When Autumn Overtakes Me

image for Autumn poem

I will pause to consider the scarlet leaves
Their last dance of rapture most wild
They leap with a thrill like escaping thieves
Or they waltz like a carefree child

I will smile to recall the love, the joy
Like a leaf embracing fall’s gale
Throw my arms wide like a playful boy
With a jacket flung out for a sail

I will savor the sight of the passion
The flame of the leaf blood red
The kiss of the sun for its lover the tree
The heat that will soon be dead

I will gather the leaves, I will take them home
Spend a day, let them open my eyes
I will take a picture and write them a poem
And then offer them back to the skies

I will let the wind carry them, gold cannot stay
And this one last thing I can give
I will hear them sing as they fly away
We have lived! Did we ever live!


The English Teacher


he really sees the muse
she visits sometimes
lurking in the corner of
his classroom and he
prays to her like
Aphrodite in her pale
blue cardigan and
can’t quite catch his
breath when he glances
up from Shakespeare’s
Tempest just in time
to see her reaching
up to let her hair
come loose and fall
onto her shoulders like
a miracle of sunlight
splitting clouds, the words
just spill, she smiles
and he looks again
and finds his place
the perfume of her grace
is throbbing in his temples
how he loves the classics!
every word his lips form
are the prayers, the students
most, will never know she
came although a few
look up perplexed, amused
to see him lit, alive and
all for some old sonnet

Truth on Time


stars going out, east first
its dawn! the day beginning
halfway through my life

the birds play sharp staccato
rhythm voices, someone snores
off tune. how can they sleep
through earth’s awakening?
there’s no time, there’s none

there’s all the vast expansive
time of this white sky and
this crisp morning, sun
arriving loyal and on time
falling in with time and traveling

in perfect pace, while I impatient
rush ahead, run out of breath and
fall behind, or try to see a sunset
when its only noon.


tell the truth about the time.

or lie. It doesn’t change
the shining or the fading.

tell the truth about the time!
to yourself and to the others


travel north, the sun will travel
west above your head and come
again tomorrow with a kiss and
promise to return again tomorrow

and tomorrow
and tomorrow

while you laugh or grieve or snore
ignore or live or lie or sing in
sharp staccato rhythm like
the birds or soft breath whisper
song like me


Tree. Love. Medicine.


the tree was waiting

just for me. she seemed

to be welcoming me onto

her outstretched limbs

the child of me was a tree

climber, so i let her out

just enough to help me clamber

onto a low lying branch

the oak was dressed in mosses

and lichen- a mint green lace

an emerald feather boa

and i think of course, of love.

did i throw away too much?

thinking it was his

when it was mine?

i wonder what would it be like

to fall

in love again?


the forest is lush and sweetness all

around me and I think

i am in love with this.


lovers I have found

can be self-centered

and i wonder- am i

a narcissistic lover of

the wild lands? Do i love you

for what you are?

or for what i am when i am with you.



how can i touch you

(like i long to touch you!)

if my love becomes so pure “I” disappear?

i’m not so enchanted that i want you to

annihilate me.

don’t send me a bear or a lion when

you can send me flowers instead.


its only when i’m love-drunk-ecstatically-flat-out

that i sometimes cry for that

white bright burning

but we don’t know each other that well

yet. so be gentle

rock me in the breeze instead

cradle me and let me stay

a child a little longer

let me tell you all my stories.

my long rambling dreams

listen to me with a serious

cock of your head. even if you suspect

that most of it i’m just

making up.

i’ll feel safe with you

maybe you can praise my tender efforts

there’s no one more beautiful

than you, i swear!

i want to give you everything

i want to throw my heart wide

open. stop pretending to be

shiny. find, and catch your eye.

i want to look at you and spill

the whole ugly story and see that

somehow, at the end.

you would still be looking back.

did i give away too much?

have i made a mess or inconvenienced

you- in any way?

shall i fold in now and let my body

go transparent?

what is loving but a wound?


i love this tree so much i

climb up into her deep branches

and the lacy moss

gets torn.


i’ve been here and

i’ve loved you

now we’re both a little more

broke open.



Persephone’s Wedding


the shrill abduction

went so quietly

i, the frilly centerpiece

smiling stark determination

i had shown before, when once

the stylist murdered

my teenage curls

the hair (so much of it!)

 had been cut off

the ribbons (so many!)

had been sewn on

white dress, promise made

what good would it have

done me to admit

i wasn’t satisfied?

mother’s face is showing

in the pictures

what my own could not

mother doesn’t usually, but somehow

mother saw. the gap

the horses coming

smile girls, this is your day!


New Life

IMG_0766My daughter takes me by the hand
“Mama, come and see what I planted!”
She brings me shoes; no reason to decline
Her insistent hand pulls me along
This woman child, nearly nine, no longer only mine
She takes me to the graveside of a rotten spud
Half buried in the earth
The Worms have eaten holes right through
We bend, admiring its vast decaying tunnels
“Mama, did you even know I planted it?”
I hadn’t, yet the shoots
Had sprouted waxy green and new

the family in our mandala

IMG_8869the family gathers
themselves in the
stick and leaf mandala
we have spent an hour
making and we cringe
a little, then give way
to change

those sticks were up
and now they’re not so 
maybe, put them up again?

the man has guided the child
so gently down the fallen tree
they call a highway
with just the perfect balance
between protector and
co-adventurer i can’t
stop watching and i call as
they come down to me

you’re such a good daddy
i tell this gentle stranger
and he smiles and takes it in

the women and the other children
cross the stream below my vantage
the boy with shining hair holds tightly
to his mother’s hand and steps on to
a rolling branch so easy while
she chooses steps to match

i’ve very much enjoyed the way 
your family crosses streams-
with love
i tell her and she smiles and says
the mud is really sticky if you
want the full experience