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.
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.
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.
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.
Second sight is having an eye
that can see through the glass darkly
as if a natural light were lit, and what
had been hid from others was seen plain.
Another kind of second sight followed
the removal of cataracts. That first morning
after surgery, eye patch lifted
I caught my breath at what I saw––
No visitor from the other side but the clear
lines of trunks of trees, individual blades
of grass, daisies awake, white and gold
and looking me in the eye.
You have tasted poetry with a silver spoon
but have never been consumed yourself
by the need and will to write first and then
to attend the rest––cleaning, harvesting,
volunteering––seeking the infamous balance.
No. Seek un-balance. Allow the scale’s
weight to drop heavy on the side of writing
not making allowance for all else
but saving pride of place for poetry
ever first in the Muse’s intent for you.
Be gentle. Be slow
until the moment comes
when all is fast, and so will you be
fast, fasted as you are from all detritus
that had clung like barnacles to your psyche
and held you apart from all you would do
and be. Now is the hour to act. Scraped
clean you are able beyond your knowing
to fulfill in the simplest and most satisfying
ways the call on the rest of your life