Sunday, January 31, 2016


                    Dear Garrison, I know for decades now
                    Your Prairie Home Companion has regaled
                    Us with an entertainment only thou
                    Could brew so well, and that has never failed;
                    Yet understandably, you feel it’s time
                    To put the reins in someone else’s hands,
                    Attending then to something more sublime,
                    Some artistry, perhaps, your Muse demands.
                    But what have you to give more precious than
                    The blessings of your vocal artistry,
                    A singer and a story-telling man,
                    Exalting us with wisdom and with glee?
                         With no one else so gifted in your calling,
                         The thought of your departure is appalling.


Saturday, January 30, 2016


                    The miracle, the wonder of all this!
                    Eclipsed by what so often seems mundane
                    And yet is the epitome of bliss,
                    Though oft ignored or treated with disdain.

                    Why do we grow obtusely deaf and blind
                    To what from cosmic particles emerged
                    To be arrayed by some grand cosmic mind
                    While life of every kind on Earth diverged?

                    That mind we know as ours must reflect
                    The essence of what’s evident throughout
                    The universe: our mission’s to connect
                    With this generic Source and quell our doubt:

                        Once widening and deepening our ken,
                        Great secrecies will be illumined then.


Friday, January 29, 2016


                              Among the sights along our walks:
                              A creaking stand of bamboo stalks.


Thursday, January 28, 2016


                      This morning in the yard behind our house,
                      Our Tiggy found the body of a mouse,
                      Sodden from the evening’s spate of showers
                      And lying there no doubt for many hours.

                     Whatever caused this sad fatality—
                     The malice of a cat?—I could not see,
                     And Tiggy too seemed equally bemused;
                     To such calamity she is unused.

                    Of that poor creature I have now disposed,
                    And Tig’s no doubt forgotten what she nosed
                    As she snugs comfortably beside my hip
                    In our warm easy chair.  I take a sip
                    Of mocha coffee drink and chew my pen
                    Praying we see no such sad sights again.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016


                   Father Brown is both a priest and sleuth
                   Who’s constantly embroiled in mysteries
                   On whom it falls to ferret out the truth
                   Eluding all police inquiries.
                   Ironically, it takes a devious mind,
                   Perhaps one schooled in the confessional,
                   To know how heinous plots may be divined
                   Better than a law professional.
                   Though always flummoxed by the priest’s success,
                   The Chief Inspector never grants respect
                   To one whose work’s to hear people confess
                   And thereby learns the better to detect
                        The subtle ways that evil works its will,
                        Exposed at last by Brown’s uncanny skill.


Monday, January 25, 2016

                            Each day when I invoke the Muse,
                            Beseeching her for juicy clues,
                            For hints my nascent verse might use,
                            Some novel topic to peruse,
                            A headline from the daily new

                            Or subjects seen from different views—
                            Eventually a verse ensues
                            Which, if like this, will make you snooze.


Saturday, January 23, 2016





                   It’s gusty out of doors and overcast;
                   The heater in the house is turned up high;
                   The girls, gone out to pee, have faced that blast
                   And now are happily back and cold, but dry.

                   I think we’ll wait a good while till our walk
                   In hopes the sun will burn through the cloud cover,
                   Against which I can spy a sailing hawk
                   Who barely moves his wings and seems to hover.

                  This is a morning made for indoor sports,
                  Not braving this intemperate, rough weather
                  Or better, as our little one exhorts
                  Me, to cuddle in this easy chair together

                     And hence it is we snuggle side by side
                     Where, till the sun comes out, we will abide.


Thursday, January 21, 2016


                    Poor Gyppy lately’s been an itchy bitch,
                    Which makes her slurp and nibble on her flank,
                    Trying to salve that agonizing itch,
                    Perhaps believing it a pesky prank
                    Some woeful enemy has pulled on her,
                    As if there could be such a nasty tease;
                    The real reason why this would occur
                    Is simply the maliciousness of fleas.
                    The medicine we give her to prevent
                    Such an incursion clearly hasn’t done
                    The salutary job for which it’s meant,
                    And our assault on fleas we haven’t won,
                         So, now around her neck she wears a cone
                         That amplifies her sighs—a megaphone.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016


                To write a sonnet such as Shakespeare did,
                You make each line in syllables of ten,
                For which it’s best the Metric Muse you bid:
                “Please send me alternating beats, amen.”
                Then you’ve an easy rhyme scheme to play out:
                EF/GG, which you can do, no doubt,
                Unless you’re number-challenged or tone deaf.
                Of course, you need a subject to explore
                And most traditionally, the topic’s love
                As you enumerate what you adore
                In one o’er whom no other stands above.
                     A tidy couplet tightly ends your song,
                     Which, if as good as Shakespeare’s, may live long.


