Tuesday, December 31, 2013


        Of course we humans will mythologize
        Those noble beings whom we most esteem,
        And such distortions should not count as lies
        But rather more like fiction or like dream.

        What matters is that Jesus was a man
        Like us, and not a supernatural being,
        Who taught that at our loftiest we can
        Exhibit love that’s spiritually freeing,

        That even when we’re hated, we can love;
        And when we’re injured, we can yet forgive
        Because we have the faith to rise above
        Revenge, since
in us grace and mercy live.

             It’s not that he commands and we obey;
             It’s that we choose to follow in his way.


Monday, December 30, 2013



    The dogs and I walk every Saturday
    In Mead Garden, traipsing woodland trails
    In search of sights and scents along the way,
    The kinds that make for happy, flashing tails:
    Perhaps a gopher tortoise burrowed in her hole,
    Or a scampering brown rabbit dashing past,
    Or an imprudent, vulnerable vole
    Who, even for fleet Tiggy, is too fast.
    But more fun yet is watching watchers watch—
    The birders with their cameras round their necks,
    Peering through long lenses at a notch
    Across the pond where a woodpecker pecks.
         And once we even saw a woodland sprite,
         A fairy princess, and in broad daylight.


Sunday, December 29, 2013


Notes for a Proper Appreciation of his

•    Prolific creativity and inventiveness
•    Wonderful imagination and memory
•    Musicality
•    Geniality and generosity
•    Compendiousness of observation
•    Verbal facility and felicity

He is America’s camp counselor and raconteur.

His literary lineage descends through Whitman, Twain and Faulkner.


Friday, December 27, 2013


        No matter how adroitly they’re well versed,
        Self-referential poems are the worst;

        A landscape is what readers all prefer,
        Not seeing the poet gazing in a mirror.


Thursday, December 26, 2013


      How is a human being to be shaped?
      For we can be configured many ways,
      And over eons we have mimed and aped
      Behaviors meriting both scorn and praise.

      Our very malleability may be
      Our most amazing and auspicious trait,
      Our protean potential to be free
      Of any in-bred, predetermined fate.

      What character is best to shape, what skills
      To inculcate if each is to become
      What he or she should be that best fulfills
      Unique potentialities, or some

           Implicit destiny within each soul
           That leaves one feeling realized and whole?


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


    It’s not what you believe, but how you live
    That indicates the worth of any creed:
    Are you inclined to take and hoard, or give?
    For charity’s superior to greed,

    And charity means caring for another
    With sacrifice and warm solicitude,
    As you should for a sister or a brother
    And others whom you generously include.

    What’s more absurd than a “religions war”
    Between two peoples bound by common error,
    Both faithless to what makes the spirit soar,
    Who’ve sacrificed solicitude to terror?

         It’s not what you believe, but how you live:
         Are you inclined to take and hoard—or give?


Monday, December 23, 2013


     I’d rather not believe, but simply know,
     Not what some doctrine claims, but what is so.
     Why should I take on faith some proffered creed
     Instead of following my reason’s lead,
     Adhering to what makes the greatest sense:
     Promoting good and causing least offense?

     Not to belittle noble souls of yore
     Who taught well what to love and what abhor,
     Yet not to elevate them to divine
     Estate of supernatural design,
     Yielding to superstition’s false allure,
     Which no one sensible could well endure.

          What I believe is that belief alone
          Sans rationality, should be outgrown.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

NEMEROV 2014 #12


    There’s magic in the web a sonnet weaves
    As measured out in five iambic feet,
    An implement by which the poet conceives
    Unthought-of subject matter, beat by beat.

    Ironically, the more confined he feels,
    The more imagination’s then compelled
    To wrack his brain until the right word steals
    Into his view, and a new notion’s spelled.

    The less one starts with matter preconceived,
    The more the likelihood of being surprised
    By something unexpectedly retrieved
    Or, in the nick of time, just realized.

         This magic carpet sonnet flies to lands
         Unknown, by means no science understands.


Saturday, December 21, 2013


        Jean Houston and the whole Noetic club
        Predict a turning in Earth’s history,
        Revolving round a hidden mystic hub
        Revealing soon a cosmic mystery:

        We humans are about to come of age,
        Leaving behind our infancy of pain,
        Outgrowing our wild adolescent stage
        Of acting out—becoming finally sane.

