the abstraction of poetry

How is it that the kinship of words and emotions leads us
to birdsong and moonlight.
If I write
what do you hear?

What moon?
Whose skin?
If you read the words
‘The cold light of the moon shone on her skin’
Is it not the same moon?

I heard you were once a small child in a garden filled with flowers.
Were you there
Or only words in a verse?

The sadness overwhelms me and I long to drift away.
But is that poetry
Or just wishful thinking?
The abstraction of poetry only reveals itself in the emotional response of the reader.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And the dawn refuses to break
As my heart has broken
And that is not abstract
Nor poetry.

Leonard Cohen, the morning and me


The morning and I sing
broken hallelujahs
with Leonard Cohen.
(the minor fall, the major lift)
April sun shines
on the just and the unjust
as daffodils brown around the edges
and the tulips fade,
blossoms erupt
from redbud and dogwood.
(There’s a blaze of light in every word)
Song swells from the greening wood,
the triumphant sound of life renewed-
resurrection of springs promise
and the forgiveness of all winters sins.
(with nothing on my tongue but hallelujahs)
Hallelujah, hallelujah

*** The lines in parentheses and the phrase ‘broken hallelujahs’ are taken from Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, Hallelujah. It is one of many favorite songs from this wonderful songwriter and poet.


Feb morning sky

I cultivate clouds
raking them just so
into rows of wings
and birdsong

I cultivate clouds
raking them just so
into rows of birds
and wing song (revised)

I cultivate clouds
raking them just so
into rows of wings
and wind song (revised)

I cultivate wings
raking them just so
into rows of clouds
and wind song (revised)

I cultivate winds
raking them just so
into rows of birds
and cloud song (revised)

Trying to Gain Perspective

It’s those moments when you are driving to work or riding the train or walking the dog
when just in the corner of your eye
you see it
that’s life
well, maybe not your life
that would be presumptuous of me
maybe my life
no, that’s not it

it’s as if you put your hands in your pockets
and there is a packet of magic beans or fairy dust or
an old skeleton key that opens a secret door
it’s not like that at all

I used to think that I could create my life
I could get a roll of butcher paper and roll it out and lie down and getting a marker,
draw around myself
and from that pattern, I could sew days and seasons to fit just right
but that’s not life

life is bone and blood and spit and shit

and birdsong

don’t forget birdsong

life is waking in that dark hour right before dawn leaning against your warmth
hearing you breathe
feeling your heartbeat
and knowing I have

*** I dreamed this poem last night and woke to it completely formed. Hardly ever happens that way. But after spending Friday in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack (I’m fine, really – one more stress test next week – but I am fine…. really) And celebrating Bob’s birthday in a really really big way (post and photos to come) this must be what my subconscious was busy doing.