Monday, January 18, 2016


                        It could not be that all of life and we
                        Emerged from dust, some shattered star’s debris,
                        But rather that such order was aligned
                        According to the dictates of a mind.

                        The universe is rather like a poem,
                        A verse, at first, then growing to a tome,
                        An epic such as Milton might have written
                        About an apple infamously bitten.

                       Good Orderly Direction is its theme
                       As countless eons manifest its scheme,
                       A plan that marvelously created us
                       To show what wonders can arise from dust.

                             The Cosmos, we infer, has been designed
                             By an immense, enthusiastic mind.


Sunday, January 17, 2016


for Tom Lombardo

                              A virtue is a value that one lives,
                              Which out of generosity one gives
                              To benefit whoever is in need
                              And proves the polar opposite of greed.



                  Considering means sitting with your thoughts,
                  Deciding which are oughts and which are noughts,
                  Abiding till your judgment grows quite clear
                  And you’ve determined which way you will steer
                  And put your ass in gear.


Monday, January 11, 2016


                    The Spirit, Soul or Essence that is life,
                    That animation with which we are rife,
                    Throughout the Cosmos seems the most profound
                    Of all the spatial wonders that abound.

                    But that we randomly occurred by blind
                    Coincidence, instead of being designed
                    By some implicit Mind, seems most absurd:
                    A conscious cosmic Source must be inferred.

                    If that be so, then we must wonder why
                    We have, and what directives may apply
                    Implicit in our cosmic consciousness
                    Prescribing the design for our success,

                        Assuming, then, we’re an experiment,
                        Let’s say that flourishing is our intent.


Sunday, January 10, 2016


                    The Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke
                    Sounds like a bad invention by a kook,
                    A view ass-backwards with a rearward mirror
                    As if that would make everything much clearer;

                    But then, more charitably, I might grant
                    That looking at things from a different slant
                    Or with a fresh perspective yields a view
                    Revealing what’s more likely to be true.


Saturday, January 9, 2016





                      This dear warm puppy snuggled by my head
                      As Kim and I lie sleeping in our bed
                      Has chosen us to be her overseer,
                      To keep her warm and safe and free from fear.

                      She trusts and loves us, happy to be by
                      Showing her comfort with a blissful sigh,
                      Knowing we will provide for all her needs
                      As our life-long companionship proceeds,

                      Or if she doesn’t know exactly this,
                      She’s satisfied with this moment of bliss.


                      O, this dear weary puppy snuggled by
                      My heart, as we lie cuddled warm in bed,
                      Is thoughtless, I suppose, while I ask why
                      I’m occupied by busy thoughts instead.

                      Perhaps it is her mission to remind
                      Me that as well as thinking, one must feel,
                      And that the best of feeling’s to be kind
                      And that emotions, more than thoughts, are real.




Friday, January 8, 2016


                    Discerning what is valuable and then
                    Creating it is our distinctive goal
                    As human beings, and well within our ken;
                    Too often, though, it’s the contrary pole
                    Of menace and destruction that prevails
                    In our behaviors, to our species’ shame,
                    Because of which our grand potential fails
                    To manifest and reach its destined aim.
                    What would it take to make it to such heights?
                    What wise amendment of our errant ways,
                    What guidance by truly illumined lights
                    Exalting us by their supernal blaze?
                         To find our way to that illustrious place
                         Is the implicit mission of our race.