        With Barbara Marx Hubbard serving as
        The matriarch divining this event,
        Seeing as clearly as any prophet has
        The outcome of Earth’s long experiment,

             We’ll finally begin to realize
             The wondrous benefits of growing wise.


Friday, December 20, 2013


      If I was so inclined to be a poet
      when I was young, no evidence will show it;
      I have no scraps or remnants from those days,
      no still-abiding evidence of praise,
      nothing to indicate facility
      or prove poetical ability.

      But only after years of English teaching
      of others’ verse, I felt my spirit reaching
      to try my own hand at the games they played
      by following in patterns they had made,
      becoming in time a verse practitioner
      who daily sets his mental wheels a-whir,
      sitting as I do now to spin out lines,
      weaving them into resonant designs.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


       Once upon a rhyme, the story goes,
       A poet sitting in his bedtime clothes
       Before the early morning sun arose,
       While contemplating in a musing doze,
       Considering what subject to compose,
       Eschewing anything fit just for prose
       And not for lines in aptly metered rows,
       Decided monorhyme might best disclose
       How novel subject matter easily flows
       When rhyme and meter frolic to expose
       Some wondrous vistas and sublime tableaux,
       Although it’s true no polymath could gloze
       How such a feat might be, it surely shows
       There are some cosmic secrets no one knows.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013


        Now, really, how did all this come about—
        not just this planet, but the Universe?
        One thing is certain and beyond all doubt:
        it has no easy secret to disburse.

        If we are to divine a cosmic plan
        discovering an occult cosmogony
        revealing how the whole shebang began,
        science alone will show ontology.

        While comforting it may be to suppose
        that supernatural intelligence
        created all existence and now knows
        the fate of all with cognizance immense,

             Our scientists proceed more reasonably,
             exploring every possibility.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


       What notions are most viable as memes
       On which to found a fit philosophy
       To realize our species’ fondest dreams,
       Making of us the best that we can be?

       This is an urgent question to be asked
       Because we’ve grown so capable of harm,
       And that propensity means we’re now tasked
       To cease our hostile habits and disarm.

       It’s concord we most need to cultivate—
       A loving, caring, sharing attitude,
       Devoid of envy, anger, pride and hate,
       With amity and happiness pursued.

            We sapiens have still to realize
            Our full capacity for growing wise.



    He lives within parameters he’s set
    Defining his peculiar comfort zone
    And follows rituals he can’t forget,
    Invariable routines he’s made his own.

    The very thought of spontaneity
    Sends anxious shudders up and down his spine;
    The trait he elevates is constancy:
    What others liberate, he would confine.

    And thus it was when he would write a verse,
    He chose the strictest pattern that he knew,
    A kind that liberal poets thought a curse,
    And its practitioners were fit though few.

     The happy paradox he’d often see
     Is how this strict confinement set him free.


Sunday, December 15, 2013


   Turn your attention now to what you should
   If you would have your precious life deemed good.
   Though you’re still early on in your career,
   It’s none to soon to find out what is dear
   And then devote your energies to deeds
   That satisfy the world’s most urgent needs
   And thereby feed your own soul’s deep desire
   To do your best before your days expire.

   “How do,” you may well ask, “your poems serve
   The world?”  Perhaps if done with skill and verve,
   They may exemplify the play of mind
   By which all artifacts may be designed
        For artifice is that which makes us man,
        An image of the highest Artisan.


Saturday, December 14, 2013


Chewing my mental cud, I ruminate
On thoughts arising in the pre-dawn haze,
Searching for something tasty to elate
My torpid Muse and set my mind ablaze—

Until from out the dim Mysterium
A notion stirs and words begin to form
Into the sentences that then become
A stately shape within those thoughts that swarm.

Thus is it that a sonnet may arise
Almost spontaneously, with seeming ease
To the reader’s and the writer’s fond surprise
Because this magic form both binds and frees.

     Though sonnets make their strict formal demands,
     They feed in ways nobody understands.



      While other beings are driven by their drives,
      Responding automatically to prods
      Because whoever doing so survives,
      We humans at our best have followed gods:

      Ideas and ideals have led us on,
      Conceptions we have fashioned mentally
      To guide and goad us toward some paragon
      That works to alter our reality.

      Though if our driving dreams are ill-conceived
      Phantasms of a paranoic mind,
      Irrationally invented and believed,
      We need to trade them for a wiser kind.

