Sunday, May 31, 2015


               That True Believer is one zealous fellow,
               The last one you would think of calling “mellow,”
               Brimful of holy, rapturous conviction
               While strewing biblically inspired diction.

               He holds his gaping auditors in thrall
               With sizzling tales of hellfire that appall
               And how the Devil diabolically
               Perverts and undermines our liberty.

               You just might think this preacher’s envious
               Of Satan’s captivating grasp on us
               And spews his fiery sermon to out-do
               From his high pulpit to our lowly pew

                    The devilish spell the Evil One has cast
                    And cleanse us from our soiled, egregious past.


Saturday, May 30, 2015


               Let’s not forget: the Universe made us,
               Which reasonably implies there’s life elsewhere,
               A happy reckoning, not ominous,
               For if we meet, we’ll have much good to share.

               Forget the science fiction aliens
               With conquest and destruction on their minds;
               Those who come here are bound to be our friends
               With nothing but inquisitive designs.

               And once we’ve learned how to communicate,
               Think of all the stories that they’ll tell
               And all the information they’ll relate
               Of where they’ve ventured and where others dwell.

                    And, best of all, how they made warfare cease,
                    Finding the cosmic paragon of peace.


Friday, May 29, 2015





               What seemed to be the truth of things when I
               Grew up is changing now, the theories
               Describing cosmic matters are awry,
               Although no strict materialist agrees

               Because it’s reckoned now that mind comes first,
               That through the cosmos there’s intelligence,
               The matrix from which everything’s disbursed:               

               Instead of randomness, intrinsic sense.

               “The mind of God” religionists once called
               What now appears a true phenomenon:
               As former reckonings are overhauled,
               A mental essence proves our paragon:

                    Whatever is appears to be designed
                    And manifests from this amazing Mind.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015


               At first there’s little that I have to say,
               But soon a line arises in my mind
               That starts me galloping along my way
               As it grows clearer how my thought’s inclined,

               For poetry’s about discovery,
               And at the start there’s no way I can know
               Where after fourteen metered lines I’ll be:
               I boldly write and watch the poem grow

               Until the ninth line, where I’ll take a turn
               More certain now, but not entirely sure
               Of where I’m headed, for I’ve still to learn
               What point I’m making as my lines grow fewer:

                    Verse is a vehicle that takes you where
                    You never know you’ll go until you’re there.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015


               “What kind of dog is that—the little one?”
               Folks ask me as I walk with Gyp and Tig—
               A prompt for me to have a bit of fun—
               They mean our Tegan, who’s just six pounds big.

               “It’s only on the outside that she’s small,”
               I say.  “Inside, her ego is immense.
               What kind of dog?  One who’s ten inches tall,
               Who’s lovingly laid back, but then intense.

               “Her breed’s a Mi-Ki, which must be a mix.
               What dogs,” I ask, “do you think she looks like?”
               “A Yorkie?  Papillon?—those ears transfix!
               A Pomeranian?  She’s such a tyke.”

                    “Those are good guesses, but as for myself
                    I think, besides the others, she’s part elf.”


Monday, May 25, 2015


“Knowing what we know now, did President George W. Bush make 
a huge mistake in invading Iraq?”  (The Week, May 29, 2015)

               Informed historians say a war we fought
               Is now adjudged to have been waged for naught
               Since all that death, destruction, misery
               Derived from an aberrant fantasy,

               And I allowed myself to go along
               With what I might have figured out was wrong
               If only I’d been conscious and attentive
               And urged a policy that was preventive.

               I wonder if there’ll ever come a time
               When anything like war will be a crime,
               A childish motivation then outgrown,
               The seeds of which no longer will be sown.

                    The greatest leap humanity may take
                    Will be toward wisdom—humane and awake.


Sunday, May 24, 2015


                        Bound verse, ironically, is quite unbound,
                        For writing it you have nothing to say,
                        Since sense comes after you have sought a sound
                        As line by line you pace your measured way.

                        Perhaps a general notion of a theme
                        Sets off your march across the empty page
                        As your mind slides into a state like dream
                        Or like a spooky spell cast by a mage.

                        The form itself provokes this impetus,
                        While something in your brain seeks cogency
                        As each line finds its sonic terminus
                        Where sound and sense seem destined to agree.

                            The paradox is that by being bound
                            Your verse allows new vistas to be found.


Saturday, May 23, 2015


               “He’s an enthusiastic atheist,”
               I heard someone described on radio,
               Which I’ll add to my oxymoron list
               Since “God within” is what that means, you know.


Friday, May 22, 2015

            Our little dog’s nudged in beside my hip
            As I sit in my easy chair and sip
            A steaming cup of cafĂ© latte brew

            While hoping for the Muse news to come through.

            Lapboard and pad await my pen’s first stroke
            While I consider rhyming words to stoke
            Imagination’s fires till I divine
            The right route to proceed in every line.

            Now she’s hopped down, and I’m left on my own
            To fathom what’s still in the twilight zone,
            Imagination’s stuff, and ponder on it
            Until at last I’ve polished off this sonnet.

