Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Love

Page God for me - once let His sparrows fall unheeded,
Once unattended go, their crushed and dust-grey wings;

Page Him, down the corridors of misery - He is needed
To answer here for urgent and more human things.

Then here, accuse Him of faulty manufacturing. This heart
He guaranteed to last for life - kept sixteen years; today
Used for the first time, and sparingly, it fell apart!

Page God to wipe a daughter's first real tears away.


Crossing Bridges (To a five-year-old daughter)

Now, you are five and I am-well,
To you-as old as God and Time.
With deep humility and prayer
To keep your faith in me sublime,
I answer all your questionings
Of birds and bees and clouds and trees,
Your hows and whens and whys and wheres
And all about the brown Chinese.
Your wide, dark eyes with wonder glow
And rapture as we talk about
The stars and God and baby bugs
But never with a spark of doubt.
My prayers are ten years in advance
against that hour when you arise
And close a door and shut me out
And find that you, not I, are wise.


A Prayer For A Bride's House

"She is so young, dear Lord, so very young,
She is so wide-eyed and naively sweet,
She does not dream of great rooms, draped and hung
With master paintings, rugs where some queen's feet
Have lightly trod. She dreams of this instead;
A small new house with freshly painted floors,
With hand-stitched curtains, and above her head
Bright dishes gleaming through wee cupboard doors.
She'll learn, some day, the value of old things,
When eagerness is still, and she is wise
Knowing the disillusionment time brings
But now, there's so much springtime in her eyes,
And this is her first house-Whate'er you do,
Let everything about it, Lord, be-new!


I Have No Sons

I have no sons
With strong young limbs
To stand straight and tall
And face the guns
At warlords' whims
And rot upon the spot they fall.
I have no sons to lay
At the feet of the lords of war,
Yet I might have had
If on a day
These twenty years ago or more,
They'd spared a lad
They crushed beneath the torch he bore.


Ben Franklin invents "Pay It Forward"

I send you herewith a bill for ten louis d'ors. I do not pretend to give such a sum; I only lend it to you. When you shall return to your country with a good character, you cannot fail of getting into some business, that will in time enable you to pay all your debts. In that case, when you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending this sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with such another opportunity. I hope it may thus go through many hands, before it meets with a knave that will stop its progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money. I am not rich enough to afford much in good works, and so am obliged to be cunning and make the most of a little.


My Love

A wild thing beats within my pulsing breast;
It pounds and throbs and makes my spirit shriek
For want of breath. And yet this deep unrest
Is calm when you are here, and I am meek.
You see I should pretend your sweet caress
Is very commonplace. For love laid bare
The sages say, will soon grow less and less,
So I must try to hide how much I care.
I think to-night I'll pray, on bended knee
For power to curb such deep emotion
Yet when you come, I know your eyes will see
In all I do complete devotion.
No weak resolve can hide, this love I know
And Oh! I thank my God
I love you BO.


A Change Of Clothing

A timid wee thing brushed his shoulder
And kept her place at his side;
She was slender and frail and not older
Than her school-girl dress implied.

He was forty and fat and married;
She guided him into the store.
Proud and possessive, he tarried
While she changed the dull clothing she wore

For garments that pointed the fashion.
He was forty and fat-and he paid!
But his lips were untouched by passion
While she suffered his kiss, unafraid.

She accepted the clothing he bought her,
But fault is hard to find;
For she was the man's own daughter;
And the evil all in your mind.



Some folks tell the thing that's told them;
They repeat it like a chant.
I can keep a secret but the Folks I tell


To A Dead Rival

Close in my arms,
His lips upon my lips,
Crying my name,
He forgets you.

Where is your power then,
a pallid wraith whom once he loved so well?
His smiles are mine, his frowns,
His jealousies, and secret, tender words.

Where are the vows he made to you?
Yet when the world grows dark,
And when his faith in everything is faint,
I cannot comfort him.

He goes apart, and prays,
And sometimes says your name.
And in a while,
He finds his lost belief again.