           Our race will only prove ourselves supreme
           When we are guided by the kindest dream.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013


     I call him “Edward Longshanks,” he’s so tall
     and thin, striding through our neighborhood,
     taking his morning constitutional
     or for some reason I’ve not understood.

     We’ve only said “Good morning” as we passed.
     He seems aloof yet affable enough,
     but I’ve never made that passing moment last
     by trying to engage with other stuff.

     I think I’ll simply let his secrets be,
     and rather than find out, I’ll just suppose,
     keeping him still a man of mystery,
     respecting what he’d rather not disclose.

          Though odds are he’s a loner and just shy,
          who knows what I’ll discover by and by.


Saturday, December 7, 2013


        Imagination is that faculty of ours,
        Perhaps the greatest of our human powers,
        By which we visualize what yet may be
        So we might urge it toward reality.

        What starts as a desire becomes design,
        An image toward which many powers align,
        Both conscious and unconscious, till at last
        A never-before-seen icon is cast.

        No wonder then that we suppose a God
        As a creator who can turn a clod
        Of clay into an animated being,
        For this is but a glorious way of seeing

             Writ large that universal principle
             Which makes an airy image corporal.



      The reason for this rhyme-and-meter thing,
      Despite the modern fashion that denies it,
      Is simply that true poems ought to sing,
      Though few who’d now be poets realize it.

      Old masters always practiced eloquence
      In language raised above the common tongue,
      Aiming to mingle sweetly sound and sense,
      Their recitations far less said than sung.

      I grant that times and tastes will always change,
      But yet sonority is what defines
      Both songs and verse, so seeking to estrange
      The sound from sense means poetry declines.

           And then, the very act of seeking rhymes
           May suddenly reveal new paradigms.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013


   Serena’s car was stolen at the park
   where she had gone to study and relax
   on Sunday afternoon, an easy mark
   for someone studious in such attacks.
   Perhaps he saw her keys beside her purse
   and snatched them while she looked the other way
   or maybe, more insidious and worse,
   this was a stalking game he’d learned to play,
   connected with some syndicate of crime,
   a racket with a manual of rules
   to teach con-artists how to choose their time
   and pick their prey and make them feel like fools.
        The worst effect of being so victimized
        is finding both your faith and trust downsized.


Saturday, November 30, 2013


   Our Tiggy now, in this her second year,
   Has come into her own and rules the roost.
   Though but six pounds, she’s always made it clear
   Who’s in command, since we were introduced,

   And even Gyp, ten times her size, allows
   This little scamp to freely romp and play
   And pester her—and seemingly kow-tows
   To Tig’s shenanigans throughout the day.

   Yet at some tricks, big Gyp will draw the line:
   A rawhide stick once given her is hers
   To keep, and she’ll help envious Tig define
   That line by growling till the pup concurs.

        But otherwise, it’s Tiggy who’s in charge:
        If not in size, in attitude she’s large.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

     Though it’s toward wisdom humans are inclined,
     That end for which we’re finally designed,
     It’s clear we are a work in progress still
     Toward which we must exert our utmost will.

     The sapience incipient in our genes
     Must be expressed by all effective means,
     Yet foremost through examples sages set
     By deeds our histories will not forget.

     Though Socrates and Jesus in their ways
     Set wondrous precedents that still amaze,
     More modest modern instances abound
     Exemplifying reasoning that’s sound

          And that by which true wisdom is defined:
          The ever-present motive to be kind.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


    Inhabitants of Earth, know this: that we
    Have monitored your contumacious history
    And seen you growing smarter than you’re wise,
    Thereby endangering your enterprise
    With so much power so recklessly employed
    That soon your habitat will be destroyed.

    Know this as well: there is a proper way
    To flourish and grow wise and thus allay
    The direful fate you’re swiftly heading for—
    If you can open wide perception’s door
    To recognize a higher consciousness,
    Without which there’s no hope for your success.

         It’s only when you see all life as one
         That you’ll know properly what must be done.


Monday, November 25, 2013


   The aim, I’d say, is that you’ll end up glad,
   When life is through, about the trip you’ve had,
   With few regrets over mistakes you’ve made,
   And that the cards you held were all well played.

   You sought out your potentialities
   Then cultivated your capacities
   Until you reaped the fruits of all your labors,
   Happy enough to share them with your neighbors,

        And it was ever foremost in your mind
        That our first duty’s always to be kind.


