Tag Archives: memory



(We’ve just had Memorial Day, here in the USA, when we especially commemorate those who have died fighting our wars, and we place flowers, as well, on the graves of all of our deceased loved ones.)


The wheel turns once again to this:
the image of your going
that appalling, horrid yesterday.
Old wounds stir beneath their scars
memories of anguish, fear, and disarray–
the sudden darkness
of your life’s closing parenthesis.

Yet anniversaries are not required
for our in memoriam
let those who think so
take their yearly flowers to your grave.
They’ll soon forget again. They do not know
the way you visit constantly
as earth, the air, the water, …fire…

as reminding, unseen amulet,
as the in-dwelling, the abruptly
disappearing dream at dawn,
the little pause over a cup at noon,
the lengthening shadow on the lawn—
in the gut-pull of gravity,
split-second, as each sinking sun is set.





The snow will make no noise, but clasp the ground in silence,
slowly muffling, snuffing-out, all but the sound of silence.

A blood moon will rise beyond the last wisps of withered wheat
and deepening chills of wind blow circles around the silence.

Old uncle at the festivities, mostly a piece of history, still
he will hear a calliope, watch a merry-go-round in silence.

Sometimes the songs my mother never sang to me
drift on the blown flurries over her stony mound of silence.

So many poems have simply died for a lack of sounding;
are locked, like the terminal years of Ezra Pound, in silence.

What cannot be said, once and for all, howls dreadfully
like a two-headed dog that continues to hound the silence.

It was too early, earlier, and now it’s become too late
to fix what broke or rewind the clocks unwound by silence.

See how kindness is kin to snow in the darkness—
flakes floating down to a stately, dumbfounded silence.

The slight interfering noise towards the end of the audio was contributed by my dog, Chloë , who was nearby, lying on her back with her paws in the air, wriggling and panting with joy.



who wondered who
sat in my place that moment
there among the passing
soup bowls
plates of prawns—

whose head was bowed for grace?

above the oaken board
the wine, the bread,
a waft of tarragon
married the onion’s pungency
in a half-lit phenomenon of
dread that I could not retrace

the hand lifting my spoon
looked like my grandma’s hand—
how did that happen?
she is long gone

am I living her again?

companions became colored fog
and I heard nothing that was said
around the room
napkins wiping mouths—

the noisy
pushing back of chairs
the rattling plates on plates
the crumbs
the broom



—for a friend on the occasion of his seventy-something birthday

Now as you approach that swinging door
And think this day you’ve just arrived, before
You realize you’re also leaving seventy and more,
Do not be sad, and do not fear;
You get to keep this number for another year.

What’s in a number anyway?  No more
Than abstract stuff enough to bore
To songlessness a moody troubadour
Or make a turnip shed a tear
Or take the rooster out of Chanticleer.

No, it’s not the numeral that we deplore
But tendencies of an outworn folklore
To make one seem a dinosaur
When it is perfectly, quite clear
To one’s own mind:  “I’m not as I appear.”

In one’s own mind, one is eleven evermore:
One day a cowboy, next a sagamore,
Then a young blade barefoot on the shore
Lit up by love, crushed by a cruel sneer.
The feelings do not age, they persevere.

So let us spit the bitter in the cuspidor,
Immortalize the sweetness in a metaphor
And raise our voices in a great “Encore!”
This  birthday thing’s a time for cheer,
A time for more than one more beer.

And if you come a little bit footsore,
Wearing a birthday suit unlike the one you wore
Into this life—this life that you adore—
So what?  You are still you, still dear,
But best of all, you are still here.

.Originally posted november 2013, without audio



she was a dumpster digger
of an undetermined age
a little strumpet left
to cruise the city streets
hurting fighting dirty

when a trumpet-playing hand
in the Salvation Army band
lifted her up from misery
took her to shelterland

“Hallelujah” was the name we
gave her when we took her home
we cleaned her double paws
we fed her fish and love and
just plain “Lulu” she became

not cute not pretty she is
small and oddly beautiful
a true fur person of droll
asymmetrical black markings
on a fluffy coat dull gold
strangely short-legged
with wise yellow eyes
mooting the question whether
felines really do have souls

since winter’s come she has
the job of watching snow

leaving her customary station
on the piano by the metronome
she jumps to a wide windowsill
as soon as flakes begin to fall

there she remains a sentinel
until snow stops she simply
stares quite statuesquely still

it’s harder now with getting old
yet there’s a grit about her
watching there—like a survivor
pondering a once-known time
or place where it was very cold



Near 3:00 a.m.
the call comes
without fail when
somnolence limps

through darkness
down the hall
and back to bed.

Then elegantly
curling, hanging
on the wisps of drowse
the wordings come

perfect wordings
for the saying of what
never has been said.

Must remember this
a weary whisper
tells the feathers
of the comforter

but when the morning
comes, it is as if
the wordings never were.



They are not mean, but meaning to be kind,
the ones whose work it is to bring him here–
merely a job to do, to hold and steer
an old man who is frail, half-blind,
toward a sunny bench where he may find
companionship in leafy atmosphere–
perhaps a little bird to tweet some cheer
and take him out of his own mind.

Here, everything is new under the sun:
the spill of light climbs up a tree
a little breast of sand temples the ants
a chickadee bows like a tiny nun
upon a branch, to hear the pink soliloquy
of a wild rose, dressed for the dance.

All is circumstance.
Seated between mirth and agony
no longer wishing to foresee
no longer slave to memory
his ancientness, still as a garden gnome,
waits for whoever comes to fetch him home.