And does not hear me when I speak.
Until the moment passes.
Then strength to live renewed,
And gay once more, he comes to me,
And laughs, and holds me close;
But will not, that day, say he loves with all his heart.

This too short span of life
That's left us, is for me:
I am his earthly goddess, I, his love.
Yet in that terrifying Judgment Day,
You'll meet him at the Gate
He'll sob your name, and kneel to you.
And if you ask him, "What of her?" He'll answer, "Just a friend
Who made the journey brighter, dear, no more."

And you will understand, and smile,
And thank me for my' kindness,
And take him home with you. Ah, what a power is yours, that dead,
A wan, pale ghost of loveliness that was,
You rule him even now with charms more potent
Than I, whose flesh is warm and yielding, ever will possess!
You are the winner. He takes his prayers to you,
So do I come, a supplicant:

Pity me! Don't haunt him so
These few short years!



Today, she brushed her little golden curls
And pinned them high with a fancy jeweled pin;
She wasn't hungry at the dinner hour,
But blushed and said she'd had an ice cream cone;
And when I met her eyes, above a note,
She looked out through the window and just said,
"Oh, it's a letter from a boy named Joe."
She strolled about and spoke with strange, new air
"Let's get new curtains for the living room!"
A sad and poignant beauty haunts her eyes,
And smiles and tears are often close akin;
O God, don't let her leave my side just yet
She is so young-but in her face there lies
The fleeting fragrance of the spring's first flowers.



The soft red velvet of a Valentine
Made me think of her lips;
So soft, so sweet for someone
I thrill just to kiss her fingertips.
The rose she gave me that night,
I keep tho' it's all faded and brown;
I try to remember sweet things to say,
Yet I know I act like a clown.

Maybe if I were real sick
She would feel real sorry and nurse me too;
If I had been a knight in days of old;
Gee, the things I would do.
I would rescue her from dragons,
And she would fall in my arms and faint;
I know a Iota beautiful things to say,
But when she looks at me, I just can't.

I wish she could read my mind
And know what I think about her hair;
And her eyes so blue and sweet
Gee, I wish she could care.
I think I'll join the navy.
Maybe she would like me all in white;
I wish there would be a fire an' I'd rescue her.
And she would hold to me so tight.

Mom is cleaning house today,
And she has cleaned out my room;
On the floor was a red velvet Valentine,
And a faded rose flew in front of her broom.
A lock of golden hair was in the trash
I'll hide my broken heart if I can;
I just couldn't pick them up
Mom wouldn't understand.



We waited for the sunset, but there was no sun,
We sang again the old songs, and the new, save one.
We clasped our hands together in our separate laps
And stared in moody silence at the mad white caps.

We lighted cigarettes and talked of trivial things,
You squinted up your eyes and blew your perfect rings,
I reached for one and put my left, third finger through
We laughed about the silly things we used to do.

The fog unrolled her blanket, billowy and white,
And folded it about us, shutting out the night.
You started up the motor, said we'd better go,
And we could barely see beyond the headlights' glow.

You gave your whole attention to the steering wheel,
 I knew again how safe you always made me feel
 For you were wise, and never one to lose your head,
Or follow dictates of a foolish heart instead.


Journey's End

She looked at me with eyes of faded blue
She seemed, that day, so very small and frail,
Rocking there gently while the shadows grew,
Like some quaint figure from an old, old tale.
Her thin voice quavered faintly as she said
"Of course the children want me. I don't know
I may visit my Cousin Sue instead
I'm not just sure this summer where I'll go."
She watched me anxiously. I understood
The dim, unspoken longing in her heart
For reassurance. Oh, the children would
Be kind-but she no longer had a part
In other lives. They didn't need her now,
They had their patterns, went their separate ways;
And there was only left for her, somehow,
Warmth from the embers of her yesterdays.


Bits Of Life I've Missed

While walking down an avenue, I came upon a shop;
'Twas small, exclusive, quiet, dim, what could I do but stop?
I saw an ivory elephant up high upon a shelf,
"I'd like to have that elephant," I murmured to myself.

