Tag Archives: ordinary life



It’s a child-mind
not yet inked with idiom
that dances undiscouraged—
squeals, flails, flaps and honks
the wild goose chase—

she runs at pond’s edge,
arms wide, grasping toward
the fast escaping geese.
What does she think to do with one
if caught? They’re almost bigger than
herself in her exuberant red cap.

I watch, leaning on my stick,
knowing the lost cause.
The few souls passing my park bench
smile and nod. Perhaps they’ve also known
the feeling once, of chasing God.

Her grownups call the child
to supper, sleep, away.
The light of day is lessening;
the geese have gone
wherever geese must go at night

but there’s still time
to gather those wing feathers
the goose-chase left behind.

I could do that
if I had a mind.




La Destinee, La Rose au Bois

A song takes hold of the mind,
an old song in a root-bound tongue
erupting like infection, testing
hard-won, built immunity
against diseases of a childhood gone.

Mon père, aussi ma mère
n’avaient que moi d’enfants…
la destinée, la rose au bois…. Read the rest of this entry



This morning north
and east of what
was once my home,
the dusky mountains
trace their frozen
undulations mystified
against a salmon sky.
In the middle distance
cozy little houses
tuck themselves among
deep mounds of snow,
exhaling from their
brick red chimneys
all I know
of them or theirs.
Nearby the pointed firs
point up, to pointlessness
through january air.

Nowhere is home.
So home is everywhere.



brown as he is and
small can get fed-up
with scratching at steel wall

while bread alone
grows stale on silent
night in the breadbox.

This is enough
and not enough, he says
starved as he is and
a fool for screaming ladies
tottering on chairs.

Too long in this house
not having seen a lily
or a field

this is enough
excuse for a circus.



Choosing among apples at the supermarket
just the other day I heard
Bing Crosby singing “Jingle Bells.”
Background music so I’m told
can motivate a buyer in a store.
But Bing?  Bing Crosby?  This must be

the day marked shopping day for us
I say to a green pyramid of Granny Smiths.
And sure enough here comes a busload
slowly from the home for seasoned citizens.
I doubt the muzak moves them any faster
though most likely they’ll remember Bing.

Bing Crosby, ah, Bing Crosby,
how you crooned and nanna swooned
in nineteen-fifty-something—
how you spun inside the gramophone
seventy-eight revolutions per minute
dreaming of a White Christmas just like

the ones you used to know.  Was that how
I came to think of Christmas mostly as a longing?
Strange and difficult to satisfy.  I try
to re-create the pleasures of the past
(and leave the woundings out), but it’s a task
unfestive, one I’m loathe to be about.

All I hear are someone’s memories.
All I see grows gaudier, each year
more desperate to enforce the thing.
All I want is willingness to let the night be dark
(except for stars), dear friends, these apples
red and green, and (maybe) just a bit of Bing.



From the trusty crock you teach
how cold a winter’s morning
or how warm a summer’s day might be.
Oh not in thermometric numbers by degree
but by your suave substantial answer
to the knife tip’s touch,
by your complexion and your spreadability.

At your most noble, taken new
from finest milk and churned
to a consistency all of your own,
epitome of softness and a cache
of flavor—you’re unsalted, sweet,
delicately of the pasture:  dandelion,
clover or alfalfa, onion grass…

I love yourself
by any means conveyed—
a raft of toast, a lobster tail,
an artichoke sauteed—even my cat
demands a tiny pat of you each day.
But best of all, piece de resistance,
those days when I bake bread

I break a hunk
warm, before the loaf is sliced,
and slather you all over it.
Then you are paradise.