Sunday, November 24, 2013


      What might begin by fooling round with words,
      An idle, useless exercise for nerds,
      May rise fortuitously to something higher
      Responding to a nobler desire,
      For as the train of thought begins to chug,
      One line hauls up another that will tug
      Still yet another to the place of rhyme,
      Rhyme shortly to emerge from the sublime.

      This is a mystery to wonder at in awe
      That may eventually lead one to draw
      Conclusions about how the universe
      Commingles rhyme and reason to disburse
      New notions in the world that otherwise
      Might never in a million years arise.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

         What does it mean to be “true to myself”?
         Is there some doppelganger on a shelf
         To whom I’d pledge allegiance and belie
         My own true selfhood and thereby defy
         What Providence intends for me to be
         Through manifesting my integrity?

         That may be so, for there are many ways
         Down which a lost and errant spirit strays.
         If so, then how might I identify
         The Self I truly am, lest I should die
         A wayward soul who never heard his calling,
         For such a fate would finally be appalling?

             If I attend to what I can do best,
             My true identity will manifest.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013


      Now, why should I believe what I don’t know?
      I might suppose that such-and-such is so
      As an hypothesis to probe and test
      Until its truth or falsehood is assessed,
      But I can give no credence without proof,
      For nothing else persades me but the truth,
      And thus on matters metaphysical,
      I’ll hold with only what is sensible.
      But yet I wonder if beyond the ken
      Of science with its rigid regimen
      And protocols of proof, there still may lie
      An occult realm our brains can occupy—
           If we could readjust our frame of mind
           And find our whole perspective realigned.


Monday, November 18, 2013


     To write verse free of verse defies all sense,
     especially the sense of rhyme and meter;
     so I arise and come to the defense
     of lines with zip and dash that never peter
     out, but set up expectations they fulfill
     while subtly varying the pace and beat,
     deciding when to run—and then stand still
     and signalling clearly that a thought’s complete.
     Then when a turn of thought is called for it
     occurs at the expected spot and shows
     a new perspective somehow meet and fit,
     while signalling the verse now nears its close.
          Or so it is with sonnets, whose strict rules
          confound the skills of witless free verse fools.


Sunday, November 17, 2013


Is there anything that you and I can do to help devise and promote a viable future on Earth for all creatures, great and small?  Then, beyond that primary exigency, can we also make salutary advances into new understanding and invention that realizes more of our intellect’s potential to create beyond the capacity of mindless nature?

Somehow, out of unconsciousness, consciousness has emerged on Earth, and then self-consciousness in us, Homo sapiens sapiens.  If there are yet higher, finer, keener levels of mentality to be realized, it seems likely that we are the agents of such advancement, at least here on Earth—for who knows what the evolutionary process has manifested elsewhere in the cosmos, beyond our present ken?

To that end of advancing human mentality, our first imperative is that of the physician: Do no harm; yet that commandment we have blatantly flouted.  Obviously, our burgeoning, reckless species, like a plague of locusts, is ravaging our planet’s resources and despoiling its habitat.  That behavior we must cease or any hope of advancement is null.  Our population must be limited rationally and humanely.

Yet, every human being born must be regarded as precious—a pearl of great price.  Children’s caregivers must assume the responsibility of doing all possible to help the child’s positive potentials manifest and flourish, not merely its aptitudes and talents, but its whole humanity as a loving, caring, generous person.

Whence does malice, evil, atrocity arise?  “I’m depraved on accounta I’m deprived,” says a lyric from West Side Story.  Just so.  We need what we need, and without proper provision we fail to flourish.  Without loving-kindness we rot.

Humankind is most assured of advancement to the extent that it is both human and kind.



Musing is a method that writers and other artists use to tap in to some occult source of inspiration that breathes ideas into their consciousness that might not otherwise occur to them.  When they are baffled in the course of their work, or if they are seeking another apt project suitable to their disposition and skills, these artisans invoke the Muse.

While ancient Greek legend names nine classical muses for such arts as music, dance and poetry—for all those human endeavors requiring insight, imagination, and the infusion of new ideas—latter-day cognitive sciences have reconstrued the human creative process in more mundane terms, such as preparation, incubation and AH-HA discovery stages, the last of which represents the Eureka moment of sudden discovery or awareness that seems like a bolt from the blue or the gift of a muse.