I priced the ivory elephant and sadly sighed to see
That little ivory elephants were never meant for me.
Sometimes I pause before the shop and there upon the shelf
The lonely little elephant still stands all by himself.

For you, O unattainable, my love is much the same;
I know I dare not love you, but I thrill to hear your name.
I dream of your lips pressed to mine, although we've never kissed.
You. . . and my ivory elephant. . . are bits of life. . . I've missed.


Song of Youth

Heigh-ho and over the clouds,
I'm living the life of the free;
Nor power, nor gold, nor the plaudits of crowds
Have any appeal for me.

I've flown with the wind to the summer's edge,
And returned on an icy blast,
I've stood above earth on its highest ledge,
And ridden a ship's top-mast.

I've filled my eyes with the rainbow's glow,
I live the life of the free;
With a wink of my eyes I come and go,
'Tis the wanderer's life for me.


If this is the end, then this is the end,

If this is the end, then this is the end,
I never was one to complain,
The sun has shone for a long, long time
If it wants to rain, let it rain.
If you want to go your way, then go,
I know a new path, too.
Roads always cross somewhere sometime,
Well, I'll be seeing you.


The Snail

Now who would dream a lowly snail
Of slovenly grotesquerie
And instincts basely criminal
Could have a family tree?
It seems this oafish-looking gnome
Of trailer-dwelling jelly,
This gourmand who thinks I grow blooms
To brighten up his belly,
Has dyed the robes of emperors,
Fed noblemen and slave;
As currency he purchased girls
Or served intrigue and knave.
A laggard with a single foot
In leisure-loving motion,
He covers climates cold and hot
And swims the mauling ocean.
So when his predatory stroll
Imperils vine and stalk,
Think twice before you crush his shell
Upon your garden walk.


City Wind

This wind which stumbles down the street with me,
The soot and grime so gooey upon its face,
Knows well the intricate and lovely lace
Of spider weaving and each day may see
Still beauty carved in stone or tapestry
Of dust and sun in some wall-centered space.
When evening comes it may seek out a place
Of blazing light or darkened mystery.
But does this dull, sophisticated thing
Remember still the free, mad way to go
Across a mountain top or how to swing
From larch to spruce and bend a tall pine low?
Does it remember-and when street lamps flower
Climb longingly to some tall city tower?


Blue Eyes

I never knew
That the eyes could be
So blue,
Till I met you.

But now, to my surprise,
I find your eyes
Are like the sea,
Or skies.

Now, hazel eyes, or gray
Seem quite passe.
I frown
At brown.

I lack
Appreciation, too, of black.
For all my days
I'd like to gaze.

I know
It's most unwise
Your blue
Blue, Blue,


Late From The Field

The cows came early from the pasture
And switched the flies and milled around
The water tank. A storm was coming;
Far off she heard the rumbling sound
Of thunder, and dark clouds were frowning
At her, above a darker wall.
The pigeons huddled on the barn roof;
She heard the rainbird's mournful call.
She could not bear the troubled stillness
Of air and trees; beside the gate
She stood, and hoped to see him coming
Along the lane, for he was late.
She wondered if the team had started
To run again. Had he been hurt?
She thought of things that might have happened;
A gust of wind tugged at her skirt.
Then, through a cloud of dust she saw them
The team and man far up the lane!
She caned into the wind, with splashes
Upon her cheeks-great drops of rain!
And when the horses were unharnessed
And he came to the house once more,
He thought she was afraid of thunder. . .
She clung so to him at the door.


Village Doorsteps

One by one,
Like silent stars
In the silent twilight,
The villagers appear
On their doorsteps.

A genteel old lady,
Breathing of cambric tea and lavender,
Smooths her starched apron
With her firm little hand,
And shakes out her skein
Of soft, white wool.

Two nice little girls
Sewing doll dresses
With neat, tidy stitches,
Primly purse their lips
In the precise manner
Of well-reared village maidens.

