Judith Robbins’ latest collection of poems, To Bury or Burn, sweeps
across the spectrum of life, leaving in its wake moments of joy and
grief, childhood and motherhood, poets and their poems, and the
company and loss of cats, all of it against the backdrop of the
The book is available from Amazon
from the publisher, North Country Press
from Barnes & Noble
and from most bookstores.
The first flakes of November snow
are singular: one––two … one––one.
They come gently down from clouds,
white clouds hurrying over to keep
an appointment with approaching winter.
Suddenly thickly they hit the ground
a cold body of weather fully formed.
For four minutes, five minutes, what
was flurry becomes a full-blown squall
drawing me out of protective quarters
to see if I’ve misunderstood what it portends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bluets first, then violets
backdropped by dandelions.
Daffodils going by, tulips
opening pastel wings.
Promise of iris in rising spears,
lily-of-the-valley set to bloom.
Across the field, the lilac tree
lifting soon-to-be fragrant cones
that one week hence in full bloom
will assault the eager bees.