“Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me”


The lilacs are blooming!

It seems to early, but we had a mild winter.

IMG_4951I want time to stop. With the cherry tree blossoms just about to drop and the lilacs just opening, this phase of spring sings perfection.

In an American literature course a million years ago we read poetry. When we analyzed Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” we discussed the theme of grief and considered the pastoral elements in the poem.

What about the lilacs?

“Have you ever smelled lilacs?” Dr. Chianese, our professor, asked us.

Most of us had not. We were Los Angeles types moved by scent of jasmine and orange blossoms. We had no source of reference.

I now understand Dr. Chianese’s question, for the scent of a lilac is truly exquisite, ephemeral, and unique. The short space of time when Whitman contemplated the death of President Lincoln, and I rejoice in the rebirth of the garden.




Spring Poem

I don’t remember a time when the daffodils have bloomed this early, yet they are are blooming now on Orcas.

In honor of my favorite season, here’s a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.





is when the muddy yard turns from the snap of winter

Green fingers push through, reaching with fat thumbs

of promised golden blossom.


How does the green know?

Like actors waiting in the wing for the cue

of sunlight cast on mud

the volume of birdsong crescendo

the fingers open

cups to hold

the first sleepy bees of the year.


REMINDERS about WEEKLY POEMS: If you decide to use my poem somewhere, please let me know, credit the author, and link it back to my website. Thank you!

Weekly Poem 12-22-15 The Black Forest

The Black Forest


Birds speak like children eager to be heard

Louder and louder until one dominates the conversation

Where water rushes, eager

to reach the end.


Here, where a woman is digging

her old body heaving shovels

of cow scent earth. She

pauses looking at her black land

her house, the upper level a barn

to keep her warm.


Nearby, a chapel sits, the

doll’s house model of the baroque

twin towers in the village.

A crucifix hangs on the door

White against the trees

Rangy pines, darken

into shadows.


And I think of the person

who planted these,

I imagine it was you

who crept between

the logging machines,

pushing seeds down with your thumb.


I try to remember when

these forests touched

in every walking place.

I close my eyes

And you are not here,


Yet I know,

I know the sky’s color

Would race down

and embrace us

like it has for us

in spaces before.

(from 1988)

This is a poem I wrote while in the Black Forest in Germany. The speaker is an immortal being returning to place of significance. It’s also a poem about missing someone I wanted with me on my travels.

REMINDERS about WEEKLY POEMS: If you decide to use my poem somewhere, please let me know, credit the author, and link it back to my website. Thank you!

Weekly Poem-11-18-15 Starling Murmation

I have many poems sitting around on my computer collecting dust. I decided to start sharing some of them. I am far from being a brilliant poet, but this seems like the right thing to do. 


Starling Murmation


Patterns of pepper separate and swirl together

A vortex of wings,

Waves across the sky scatter and connect,

Over the cottonwood trees

Branches like shredded ribbons from the wind.

Silver leaves tarnished under clouded sky.


The birds merge and separate,

Twisted into a helix of wing and body.


Shifting of light and shadow,

The patterns illuminate something active

Controlled choreography

Not random or indifferent,


Patterns seeking connection.

Each bird responsible for a piece of twisted sky,

Perfect swarms of light.

(From November 2011)


This poem came about after seeing a bird murmation near Crescent Beach on Orcas Island. 

REMINDERS about WEEKLY POEMS: If you decide to use my poem somewhere, please let me know, credit the author, and link it back to my website. Thank you!

Dare Mighty Things

On a visit to JPL last year, I saw this sign in a building:


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I’m not a scientist, not even close. I am in awe of all things inventive and new about science. I love the realm of possibility.


Dare Mighty Things doesn’t even make sense exactly. I mean, how do you dare a thing? Yet, that’s one of the reasons why I like the sign so much.


My sons and other members of my family have science brains. They can wrap their heads around abstract possibility, force, nature, numbers. I stand back and nod in awe.

Innovation leads to success,

Yet, failure is also a huge part of innovation.

Daring means things go wrong too. Mighty doesn’t happen unless we take risks

I think pretty much everything Elon Musk does is amazing, yet even with an innovative company like Space X, failure happens.

I cannot create an alternative fueled spaceship or navigate rovers on planets, but I can write.

The past few years I’ve had my own version of spectacular rockets blowing up.

Years of work on novels end in fiery ruin.

I stare at the pieces and start over,

Do it again

And again

And again.


Sometimes, it gets hard,

Painfully, wretchedly hard.

But what other choice do I have?


I have to create.

I have to write.

I cannot stop.


When I face that blank screen, the possibilities swarm through my brain.

My own version of space travel starts when my fingers hit the keyboard.

To possibility and beyond!