Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Prayer for the new year

My pocket inside out

yet time to tell

that I may live with love to give

and not a pain to make

nor grief to trade

or sell

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Canvas 500

Canvas 500

December 30, 2014

Fare thee well, hello

Now the master’s pipe is cold,
his hound is in its grave,

and you yourself like leather worn,
with time alone to brave,

sing out the old year, sing out,
rejoice for what it gave,

then praise the bride who suckles
her pretty newborn babe.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A list of the books I read in 2014

Following is a list of the books I read this year.
This is the third year I have made such a list.
The list for 2013 is here. The list for 2012 is here.


The Writings of Charles Dickens
with Critical and Bibliographical Introductions and Notes
by Edwin Percy Whipple
Illuminated with Steel Portraits and Engravings
from the Original Designs
by Browne, Cruikshank, Leech, and Others
in Thirty-Two Volumes

Houghton, Mifflin and Company



The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club
(Two Volumes)

Sketches by Boz
Illustrative of Every-Day Life and Every-Day People

The Adventures of Oliver Twist

Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
(Two Volumes)

The Old Curiosity Shop

Barnaby Rudge, Master Humphrey’s Clock,
and The Mystery of Edwin Drood
(Two Volumes)

The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
and American Notes
(Two Volumes)

Dombey and Son
(Two Volumes)

The Personal History of David Copperfield
(Two Volumes)

Bleak House
(Two Volumes)

Little Dorrit
(Two Volumes)

A Tale of Two Cities

Great Expectations

Our Mutual Friend
(Two Volumes)

Christmas Books: Tales and Sketches
(Two Volumes)

Hard Times and Other Stories

The Uncommercial Traveler and Pictures from Italy

Plays, Poems, and Miscellanies

A Child’s History of England;
also A Holiday Romance and Other Pieces

Life, Letters, and Speeches of Charles Dickens,
with Biographical Sketches of the Principal Illustrators of Dickens’s Works
(Two Volumes)

The Dickens Dictionary
A Key to the Plot and Characters in the Tales of Charles Dickens
with Copious Indexes and Bibliography by Gilbert A. Pierce
with Additions by William A. Wheeler


Never More Together : A Wordless Poem
by Steven McCabe

Monsieur Ambivalence : a post literate fable
by Thomas Fuller

Galileo’s Daughter : A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love
by Dava Sobel

The Wanderer (Le Grand Meaulnes)
by Alain-Fournier

A White Umbrella in Mexico
by F. Hopkinson Smith
with Illustrations by the Author

Life of Charles Darwin
by G.T. Bettany

The Moon and Sixpence
by W. Somerset Maugham

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

The Dramatic Works of St. John Hankin
by St. John Hankin
(Three Volumes)

Remembrance Rock
by Carl Sandburg

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
by Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
by Carl Van Doren

The Words: The Autobiography of Jean-Paul Sartre
by Jean-Paul Sartre

Always The Young Strangers
by Carl Sandburg

Seeds of Man : An Experience Lived and Dreamed
by Woody Guthrie

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck

Memoirs of a Nun
by Denis Diderot

Jude the Obscure
by Thomas Hardy

The Metamorphosis of Ajax : A New Discourse on a Stale Subject
by Sir John Harington

Absalom, Absalom!
by William Faulkner

The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway

The Human Comedy
by William Saroyan

A Listening Thing
by William Michaelian

Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable
by Samuel Beckett

O Lost : A Story of the Buried Life
(The original version of Look Homeward, Angel)
by Thomas Wolfe

Sister Carrie
by Theodore Dreiser

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
by Herman Melville

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(with 42 illustrations by Gustave Doré)

Van Loon's Lives :
Being a true and faithful account of a number of highly interesting meetings with certain historical personages, from Confucius and Plato to Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson, about whom we had always felt a great deal of curiosity and who came to us as our dinner guests in a bygone year.
by Hendrik Willem van Loon

La Vita Nuova
by Dante Alighieri
(translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

