Behind Every Cloud

After three cups of coffee I’m fully anxious.

The wind thrashes the limbs of the trees,
chases leaves down the wet street.


The cats go in and out, and in again.

I force a smile.

The silver lining and all that.

Outside it’s so gray it hurts the eyes.

For dVerse. Bjorn has us visiting the idea of silence in poetry. I tend to use sparse, trimmed-down lines–this (I think) naturally lends itself to silent space. My first draft of this poem was a 6-line lyric, but to heighten the feel of unsettled quiet that I was striving for, I broke each short sentence into its own line.

Saying Grace

He said Grace over the meal,
mouthing words that were meant
to bring divine blessing,
to sanctify the mundane
act of eating and make the partakers
of food participants in the Holy.

We humans have probably
always done this: take typical
everyday activities and try
our best to infuse them with
heavenly purpose, hoping to make
our lives count for something beyond
this life, somehow coaxing glory
into our existence,  

an otherworldly manifestation,
an angel’s breath. 

Isn’t it’s just as likely
we bring our own meaning
in the very act of living?
Eat, drink, share,
love, marvel—
what more is there to add?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, even longer since posting anything. It’s tough coming back from a long break–I feel like an outsider to my own thoughts, like I’m intruding where I’m no longer welcome. I’ve got to get past this. So anyway–this was written as a response to a poetry prompt for dVerse.


here on the mountain
only the birds bear witness
only the birds are aware

close to the cliff-edge
a lonely woman staring
the red-faced birds are aware

For dVerse. Victoria has asked us to write with patterns in mind. I thought I might try to pack as many patterns as I could into a small verse form. I chose a sedoka, with it’s repeating pattern of 5/7/7. Besides repeating a few words, I also used many repeating sound patterns, such as “only” and “lonely,” and some repetitions that are more visual, such as “are” and “aware.” See how many more patterns you can find. This was fun–write a poem and come join in!


The Wave

Driving east
toward Tybee Beach,
the smell of salt air
takes me back
twenty-five years.

I see in my mind
the shape of
one particular wave,
and the bob of your head
as you drift away.



And now, with the stresses bold:


Driving east
toward Tybee Beach,

the smell of salt air
takes me back
twenty-five years.


I see in my mind
the shape of

one particular wave,
and the bob of your head
as you drift away.

For dVerse. Tonight Gay would like us to reach deep into our natural poetic rhythms. I first posted the poem without noting how I hear the rhythm, to give you, dear reader, the chance to find how you read it on your own. This is an older poem that was written without rhythm necessarily in mind, and I think it is pretty typical of my inner beat. Do you hear it the same way that I do?

Rejoice With Them That Do Rejoice, and Weep With Them That Weep

I learnt pretty quick that some ways
of acting don’t go over
with just everybody, like that time
Mr. Wayne came to the church picnic
grinning and bouncing
up and down on springy legs
and I thought What fun Mr. Wayne
is a-having, and I couldn’t figure out
why Miss Wayne, his wife and pillar of faith,
was mad as a fire ant and seemed
to be wanting him to leave.
I said, Look at Mr. Wayne,
Mama, he’s having hisself a time,
and Mama’s face got hard
like the Heavenly God’s
on Reckoning Day, and she
shooed me away.

I caught on that Mr. Wayne’s
happiness likely came from
that flat bottle in his hip pocket,
and when they finally got him
to leave, pretty quiet considering,
I thought that if they’d seen
what I’d seen, Mr. Wayne
standing in a dusty furrow
beside his old blue tractor,
and he never saw me but I
watched him standing still a good long while
with him just looking up, and me thinking
of all this and I wondered if maybe
they should’ve let Mr. Wayne
bounce and grin a spell.

For dVerse Poetics. Claudia is hosting tonight, allowing us to exercise our storytelling skills. She has a whole long list of subjects or objects to include in our stories; I chose the tractor and the liquor bottle. Those two things just jumped out at me, reminding me of an episode of my childhood, and the story kind of wrote itself from there. We also had the option to go fairy-tale with this, but I opted not to take that route. I’ve been working (none too swiftly) on a series of poems in this particular voice of a rural boy, trying to remember the sentence phrasing and cadence of my childhood. Seemed to be a good choice to narrate this story. Stop by dVerse, check out Claudia’s prompt, and tell us a story!



Two sages meet
to speak
of eternity.

They sit beneath trees
that have rooted
for centuries,

beside the stream
winding between stones
for millennia,

stones slowly rising
under a sky
that has hovered

for unknown ages;
before trees, streams,
stones, grass, sages.

by time they sit,

wu zhen distant-mountains

(Wu Zhen: Greenery in Distant Mountains)


For dVerse. Mary has us thinking and writing about time. I like thinking about time, but it always leaves me a little befuddled. Anyway, write a little something and join in the sharing!



i can only speak
from my experiences—
that’s where you come in

A humble little senryu for dVerse, as we wrap up a week of celebration for 3 years of shared poetry. I’ve not always been a faithful contributor–I occasionally go through spells of dryness or laziness or darkness or I don’t know what. But I took the time to look back, and I found that since my first dVerse link up in October 2012 I have posted 59 poems. Some of them are, I admit, pretty shitty. Some might not be half bad. But none of them would have been written if it hadn’t been for you, dVerse neighbors, keeping this thing going and being a supportive community. Thanks to all!

Boboli Gardens


We come to the garden,
surrounded by unwatching eyes
set in grimacing frozen faces,

ears that do not tremble
to the vibration of birdsong in the air,
rigid hands that reach out

but can never grasp or even touch,
riven noses (why are they always
first to go?) unable to enjoy

the fragrance of the gentlest flower.
And what to say about the tongues?
Stonestill as if caught mid-word

with no way to finish the thought,
complete the image, not one, not one
of them to sing the mystery,

except by what can only be called
the greatest of all miracles,
a warming to life.


Written for dVerse on the occasion of their third anniversary. Dedicated to poets everywhere who are attempting to see, hear, smell, touch, and speak of what we experience.

If I Could Have Any Wish

There would be no blazing colors,
     no deafening fireworks,
no boisterous milling crowds
     of pleasure-seekers.
Only you and me
     in a darkened room.
Only the electric touch
     of your body and mine.
Congrats to Abhra Pal on the occassion of his first dVerse hosting! Abhra, using the joyous Hindu festival of Holi as inspiration, invites us to consider the combination of color and love. Contrarian that I am, I went colorless. Kind of. 

Sindoor Sun

(Painting by Sunita Khedekar)
Veiled from the setting sindoor sun
by a charcoal roof
and shaded downcast eyes,
I still feel your tears on my face—
what are these thoughts I think
in the gray of a fading day?
Just to know, for my own sake,
I look from the window
as we used to do, to see
if the fishermen’s boats
still glistened in the
setting sindoor sun.


For dVerse. Grace has us writing with color in mind, using artwork by Sunita Khedekar for inspiration. It’s been such a long while since I’ve posted anything, but Sunita’s work is so powerful I just had to give this a go. Click here for info. on sindoor. Please visit dVerse and write something you can share with us; at the very least, you owe it to yourself to check out Sunita’s art. Incredible work!