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.