The Divine Comedy
by Dante Alighieri
(translated by Melville Best Anderson)

by George Eliot

The Betrothed
by Alessandro Manzoni

Goblin Market : a tale of two sisters
by Christina Rossetti

Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, 1652-1654
Edited by Edward Abbott Parry

The Diary of John Evelyn
by John Evelyn
(Two Volumes)

Purefoy Letters : 1735-1753
by Elizabeth Fish Purefoy and Henry Purefoy
(Two Volumes)

Early-morning streetlight

For every love, every grief, every pain,
an early-morning streetlight — but there is,
I am certain, one star to explain.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


The divine quiet, so tender to admit
a boy and his toy trumpet
of out-of-key

Saturday, December 27, 2014

zen érotique

no need to comprehend
this rainbow of naked limbs
a hummingbird ascends

Light upon the stairs

This life is a stained glass window;
see how the light illuminates the stairs,
and plays upon our sacred-weary fears;
I do declare, ’tis joy to meet you here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The bone beneath your brow

With your fingertips, trace the bone beneath your brow,
then notice how your breath, so low,
is slow enough to make the flowers grow,
and bow.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Canvas 499

Canvas 499

December 25, 2014

All the dear child sees

Upon your knees, and in your mirror,
if you will love me,

love all the dear child sees
looking on, looking in,

looking out, looking back,
looking up, looking down, from here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Canvas 498

Canvas 498

December 24, 2014

enlightenment the plum

enlightenment the plum you were eating all along
plum the enlightenment eating all you are is gone
gone all along you are the enlightened eaten plum

On the eve

Such joy in letting go of letting go
of letting go of letting go

O the scented ground
beneath this windswept pine

Strength of your strength

The strength of your strength
is your joy to yield

ripened grain as rain arrives
your table full

the sacred way
you close your eyes

sheds more light
on what was thought


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

upon a nest

upon a nest and in the nest an egg
upon an egg and in the egg a nest
upon a nest an egg to bless an age

gray geese white sails

gray geese white sails wide silence church bells
gray geese wide sails white silence church bells
light pales night silence gray geese church bells

Monday, December 22, 2014

rain moss stone

moss stone
rain moss stone
same rain moss stone
rain moss stone same rain
moss stone rain moss stone
not same rain not same
moss not same stone
not same no not
same rain

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Those old bells in distant times,
counties, hills, fences, crows,
not unlike the words I find in old books,
tolling, still, their census shows,
how straight they go in stately lines,
on winter roads through frosty rhymes,
with woolen scarves and proper looks,
and do my life apostrophize,
as one who rings, and leaves,
his rain thoughts,
in a brook.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

To be sure

is that number
between one
and then

The great dark

The great dark

The winter dark the water dark

The careful feeling for the bottom with a long pole

The fishing for a face you pray will know

The touch of a kind finger upon a blind eye

The dark will show

The way to go

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Canvas 493

Canvas 493

December 16, 2014

Canvas 492

Canvas 492

December 16, 2014

How your speech

How your speech, speaks you;

your thoughts, think you;

of these, your life, be proof;

your life, your face, your face, your mouth;

how peace, seeks you, where words, are deeds, in truth.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Leaf prayer

How lightly, by strokes just so,
you keep me here, then let me go.

(now dying, now painting, now flying, still)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Canvas 489

Canvas 489

December 12, 2014

Storm prayer

This tree a tongue, through wind and calm,
praise life a song, by grace all one,

(blow now, blow here, blow by, blow on)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I go sparkling

I go sparkling, I go imagining, the tinkling of a bell,
of a boy, the bell on his ankle, the boy walking beside an elephant,
I go dreaming, I go deep into the shade of the banyan tree,
they are seeds on a branch where hunger teaches light,
life is a melody, a wise elephant, mother,
round, with another, I go,
where she carries

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Canvas 487

Canvas 487

December 9, 2014

Knowing prayer

Let me dwell not on what I know,
or even on my need to know;
let me dwell, on and in,
my willingness to let it go.