A harassed housewife,
Distracted from her dishwashing
As the sunset glanced across her copper kettles,
Steps out to marvel at its glowing beauty,
And absent-mindedly wipes her hands
On a blue-bordered dish towel.

The new school teacher
Cups her chin in her palms,
Allowing a slim volume
To slip unheeded into a bed of larkspur,
And its poem-printed pages become drenched with dew,
As the gray dreams creep into her eyes.

The dusk steals softly
Down the village streets.
Merging the villagers
In its deepening umber,
The thick hush unpierced
Save by the door-latches
Clicking metallically
One by one.


Just Horse

He was a farm horse, broad and strong and slow.
He loved the sour grape leaves on the hill,
And dragging the cultivator he would go
With many stops between the fresh green vines,
Nibbling right and left up the long slope.
"Come! Giddap there!" we'd say without much hope
Or any action but his swishing tail.
He had no thought of grapes, nor of their wines;
He didn't mind the cultivator's pull;
Nor did he mind the reins slapped on his rump.
The work was hardly noticed in the full
Tide of his easy strength.
And when the cultivator caught and stopped
Against the deep root of an ancient stump,
Old Charlie stopped and ate the cool grape leaves,
Knowing that such things were to be expected:
The long drag up the hill; the biting flies;
The stumps of earth, and deep warm summer skies.
He was a farm horse, and he knew these things
Were part of life-like hooves and feathered wings.


Knight in Disguise

His armor does not mark him brave,
No silver crested sword is swung
To match his stride, no ringing spurs,
No prancing steed, his quest incurs,
For Beauty's sake he will be hung
With careful calm above a grave
To risk his life, his dreams, his gains,
That man shall find the sun more bright,
And knows the moon is like a cup
Of gold these forty stories up,
That there may be unfettered light
When he has washed the window panes.


Momentary Mountain

The cloud is kind to give our town a mountain.
A house or two had seized a little knoll;
The rest sprawled on the flats-but now the whole
Village is transformed and is transported
Toward ranges bluely blending in the sky.
Somehow the air is cooler for the thought.
We are an Alpine village, we are brought
To altitudes undreamed, before we die.
Beyond, the ranges stretch. A young girl's call
Rings with mountain silver; and he breathes
Mountain air, who dares to breathe at all.


Little Black Man With A Rose In His Hat

What did he have in his wagon?
Five sticks of wood, I suppose;
A melon or two, and a basket of fish,
And a few figs piled on an old cracked dish,
And whatever his berry patch grows.

What did he say to his oxen,
Two small brown oxen with brass-balled horns?
What could he say, when they know so well
The red-earth road and the corner stall,
And the market smelling of peppercorns?

Why was he wearing a rose
Stuck like a flag in his hat?
The hot sun follows, mile on mile,
And the rose will be wilted after awhile,
But he cares nothing for that.

He neither lacks nor demands,
Who expects no more of earth
Than fruit in season and fish in the stream,
And at the end, without doubt or dream,
The casual fact of death:

And so to himself is a god,
Riding an easier throne
Than Jove or Caesar or Humpty-Dumpty,
And the market over, the wagon empty,
Goes back like a lord, alone.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aside to Mothers

That half-grown, bashful son of yours
How could you know
That to the little girl next door
He's Romeo?
Or that her rosy, childish face
Seems to your boy
Like one which launched a thousand ships
To ravage Troy?


For Emily Dickinson

To bear a mental pain
Requires a fortitude
Exact as chiseled stone,
Contained as carven wood.

You knew the sharp impact
Of mallet swung on rock.
You knew the curving groove
Of guided tool through oak.

What great travail was yours
To make your lines run straight
Beneath the freight they bore
I dare not contemplate.


Rupert Brooke

Somewhere upon the far Aegean sea,
In nineteen fifteen, April twenty-three,
A dirge was blown whose sorrow seemed to be
A cry that pierced the bottom of the deep.

It was a spirit cry from out the blue. . .
Too full for tears. . . too deep for anguish, too,
For that great soul to keep his rendezvous
Though his departure made a world to weep.

