Tuesday, September 29, 2015


                    While many feel the power of belief
                    To comfort and console them in their grief,
                    Supposing that a Godly power above
                    Can heal them with the goodness of His love,

                   Not everyone can muster such a faith
                   But finds incredible a holy wraith
                   With supernatural power and loving care,
                   Despite what ancient holy texts declare.

                   Yet I'd not be so careless to ignore
                   What millions have been joyful to adore
                   Because they found relief and happiness
                   In what their true believing could redress.

                        Affirming that each has a sacred soul
                        Is the best way to keep one’s body whole.


Monday, September 28, 2015


                    The sun is barely up, but hammers pound
                    On shiny nails a half a block away,
                    And in the morning stillness that sole sound
                    Begins to set a tempo for the day.

                    The next sound’s that of a descending plane,
                    Its runway a few miles south of here,
                    Aligning with its designated lane,
                    Receiving a transmission that all’s clear.

                    But now my tummy’s grumbling and though I’m
                    The only one to hear this soft appeal,
                    It offers me a prompt for my next rhyme,
                    The sooner found, the sooner my next meal.

                        The sky is brightening now, though birds stay still
                        Who soon will have the wide soundscape to fill.


Sunday, September 27, 2015


                    The tourists and the business people come,
                    Descending from the sky just as the sun
                    Begins to rise; the birds as yet are dumb
                    But shortly will join in the morning’s fun.

                   The chirring squirrels will scour the ground for nuts,
                   Despite the danger of our dogs now out
                   To pee—to them a pair of surly mutts
                   Who won’t retreat no matter how they shout.

                   But hark!  I hear a bird, and now another,
                   Then all too soon the traffic on the road
                   Grows loud and louder as mother after mother
                   Drives kids to school, all dressed to meet the code,

                       And now, once I have polished off this poem,
                       The dogs and I our neighborhood will roam.


Saturday, September 26, 2015


                     The dogs and we, with all our rituals
                     Of outings and of play around the house,
                     Have long since grown to be the best of pals,
                     As much as interspecies love allows.

                     Is there another species so attuned—
                     An ape perhaps but clearly not a cat—
                     As what the poet Chaucer called a hounde,
                     Companion in our common habitat?

                    For farmers and for hunters they do chores,
                    But mostly they are friendly household pets
                    Whom every doting householder adores
                    And, despite solicitude, has no regrets.

                        The two we have, our Gypsy and our Tig,
                        Keep our lives spinning like a whirligig.


Thursday, September 24, 2015


                    Although at times it can be very crude,
                    It still is best to read Chaucer out loud,
                    The Miller’s tale especially is one
                    Whose recitation generates most fun—
                    Though shocking in its graphic gaiety,
                     Which eyes of prudes avert abashedly—
                     But yet it seems the quintessence of art
                     To see the fun engendered by a fart:
                     The scolded toute, the running up and down,
                     The neighbors blabbing tales throughout the town
                     About the vengeance of mad Absolon
                     On Nicholas for his elaborate con.
                          Yet pity at the last we may extend
                          To see him fare so poorly in the end.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


                    Leaping from where, just seconds since, she sat,
                    Our little pup has bolted from our bed
                    As if (impossible) she’d seen a cat—
                    Some other cue has prompted her instead.

                   Were it for thirst, we’d hear her sipping soon—
                   Which now, as I write this, I hear her do;
                   Her ways are like the vagaries of the moon:
                   No one can guess what motives she’ll pursue.

                   But one thing’s sure: wherever fun is found,
                   This little pup will find her way to it,
                   And where she is, for sure fun’s all around
                   For one like her, who’d rather leap than sit.

                       But when she’s all played out, she’ll take a flop
                       Looking as rung out as the kitchen mop.


                    How grand our scope of ingenuity,
                    The reach of the ambitious human mind,
                    That ever seeks a higher destiny
                    Than that to which our forebears were confined.

                    With new discoveries and technologies,
                    We master more and more of this wide world
                    As one by one all ancient mysteries
                    Are solved, and nature’s secrets lie unfurled.

                    Despite such knowledge, wisdom lags behind,
                    Without which all our science goes for naught;
                    Unless our sight and insight are combined
                    We’ll not achieve the eminence we’ve sought,

                         For only when our actions are not bent
                         Will Homo sapiens be sapient.


