An oversized pin cushion riddled with needles
he appears in the field on the ninth of March.
Looking no worse for the wear of winter
he inches along, waddling, stopping
sniffing the first green shoots of clover
pushing up. A spiny miracle raised up
himself, he points his snout
through Lent to Easter and eats.
“The Bible is the beginning, the source. But every beginning is also in us, thus you carry in yourself your own Bible, your own Book of Koheleth [Ecclesiastes], and your own Apocalypse.”
Anna Kamienska in Astonishments
What a fortunate frame of reference
with its beginning, middle and end
from creation through growth
and years of work until the last day
a day of revelation of what it all meant––
the purpose in living and now in dying
unless some unforeseen event
has cut the ribbon of life short
as with Thomas Merton shorting out
in an electrical moment. Snap!
But no, let’s go for the fan unplugged
for the lights turned safely on
when we see clearly that we were
called, and to what and why and
how to fill the remaining pages of your
life’s book with text and illustration
of what you have seen and what you
have tasted. Tell it all. Share the wealth
waiting to be written and drawn.
My newly published third 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.
Is there any reason on your birthday
to believe that you have not been reclaimed
from the worm of sickness that struck you down?
In August tomato worms abounded
but the physic of the gardener’s attention
plucked them and ended their tomato
dominion. Did the physic of death
end your suffering just so? Now, like tomato
plants of September, do you bear new fruit
as a sign of time well spent in struggle
to be free of the worm at last?
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.
You mix Miracle-Gro with insecticide
a peculiar pairing for the vegetable garden
where you are enemy of potato bug, scourge
of flea beetle, and crusher of tomato worm
that takes its nourishment from a nightshade
plant, deadly for others but food to grow
from worm to ultimate flight as moth, leaving
us to hope for time for a second leafing, all
the while admiring the jewel of camouflage
that is its green and luminous stock-in-trade.