My Dear Mrs. Bennett

[Just having a bit of fun here with a writing prompt to write a letter to a fictional character.]

My dear Mrs. Bennett,

It is a truth
though not yet universally acknowledged
that not every young man
whether of good fortune or no
Is necessarily
in want of a wife.

Nor, for that matter,
is every young woman
in want of a husband.

To speak of people as property
rightful or otherwise
must now make every person
of any sense and sensibility

It is a matter of pride
to eschew such prejudice.

I hope it needs but little persuasion
to help you see the error of your ways.

Though I should not wish to imperil
the humor of your absurdities.

Your faithful friend,



I escape with my life
and sanity, but barely
from the CNN talking heads
too loud, too long
drill through my bedrock skull
melt my permafrost brain
infanticide of all thought.

I seek refuge and repair
among nuts and bolts
down Lowe’s long aisles
but the noise we once called
elevator music
plunges me down
into something like grief
for murdered thought.

I am redeemed, rescued briefly
by an unlikely savior:
a cashier with a lilting Jamaican accent
more music than the alien chords
that invade my mind control
cleave thought from self
more sword than chord.

Right down the road
the library, shiny new
surely offers quiet
thought resurrection.

I sit among others
so many others
in blissful blessed quiet
reading, working, sleeping even
in the quiet cool.

Available comfortable seats are few
but I find one of an empty pair
in front of a large window
no CNN, no shared noise
pretending to be music.

There my mind births thoughts
without contortions or labor pains
with surprising ease
a quiet birth
in a quiet place

Reflections on Narcissus

‘Tis brightness to be young
And in love with your beauty.
‘Tis power to be young
And in love with your strength.
‘Tis laughter to be young
And in love with your future.
‘Tis easy to be young
And in love with your reflection.

‘Tis grace to be old
And in love with life’s beauty.
‘Tis courage to be old
And in love with your scars.
‘Tis bold to be old
And in love with your history.
‘Tis brightness to be old
And in love with your love’s reflection.

City Trees

Sad sentinels
Alone and lonely
The encampment long gone
That once their ancestors guarded

Where now the bears, the wolves
Antelope, elk, moose
And the people
Who hunted them
Lived on their bounty
All gone

The mountains remain
High on the horizon
Beyond these new hills
These strange straight crowded
New hills

Rank upon rank
Of these new hills
And the once new people
Who made them

Felling the forest
Killing the old people
Burying their land in concrete and steel
Until only these few remain

These sentinels of memory
Hanging on
Never thriving but
Never dying
These city trees


I have navigated the rapids
The tumbling thrumbling
frothing foaming
raging rapids of reproach
paddling hard
bladed oar twisting dipping
first right then left
(You are to blame, I am to blame)

I have twirled
in endless eddies of self-doubt
(I am no good)
Leaning far forward to escape

I have scraped myself raw
on ragged rocks of regrets
(I could have should have done better)

I have bumped thumped
into black boulders of despair
(Nothing again will ever be good)

I have bloodied myself
on sharp-edged rage ledges
(You, you, damn you, hurt me)

More than once I capsized
panicked trapped in my kayak
blinded I sucked in hard water
digging deep
I remember the hip thrust
the precise paddle turn
to roll upright

I survived my waterfall of grief
out of control
I plummeted
through cascades of tears
submerged in mourning
twisting turning head over if onlys
I breathed the bitter waters of my despair
Bottomed on blind boulders of no more

Battered, bruised, confused
I had no choice but to find
my fragile tough kayak skin
climb back in
and go on

Now I drift through quiet waters
content with the murmuring current
carrying me through tree-lined lowlands
large leaved shrubs dark chocolate alluvial soil

My shoulders still ache
My scabs peel sometimes, and bleed
When the sun is hot, I burn
My paddle lies across my lap
The weather could turn stormy
Open waters strong surf could lie ahead
But for now I drowse and drift
Content to have survived.

Auguries of Aging

Time and again
it begins
the same…

First I remember
or half remember
a line from a poem
or part of a line –
or is it several lines –
probably jumbled

“To see the world in a grain of sand
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand”
Is that right?
Whose poem?
Yeats comes to mind
but I know that is not right.
Coleridge? No – Butler? Absurd
Is Butler even a poet?
Where did that name come from?

Then I remember the title:
Auguries of Innocence
Ah, yes, of course,
not Yeats – Blake

Never can I easily remember
William (I think) Blake

Blake’s Auguries of Innocence:
I have loved it long
read it often
memorized – and forgotten –
parts of it

A favorite poem:
One of the first
that made me feel
deeper depths
stirring, beckoning
in an unexplored ocean

I had waded in Poe’s easy rhymes
splashed in cummings’ enticing verses
trickled Invictus through my soul
dabbled in Shakespearean sonnets
watched Columbus sail with no chart
witnessed my Captain’s ship come to port

But not until Auguries
had dared I
kicking for a bottom
deeper than I

And yet, even so,
I forget
time and again
the lines
the poet
the magic
the grace

And so
I have
time and again
the bittersweet pleasure of
that treasure chest
those scattered jewels
among those grains of sand

A Writer’s Parody

Sumer is icumen in
Write boldly, cuckoo
Poems grow and stories bloom
And our words spring forth anew
Write, cuckoo!

The poet bleats after her verse
The novelist lows after her plot
The memoirist prances; the readers fart
Merrily write, cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo
You write well, cuckoo
Never be quiet now, ever!

Write, cuckoo, now; write, cuckoo!
Write, cuckoo; write, cuckoo, now!