; through music––he himself was an accomplished musician and composer; through puppetry; and all of this with a small cast of regulars who acted out make-believe from scripts written by Mr. Rogers.

Tom Junod had the courage as a writer to not distance himself from his subject. He was drawn in by the accessibility and sincerity of this American hero, this American saint. In these challenging times, when true heroes are scarce, here is a model that deserves emulation and celebration. Who––man or woman––has the existential courage to embrace it? A measure of humility would help with that.

You can read the entire article at


Why the Tears?

I sat across the table from you
leaking tears and talking, talking
trying to put my finger on why I wept
and felt embarrassed in a class where we
discussed the abuse of women and girls.

The tears began as I tried to articulate the need
for awareness of all those who at that moment
(when we were discussing their situations
in a much removed room at divinity school)
were alone in their abuse, with no relief in sight.

Trying to discern the reason for tears
while explaining to you the sense of distance
I felt between me and my body,
me and my skin, even while the invitation
to fill that space hung in the air.

What else would God do but weep? you said.
I rode your words bareback into that space
where compassion closed the gap. I felt
how the heart of God is the part of how
we are one with ourselves and with each other.