Sunday, September 20, 2015



                    On Easter Island, archeologists have learned
                    At last how those great monoliths were walked
                    As side by side the guy ropes slowly turned
                    And wobbled them along the course they stalked
                   Till each one took its place within the line
                   Of effigies in their rude pantheon
                   To represent their sense of the divine
                   Casting long shadows in the brightening dawn.
                   Yet ruefully those deities had failed
                   To save them once their timber was all burned,
                   When crops were gone and boats no longer sailed
                   And all the universe seemed unconcerned.
                        So when large ships arrived on Easter day,
                        They found old gods but no one left to pray.


Saturday, September 19, 2015


                    Beyond what seems to be reality
                    Is what we’ve named the metaphysical,
                    The cryptic Source of physicality,
                    Without which all existence would be null—
                    A void or a chaotic wilderness,
                    Unmindful, thus without a shaping power,
                    With no supernal being to guide or bless,
                    Where always randomness and turmoil lour.
                    But yet it seems, although we may not know,
                    That underlying all that has transpired
                    Is some intelligence that made it so,
                    A creator by whom all life is sired.
                         If you would mystic benefits receive,
                         In such a Source it’s prudent to believe.



                    We have our morning rituals, the girls
                    And I, when we arise: Gyppie will stretch
                    And roll and yawn, while Tiggy leaps and twirls
                    Hoping I’ll throw a toy for her to fetch.

                    Then pounding down the stairs we go toward
                    The back door and the dim-lit, dewy yard
                    To prove again to squirrels who is lord
                    Of this domain, a job they don’t find hard.

                    Before long, Kimmie’s come to feed those squirrels,
                    And Tiggy claims her portion of their nuts
                    Insisting on her share with leaps and twirls
                    Or otherwise she’ll chase their fuzzy butts.

                        It’s quiet now, and I have time to write
                        Recording something of the day’s delight.


Thursday, September 17, 2015


                 It’s early morn, but workers are abroad:
                 The garbage men pick up the weekly haul
                 Of savory trash through which possums have pawed
                 Leaving our neat containers all a-sprawl.

                Then trimmers from the city’s tree patrol
                Come rumbling up the road to park nearby
                And soon another camphor that’s now whole
                Will be dismembered and in cords will lie.

                Add now the rumbling roars from overhead
                As early morning flights in fleets descend
                Where tourists loving Disney have been led
                To worship at the shrine of Let’s Pretend.

                    So, what’s to make of all this busyness?

                    A verse, of course, which may the Muse now bless.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


                    This musing and enthusing in the morn
                    Is how, most days, another poem is born
                    While I am sitting in the semi-dark
                    Dreaming up rhymes to hit the end-line mark
                    And conjuring from my semi-conscious mind
                    Some way to make such happenstance designed
                    And even seem intended from the start,
                    Although I know I haven’t been that smart.
                    But truly it’s a mystery to me
                    How anything coherent comes to be
                    Emerging from a mind that’s nebulous
                    And seems spontaneous not sedulous,
                    For sprezzatura is my writing’s aim,
                    To make my mental labors seem a game.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015


                 It’s midsummer and the fairies are abroad                
                 All doing service to their amiable god
                 By casting pixie dust in youthful eyes
                 Inciting ardent passions to arise

                 Which well accords with Cupid’s spritely plan
                 That none shall scape his charms—woman nor man
                 But all be captivated, held in thrall
                 No matter how the object may appall
                 The eyes of those with ordinary sight,
                 So even a jackass may cause delight
                 Until the spell be broken and the truth appear
                 That she has made a monster her own dear—

                 Thus was Tiitania herself beguiled
                 By Cupid who her innocence defiled.


Sunday, September 13, 2015


When the great Zen master Fa-ch’ang was dying,
a squirrel screeched out on the roof.
“It’s just this, he said, and nothing more.”

—Ken Wilber

                    Was that despair, then, or enlightenment?
                    We must assume it was a clear insight
                    Into the Truth of things and heaven sent,
                    A comprehension of our human plight.

                   Just now, near dawn, I’m hearing a squirrel bray
                   Loudly from the height of an oak tree
                   In our back yard to celebrate the day
                   Perhaps, and teach all creatures how to be.

                  Or is he just asserting what’s his turf
                  And warning all his rivals to keep off,
                  A message of no spiritual worth
                  But one to make deriding cynics scoff?

                      I’ll say that squirrel is celebrating day
                      As well as keeping all his foes at bay.


