Monday, December 21, 2009

Places We Have Never Been

We look at maps of places we have never been
sometimes in frustration, sometimes with regret
You--thinking, there is another country we will never see
now that we have children, now that we're no longer free
I suppose I tell you about such
and such person I know
who moved to Africa with two children
or took his son on a trek through the Himalayas
or his daughter to Bolivia.
But sometimes, I just watch from the hall
as you, your arms wrapped loosely around
your son's small body,
read to the light
of an illuminated globe
covered with names of places that, to him, are nothing
but the names of irregular, impossible shapes
and made-up mountain ranges,
and think:
this is a world you could never have imagined

Sunday, December 20, 2009


All the immediate noises die away.
Nothing left, then, but the low,
forceful rhythm
of a faraway orchestra
(a sudden parade)
so distant that you are not sure
if it is real or imagined
so that when, at last,
in the uncertain silence
you hear a whisper
it seems at once urgent and impossible
like a voice in a dream
deep and sonorous
speaking of things
that are lost
or have never been

Monday, December 14, 2009


Winter's long breath
settles along
the grey earth
in immaculate beads--
no longer water,
not yet snow:
a whisper

Thursday, December 10, 2009


First, a dream:
the sudden sound of water,
far away, quiet--
yet people speak of tempests,
a growing storm.
Still, no deluge
just a few soft drops
of water:
That is the way of dreams
they rise and recede
they disappear
dancing to the rhythm
of your gentle breath

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday poem

no sitter today
a toddler on a rampage
this is not a haiku

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Sea

There are a thousand things to watch besides the sea:
passers-by, airplanes, long-tailed kites
wrestling upward in reckless maneuvers.
There are things less constant: fireflies,
comets, uncertain bursts
of silver light.

And yet we walk, over and over,
to the jagged edge

to watch the shapeless waves:
imagining that, beyond,
there might be, still,
some undiscovered country--
a place we cannot name

to watch the dark sea move:
as vast and boundless
as a forgotten dream

Monday, December 7, 2009


Away with the water, away with the sea
Out with the last tattered flyaway tree
We will stand ankle-deep in a tide of farewells
to listen for shipwrecks, or cyclones, or bells
The driftwood will wither, the sand will blow free
Away with the water, away with the sea

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Persephone Danced

A far-off sound --
a dirge. She danced
to music she could barely hear
beneath the fog of voices.
She moved
to the rhythm of her own breath,
at once warm and bitter
the perfect circle of a pirouette
She danced:
and when he called her name
she did not turn
and she did not look away

Friday, December 4, 2009


You watch as though you think
there might be something undiscovered in it,
a simple maple:
slender, long-armed,
blown bare in the second storm
of a mild winter. There is a rightness
to its name: monosyllabic, plain, wide on the lips.
It is a tree without exception.
And yet you, through the sliding door, observe
as though something amazing might emerge
from the damp yellow bark of a garden tree
as though aware that in the solid wood
there is a secret hollow,
a whisper that once,
in the thick of a December night,
beckoned you,