Riddle wise

One by one, neath the lilac down,
we meet the mossy stone; each the other
held lief and dear, the riddle wise,
we most become.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Upon my face, crows’ feet frozen to their prey;
such a way has black to say, that night is right to play
blue songs; that sight may come by day,
to melt the ice away,
and lead me

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Canvas 484

Canvas 484

December 4, 2014

Here before

Life, a familiar echo, a hound on the porch, the sweet pull of smoke;

You say I’ve been away, and I dare must believe it;

Or how, does your hand, cause the beating, of my heart?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Hurry is the assumption that the moment is beneath you,
and that you will still be here when it ends.

The head a great cavern

The head, a great cavern, windswept,
hoary with rime; at its farthest reaches,
words, like gulls, mad, with their cry.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thinking as softly

Thinking as softly as you speak

thoughts spoken more softly still

thinking thoughts that in your speaking

speak like snow

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Canvas 482

Canvas 482

November 30, 2014

A poem, a drawing, a life

A poem of so many lines going every which way,
it becomes a drawing;

A drawing of so few lines its breath gives way,
to reveal a poem in hiding;

A life thought mine sailing away,
free of the binds I was tying.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Canvas 481

Canvas 481

November 29, 2014

Let’s think of this

Let’s think of this as a friendship through letters,
some of them lost, others delightfully obscure, perhaps
even gratefully so, as when dreams prefer to be true,
but don’t quite know how, yet shine through,
blue as an angel’s eye, as it were,
yet visible only to me,
and, as always,
to you.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Canvas 480

Canvas 480

November 28, 2014

Ribbon-rain and street-light-stain

In ribbon-rain and street-light-stain, walkers stalk
in boots bright-showing, squish is splash, as which is wish
to ask, not quite knowing, where they’re going,
or if they’re ever, coming back.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Impatience and haste

Which, then, shall it be?
Impatience, and haste, or snowflakes?

Consider the waste.
For it’s white, and light, in any case.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Canvas 479

Canvas 479

November 26, 2014

May this, so dear

May this, so dear, be nearer still,
in letting go the prayer itself;
a tender fear, a wiser
tear, and gentle

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sense and non

Yesterday, while raking leaves, I thought,
The senses are open doors the mind walks through;
And then I thought, The mind itself is a sense;
Thus the pile grew; And the world I know,
I dwelt on, and in, Is a sense, too;
And that sense is kind,
To bide the like
Of you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Canvas 478

Canvas 478

November 24, 2014


Freedom is the art of letting go, now, of all that will be washed away in the end — our prejudices and cares, our politics, arrogance, religion, and despair, our national identities, our borders, our pride, our patriotism, our greed, our theft, our war, our grief, our guilt, our anger, our pain, our need to feel larger, better, smarter, richer, or more sophisticated than our fellow travelers through this world — yes, and even our talents and abilities, which are temporarily on loan, and which, in the absence of grace and of love, can only define us so far. Why cling? Why sink chained to one’s rest, when one can rise, light as thistledown in the wind?

River run

How, as I gather them,
the veins in leaves take blood
through these old hands.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Your fruit, a word

Your fruit, a word, on the tongue;

Your peel, beautiful, on the ground;

Your meaning, silence, all around;

Your life, seed, gently blown.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Imagine yourself a snowflake,
falling through space;

Imagine the air warming,
as you slowly near the ground;

Imagine your last embrace,
a joyous ache, without a sound.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

As if clinging means to stay

It will pass, you know it will,
and is now, yet you cling,
you know you do,
as if clinging

to stay

these fig leaves,

yellow one day, now brittle, brown,
and on the ground

the lovely sound,
they made

your frame the very bell
of life to toll, then melt away

how lovely it seems,
you as one who dreams
and sings



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And so the story goes

The truth is, the fiction you live,
while you long to believe the fiction you tell,
is as real as the fiction you dream,
and love, so well,

for good,

and so,

will you, all, until, the story, goes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pen aside, garden white

Pen aside, garden white, circumscribed by footprints wide;
once set down, soon from sight; by rising sun, the shadow might,
in love confide; body new, in spirit, bright;
doth word flow, and here,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Canvas 474