                 I’ve nearly reached the bottom of my cup,
                 And now my morning musing time is up.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


            Immersion in the Muse I call immusion,
            A state that clarifies my night’s confusion
            Lost in vagrant dreams and fantasies,
            Detached from day’s bright-lit realities.

            To sit and ponder brings things into focus
            While I apply my verbal hocus-pocus
            To shape from airy nothings images
            As vacancy gives way to what now is.

            Imagination coupling with music
            Is what it takes to turn this nifty trick,
            The progeny of which, now on display,
            Is something everyone may see and say—

                 But will they be amused or struck with awe?
                 Only if I perform without a flaw.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015


            One hundred years from now, where will we be,
            Or will we human beings be at all?
            With progress moving exponentially,
            Will we have grown wise or hit a wall?

            Our future now is clearly in our hands,
            And woe to all if we miscalculate
            By overtaxing Earth with our demands
            So total decimation is our fate.

            How then are we to make our next advance
            In sapience, that trait for which we’re named,
            That’s now imperative and our last chance
            To save this world or be forever blamed—

                 If there are even others who may judge,
                 And if there are, could they give us a nudge?


Monday, May 18, 2015




               Though often claimed to be our signal flaw:
               Our fond propensity to transcend law,
               It’s nonetheless that very errant trait
               That can distinguish us and make us great.

               Though other species’ acts are bound by rules
               Of sanity, we’re free to act like fools,
               And yet that freedom leads us to explore
               New possibilities not tried before.

               While such behavior lost us Paradise,
               Such curiosity can still entice
               Us to engage in other dangerous deeds
               Resulting in what now and then succeeds,

                    For innovation always entails risk
                    And heedlessness of critics who tisk-tisk.


Sunday, May 17, 2015




               What evidence have we that after life
               Another life exists without the strife
               Of agony and ecstasy we know,
               The lot of mortal creatures here below?

               I’d like to be persuaded life goes on,
               Albeit in another mode of being,
               And that the consciousness we then may don
               Will yield us wider, deeper ways of seeing.

               Except to know so as a certainty
               Would rob this life of something valuable,
               The impetus to be all we can be
               And gather all the rosebuds we may cull.

                    “Just let the mystery be,” wise ones will say,
                    And savor all you taste here, day by day.


Saturday, May 16, 2015


                         I’ve never seen the slightest glimpse
                         Of elves or fairies, sprites or imps,
                         But happily I hear the Muse
                         Who brings each morning metered news:
                         I simply wait in readiness
                         With pen in hand for her to bless
                         My empty page with lines inspired
                         By sound and sense to be admired
                         Now and still in after years
                         As they ring true to others’ ears,
                         For that’s the hope of every verse
                         A poet turns, precise and terse:
                         That it will live immortally
                         When he long since has ceased to be.


Friday, May 15, 2015







Thursday, May 14, 2015


               Perhaps we should assume we are alone
               In all the universe, the only life
               Within the vastness of the cosmic zone,
               Instead of thinking consciousness is rife.

               For all our quests, we’ve found no evidence
               That life and mind on Earth are not unique,
               And though the known cosmos is immense,
               There’s something more important we should seek

               Right here and now: how best for us to thrive,
               For we ourselves have come to pose a threat
               That all of earthly life may not survive,
               With no one in the cosmos to regret.

                    Assume life has one chance, and this is it;
                    Our wisdom, though, is the prerequisite.



               The brain is not the maker of the mind;
               It’s rather by the mind that brain’s designed,
               For mind is everywhere, the cause of all
               The blooming cosmos, great and small.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


               Perhaps we should believe we’re all alone,
               A singularity in the whole universe,
               Since in our span, that’s all we’ve ever known,
               Perhaps a blessing rather than a curse.

               The alien invader that we’ve dreamed
               And fantasized about in fictive tales
               Is typically no savior but a fiend
               That suffering humanity bewails.

               Perhaps it’s we who are the aliens
               We dream about and dread unconsciously:
               For all the harm we’ve done, we owe amends
               To Earth for our headstrong temerity.

                    If anybody comes from outer space,
                    Let’s pray they’ll save us from our own disgrace.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015



Monday, May 11, 2015


               A former Poet Laureate once said
               To me that formal poetry is dead
               And that I should take off my training wheels
               And make free verse, the kind that now appeals.

                I didn’t think to say what then I should:
               “So how are we to know it’s any good?
               Without a row of hurdles to o’er leap,
               A hum-drum verse will put us all to sleep,

               And when you hear some free verse read, who knows
               That what you’re listening to is not mere prose?”
               I know my attitude’s behind the times,
               And yet I’ll not give up on metered rhymes,

                    And those with ears to hear will still agree     

                    That magic lives in metric poetry.


