Poem: Existential Bathtub Conversations



The Hardest Part of this Book



The proof copy of A Sanctuary Built of Words: Poems of Peace, Grief and Passion has been ordered. I can’t wait to see it!

I thought that the hardest part of creating this book would be editing the poems. Writing them happened over twenty years, kind of at its own pace, and many of them were created to capture a moment in time or to exorcise an excess of emotion, so they often came quickly.

Editing was the next step and that happened over time as well. Re-reading a poem after a period of days or months can often allow the solution to rise to the surface.

Choosing the poems was not too difficult either; I have far more than 74 but that is what I chose to include so it was a matter of choosing my favorites. I did go back and replace two that I had originally chosen because one wasn’t in keeping with the tone of the book and I found I had something new that I liked better for another.

No, the most difficult part, for me, has been choosing the order of the poems. I realized at some point that the poems classified themselves into categories of peace, grief and passion with a strong thread of humor interwoven. Some poems covered more than one category but most fell strongly enough into one category to be classified there. It occurred to me to count up how many of which category I had and I found that it was roughly 40% Peace, 40% Grief, and 20% Passion. I determined to rotate through the themes in ordering the poems so as not to overwhelm the reader with the grief – peace, grief, peace, grief, passion.

I did the work and put them in order and  . . . it didn’t work. At all. It was too disjointed and helter-skelter. Back to the drawing board. This time I created a spreadsheet that labeled the poems with their main category of peace, grief or passion but then added the topics that they conveyed those themes through – motherhood, nature, relationships, et cetera.

As I looked at the spreadsheet and read the poems again, relationships seemed to emerge. This poem lead naturally into this one and these two were related in a way. I let the natural symbiosis take over and voilá! Order has been achieved. It isn’t perfect but it’s a lot better than where I started.

Holding Space: A Poem

I wrote this a while back after reading an article on holding space for friends who are suffering in some way, while thinking of a friend. The recent news and reminders to check on your friends brought it to the forefront of my mind. Please feel free to share any of the poems you see here with anyone you think might need or enjoy them.



Keuka – a poem for the first day of June.


Tornado Dream

I tend to find that when I am struggling with something emotionally, if I don’t talk about it out loud, or try to deny my fear, it invariably ends up in my dreams. Well, back in 2011, at the end of May, a tornado struck our house when I was home alone with our one-year-old daughter. It took me quite a while to write about it. This is one of the things that came out of it, a dream that I had afterwards.


Happy Wizarding, Harry, um, I mean Writing


I feel like I have nothing to say today. My munchkin got me up at 4:30 this morning. I just want a nap. So, I give you a poem I wrote when she was a new baby that seems rather appropriate and a link to a favorite inspiring LiveJournal post from Jim Butcher on The Most Important Thing An Aspiring Writer Needs to Know. May the weekend find you time to write.

A Mother’s Weary Vigil

Just after midnight

small heels beat a Morse code

of defiance into the mattress.

I am not tired.

I will not sleep.

Even though

mere moments before

or perhaps after

chubby cheeks and hands

folded in repose on mama’s lap

angelically spoke of

sweet dreams.

Oh, but what transpires

between the rocker and the crib?

Eyes and mouth pop open,

screams or laughter,

legs kick.

I am not tired!

I will not sleep!

Mama returns to the rocker

her weary vigil to keep.

He Came Home Today: Poem

I wrote this a few years ago when a local boy came home, I post it again in memory of all who have served.


He came home today
but not to a ticker-tape parade.
Instead, a horse drawn wagon
processed to where he will be laid.

An improvised explosive
near his armored car
took the life we held so dear
and left us where we are,

standing at graveside,
with his flag draped coffin
after the twenty-one gun salute
waiting for Taps to begin.

They shared those bright blue eyes.
Now his mothers are closed, too sad.
His will never again look up to the sky.
There’s no comfort to be had.

The April Countryside and Narrative Magazine’s Sixth Annual Poetry Contest

Thought I’d share a poem for a Sunday morning. I don’t write poetry much but occasionally my mind turns to it, like it did one April day this Spring while driving along. If you write poetry or know someone who does, you might want to be aware of the Narrative Magazine Sixth Annual Poetry Contest. Check it out for yourself or share it with someone you know.  Thanks for reading!

The April Countryside

Gray April skies shower an inconsistent drip.

Follow a winding ribbon of gray

up the hill then down as it drops away.

Matted yellow grass, freed from blankets of snow

fills the pasture, greening at water’s edge.

Last year’s corn stubble dots the muddy field,

bare limbs move restlessly as

clinging dried orange leaves shudder-shake.

Old out buildings stand slant-sided,

unable to resist the ravages of winter

while, older still, a barn that could

squats solidly in the middle of a field.

Free Verse Poem – My Facebook Feed

I don’t seem to know what to say so I’ll just offer this poem that was inspired today, a rough draft, take it for what it’s worth.


My Facebook Feed

My head hurts from the cold that lingers
and the recriminations of a tiny person
who cannot express herself sufficiently.
Are any of us so very different?

So much I should be doing –
I am tired and I sit.

My Facebook feed today shares –

Outrage once again for Trayvon Martin.
Outrage, finally, for a woman given 20 years
after firing shots meant to warn.
Outrage over the chemicals in our foods
and a missing warning on an anti-inflammatory drug.
Two separate ATV crashes killed man and woman.
A friend mourned a motorcyclist.
Many remembrances of a woman who had passed –
friend, wife, mother, aunt, sister – so much to all.

Birthdays, memes, encouragement and humor
seem outweighed by outrage and pain.

At lunch today, the profound climate change came up.
North pole has packed up and moved but why?
No one denied it, no one sought to place blame. It just is.
Yet the oil industry almost seeks to hasten it.

Has the world gone mad? Or did becoming an adult and parent simply wake me up?

Injustices and perplexities confound me.
Frivolities… taste stale and unprofitable.
A fortune cookie today admonished me –
When up and down seem impossible, try moving side to side.

Outrage, outrage, outrage
must be combated by humor and art.

There is a long view out my front porch
a tar road, a green field, trees, a hill and
blue skies reaching up to into white clouds, lilting sideways.