Sunday, August 30, 2015


                    Gautama sat, and sat, and sat, and sat
                    Under the broad-leafed boddhi tree to see,
                    Eyes closed, a revelatory vision that
                    Could end the suffering of humanity.
                    Tranquil at last, transcending mortal pain,
                    He’d found the Way to reach the highest bliss
                    By learning how from grasping to refrain
                    Since coveting is how we go amiss.
                    There is a deeper joy that lies concealed
                    Within the hearts of human sufferers
                    That may by meditation be revealed
                     As something seeming mystical occurs
                          Far more than previously could be surmised
                          By which the Ultimate is realized.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015


                    My sabbatical is done and I’m now back
                    Into the traces of the college term,
                    Harnessed for a trot around the track
                    And hemmed in by a sturdy temporal berm.

                    No more the calm serenity to muse
                    And feel the open-endedness of time
                    That I could spend while idly seeking clues
                     Leading to my next impending rhyme.

                     Yet here I am: it seems I’ve found a niche
                     Two days a week when I don’t have to teach,
                     And I can do what always will enrich
                     My mind, and then extend my worldly reach,

                         As I go public on the Internet
                         And post my poem for the world to vet.


Sunday, August 23, 2015


                       A vagrant turtle shambled up our street
                       In quest presumably to meet a mate,
                       Despite the imminent danger of this feat,
                      Then do what turtles do to procreate.

                       As it approached a busy thoroughfare,
                       Kim spotted it and pulled her car aside
                       Then found a way to give the turtle care
                       For otherwise it surely would have died.

                      She took an empty carton from her trunk
                      And lifted in the endangered wanderer,
                      Returned it to our lake where it soon sunk,
                      Hoping the episode would not recur.

                          But mating time makes for a craziness
                          That often puts in peril one’s success.


Saturday, August 22, 2015


                    You might think my invoking of the Muse
                    Is just another way I have to snooze,
                    Reposing in my half-cocked easy chair,
                    Eyes lowered in a dull, half-lidded stare.

                    Before long, though, a line begins to form
                    Establishing this poem’s metric norm,
                    And shortly afterwards the rhyme scheme’s set,
                    A strict exigency that must be met.

                    A sonnet, by this time, must take a turn
                    As both the poet and the reader learn
                    The covert motive driving on this poem
                    That doesn’t know itself till it comes home,

                         For writing verse promotes discovery
                         As what remained implicit we now see.


Friday, August 21, 2015


                        The couplet is a verse form you’ll remember
                        From January right through to December.

                       The secret of this catchy kind of verse
                        Is that it’s rhythmic, sonorous and terse,

                       And thus it forms a mental kind of meme
                       That makes its memorability supreme.


Thursday, August 20, 2015


                    One job I wouldn’t want is a tree climber,
                    A fellow with a buzz-saw lopping branches;
                   To be instead a lowly sonnet rhymer
                   At least the odds for longer life enhances
                   If not a shot at immortality;
                   Yet since the paper that I write on’s made
                   From pulp, I owe that climber’s industry
                   My gratitude and offer this in trade—
                   A wispy token of my high esteem
                   In honor of his daring bravery;
                   Reality’s his venue; mine is dream,
                   And yet for both, the medium’s a tree.
                        Although he’ll never see this feat of rhyme,
                        I wish him well in his diurnal climb.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015


                    Tucked in beside me now, our little puplet
                    Prompts me to write about her in this couplet.

                    It would not be the first verse she’s inspired;
                    It’s only her warm presence that’s required

                    And a winsome glance over her shoulder
                    To make me tell her what I’ve often told her:

                   That she’s the sweetest doggie in the world,
                   Looking up lovingly from where she’s curled.


Monday, August 17, 2015


                    “HAEWAT!” begins the tale of Beowulf,
                     Or “Listen up!” as we would say today,
                     Summoning us again past time’s vast gulf
                     To recollect a famous epic fray
                     In which but one man dared to stand against
                     A monstrous, hag-born progeny of Hell
                     Who overwhelmed all efforts at defense
                     And gobbled foes until his belly’d swell.
                     “Grendel” was this fiendish monster named,
                     Whose mother was a witch, both seeds of sin,
                     And long their wicked reign had been proclaimed,
                     But soon a glorious era would begin
                          Once Beowulf had ripped off Grendel’s arm
                          Rescuing the whole countryside from harm.


