Monday, October 15, 2007

"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a comedy show, then a nation finds itself at risk." (Neil Postman)

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Education of a Poet

Her pencil poised, she's ready to create,
Then listens to her mind's perverse debate
On whether what she does serves any use;
And that is all she needs for an excuse
To spend all afternoon and half the night
Enjoying poems other people write.

--Leslie Monsour

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

("The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver, from House of Light. © Beacon Press, 1992.)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

End of Summer

Full moon rising--
fall arrives to quell the heat
of August days. lkm

Monday, July 16, 2007

Verses from an early-morning walk

and Queen Anne's lace
along the road,
dew already drying
on this hot July day.

Young rabbits
play in the weeds
along the tracks,
stems of Queen Anne's lace
and chickory above their heads.

Early morning,
calls of robin and redbird,
streak of goldfinch--
we start our day together
as I walk down the road.

Filling my nose,
the morning already hot,
scent of petunias
masking the smell of death
from a creature in the ditch.



Thursday, May 24, 2007



At the window
frozen with birdlust -
the old tomcat.

Hieroglyphs above
scratched on desert cliffs,
sneaker prints below.

First light -
wood duck on the pond
gone mad with flapping.

Sudden rain -
stuck in the car

Through the trees
sun casting fish shadows
on the creek bottom.



Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, May 2, 2007



Some beetle trilling
its midnight utterance.

Voice of the scarabee,
working survivor ...

I recall how each year
returning from voyages, flights
over sundown snowpeaks,
cities crouched over darkening lakes,
hamlets of wood and smoke,
I find
-----the same blind face upturned to the light
-----and singing
-----the one song,

-----the same weed managing
-----its brood of minute stars
-----in the cracked flagstone.

--Denise Levertov

To the Reader

As you read, a white bear leisurely
pees, dyeing the snow

and as you read, many gods
lie among lianas: eyes of obsidian
are watching the generations of leaves,

and as you read
the sea is turning its dark pages,
its dark pages.

--Denise Levertov

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Look at six eggs
in a mockingbird's nest

Listen to six mockingbirds
flinging follies of O-be-joyful
Over the marshes and uplands.

Look at songs
hidden in eggs.

--Carl Sandburg


When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off--they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

--William Stafford


The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry


From "O, Thou Opening, O"

Stand by a slow stream:
Hear the sigh of what is.
Be a pleased rock
On a plain day.

--Theodore Roethke