Sunday, May 10, 2015





               The Prairie Home Companion, Saturdays
               On National Public Radio, relays
               The fictive news from one Lake Wobegon,
               A Minnesota town to muse upon,
               As Gary Keillor (self-styled “Garrison”)
               Week after week, religiously has done.
               “It’s been a quiet week in my home town,”
               He starts his tale (you almost hear a frown
               Form on his brow as his mind ruminates
               Or rather, truth be told, spontaneously creates),
               Then on he goes, beguiling us with lore
               Of countless characters we’ve met before
               And long since been persuaded are quite real,
               Enchanted by our host’s spell-binding spiel.


Saturday, May 9, 2015


                    Although our prime directive’s to survive,
                    There’s more to life than being just alive;
                    Our next imperative is to contrive
                    The many ways for humankind to thrive.



               The greatest cosmic mystery to me
               Is how we and all life have come to be,
               And whether our existence here implies
               There’re other beings out beyond our skies.

               Since we are here, how could that not be so
               That in the multiverses we now know
               Exist within the depthless cosmic zone,
               There must be life: we cannot be alone.

               But more important yet is knowing why
               Both here on Earth and far above our sky
               Such consciousness and curiosity
               Have manifested in reality.

                    How can we not believe there lies behind
                    All this a wondrous and creative Mind?


Friday, May 8, 2015

for Copthorne Macdonald

                Must we believe, or can we truly know
               The answers to our deepest mysteries,
               Such as if Homo sapiens can grow
               More sapient and our fond follies cease?

               Or whether there’s intelligent design
               Behind the workings of the universe
               That over cosmic eons can refine
               Our minds and lift our ancient curse?

               What we have failed to do is to respect
               What even ancient sages once surmised:
               That human beings are indeed elect
               To greatness—a gift we’ve sadly compromised.

                     Yet with contrition, we may realize
                    The promise of our race, by growing wise.


Thursday, May 7, 2015


               I’m told on good authority that I
               Have lived before in many previous lives,
               And when I ask if there’s a reason why,
               They say it’s just what destiny contrives:

               All souls are destined to experience
               Recurrent challenges promoting growth,
               Since what we might become could be immense
               Should we transcend whatever makes us loath.

               By overcoming fears of many kinds,
               We prove ourselves more ready to advance
               Toward realizing destiny’s designs,
               The final aim of which is to enhance

                    Our holiness and make each growing soul
                    An image of perfection, clear and whole.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015



               That we are here upon this precious Earth
               Alone, perhaps, in the whole universe,
               Would seem to give this world infinite worth,
               And yet it might betoken something worse.
               The existential loneliness we feel
               When gazing out upon the cosmic scene
               While wondering what those distances conceal
               And what our tenuous being here might mean
               Incites us to suppose and theorize
               If we are merely random happenstance
               Or something greater that we might surmise
               Emerged from purpose and not mindless chance.
                    If I must choose, I’ll place my bet on mind:
                    Our presence shows the cosmos is designed.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015



               Great verse not only turns but elevates,
               Exciting rapture with its lyric spell,
               Lifting one into lofty mental states
               That only classic poems can compel.

               The hum-drum verse that poetasters turn
               To please the multitudes is destined for
               Oblivion, while shapely lyrics earn
               Repute posterity cannot ignore.

               They’ve mastered that which is the highest art:
               To seem as easily flowing as a stream,
               As naturally rhythmic as a beating heart
               With no apparent craft or covert scheme.

                    A Grecian urn, though molded, carved and fired
                    Will seem, in time, an artifact inspired.


Monday, May 4, 2015


               That we are here upon this precious Earth
               Amidst the mysteries of our Cosmos’ girth,
               Alone, for all we know, as living souls
               Uniquely conscious though without clear goals,
               Is something, nonetheless, to contemplate:
               We’ve boundless curiosity to sate.

               It was somehow implicit in the plan
               That cosmogenesis would lead to man;
               Then, if so, doubtless, to life otherwhere,
               Though it be galaxies away and rare:
               Such calibrations can’t be accident
               But show a cosmological intent.

                    Although our cosmic Source remains in haze,
                    It’s something, doubtless, worthy of our praise.


Sunday, May 3, 2015


               The sunrise sounds on Sunday are all birds
               Except the distant roar of landing planes
               And neighbor dogs barking in their own words,
               About which our small pup briskly complains.

               Last night a ruckus among nearby owls,
               Each one intent to out-hoot all the others,
               Prompted the local canine chorus to howls,
               Though I’d have slept if I had had my druthers.

                    Since I have had my nighttime sleep cut short,
                    This curtal sonnet’s best for my report.


Saturday, May 2, 2015


               Of course, within so vast a universe
               There must be other planets bearing life,
               For if our wondrous planet can disburse
               Organic matter, then it must be rife.

               It’s only with the distances so far
               And probably impossible to pass,
               The most we’ll do is gaze upon a star
               Like ours and wonder endlessly, alas.

               Still, in that vast astronomy, there must
               Be other beings with intelligence
               Likewise arisen from the starry dust:
               That probability should be immense.

                    Our deepest craving’s not to be alone
                    But to find space-mates in our astral zone.