Wednesday, February 29, 2012


for Duane Elgin

      Of all the many stories that we hear
      Of how the world began and what it’s for,
      Some meant to fill us with respectful fear,
      Others to teach us rightly to adore,
      The one that presently makes sense to me
      Proposes that the Cosmos is alive,
      Informed throughout with vital energy,
      The Source of our intelligence and drive:
      Our consciousness is Cosmic Consciousness
      At heart, far deeper than our senses know,
      Which only recognize what nerves express,
      Not what the soul perceives and visions show.
           If life on fragile Earth is to survive,
           The Cosmos then must teach us how to thrive.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


        Most poetry today (or what’s called that)
        By ancient standards fails to measure up
        And, lacking rhyme and meter, it sounds flat,
        Straggling when it ought to march: hup! hup!

        Then, without rhymes, it’s lost a source of wit
        And the anticipated happiness
        Of watching the deft poet leap and hit
        The mark he set with evident success.

        But even more, adhering to a form,
        Though tedious and mechanical to some
        Who have not felt imagination warm
        Till in a fervent flash the right words come,

             Turns out to be divine invention’s key,
             The timeless source of lasting poetry.


Monday, February 27, 2012


   For couples without children, dogs provide
   an object and a source of loving care.
   Since they don’t talk, in them you may confide
   the secrets of your heart, which they won’t share.
   Another name for “dog” should be a “hug,”
   just as a “pet” implies what pets are for:
   big ones you embrace, and small ones snug-
   gle in your lap, and both are to adore.
   Lest this seem a bizarre idolatry,
   misplaced devotion rightly given to God,
   (an anagram for dog), “Come unto me,”
   He said.  A sheepdog first obeyed his rod.
        Companion, friend, ally and faithful guide—
        no wonder dog and God are so allied.



       How much of what we “know” is truly so,
       Or simply something that we just believe,
       Indoctrinated in us as we grow,
       And now the only way we can conceive?

       For truth’s elusive, if it’s there at all
       And may be just consensus in our minds,
       Colluding in a sight that won’t appall,
       Unlike what disillusioned vision finds.

       Thus “seeing is believing” isn’t so;
       The truth is just the opposite of that:
       Believe it first, infallibly, and lo—
       See there—you’ll find a rabbit in the hat.

            All right, if not with rabbits, then with creeds,
            Which squeeze reality until it bleeds.


Sunday, February 26, 2012


       “First, do no harm”: so goes the doctor’s oath,
       Who sometimes must be cruel to be kind;
       Two truths are often told, and when they both
       Conflict, then he must bend his rational mind.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012


               My heart was searching, yearning for
                         The one prescribed by Fate
               To be the love I would adore
                         Who’d be my destined mate.

               And then you came within my ken
                         And instantly I knew
               That whom I waited for and when
                         Was now, and she was you.


Monday, February 20, 2012


          If I didn’t complain
               When a dog passed the house,
               Though you shout and you grouse,
         You'd have nothing to gain—

          Because there’ll come a day
               When there’s just me who’s here,
               And some scoundrels appear,
          But I hold them at bay.

          Oh then won’t you be glad
               That I barked and I howled
               And I yodeled and yowled
          And protected our pad?


Sunday, February 19, 2012


          This morning robins filled the sky
                  And perched in all our oaks,
          Hob-nobbing and bob-bobbing by
                 Like ordinary folks
          With Twitter sending out their tweets
                 On where they were and why
          And how to find the choicest eats
                 Before they hit the sky.


Saturday, February 18, 2012


              Who was Shakespeare that he knew
              The ingredients of a brew
              Witches use to cast a spell
              Sending enemies to hell?
              How would any noble man
              Know such lore as someone can
             Country born and village bred,
             Gossips’ doctrines in his head?
             What Will knew of noble things
             Stuff of history easily brings;
             Loitering in Liza’s court
             Proved the poet’s chief resort.
             Then, his schooling was first rate
             For a mind insatiate:
             Rhetoric and Greek he conned,
             Read the classics and beyond
             Into quaint and curious things:
             Witches’ brews and fairy rings,
             Ancient wars and heroes bold,
             Princes young and monarchs old.
             Thus did such a genius rise,
             Low by birth, to spacious skies,
             To the pinnacle of fame—
             William Shakespeare was his name.


