Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch

"YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP!"

Our neighbor's dog
is a noisy, little ball of white fluff.
He bounces along
the length of the chain link fence
around his yard,
as if tossed by the wind.

"YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP!"

He barks at all passersby:
whether cars, kids, squirrels,
 other dogs, or butterflies.
His owner calls him Atticus.
We call him, That Yappycuss.
Like his namesake, 
he takes seriously his job to defend.

"YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP!"



Friday, April 10, 2020

Hope by Design


Hope by Design

Despite endless reports of doom,
the flowers have begun to bloom.
Dire warnings flit and fly,
but look, look--how blue the sky!

The experts say, "No need for panic."
Then they say, "It's a pandemic!"
"Wash your hands. Stay inside.
Home is the place where we should hide."

I envy the flowers in their glory.
In ignorant bliss, they live their story.
The sun, undaunted, returns to shine,
bringing hope by design.



Monday, February 17, 2020

Seagulls and Crows



Seagulls and Crows

Seagulls swoop down to the waves
and back up again,
soaring against a background 
of boundless blue skies,
and celebrating the sea breezes
with their joyous, rhythmic cries.

Crows perch in a palm tree by my window; 
complaining, bickering, and gossiping 
about the people down below.
The crows' voices grate and scrape
like rusty hinges on an old screen door.

When given a choice, 
what will you do,
squabble or soar?



You can hear the crows at the beginning of this short video.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Exquisite Scene


The Exquisite Scene

It happened while we were sleeping,
slipping in during the dark of night.
Snow transformed the world outside--made it pristine.
Changed the landscape to black and white.

Now it's quiet and cold and clean
as far as one can see.
Layers of snowflakes muffle each lawn
and drape the branches of each tree.

Armed with shovels, brooms, and plows,
the first ones out to enjoy it
can't help but witness the grandeur, 
just before they set out to destroy it.

Clearing paths for others to walk.
Plowing roads to make room to drive.
Their clank and clang and clatter and scrape 
announce that winter has decided to arrive.

Soon the white will turn to gray,
the sparkle will turn to slush,
and the noise of the street will return
to drown out the peaceful hush.

Take in the glory while you can.
Commit to memory the exquisite scene.
Because as quick as snapping two fingers,
we will be back to the mundane routine.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Where the Pixies Play


Where the Pixies Play

In the meadow, under a pine, at the edge of the wood,
right at my feet, the yellow mushroom stood.
Nothing but an ordinary mushroom by day,
but at night, it's where the pixies play.
Fluttering about with the fireflies;
giggling, whispering, and batting their eyes;
they play hide and seek among the clover,
flitting about, under and over.
They frolic and dance with the other sprites,
whiling away the starlit nights.
When at last the sun begins to rise,
they rest their heads and close their eyes,
but they'll be back when the stars shine,
on the mushroom, in the meadow, under a pine, 
which looks so ordinary during the day,
but at night, it's where the pixies play.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Grandma's Lap


Grandma's Lap

There's no better place
to take a nap
than snuggled up
on Grandma's lap.

She finger sings the spider
up the water spout to me,
and I sit feeling sleepy,
while sitting on her knee.

She softly counts my fingers,
and then she counts my toes.
A yawn escapes from my mouth,
and my eyes begin to close.

Soon I'm drifting off to sleep
with dreams floating in my head.
I snooze and sigh with contentment, 
when Grandma's lap is my bed.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Childhood Summer

Childhood Summer

Picking fat, green peapods
from the vines growing at the edge of the garden.
Sitting on the porch swing in the breezeway
with my mom and my cat.
Shelling peas from their pods,
scooping them into a stainless steel mixing bowl.
Listening to them ping as they fell,
"rat-a-tat-tat."

Childhood summers were so simple.
Riding our bikes together in packs,
all around the neighborhood.
Everyone was your friend--it was as easy as that.
Endless games of wiffle ball in the empty field.
Me, playing second base--never caught a one.
Charlie liked being the pitcher.
His sister, the youngest, always first up to bat.

We played hide and seek behind the lilac bushes.
Mary Aileen really knew how to run!
She'd make it home from anywhere
in fifteen seconds flat.
We kept busy with jump rope, freeze tag, and hot potato,
or tossed pebbles into the creek near the train tracks
and counted box cars from the bridge where we sat.

Those times and places are long gone now.
Many of the people are gone too.
It's no longer possible for any of us
to make it home in fifteen seconds flat,
but if I close my eyes and drift a bit,
I 'm there again jumping rope and hiding in the lilacs.
Everyone is a friend.
I just close my eyes--it's as easy as that.