Canvas 474

November 15, 2014


Intellect, such a dry, dry bone,
as if flesh were meant by sense alone,
to hang the grace of love upon,
when intelligence is gone,
and respect is flown.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Canvas 473

Canvas 473

November 14, 2014

Love the spirits

Love the spirits singing thus,
that winging bring the light to us,
bright leaves, fleeing west,
then east, as flight

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Canvas 472

Canvas 472

November 13, 2014

Winter rhyme

And from the oven, flying, with wings
no longer bent, into the ice, where dreams
were sighing, and flight, the sun
you spent.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Canvas 470

Canvas 470

November 11, 2014

By steep ascent such depth

Keep this in view, that by steep ascent such depth will show,
what heaven meant to you below, who kept the love
you ought to sow, before the death
that sent you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Works of Lord Byron, Lyceum Edition, 1900.

Yes, I still like old books.

The Works of Lord Byron, Lyceum Edition, 1900.
Limited to 750 Numbered and Registered Sets for America. Copy 214.
London and Boston : Francis A. Niccolls & Co.

click to enlarge

Come winter what may

That I a man in black well versed in gray,
should come upon a day so light that blue would say,
all truth is white; therein, your footprints lay.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Warm, the flesh, sweet, the veil

Warm, the flesh, sweet, the veil — tremble, to touch,
breathless, pale — what falls away, is not betrayal,
or seems like death, to fail — such joy, confess,
that flesh is ship, and spirit, sail.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Canvas 468

Canvas 468

November 7, 2014

A matter of mist

Those times you are suddenly outside yourself,
a matter of mist, spirit in the flesh, as if dance were lip
and lip were wish, you know best, that granted this,
no better chance, to bless,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Canvas 467

Canvas 467

November 6, 2014


The earth, a ball, rolling away;
a child, behind the motion, spills the ocean,
of words, that one, might stop, and think,
and almost, almost, wish,
to say.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Canvas 466

Canvas 466

November 5, 2014

In passing

Clouds so low, so dark, joyously brooding;

rain-black, worm-rich, breathing earth;

mushrooms now, in wise-white shrouds;

proudly naked birch, leaf between each toe;

your life, your work, what they are worth;

the sudden news, that you must go.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Canvas 460

Canvas 460

November 1, 2014

Neat and deep

How the earth, a living thing, herself the offspring
of an imagining so vast, grants her mortality in the wonder
of a falling leaf; and how we, in graveyards neat
and deep, sing her joy, and sing
her grief.

Friday, October 31, 2014

At sea

Cling to the wreckage, or cut myself free?
Why ask, when the storm is me?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A coffin bright

What strikes you of the night, is how fit it seems
for wingless flight: at last, a coffin bright,
and with the depth of the spirit
meant for it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Canvas 459

Canvas 459

October 29, 2014

Rainbows and windmills

Sometimes we leave with rainbows in our pockets,
and sometimes we travel without them,
knowing there are always rainbows about;

and yet a crumpled rainbow is its own gum wrapper,
as the saying goes, prized for its juicy-rejoicing-mad scent,
and one cannot always stop to replenish the supply;

price-per-pound, mothers in line at the check-stand,
kids in tow, everyone going somewhere,
everyone missing home, by whichever grand route;

did I say rainbows, when I meant windmills;
kids, when I meant goats; pockets, instead of boats;
that we pass beneath willows, their locks in the stream;

deep as anything; deep as your grandmother’s mixing bowl;
west by way of a smoking train, staking your claim,
sinking your well; it’s something like that, along with its smell;

fun, too; I thought I had mentioned that; or am I thinking
of grandpa’s hat, and the way it sat, and that he would,
somehow, die and be right back;

oh, grandpa, rainbows and wagon wheels,
have I really lived that long, that white walls and trailer tongues
should be all rusted, busted, and cracked;

apparently so; so apparent is that, that I forget now
whether rain-mills are windrows, or the train’s on the track;
how about that; one for you, one for me; sweet, in my lap.