Sunday, August 16, 2015


                           “The dyer’s hand at last acquires
                                      The color of the dye”;

                            Likewise, one who has studied hard
                                      The verses of the Bard

                           May find in time that he can write
                                      With comparable delight—

                           Though yet one trait beyond him lies:
                           For Shakespeare was, above all, wise.


Saturday, August 15, 2015


for Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson


                    Let’s say that we aspire to grow wise:
                    Then this is what we most must realize
                    In thought and action to attain that state:
                    Not just transcending selfishness and hate,
                    Since wisdom works to serve the common good
                    By teaching what we may and what we should;

                   Whereas those serving but themselves are fools
                   For violating the foremost of rules:
                   Do unto others as you’d have them do
                   What, tables turned, would serve both them and you.

                  That wisdom we most need to cultivate
                  For us to grow into our full estate
                  As “Homo sapiens sapiens,” as we’ve proclaimed,
                  Won’t happen till our foolishness is tamed.


                    Though Gyp may seem the fearsome guardian
                    Of our household, give credit too to Tig
                    Who, though she isn’t measurably big,
                    Is one dauntless protector of our den.

                   Her penetrating yaps and gravelly growls
                   Would give any would-be intruder pause,
                   Thinking to save his ankles from her jaws
                   Or that the neighborhood would hear her howls.

                   “She’s only little on the outside,” I’ve
                   Said often when describing Tiggy to
                   Someone who, seeing her, cannot contrive
                   What her ferocious clamoring can do
                   To back presumed intruders to the wall—
                   All that from one who’s just ten inches tall.


Friday, August 14, 2015


                    It cannot be that we’re the only ones
                    With life and consciousness the cosmos wide,
                    Though it may be their greater prudence shuns
                     Showing us where they vulnerably reside.

                    If they’ve observed our history of war
                    And seen the scope of our atrocities,
                    They know it’s best for them if they ignore
                    A race behaving like a dread disease.
                    Perhaps they’re waiting till we grow mature
                    Beyond our adolescent acting out
                    And we, through trial and error, find a cure

                    For waywardness and can true wisdom tout.

                         Our task is finally to realize
                         That Homo sapiens sapiens must grow wise.


                            A couplet is two droplets worth of verse:
                            Enough to sprinkle on, but not immerse.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015


                The ritual of our morning dictates first
                The dogs be taken out to roam the yard
                To “do their stuff” and get themselves immersed
                 In chasing squirrels, with whom they’ve always sparred.

                The dogs will bark; the squirrels will nag and bray
                From half-way up the trunk of an oak tree,
                Taunting the mutts who hold them all at bay:
                It’s hard so say whose is the greater glee.

                Eventually, the ruckus will subside
                And, hoping to be fed, the dogs come in,
                Each with an adventure to confide
                But happy to be done with all that din.

                    The next thing to look forward to’s a walk
                    With other hapless critters they can stalk.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


                    Just when I think my vatic well’s run dry,
                    An impulse comes to take another try:
                    So what if I’ve no subject to explore:
                   Each venture starts by opening a door
                   Then stepping out with confidence that soon
                   The Muse will kindly grant her daily boon:
                   A line will come that prompts another one,
                   And this goes on until the poem’s done,
                   An entity that could not be forethought
                   But wisps and glints spontaneously caught
                   And pinned like butterflies upon a board
                   Finding design that it is striving toward—
                        Then realizing what it’s all about
                        Just as the lines and beats and rhymes run out.


Monday, August 10, 2015


                    The chirring or the barking of the squirrels
                    Harassed perhaps by some intrusive hawks,
                    Catches the attention of our girls
                    As we set out on one of our two walks.

                   Our dogs are well tuned-in to what’s around
                   As we perambulate the neighborhood
                   Where sights and sounds and incidents abound:
                   There’s hardly been a walk that wasn’t good.

                   A fracas with some neighbor’s surly mutt
                   Or provocations by a wily cat
                   May prompt them to establish just what’s what,
                   But for the most part there’s not much of that.

                       And our adventures stimulate a day
                       That otherwise by snoozing’s whiled away.


Sunday, August 9, 2015


                    Each morning I invoke the Sonnet Trance,
                    That mood or mode in which new verses turn,
                    An attitude adopted to enhance
                    What seeming randomness would have me learn.

                    How can it be, a mindless list of rhymes
                    Should generate at last coherent thought,
                    As if a random clattering of chimes
                    Composed a score of music you had sought?

                    But sound and sense strangely collaborate
                    As each delineated verse rolls out
                    In ways I never might anticipate,
                    And yet as naturally as blossoms sprout.

