June 3rd, 2022


Is it a foghorn or the wind's
Drone-monotone through a barely open
Sliding door?  What is this kindly view for?
The waves slide out from nowhere in the dew:
No horizon.  No slow ships from Hamburg Süd.

This powerful narcotic compounded for you --
Flat, pastel, gently pulsing day and night
The tidal foam a self-abasing white
And nothing there to break a terrace nap
And nothing there to take your thoughts, and tap

Their shoulders toward the useless and the old.
Dead passions; thoughts of the dead; all gone cold
While you lie temperate and unconcerned
About the super-earth light years away:
"A world that constantly burns."
May 29th, 2022

ALL OR NOTHING: Waiting for One AM, May 31, 2022, at Henlopen State Park, Delaware

Either the sky’s a meteoric storm

Or the coming thousand-fireball swarm

Is all in our heads, not even a shower.

Why not loose imagination’s power

And make the dust trail hit us hard

Spill ruddy-jeweled stars

We can make it light the sky, light our way

Change intolerable black to day

Give intolerable formlessness form.

We can make the meteors storm.

May 9th, 2022
UD’s Third Spring Poem

The greening of the evening 
The cold flat light of night 

And the mesmerizing 
Tritone thrush in the honeysuckle 

Thrill me, and hush me. 

Later, sitting in a black chair 
Under the thrush  
I start to sing 
Eileen Aroon 

April 22nd, 2022
Poems from UD’s Spring Garden: Poem #2

Garden piano starlight and stone:
The pursuits of my parents
Present as my own. 

Also dogs, and birds.

The play of words.


Is there nothing that is mine alone?


Instead of her spaniels a runty pit.
Purcell in place of his Hindemith.
And perseids more than constellations.
April 14th, 2022
Poems from UD’s Spring Garden: Poem #1


The bird that wants to nest in my rafter

Has birdlike clarity what it’s after:

The comforts of home.  Of course I agree

That water source, sight-line, privacy

All make for quite the nest.  The question though

(As I sweep off twigs and it returns

Tirelessly, with energy to burn)

Remains:  Which one of us will have to go?

April 1st, 2022
A poem by Richard Howard, in his memory.

A witty, erudite writer in the mode of James Merrill, he was 92.


May 26 1969: The Grievance

No one dies. That is all we can say for certain.

Something dies us,

As it lived us. We are lived. And died.

A personal pronoun is superfluous here.

It is simple;

Our grammar of death must be revised.

And we are not reduced to tears, not reduced. The thing

Our tears are for

Extends us: we are widened to the term

Which lies beyond our tears. We are not reduced.



Fellow Philip Larkin fans might be reminded, on reading this poem, of these lines:

Life is first boredom, then fear.
Whether or not we use it, it goes,
And leaves what something hidden from us chose,   
And age, and then the only end of age.


More tersely, fellow Adam Phillips fans might simply quote this remark:

When people say, “I’m the kind of person who,” my heart always sinks.

March 21st, 2022
Where I’m Calling From

Sunrise Rehoboth

Psychedelic ocean and the gulls slate gray

A man prepares his tripod for blastoff


Backstage the moon shot through with blue

Bows to the sun and gives way


Where’s the pilgrim fellowship chanting in the sand?

The mournful Scottish bagpipe band?


This morning all worship comes down to me

Godless, with sacred symphony


February 20th, 2022
A Walmart in Waukegan

A Supermarket in California!

A Walmart in Waukegan!


What thoughts I have of you tonight

Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg

As I scan the parking lot

Of the Walmart in Waukegan


Two strangers in SUVs met

On that fruited plain

They blew each other away

With their Glocks


As one they shot; as one staggered

Into their SUVs

As one staggered

Into the local emergency room

As one were arrested


O Whitman, O Ginsberg! O Walmart Waukegan parking lot!

I stagger beside you, dreaming of the lost America of love

Past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage

January 4th, 2022
David, December, Rehoboth Beach

How all occasions do evoke thee
My own Lord Hamlet.  Here, beside the sea,
With only Philly Airport contrails for clouds,
I slip on icy boards and say your name aloud,
Because everything evokes thee.  Those contrails:
Your father, who mapped the moon, regaled
Me with their chemistry and their meaning.
Your Swiss cousin, who never left off keening,
Sends text messages about your mysterious life.
After all these years I've heard from your wife
Who finally wants the books you left with me.
And there's my yearly visit to the tomb
Of your mad Ophelia.  That keeps the ghost in the room.