[verse # 1934]

Thursday, January 7, 2016


                    The Prairie Home Companion Saturdays
                     On National Public Radio, presents
                     A feast of entertainment that always
                     Carries your imagination hence—
                     Where woes are gone and skits and songs divert
                     You from dismay, warming your heart and soul,
                     Putting your fantasy on high alert,
                     Restoring your fragmented mind to whole.
                     The mastermind accomplishing this cure,
                     One Gary Keillor, now called Garrison,
                     Without whose personality the show’s allure
                     Would disappear, lacking his sense of fun,
                          Should be commended by our government
                          For all the suffering his shows prevent.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016


                                  To be alive and then survive
                                  Will not arrive, lest we contrive
                                  By intellectual drive to thrive.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


for Keith Ward

                 By wonder stunned the universe exists,
                 I fancy that it emanates from mind,
                 A notion loathsome to materialists
                 Denying that the cosmos was divined,

                 But rather thinking it an accident
                 That happened into being by mere chance
                 And not an artifact that’s heaven sent,
                 And lacking inclination to advance.

                 But if that’s so, then how did we appear
                 Embodying the qualities of mind
                 Without a precedent for our career,
                 And clearly for creative thought designed?

                     Where could mind come from if not from a mind?
                     The universe and we are of one kind.



                         Of wonderings and profundities I sing
                         On my best days, to make the welkin ring,
                         Though they be far between; on other days
                         Like this, my errant Muse, lackluster, strays
                         And, at the best, a ditty may perform,
                         An exercise, till bright ideas swarm.

                         Another day, I hope, a verse with verve
                         That higher estimation may deserve
                         Will animate my less lackluster brain,
                         Showing no evidence of mental strain
                         But rather the spontaneous overflow
                         Arising from noetic depths below
                         Of notions preternaturally inspired
                         Soaring above where I now lie enmired.


Monday, January 4, 2016


               Marvel and amazement are the right
               Responses we should feel about all life,
               Appropriately expressing our delight
               That organisms of all sorts are rife
               On Earth and have evolved to human kind,
               Who have developed the capacity
               Of higher consciousness that we call mind,
               The element of all reality.
               Where we evolve from here, we may suppose
               And even make it our intended goal:
               A conscious evolution that then grows
               Toward what will make our broken species whole
                    For somehow we have wandered into error,
                    Who ought to be the Earth’s supreme light bearer.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

                             One way of knowing’s by excursion,
                             Running around to find things out;
                             Another way is by immersion,
                             Looking inward, not about.



                         In the ambit of my armpit snugs our pup,
                         A little after dawn, when we get up,
                         But for the while we warmly can enjoy
                         A mood that busyness will soon destroy.



                    One day in my first year away at college
                    It seemed my mind accessed a higher knowledge,
                    An ecstasy of insight into All,
                    Enlightening my mind before my fall
                    Back into ordinary consciousness
                   That left me vaguely able to express
                   Before that visionary moment waned
                   The marvel of the insight I’d attained.

                   All that remains, five decades afterwards,
                   Enhanced by what occult research affords,
                   Is my conviction that a human mind
                   Can travel to a hidden realm divined
                   By an extraordinary subtle shift
                   Attained not by intent, but as a gift.


Saturday, January 2, 2016


                    We don’t want to believe that when we’re dead
                    We’re gone, but only gone from Earthly life
                    And passed on to another plane that’s said
                    To be eternal, blissful, free from strife,
                    Which some call Heaven; others name it Source,
                    The provenance from which all life derives,
                    Assigning us a latent, innate course
                    That in our next life we may realize
                    Or not—which means we may return to try
                    Again, our goal being growth in consciousness,
                    Which can be registered from low to high,
                    The former causing dullness and duress,
                    The latter being our aim: enlightenment,
                     A state that wise ones say is Heaven sent.


Friday, January 1, 2016




                      What makes an old year end or new begin?
                      Not just the dictate of a calendar;
                      Perhaps it’s something in the global spin
                      Around the sun that makes new years occur.

                      Three hundred sixty-five (or leap years -six)
                      Days constitute the cycle of our year,
                      And yet why is it not some other fix
                      In its strictly predictable career?

                      But better than such wondering is to thank
                      Whatever Cause or Source brought this about:
                      The space we fill might just as well be blank
                      And from the universe our kind left out.

                           For otherwise, how would the Cosmos know
                           That it exists and can such wonders grow?