Saturday, September 12, 2015


                    An undergrad adroitly flashes by
                    On skateboard, cellphone pressed against his ear,
                    Clattering on the sidewalk, clearly high
                    On life, with no calamity to fear.


Thursday, September 10, 2015


                    When in September and the year begins
                    For schools and colleges with noisy dins,
                    And all of summer’s lassitude dissolves
                    While students make new scholarly resolves,
                   Then texts are bought and sundry school supplies
                    As brains gone lax relearn to their surprise
                    That they can face the rigors of the year
                    As they advance their scholarly career.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015


                    The squirrels are braying and chittering in our oaks;
                    One might imagine they are telling jokes,
                    Although more likely is they’ve spied a cat
                    And are apprising others of just that.
                    Then farther off, the sounds of hammers pound,
                    New houses going up here all around.
                    Planes from the north descend just overhead
                    With tourists who from colder climes have fled.
                    Our feathered fliers cheep and chirp and churr,
                    Alert for feline dangers that occur.
                    The sun is brightening as day fully wakes,
                    Reflecting on our radiant ponds and lakes.
                    Though soundless, the sun’s shining causes stirs
                    Beneath the surface of these calm waters.


Sunday, September 6, 2015


                    From Beowulf to Howard Nemerov,
                    Our poetry in English has proceeded,
                    A history at which no one will scoff
                    Once all the poetasters have been weeded.




                           Little Willie played with spiders
                           Gluing them to paper gliders
                          Then threw them toward the crackling fire,
                          A game of which he’d never tire.


                                   Little Willie thought it fine
                                   To filch a glass of Poppa’s wine,
                                   But when he got a little drunk,
                                   He fell into the pool and sunk.



                              Little Willie, out of spite,
                              Pulled his sister’s pigtails tight,
                              But she, like him, as full of trouble,
                              Then tossed him on a pile of rubble.


Saturday, September 5, 2015


                  There’s no out-smarting brilliant Sherlock Holmes.
                  Not even evil Moriarty
                  A tenant in the devil’s catacombs,
                  And subtle master of conspiracy
                  Can possibly defeat Holmes’ prescient
                  Alertness to the faintest lingering clue
                  And keen awareness of his foe’s intent,
                  Revealing the true culprit to pursue.
                  However, this last episode has shown
                  The suicides of these two adversaries
                   In pools of blood and dead as any stone
                   And even Holmes’ tombstone by which John tarries;
                        But then a preview shows Holmes in the game
                        Again—a stunt to magnify his fame.


Friday, September 4, 2015



                    What started out with Rob and Jim in charge
                    Has Gwen and Judy now tending the helm,
                    As PBS is working to enlarge
                    The state of women in its lofty realm.

                    There’s Margaret, too, who has a roaming gig,
                    Which leaves Jeff Brown the foremost male mainstay
                    To seek out stories interesting and big
                    Off in the wilderness and far away.

                    Whom else would we expect to pioneer
                    And raise the bar in this news industry
                    Than PBS, leave others at the rear,
                    Always hallmarked for creativity?

                        The Public can be proud of its own station,
                        So skilled at setting standards for the nation.

(Oops—apologies to Hari)


Thursday, September 3, 2015


                    We are a work in progress, human beings,
                    With our contentious, dangerous disagreeings,
                    And we’ve the power to end the whole shebang
                    Unlike our kin with only tooth and fang.

                    How much abuse can this poor world endure
                    Until our wretched race may find a cure
                    For our most manifest insanity,
                    The rotten core of our humanity?

                    Can we evolve into a super race
                    Distinguished for our amity and grace
                    As saints and sages have exhorted us,
                    Or must our future be more ominous?

                        There is no way to live well by the sword;
                        It’s only peace and love that bring accord.



                    Two houndes were accompanying the Wif
                    Who fed them kindly wastelbred and beef
                    And loved them above the many men
                    Who’d been her troubled husbands up till then,
                    For though her appetite for men was keen,
                    Her dogges she treated sweet, her husbands mean.

                    All five of them before long passed away
                    Depleted by the harshness of her sway,
                    And yet her little flock of dogs increased
                    Each time one of those harried men deceased.

                   A harridan she was indeed. Although at first
                   She could be charming, though once wed, the worst
                   Emerged, and her cursed husbands felt her wrath—
                   Such was the temper of this wife of Bath.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


                    The humpbacked whales, patrolling as a pod,
                     Were feasting eagerly on a school of scrod
                    That they’d corralled by acting as a squad—
                     Each one, you’d think, a massive demigod.