So now the Isle of Scyros knows a grave
Where green. . . and soft blue. . . waters ever lave
"A richer dust whom England made aware,"
And in that dust there is a deathless thing
That will stay ageless. . . while our lips can sing. . .
And England lives. . . and hearts can love and care.


At The Bar

Dull and muted he stands and peers with bleary vision
At his boozened comrade.
His tongue cannot keep pace with the leaping image of his thoughts.
He mumbles regretfully for a word
Meanwhile the phrase has slipped and fallen apart
in the reeling corridors of his mind.



Her mind is a library where Dickens, Scott,
And the Harvard Classics lie dusty, forgot;
But where certain small books may always be had
Strange-tilted volumes that make her heart glad:
Must fix Jim's shirt
Buy Helen's skirt
Shoes for Dad. . .

Her heart is a music room where Shubert's, Lack's,
And Beethoven's works lie in cobwebby stacks;
But where songs well-dusted are always near;
Funny little songs whose names are so queer:
Little Helen's "whys"
Jim's twinkly eyes
Dad, my dear. . .

Her fingers are a game room where now unused
Lie tennis balls, whist cards, the old organ, bruised;
But where never a thought is given to those
Because she's a wonder at new games she knows:
Favorite desserts
Ironing shirts
Mending clothes

Her eyes are an observatory where Mercury,
Mars, Venus, Neptune are too distant to see;
But where certain bright stars make all others dim
Her oddly named planets that make her eyes brim:
Jim. ..


Ode To A Breakfast Egg (Sunny Side Up)

Sweet egg, reposing upon the nut-brown toast
(Whose charred black robe was shed in my sink of white),
You are my gustatory Song of Songs,
You are my visual 8:00 a.m. delight!
Relaxed, serene on your carbohydrate couch,
Your round breast rises above your white frilled skirt
And tempts me . . . I stab its smooth and tender skin
And watch your molten gold, your heart's blood, squirt. . .
At last you're mine! No one will steal you now!!
(Yet consternation clouds a bit my bliss. . .
How can I ever gather you to myself
When you are trickling over the plate like this?
Oh lovely, murdered egg, which, but for me
Might yet have been a chick, I have a yen
To know how aught as exquisite as thee,
Could come from Min, our dour speckled hen!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wife Of Adam

She never had a mother
Who trained her hair to curl.
She never knew the teen-age
When life is one grand whirl.
No; she was born to marriage.
Eve never was a girl.
She had no gay, young memories
To conjure up and make
Her hours of ennui vanish.
(Whole thing was a mistake.)
Now is it any wonder
She listened to that snake?


My Daughter

She is proud as wild things are,
Quick, and much more fearless;
Curb and bridle, let her be,
Days, leave her tearless.

I would keep her whimsical,
Life a jest to her;
Let her laugh; she has but seen
Her fifteenth summer.

Let her feel the world is hers
Peaks and wild wings waiting.
Sorrow, let no shadow fall,
Wisdom, cease your prating.



I could not ask a better- world
More innocent of follies
Than cool green lawns and friendly
And men with pipes and collies
And little girls who sit on steps
A-talking to their dollies.


Sand Sprinkler's Sonnet

How vast and gentle is the earth at night!
That apple peddler they have called the moon
Pins up his ragged coat and holds a light
For younger stars to dance a rigadoon.
The stream goes mumbling down his willow bed,
The cricket sings beneath his tree of wheat,
And every gawky fledgling has been fed
And every windling given velvet feet.
All eager children who have lips to spend,
Go buying in their secret market place,
And at the roof top's green and yellow bend
The spider dozes in her silver lace
And all at once, without quite knowing why,
A lantern bug begins to paint the sky.


Give Me The Perfumed Lilacs

Give me the perfumed lilacs, after rain;
Calm sunsets, merging clouds and hills and sea
Into one breath of bright-hued ecstasy;
The west wind blowing through the waving grain;
And wild strawberries, leaving their red stain
On lips as sweet and tempting. One tall tree
Reaching for starlight; and the graceful free
Fall of a snowflake. Frost upon the pane,
Making fantastic pictures, cold and white.
And give me-in the wind-blown autumn-time
New England hills and valleys, all alight
With scarlet bronze and amber; clouds that climb
Into the hazy blue of peaceful skies,
And love's acknowledgment within your eyes!