Beyond all these, your famous sister is another thread
That keeps delaying your entry into truly dead
For every end of year my ritual is to read
Her widower's account of how he freed
Himself, a little, from the long pain of her dying.
When he said the Heart Sutra her soul went flying.

"I had a distinct feeling of a kind of expansion
Emanating from the furnace into the room 
And beyond.  Something was being released
From Eve's body and expanding into space."

For me, for your memory, no such amazing grace,
No closing mantra, no sense of you unrestless,
Over on the other shore, life and deathless.


Clear winter sunset now.

Ho! The horizon takes a roseate glow.
Pink's the sand where the whitelets flow.

Between the two, a table setting silver blue
Darkens to gray. Evoking you.
December 31st, 2021


People are drawn to nothingness

Here on the coast at the end of the year
The horizon makes itself disappear
The banner planes are gone the gulls are gone
It's nothingness to which people are drawn

The sand is smooth the blue umbrellas went away
The noisy white boats that nose up and say
Ladies Night at the Bar and Grill are not missed
People are drawn to nothingness

The lifeguard stands are standing down
Calm waves make the only sound
Portugal  Africa  None wonder anymore
What lies along the other shore

Really all that's left is us
Drawn so hard to nothingness

Packs of winter scarves and coats
Black against the gray of the coast
Praising the sacred empty space
The misty mystic vacant place

People are drawn to nothingness
December 27th, 2021
End of Year Poem.

    It's the old annual end-times go-round
    When the revolution goes up in flames
    And everyone flees to an assisted
    Living facility.  But not you.  Yet.
    Checks still go out to the truly needy
    Which must mean that you yourself... You're young still
    In some senile way and unprepared to
    Abandon the ramparts and call the
    Revolution ended. 

                End-time subversiveness
                Mainly involves mantras. Surreality
                Of Everyday Life remains popular.
                A far remove from Here at Senior Sylvan Retreat You Are
                Never Alone.  Alone is what I want!

        Alone I can work out another New Year --

 Reckon up lost ground, lost troops, morale issues.


My basic animal spirits are sound. 
Born lucky, raised lucky, lucky in work
And love, I pause in the hallway, steady
My mug of tea, and undergo full-body gratitude.
December 24th, 2021
From a winter poem by Weldon Kees.

The room is cold, the words in the books are cold;
And the question of whether we get what we ask for
Is absurd, unanswered by the sound of an unlatched door
Rattling in wind, or the sound of snow on roofs, or glare
Of the winter sun. What we have learned is not what we were told.
I watch the snow, feel for the heartbeat that is not there.

October 30th, 2021
                Ancient Medieval Modern

The high-speed train site, a substation with an epic switchgear,
Also has triple-transformers: Ancient/Medieval/Modern.  
Roman/Norman/New.      Keep digging.
Further down, something neolithic will appear.

Piling on with every mood swing...  Then, years later, turning over 
Statues, witch-marks, scratch-dial.

And now we lay down our own dedicated tracks:
Frail rail.
October 14th, 2021

Brodsky Museum, St Petersburg

A life of poetic intensity

Circled by Belomorkanal smoke

And, near the Arctic, by fast-cooled chifir tea —

We want these old apartments to evoke

The depth of this, deeper than poetry,

Deeper than your bitter words that spoke

The nothingness of time and history.

That is: The bathroom stink you tried to cloak,

Sharing the bowl with two other families.

The desk display of poets who provoked

You into verse: Auden, Frost… A messy

Desk, a mid-modern aesthetic baroque

Of books and bottles and a cup of tea.

Asleep for years, these dusty rooms stoke

Unembittered hearts — too young for ennui —

Who press against the doorway to soak

In the atmosphere.  They pay the entry fee

And immediately want to stroke

The same cracked imperial walls that he

Lived sandwiched between, bitter and broke

But not broken.

Mary Gelman, NYT.
September 21st, 2021
Yeatsian Meditation as Varsity Blues Parents Begin to Be Released from Prison
And no more turn aside and brood
Upon law's bitter cruelty;
For cash still rules the Ivy Leagues, 
And rules the schools almost as good; 
It rules the fate of our dim babes
And all rich dishevelled wandering spawn.
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