tucks the moon in her pocket,

catches the stars in a jar,

shakes the darkness from her hair,

exhales a frosty breath,

and smiles.

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I’m an old-fashioned girl
living in a new-fashioned world.
I like flannels and jeans,
not stiletto high heels.
Give me coffee with cream,
no fancy lattes for me.
Wood fires and old dogs,
you can keep those big Harley hogs.
I prefer my red tractor,
not a Porsche admirer.
Some say I’m stuck in some other time,
That might be true,
and if so that’s just fine.

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I picked sweet white grapes,

crunched a ripe yellow apple,

and stared heavenward

to watch the moon cross over the sun,

her pale face invisible in his white heat.

Yet still she put out his fire,

or most of it, for a few minutes of this day,

darkening earth and quieting the birds,

just as she has countless times over countless years

as people made sacrifice, built temples,

raised voices in song and fear,

watched the birds and the waters

for signs of great portent.

Sol’s chariot soon appeared once again,

as it always has,

as far back as we know,

and rode triumphant in the blue

while the moon, shy docile creature,

returned to daytime anonymity.

I was soaked with sweat,

watching the show in an open field,

eating my golden grapes and white apple flesh,

and over me washed the peace of knowing

that this too shall pass,

that life will go on and the moon and stars

and sun will continue on their paths,

just as they always have,

and I shall continue on mine

for such time as is allotted me,

and this is right, and good.



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Celestial Affair


Luna slips by Sol

silver gown over fiery face

and two become one


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Poling Down the River

Poling down the river,

under hanging silver trees,

the moon is full and shining,

shining down the river,

down the Ohio.


Sliding down the river

on a watery path of stars,

bonfire on the bankside,

fireflies in the reeds,

a banjo picks a lonesome song,

a tenor voice joins in,

Singing down the river,

down the Ohio.


Following the waters

beneath a midnight moon.

Swaying, swinging, moving slow,


dancing down the river,

down the Ohio.


Listen to the hoot owl,

to the nightbird’s golden call,

to the slapping, slipping current

as the water moves along,

listening down the river

down the Ohio.


Day will soon be breaking,

pink will stain the stars,

the heron and the eagle

will soon be after prey,

the moon will be a memory,

and we will all be sleeping,

sleeping down the river,

down the Ohio.




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Among the Dead

In an English country churchyard I walked among the graves,

marveling at the green of the hills, the gold of the sun

on a bright September day.

Around me were the dead; some laid in darkness

beneath headstones erased by weather and by time,

others under moss-stained monuments bearing their names and stories:

Eliza who died when she was twenty-one, and a baby of thirteen months,

and fathers, mothers, and children, farm workers, housewives and clergy.

The wind in tall pines muffled the busy sounds of traffic on the M5,

and beyond the branches a microwave tower stretched skyward where a plane

circled for landing at Bristol airport.


I remembered how my cousin told me

of the way the dead were stacked in graves

in old English cemeteries, one on top of the other

until there was barely dirt to cover them; and how flowers

were spread over the newly buried to kill the stench.


Beyond the churchyard hedge chickens clucked, and I smelled

cows and pigs and manure and the wind blew through my hair

sending it wildly alive around my head, covering my face,

tangling strands with pine boughs, leaving a trace of me,

the stranger, the interloper from another time and place,

to mix my DNA with the long-dead of Long Ashton, UK.


It was almost a year ago that I was there,

uncertain why I had come and why I noted the names

of people unknown and unconnected to me or mine,

my feet comfortable on old soil beside a stone church.

I remember the sudden swell of organ music that drew me

to the door and inside vaulted walls to where

a young black boy sat alone, playing a hymn I did not know.

My eyes met his and in that glance I felt

the ebb and flow of history, of time:

the graves, the wind, the church, me,

and this boy celebrating life with music

among the listening dead.





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Native Tongue

Love speaks a secret language

all can understand;

no interpreter needed.


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