Good Neighbor

She will bake a custard for an ailing neighbor,
Apple-pies for husbands whose wives are out of town!
She has no style or beauty, but everybody sees her
As a ministering angel in a printed cotton gown!

She makes the lightest sponge cakes,
wins prizes with her pickles;
Her cookie-crock is always full,
she knows what children are.

For crisp molasses cookies,
and sugar-dusted doughnuts;
She keeps her saucepans shining
and her kitchen-door ajar!

Her husband died some 11 years ago,
but she is never lonely,
For neighbors drop in all day long
because they like the talk

Of this cheerful saint in gingham,
whose words of loving wisdom
Have made a pilgrim's pathway
out of her flagstone-walk!


Three Friends

To walk with Nora is to walk
Beside a, shallow pool where lie
The passive sand and stone revealed
Beneath an unreflected sky.

To walk with Susan is to lean
Above deep water, willow-hung,
To watch the shifting sun and shade
In varied velvet, richly flung.

Yet when I walk at Mary's side
I always bend and drink my fill
From out a little bubbling spring
That runs in laughter down a hill.


The Name's Not Hubbard

I think the cupboard and icebox are bare
Of anything I want to eat.
I'm in no mood to dress and go out for fare,
And outside there is snow and sleet.
In faint hope I open the cupboard
-and stowed away I see a can of consomme.
In joy I exclaim-Whoop!


Necessary Disposal

An inventory of the contents of this popular container shows
There is in it nothing unbearably distasteful, goodness knows;
Several bread crusts, coffee grounds, an empty can
Filled with cold bacon fat (poured hot while it ran),
Fruit and vegetable skins and cores, faded flowers,
Used matches, ashes and stumps of three good cigars,
The cup I broke, a small bit of clean hair off my comb,
And atop rests a leather belt-by my waistline outgrown.
Nevertheless, I've an uncontrollable aversion for the man
Who so very blithely empties my own garbage can.


Monday, August 25, 2014

THE ELEVEN AGES OF MAN Expressed in Menu Style

1. Milk.
2. Milk and bread.
3. Milk, eggs, bread and spinach.
4. Oat meal, bread and butter, green apples, all-day suckers.
5. Ice cream sodas and hot dogs.
6. Minute steak, fried potatoes, coffee and apple pie.
7. Bouillon, roast duck, scalloped potatoes, creamed broc¬coli, fruit salad, divinity fudge and demi-tasse.
8. Pate-de-fois-gras, Wiener Schnitzel, potato Parisienne, egg plant a La Opera, demi-tasse, Roquefort cheese.
9. Two soft boiled eggs, toast and milk.
10. Crackers and milk.
11. Milk.

Just Five

What an odd assortment of shrines you've knelt before in your small, brief span.
First it was water. Why, that first year I didn't dare let you in the bathroom or near a hydrant alone.
And when it rained! In spite of locks and chains you got out and were as hard to catch as a small, wet eel.
Then at two you discovered dogs. So much as let you out the door and all the dogs in all the land collected at your heels.
At three you became an Indian fighter. Me, the chairs, the window shades, the divan still bear scars of that assault.
At four you joined the G-men. Never satisfied with less than best Mr. Hoover became your all-consuming hero.
What a devout and earnest disciple you can be-but, then, when some new cause claims your heart, what a complete and cruel deserter.
So now it's cowboys, Autry and Rogers: Boot heels clack through the house, a broom-stick Champ upsets the chairs, the lamps.
Doors slam, pistol shots disturb the neighbors, rip through the startled air, as you chase outlaws galore.
Then when tired, as now, you turn the dial to a hillbilly band and in high treble join "She's Comin' Round the Mountain"
Beating time on a broken-string guitar as big as you, tapping one high heel as you've seen the real ones do.
Such a funny, earnest picture sitting there; big hat pushed back, red hair in disarray, a dozen freckles across your nose;
Battle-scarred dungarees, run-over heels, turned-up toes, kerchief of yellow, shirt of blue-a miniature Spencer Tracy gone buckaroo.



