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.
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.
Where shall I set my listening chair?
In the oak wood behind my house
where hemlocks stand and pines blow?
In the slightest breeze they wave their leaves
and needles as if in greeting. Through rain
snow, sun and ice, rooted in place
they live and die, making more beautiful
that one place, and that is enough, I believe.
We all know the snow is coming
forthwith, when we will hunker down
in cave, in house, in cold cellar.
Like dried hydrangeas and goldenrod,
all in our rooms, we’ll await the spring,
when re-seeded with life, we’ll emerge
into the fervent light.
Let the book fall open where it will.
There, your direction for the day.
Deaths listed on the left.
On the right, the title page:
The New Testament
begins here today as
The Renewed Testament.
From this day forward
what you write will be
for better, for worse
for richer, for poorer
in sickness and in health
my life being lived as a woman’s
life is lived on the planet now.
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.
Lift up your hands, your empty hands
and pray for the starving,
Your heart emptied of prayer, now
pick up the pen in your empty hand
and write a check to address hunger’s pain.