My new poem Bee Swarm is coming soon.


The Bee


A ricochet,

she races, lingers,

hurries to be forgotten,

the single vowel of a teeming alphabet,

too small to carry meaning.

Privation and bright colors,

these are what stir the amber full-stop,

this fragment made of hunger.

Dawn too cool,

noon too hot, where is peace

for this searcher? The chapter is the same,

beginning and beginning,

another blossom with a secret nearly as sweet

as its promise.

Almost followed by almost,

she survives beyond knowledge.

Even her dance of distance and direction

is the gavotte of decimals learning a new

place among the zeroes, notes finding a new

high-point within the octave as she

zig-zags, color to color,

clover to fuchsia to sage

in the only daylight.



The Bee has appeared in Commonweal.


He watches

from the edge of the hillside, where the land

turns into town. Like a dog, but not,

in the first light

and the quiet. If I move again

he'll turn to nothing.

But he knows too much,

despite my silence, sees me and hears me,

his gaunt head, his thin legs,

his entire body aimed in my direction, but without

seeming to shift, first motionless,

and then motionless again. His ears

take me in, this cool morning,

drought lingering long after the season

should have turned. What else should I be

doing now? I have a day

ahead of me, and I am nearly late. The roofers

are starting their own efforts,

from far off the scent of tar and the wheezy rumble

of melting roof-stuff. A human voice

reaches this far, and a responding laugh.

On the hill the dry rye and oat weeds are

all around, but when the coyote passes

through them he leaves

no parting. In no haste,

he is there, and then there, and when he is gone

completely he surely must be

invisible, watching from a shadow where

there is only blank sun.

Why do I feel

such quiet joy? I approach

his place and stand on the ridge,

no sign of him,

except a lapse in the dry grasses where during

the night he must have rested, he

rolled and slept,

here where the weeds are already

shifting, their lifeless stems

just now closing to

haphazard perfection.

The Bee and Coyote both appeared in Commonweal.




Painting by David Clark © 2016


Blue boat of sunset I'll sing you a song if you promise me home. 




Antique Japanese silk (detail)



Here are micro-poems based on the writings of the 10th Century woman-of-court--

Sei Shonagon.  These are my own adaptions—a way of enjoying this writer's timeless voice.


How annoying, to send off a poem--then think of a word that would have changed everything.


There is nothing in the world as agonizing as not being liked.


It seems to me that people who don't like me must be insane. However, it happens.


A spray of juniper is caught in the carriage--a wonderful fragrance at the window.


As the carriage passes the Great Gate our heads knock—we laugh but our combs are broken.


The future of our love depends on the subtle care of your taking leave.








top, Japanese silk, date unknown (detail)  Photo Michael Cadnum


Drawing by Jim Underhill. 

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