He knows that every woman there
Will turn impulsively to stare
As he strolls in, though men with whom
He stands so slight fill all the room.
His lively step, his merry eyes
Mark him as one whose day defies
All heavy care, each bright hour flung
Away in joie de vivre. Among
The hand-wrought glass he walks with ease,
 Prefers to toy with it than to please
The anxious ones who would divert
His mind to sounder topics. Alert
To smiles, he shows his lack of learning
By looking on the crowd, then turning

Toward the one whose jewels glitter-dance,
While she displays them for his glance
And words, whose depth she hopes to find.
Why is it women of clear mind
Will shed all pride in such pursuit,
And great men bend for that small fruit
His pleasure and approval hold?
The reason is, he's three years old.


Pieces of String

The kitten and I and a piece of string
Are proving that sport is a simple thing,
A matter of guessing which way to run,
A chance that is lost or a chance that is won:
A jerk, and the string is mine, and then
A pounce, and the kitten has it again;
Were it not for wit, I could not be
The match of a cat's muscularity.
If I grow weary of play and drop
My end, the kitten will quickly stop
His antics; for string is merely string,
Though it seemed so like a living thing.
The kitten may curl himself in sleep,
While I sit still with the thoughts I keep
Of many strings that are quiet now,
And many more I must seize somehow.


Physical Law

Little boys and cookie jars
Gravitate together.
Separate them by a shelf
It's a question whether
It will be a stool or chair
For the best ascent,
Or the jar hooked off the edge
"By an accident."
Little boys and cookie jars
Magnetize each other.
You won't find it in a book;
But just ask any mother!



My Daddy sed 'at Santa Claus
Won't bring no toys this year because
He's down in a big hold an' dead.
He sed 'at men jist burned his sled
An' turned his reindeers loose because
There jist arnt no more Santa Claus.
An' then he sed, "What will you do?"

An' I was mighty awful blue,
I sed, "I feel like jist to die
An' go to bed an' cryan' cry,
But I jist won't, "
 " You dress in red
An' play like you was him instead."


Circus Day

"He promised me
Whatever happened,
We would go, we three."
She said.

And facing blue reproachful eyes,
I prayed-
"Dear God, help me to keep
The promise that he made."

Why had it come today?
Bright gilded wagons, elephants and clowns,
A circus band that loudly played,
Passing a new clay mound, rose-strewn.

"Dear God, you'll make him understand
Just that I kept his promise, and saved
Her happiness; and he will know how great her love
That planted blue and yellow toy balloons upon his grave."



Girls of eighteen he loves, and even twenty,
Pleasing and plump and eloquently young;
In his own day he knew and courted plenty
Whose praises tripped divinely from his tongue.

Now that his daughter's chums come in to call
And stay to taste his wife's Alsatian cooking,
He kisses each one fondly in the hall
When he is sure his good wife isn't looking.

The boys who hang around he tolerates
And marvels that a girl must have in tow
Such callow lads who prattle of their dates;
He patronized all his daughter's beaux
And smiles to hear Virginia call them "men"
What he could show them, were he young again!



She wouldn't climb a tree
Like any other girl
But sat and posed and
Twisted a little golden curl.
The boys all brought her apples
From the highest limb
And made a cushion of leaves for her
When they went in to swim.

They shinnied up poles and risked their necks,
Did handsprings for her smile,
But that wistful look was still in her eyes
However they sought to beguile.
Her slightest wish was their command
Such gallantry as this
For she was a little crippled girl
Whom one of the boys called "Sis."


Small Ghosts of Hallowe'en

They look, so little walking down the street,
How can they hope to frighten anyone?
Yet crib-sheets bravely flap about their feet
And Jack o'lanterns light the road, to fun.
Old Mammy walks discreetly in the rear,
Tonight they would not let her hold their hands.
Please, someone, make a fine display of fear!
One who, remembering childhood, understands.