Friday, February 17, 2012


To hear how language can be made to sing
As well as say, how sonorous vowels can ring
And echo line to line, harmoniously,
Is the grand vocation of old poetry;

Though, sadly now, such graces are forgotten,
And what was sweet and fragrant has turned rotten,
The sound no longer echoing the sense,
Few poets coming to poor rhyme’s defense,

While rhythm, too, is banished from most verse,
Which once made lines symmetrical and terse
That now proceed prosaically as prose—
How that’s a poem, one only may suppose.

     Bring back, bring back, ye poets who can sing,
     That tuneful verse which makes the welkin ring!


Thursday, February 16, 2012


   It is not outer space, up and away,
   That is our last frontier, our final goal
   As human beings, who only need to stay
   On Earth to rightly learn how to be whole.
   The super race that we aspire to be
   We’ll only ever find in inner space
   Where cosmic consciousness will prove the key
   To what we seek: Truth, Peace and Loving Grace.

   Our longing to escape the bounds of Earth
   And probe the cosmos to its farthest ends
   Will ultimately prove of little worth
   Compared to finding where our spirit tends,

        Which is to realize, for all you roam,
        The center of your heart is your true home.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” —T. S. Eliot


Monday, February 13, 2012


Nemerov # 9

Saturday, February 11, 2012


     November is the harvest time, and from
     my yearly crop of sonnets I must choose
     the two or three most likely to dumb-
     found the judge and not again, as always, lose.
     I might despair for all these years, at three
     bucks sent for every verse submitted to
     a contest named for someone who might be
     my Nemesis, a ritual I might rue—
     except it drives me on and gives me cause
     to evermore refine my lines, improve
     my style, and comprehend the sonnet’s laws,
     until at last I get one in the grove.
          Of course this isn’t it.  No sonnet wins
          that talks about itself, the worst of sins.


Monday, February 6, 2012


 for Andrew Cohen

Just think of it: for all we know, we are
The leading edge of the whole universe,
The quintessential product of some star
Exploded since, that eons would disperse

Then finally coagulate as Earth,
The seedbed for a species that could know
The cosmic consciousness causing its birth
And realize how it was meant to grow.

We are that cosmocentric species, well
Designed to manifest the mind of God,
Provided we avoid the lure of hell:
Thinking ourselves not angel but a clod.

     Divinity within makes us aspire
     To know what’s here below—and all that’s higher.


Sunday, February 5, 2012


As always in the morning, before dawn,
The three of us descend from the bedroom,
The dogs both eager to scout round the yard
For any varmints still intruding there,
Though raccoons, possums, armadillos don’t
Show up here any more; it’s only squirrels,
Too fleet to catch, but still fair game to chase.

That duty done, they do their other duties
And then want in for treats at the back door
And next their breakfast kibble in the kitchen.
By now my morning mug of latte’s brewed,
Which I take back to where my writing chair
Awaits.  I settle in.  I cock it back,
I set my writing board upon my lap,
Then sit there in the dark to see what comes.

The sight that I await is not with eyes
But in the mind, the darkness visible
Of some imagined scene or notion that
Might set my pen in motion on the page,
Tracing iambic ripples as they roll,
A carrier wave for messages that form
By their impulse, extending to the margin—
Then snapping to the start of the next line.

But just now Keena howls (as is her wont)
Her morning yodel, mournful, unconsoled,
Which Gyp now joins with whimpering yips that won’t
Be shushed until they’ve run their destined course.
Perhaps we three tune in to the same source.


Saturday, February 4, 2012


     If you’ve got dogs, you’ve also got dog poop
     And can’t be too fastidious to scoop
     It up, at best when hard, but even loose,
     The dainty dollop kind, or one a moose
     Might drop, and then an old hard one you find
     From someone else’s dog, not ’cause you’re kind,
     But to make up for one of yours you’ve missed
     And stay off of your neighborhood shit list.