Poetry Here (Mostly)

In the Bag

A Billy Collins poem about chairs
brought to mind two varnished
wooden outcasts set by the curb, 
each holding a four-letter word.

Billy’s chairs were empty, placed
where no one had occasion to sit.
I imagine the ones I found had
long been put to good use.

Probably, this homeless, careworn,
high-back duo had once been
steadfast mainstays at family
gatherings around the holidays.

Sturdy and “Free” but a heavy 
effort for me to carry, I’d need 
two trips home— up, down, up,
then down the steep hill again. 

Even now, when both grandchildren
are grown enough for the big table,
we don’t need more chairs. Dissuaded,
I decided to keep on walking.

I strolled to and through Marshalls,
adding extra steps to my daily goal,
though part of me was still stuck on
the uphill, abandoned bargains.

But, it wasn’t long before furniture
faded from my mind, for I’d found
another purse for my collection.
Later, luckily, the chairs were gone.

Worn Out

Socks drop into hamper’s hold,
where numerous sins unfold 
our careless stains, and sweat.

Venal and mortal transgressions
spin out in tortured confessions,
fabrics suffer for our faults.

Clothes repeatedly take the heat,
until, like our ragged lives,
they tatter, fade and unravel.

April Morning 2022

Blank as an empty wall

hard to picture much at all;

digging into mind’s coffer,

just this or that to offer.

Sunnier than yesterday,

that sky clouded over gray.

First, I’ll solve today’s Wordle,

postpones my bigger hurdle.

In blue chair I sit upright

looking out for lines to write.

Despite glass not so clean,

leafing tree appears serene.

Tranquil surge of springing life

counterbalances world strife;

purple petals on porch floor,

blooms unfold to flower more.

Deceptive Scenarios

Scrapbook impressions,
serious expressions,
a world of rationed grins,
subjects who appear quite grim.

Flat and gray photos lay,
formal poses holding sway,
likely no one mentioned cheese,
just stare at the camera, please.

Now, within our cellphone nooks,
only keeping cheery looks,
easy to delete each trace
of a disconcerted face.

Will future generations think
that they’ve found the missing link
to a blissful, toothsome folk,
all unmindful and unwoke?

Other Views

Even though lacking for attention,

my enthusiastic garden grows

from seeds of optimism.

There, spider rhythm and design create

tapestries of patterned beauty,

like sonnets composed from gossamer.

How much happier might I feel, if

instead of staring at electronic screens

I observed the news in my backyard.

Christmastime in New York

Lumberjacks trolling Oneonta 
chose a mighty Norwegian spruce,
serrated, metal teeth sheared
trunk from its aged earthy roots.

Despite the horrendous buzz
and thrum of tottering vibration, 
a timid, tiny owl stayed hidden
inside needled ramification.

Scared, secluded bird, a saw-whet,
swaying like a silver feathered bell
through Timber thundered crash
and transport in conifer that fell.

She and tree traveled together 
to Rockefeller Center; one got
decorated, other, discovered;
both were soon photographed a lot. 

Media posted “Rocky” staring,
pupils ringed by narrow iris gold. 
Cute little owl in turtle-neck wrap,
inspired ornament now being sold.  

Dehydrated, hungry and afraid, 
arrived unfit and unable to try.
In rehab, owl recuperated,
set loose, she decided to fly.

At dusk, caregivers let bird go, 
saw her take off from Saugerties,
200 miles from owl’s old home,
and Manhattan’s famous tree.

Will the owl head to Oneonta, 
I wonder if mate or mother care;
is it possible they miss and seek
her in a tree no longer there?

Taking Its Course

Every day more sick, more dead
corroborate corona dread.

Proactively we separate,
then passive and alone we wait.

Staying home protects all people,
not just old or somewhat feeble.

As the sun rises right on cue,
through window view a spread of blue.

Nary a cloud floats in the sky,
hope silver lining soon stops by.

Such is life as quintessential
member of the non-essential.

Social Distancing


Another photo from my window. Even the clouds seem to be socially distant. Of course, gazing out is not all I accomplished today. Had a sudden urge to rearrange my linen closet. How many towels and sheets do a couple actually need? Some go back 30 years. A few raggedy towels set aside for wet dogs, but most of the rest are now back on shelves neatly folded and piled one upon the other. I still haven’t got the hang of folding elasticized bottom sheets, even after video lessons.

Last night, I cooked up that pack of pork chops left behind by the hoarders. A bit thicker than I usually fry, but not bad. Sprinkled with some Mrs. Dash original seasoning and dabbed with soy sauce they baked up well on my cast iron pizza pan. Leftovers tonight.

By the way, I have always loved bleach and nowadays even more. Two tablespoons in a quart of water, a disposable glove and a rag rubs out you know what on door knobs, and other items that might possibly be contaminated.

Staying Home


Partly cloudy with the threat of a shower. Took a photo from my window, and probably that’s a far as I’ll go out today. Every news outlet and health organization warn the elderly to socially distance, especially when there are underlying conditions. Haven’t noticed any myself, but if I do, I hope that, like sleeping dogs, they continue to lie and not bother me.

Yesterday, I didn’t feel like 72 (or maybe, paraphrasing Gloria Steinem’s words when she turned 50, this is what 72 feels like) when I courageously ventured out into the viral world, while pulling my trusty shopping cart. At Ralph’s grocery, it was interesting to see which items were not being hoarded.I found no fresh or frozen chicken, but plenty of beef liver, and in the pasta aisle, there were mostly empty shelves except for the healthful types of wholewheat spaghetti. Yes, they had no bananas, but plenty of cabbage. And, it’s lucky we like lima beans because there weren’t many other choices among the frozen vegetables. I also grabbed some edame (soy pods), spinach, and corn cobs.

I felt little personal concern regarding the lack of toilet paper, as the day before (Friday) I’d found three rolls at CVS, and another 3 at Rite Aid, so added to the four at home, we can “go” for quite a while.

I can’t purchase more than my cart can hold, but loaded down with canned goods (beans and soups) and other stay-at-home-if-I-have-to supplies, it’s likely I dragged home 30 pounds. A good workout, especially when climbing a steep hill. I don’t drive so I am used to such challenges, and it was really no big deal, not even for someone classified as “elderly.”


Green, red-headed parrots
wildly party downtown.
Their sociable squawk-talk
an unrestrained clamor.
But they do remain mum,
about where they came from.


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