Assuming that a writer, say, is seeking such a guiding light of inspiration, she would do well to find a place congenial to undisturbed reflection, as in an easy chair with a lapboard and writing pad, her pen in hand—relaxed and receptive.  With anticipation but without anxiety, she waits, she muses, her mind drifting and shifting into a mode of reverie and reflection in which notions seem to bubble up from the depths of consciousness, as from a seabed, to burst into the air of conscious thought—AH-HA!

Then the writing begins and proceeds until needing a new ignition from another session of musing, a new spark, as from a new metaphor—like spark—to be explored.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


    The Former Poet Laureate, renowned for droll
    unsentimental, understated verse,
    his new book out, was on a national roll,
    a circuit guaranteed to fill his purse.

    Who would have thought that in America
    huge audiences might gather just to hear
    the musings of a poet’s da-de-da
    or, in his case, verse free of such old gear?

    But sitting in just such an audience
    and hearing him perform, I realized
    his voice and verse, attuned in sound and sense,
    were subtly and ingeniously devised

         to plant in auditors a fertile meme
         that afterwards in memory would gleam.


Monday, November 11, 2013


     What kind of world are we now rushing toward
     with all our science and technology—
     one to be applauded or deplored,
     a world of prudence or depravity?

     Given all the powers we now command
     to process and exploit the natural realm,
     one has to wonder if we understand
     enough to navigate and take the helm,

have we like Prometheus overreached
     and brought an awful fire aboard our ship
     certain to leave our galley burnt and beached,
     a dreadful end to our once hopeful trip?

          It isn’t knowledge that we need to find
          but wisdom to decide what’s good and kind.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nemerov # 14


Saturday, November 9, 2013


      Who is this warped, invidious nemesis
      if not an incarnation of the Devil,
      whose foremost target is a mentalist
      devoted to the rooting out of evil?

      Red John has found in Patrick Jane a match
      that’s made in Hell, for torment is his aim,
      and every move he makes is bent to snatch
      Jane’s soul, the goal of this malicious game.

      We root, of course, for Patrick to prevail,
      hoping he has the moxie to outsmart
      this monster, knowing at last he will not fail
      because we trust the writer knows his art:

           Like God, he will somehow contrive to end
           all happily—on that we may depend.


Friday, November 8, 2013


       What is the point of choosing to conform
       To the strict pattern of a sonnet’s shape,
       Adhering to this arbitrary norm,
       Which you might very easily escape?

       Be free of measurement and formula,
       Or set your own unique parameters—
       No more de-DA, de-DA, de-DA, de-DA—
       Be done with such an arbitrary curse.

       But then, out goes the baby with the bath;
       The genie in the bottle will have fled;
       You will no longer tread a steady path
       Or feel yourself mysteriously led.

            Ironically, there’s freedom in this form:
            It is not dead—it’s breathing and it’s warm.


Thursday, November 7, 2013


      As the Old Master said, “It’s just a line
      That gets you started on a would-be poem,”
      No abstract scheme or fanciful design,
      Just let your morning mind begin to roam,
      Tune in to that elusive, vital source,
      Like finding on a crystal a sweet spot
      That fills your earphones by a magic force
      With far-off sounds some other brain begot.
      And don’t be too inquisitive about
      The nature of this vatic provenance,
      But cultivate an attitude devout
      While line by line you see your verse advance.
           Your job’s to be receptive to what comes
           Then amplify what at the first just hums.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013


      Once in awhile, what I intend as verse
      Ascends to poetry in some mysterious way:
      While praying for the Muse to please disburse
      A line or image that will help me say
      Whatever it may be that wants to come,
      It suddenly befalls from who knows where,
      Alighting in my consciousness, once dumb
      But now apprised of something it can share.
      Though this is not an instance of that gift
      And must be thought a practice run at best,
      Perhaps on my next try I‘ll get a lift
      And by a passing vatic breeze be blessed.
           My attitude must be that altitude
           May be invoked, but cannot be pursued.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013


    Although my highest aim is to grow wise,
    The first thing I should rightly recognize    

    Is that at best I’ll just approximate
    That goal, for few have ever grown so great.

    The first hard step’s to be intelligent,
    Aware of all the ways we can be bent,
    Diverted from the straight and narrow path
    By envy, pride, sloth, gluttony and wrath,
    Plus lechery and greed—more than enough
    Potholes to make the Way to Wisdom rough.

    Perhaps just knowing that perfection’s out
    Of anybody’s reach should make us doubt
    That it’s a goal toward which we should aspire—
    Still, hope of it will drive us ever higher.