Archive for the ‘poems’ Category


March 2, 2018 Leave a comment


The sun-loving puppy
sits at the open door looking out
at the back yard,
the falling rain,
and her wet toys lying in puddles.
She needs to go out at some point,
but not yet, not yet.

She looks up and asks with her eyes,
“Can I have my treat now anyway?”
“Of course” I say, close the door,
and we both go back to the couch.

inspired by this week’s Wordgrove impromptu prompt, “rain”, and you know, living with a dog in Portland in the winter :-)

If you’d like to see what the other writers made of this prompt, you can check out the weekly Wordgrove Post and Review newsletter for March 4 2018.


what did i miss?

March 1, 2018 Leave a comment

A new poem:

Deep in a mountainside forest, at one bank of a wild, snowmelt-swollen stream, there is a large boulder that shelters behind itself a calm side pool, where the roar of the nearby rapids is muted by the mass of the rock. One of last year’s fallen leaves lies on the ground at the edge of the pool, half in the water. Disturbed by a slight ripple, it falls fully onto the water and begins to drift slowly in the shallow pool’s weak current. The leaf floats around the pool, sometimes near the center but usually closer to the edge, while also spinning slowly, and it trembles slightly each time it passes near the turbulent edge of the main stream. The leaf continues to circle the pool slowly, under the dappled morning light. A few times it nearly becomes grounded again. Once, it touches another leaf lying at the edge of the pool. The two cling together only briefly, and separate before the second can be pulled into the water. Seventy nine times the leaf loops slowly around the pool, as the morning becomes afternoon. Just as the leaf  passes close to the main stream for the eightieth time, a small sudden wave pulls it out of the pool and it swiftly disappears into the rapids downstream, moments before a hiker walking up the stream-side trail passes by and glances briefly at the pool without stopping.

Or in haiku form:

quiet pool by a loud stream –
what did I miss,
just before I looked?

inspired by this week’s Wordgrove prewritten prompt: “loop” and “spring”

wordgrove revisited

February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Way back when, I blogged about an online community of writers called Wordgrove. I was part of the group near its beginning, but over the last several years life and whatnot kept me from participating. I always enjoyed the Wordgrove events, which are informal, inviting, and very supportive, so I was inspired this week to rejoin active participation.

Each week there is a “prewritten prompt”, a theme given the previous week where each person shares the story, poem, or whatever they wrote using the prompt as a starting point. Then there is an “impromptu prompt” revealed at the event, and everyone has 15 or 20 minutes to write whatever short work is inspired by that prompt.

The prewritten prompt from last week was “credit card”, which inspired me to write this poem:

no credit card required
snow day
she finishes the home-knit
(thick warm) (for me)
sweater, just in time
for our evening
dog walk

Nancy in fact, did just recently finish knitting a sweater for me, very thick and warm, literally in the evening of one of the coldest days of the winter so far, just in time for me to wear it when we took the pups out for their the bedtime walk. :-)

At the event, inspired by this week’s impromptu prompt “tourist and winter”, I wrote two haiku:

blooming too early
as the cold rain turns to snow –
poor white daffodil


two nearly white dogs
bounding around the snowbanks –
dancing brown patches!

If you’d like to see what the other writers made of this prompt, you can check out the weekly Wordgrove newsletter: Wordgrove event Feb 22 2018.

iowa summer sunset

May 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Back in the midwest for my nephew Jake’s graduation, I had a chance to help Jeff and Dad move some of the planting equipment from one farm to another. From my position at the back of the convoy, I could ponder the old dog-sledding saying, “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes”, which in this case means gravel dust :-).

20140518a convoy

I also got stay overnight at the old farm, and hang out with Mike and Kitty.

20140518b mike and kitty

Taking a walk around the farm, up on the hill behind where the old house used to be, I came across an odd valve handle. I’m sure it’s been there all along, but I don’t have any memory of it. Which is strange, since I don’t know how I would have overlooked it when I was making detailed maps of the farm as a kid! I decided to leave it alone, rather than inadvertently opening (or closing) something important.

20140518c main drain

I also visited Beth and Russ’ place, where Emily and Paul showed me their new kittens. Here’s one of the shy ones – knock knock, who’s there?

20140518d kitten

Whatchoo lookin at?

20140518e kitten

But of course, the main event was Jake’s graduation. Here he is with Jeff, keeping it real after the ceremony. Congratulations!

20140518f grad

Iowa summer
chattering house wrens
discuss the sunset

20140518g sunset

that’ll do nicely

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Tom to me (via Twitter): Could you send some daylight back this way?

Me to Tom (via Twitter): Can’t send that, but will this help?

Tom: That’ll do nicely!

Here’s the actual poem, The Fall Almost Nobody Sees, by David Budbill. Click the link to hear it read by Garrison Keillor.

Everybody’s gone away.
They think there’s nothing left to see.
The garish colors’ flashy show is over.
Now those of us who stay
hunker down in sweet silence,
blessed emptiness among

red-orange shadblow
purple-red blueberry
copper-brown beech
gold tamarack, a few
remaining pale yellow
popple leaves,
sedge and fern in shades
from beige to darkening red
to brown to almost black,
and all this in front of, below,
among blue-green spruce and fir
and white pine,

all of it under gray skies,
chill air, all of us waiting
in the somber dank and rain,
waiting here in quiet, chill
waiting for the snow.

poem: pondering

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

old dog
the first fallen leaf…

the quiet world

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

I was playing around with the Poetry Foundation‘s smartphone app, where you can search for poems by subject or mood, or even use a roulette-wheel style randomizer, and I found this lovely poem that seems very relevant to our Twitter-oriented culture. (Even though it predates Twitter by 8 years.)

I agree with Nancy’s observation that this poem reminds her of when she and I were first dating long-distance :-).

The Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel (1998)

In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.