Saturday, December 3, 2016

Writer's Lament

Fingers tap at keys, without rhythm, to find words,
Trying to tell the story, capture the poem,
Struggling to add meaning to a phrase or two.

The hand scribbles with a pen a stumble of letters
Pulling at the thread of an idea
Untwisting the scrambled jumble of the mind.

The writer, heart in hand, soul in need, mind in fog,
Struggles to grasp the wisp of words whispered by the muse
In a whirlwind of thought during the rumbling roller coaster of life…

...and put them on the page.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

You'll Be There

In the future, there is a classroom
With books and boards and desks.
The floor is worn, maybe a crack in the wall,
But posters splash color and whisper advice.
And you’ll be there.

In this classroom there are students,
Bright and eager and ready to learn.
The world will be opened to them.
Discovery and life will dance about.
And you’ll be there.

Among the students, there will be a few
Trying and doing but not quite getting.
Leaning in, elbow on desk with his writing
Or with her math; a turning point provided.
And you’ll be there.

Among the few, there will be a student,
Sullen or struggling or disengaged.
There will be open battles, quiet chats aside,
Patience required; a long term rescue ensured.
And you’ll be there.

Within the faces, there will be a child,
Noticed, but quiet and blended in.
Not in trouble and not standing out,
Yet from the pat on the back, the confident grin,
The happy room, the warmth of life and learning,
The proud stand, the “good job,"
The hug of safety; unknown, a life change given.
And you’ll be there.

 (for the next generation of teachers)

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Battle Rages

Inside that heart
                a desire, a faith, to protect
                a flag of faces, loved
                red, white and blue

Inside that hand
                a weapon was held
                now closed to a fist
                lashing out against
                pointing in to self
                destructive, afraid, alone

Inside that eye
                a horseman galloped in
                roughshod and violent
                creating infinite tears
                an acidic aftermath
                that goes unshed, burning

Inside that mind
                a stand against solitary hells
                helpless, voiceless calls
                click, whispers explode
Inside that soul
                a battle rages.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


When Air Florida Flight 90
crashed into a bridge in D.C. back in 1982,
some survivors clung to a section of the tail
while a helicopter lowered a life ring.
A Man in the Water would take it
and pass it to another.
He repeated this five times
while the cold winter water
challenged him.
When the helicopter came back for him,
he was gone.
And we were one less.
                                He was “proof (as if one needed it) that no man is ordinary.”*

In a tail section classroom
crashed with students,
he passed out life rings.
They looked like books, essays and a joke or two.
Students took them.
They read brave words on a page, wrote essays
and, with his encouragement, spoke their minds.
He roped them in with a friendly manner,
taught them,
and sent them down the hall;
they, knowing or not, swam away with a life ring.
He repeated this many times
until cancer challenged him.
Then he was gone.
And we were one less.
One less man in the water
He is “proof (as if one needed it) that no man is ordinary.”

* Time, “Man in the Water,” Roger Rosenblatt, January 25, 1982

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


                …the knight was knocked from his horse,
                as one does when in battle.
He laid on the ground
                broken and bruised,
                catching his breath.
His horse was missing.
                Defeat, although witnessed,
                 is a solitary thing.
Yet, from the village far away, a bird did chirp.
                There was a faint aroma of peonies.
                He felt the earth moving beneath him.
His horse nudged his shoulder.
                Shakily, slowly, he stood.
                And as he did, he said, “Onward.”

                …the knight tends to his horse
                as one does when noble and caring.
His own wounds are nursed by his lady.
                His children kiss his forehead
                and tell him stories.
Villagers, grateful for past deeds,
                bring by bread, wine and song.
                They jest and laugh together.
He pounds out the dent in his armor.
                Another scar it carries
                but sturdier it becomes.
On his shields it bears his emblem
                and a few letters.
                It says, “Onward.”

                …the knight, at sunrise, will rally forth
                as one does that rides with Purpose.
From his lady, he has a kiss on his lips
                And her scarf tucked away by his heart.
                In his hand he holds yellow dandelions
                from his children.
His satchel has bread, cheese, and tinder
                from the villagers,
                and a scrap of paper
                with a few words from an obscure poet.
The gate opens.
                With straight back and eyes forward,
                He rides.
                And he says, “Onward.”