                        Mysteriously, there’s sense within the sound,
                        And each verse seems to know where it is bound.


Saturday, August 8, 2015


                    A little squirrel pup, eyes not opened yet,
                    Lay under the investigating noses
                    Of our two dogs, too innocent to fret
                    About their hovering, intrusive poses.

                   I picked it off the ground at the oak’s base:
                   It was no longer than my outstretched palm
                   And breathing gently, oblivious to its case
                   Of seeming peril, lying serene and calm.

                  The best that I could think to do for it
                  Was lay it on a little fungus ledge
                  A yard above the ground, where it just fit
                  Close to the tree and farthest from the edge.

                     Gone in the morning, it was rescued by
                     Its mother, carrying it to their nest on high.


Thursday, August 6, 2015


                    The acronym of G.O.D. may simply mean
                    Good orderly direction to be seen
                    Exhibited throughout the universe,
                    An element in which all things immerse,
                   The Source from which the Cosmos has derived,
                   The means by which all order is contrived.

                   Though some personify this force as a great Father,
                   Others observe the laws of physics, rather:
                   Impersonal, implacable, supreme,
                   Regarding a godhead as but a dream
                   Or fairy tale meant to console a child,
                   Out of our fears and fantasies compiled.

                       I would not be so quick to dismiss God,
                       Who might dispose of us with but a nod.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015


                  When you read Shakespeare’s famous sonnets you
                  Seek to discover what has made them great,
                  What he has done so skillfully to imbue
                  Them with what readers long would contemplate.
                  His pattern is not overly ornate
                  And carries well the natural sound of speech
                  When it sets out to muse and contemplate
                  Instead of striving to orate or teach.
                  You do not hear so much as overhear
                  His memories, dreams, reflections half aloud,
                  Emerging in a form that makes them clear
                  Yet with a natural eloquence endowed.
                        “If this be error and upon me proved,
                         I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”


Tuesday, August 4, 2015


                    The substrate of all matter we call “mind,”
                    That force by which all being is designed,
                    For nothing can arise except by will
                    Intent upon some purpose to fulfill.

                    As instance of this principle, this verse
                    Is what my churning morning thoughts disburse,
                    Which by no other means could have arisen
                    And now gives substance to my airy vision.


Monday, August 3, 2015


               A strict materialist cannot see mind
               At work in ordering the universe;
               All structures are but randomly combined
               And just as accidentally disperse.

               For him it’s simply physics and its laws
               Stochastically proceeding without aim
               That we have misinterpreted as “cause”
               Yet lack sound reason to support our claim.

               Let me just simply say I have a mind
               And so does everyone who’s reading this,
               And that this very poem is designed
               To contradict our blind materialist.

                    Mind matters: that’s how things have come about,
                    The horse before the cart—there is no doubt.


Sunday, August 2, 2015


                 At the next stage of our humanity,
                 We’ll have transcended the insanity
                 Of war and other senseless violence
                 That saner, wiser reckoning prevents,
                 Adding another sapience to our name,
                 Absolving us at last of ancient blame
                 While ushering in an era of accord
                 That we for eons have been yearning toward.

                 What then?  Perhaps when we at last have shown
                 Such amity, we’ll find we’re not alone
                 And those elsewhere who see how we’ve grown wise
                 Will visit us in peace to be allies
                 In furthering our quest to understand
                 The scope of what the cosmic Source has planned.


                         A Global Wisdom Culture is our aim:
                        The only way we humans can evolve
                        Beyond our woeful history of shame,
                        And all our former waywardness resolve.

                      What is it then for humans to grow wise?
                      It means to realize we’re all one kind,
                      Not enemies but brothers and allies
                      Who for cooperation are designed.

                      We need to share a vision of what might,
                      Once we have grown wise, then come to be,
                      Evolving out of darkness into light
                      Achieving at the last true sanity.

                           In time we’ll find we are no longer bent
                           Once Homo sapiens grows sapient.


Saturday, August 1, 2015


                    It’s memories, reflections, dreams that spark
                    My impulse every day to write a verse
                    While sitting in the morning’s semi-dark
                    Alert for what my Muse brings to disburse.

                   At times like this, it’s nothing better than
                   Reflections on the process that I use;
                   When things go better, though, I sometimes can
                   Authentically invoke the bashful Muse,

                   Surprising me with some original,
                   Engaging topic to investigate
                  And worthy of a sonnet’s musical
                  Devices as a way to contemplate.

                      Tomorrow, I shall hope, that is the case;
                      Today’s won’t even make it to first base.