Laughing Ones

I am so glad, I am so glad,
That all my bones are laughing.
My cheeks are red; my eyes are bright;
I jump and run with all my might;
I play all day and sleep all night,
And all my bones are laughing.

Like sword from sheath I spring from bed
And all my bones are laughing,
For all around me thrushes sing;
And all around are flowers of spring;
The world's so full of everything,
That all my bones are laughing.

I am so well, I am so well,
That all my bones are laughing.
My collie chases balls for me;
My kitten climbs the apple tree
And 'there's a turtle- don't you see?
That's why my bones, are laughing.

If I should some time' grow quite old
Would all my bones be laughing?
My daddy's old- he's twenty-five.
He can do everything-and drive
When I'm that old- if I'm alive,
Will all my bones be laughing?


Sport Togs

I like to see the younger girls
In slacks or shorts;
Such clothing was designed, I know,
For active sports.
But housing scrawny middle-age
Or buxom dames make them the rage,
The scene is out of sorts.
There are out-sizes who prefer
The age old skirt,
Refuse to have their bosoms bulge
An outing shirt,
Remaining incog as they can,
¬Not merely "mutton dressed as lamb,"
The silhouette doesn't hurt.
But when a bouncing forty-two
Appears in gear,
Modeled from size fourteen,
And a younger year,
Displaying heft both fore and aft,-
A Clydesdale hitched to racing shaft,
I could really shed a tear.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Verses on the Domestic Angle

At first:
When you proudly wear his name,
Be it long and fine, or simple,
He can make your work a game
Planting kisses in your dimple. . . .

Later :
Though he tells his love for you,
Grants you all your little wishes,
You'll know best that love is true
When he helps you do the dishes!



Have you seen anywhere a tall little lad
And a wee, winsome lass of four?
It was only today, barefooted and brown,
That they played by my kitchen door.
It was only today (or maybe a year:
It could not be twenty, I know),
They were shouting for me to help in their game
But I was too busy to go.
Too busy with sweeping and dusting to play,
And now they have silently wandered away.
Perchance you should hear of a slim little lad
And a small winsome lass of four,
I pray you to tell me; to find them again
I would journey the wide world o'er.
Somewhere, I am sure, they'll be playing a game,
And should they be calling for me
To come out and help, oh, tell them, I beg,
I'm coming as fast as can be.
For it's never a house would hold me today
Could I hear them call me to share in their play!


Blue Penciled

And so the end!
I've read a lot of better plots
Than this- so very thin in spots,
With action camouflaged by dots,
And badly penned.
Not ultra bright,
Though showing promise at the start.
But then some stupid lines in part
And bits about a broken heart,
All rather trite.

And so it's strange
That it has power to haunt me so;
That each re-reading thrills me so;
That in it's spell, emotions grow
To such a range.
r must delete
This interlude we two went through,
This tale that doesn't quite ring true,
And realize in chapter two,
We do not meet.


A Born Collector

The first seven years of his life he collected noise, scarletina, measles, abrasions, freckles, the fidgets, curiosity, vitality and dirt.

At the age of eight he collected beetles, spiders, locusts, toads, a hoot owl, a live eel and a remonstrative family.

At ten he collected climbable trees, falls, assorted lumber, the neighbors' ill will, a gang, black eyes, a bicycle, poison ivy, his father's pipe and a sudden nausea.

At twelve he collected a broken leg, a sweetheart and a suspicion that all was not well with the universe.
From thirteen to eighteen he collected other countries, obscure dreams and two prep schools with all appurtenances and adjuncts.

The next four years he collected a college, friendships, autographed champagne bottles, headaches, romantic moments, a heart broken in four places and a certainty that something was wrong with the universe.

From twenty-three to thirty he collected the world. At thirty-one he collected himself, not enough money, and a wife.

A few minutes ago he collected alphabet blocks, parts of mechanical toys, rubber balls, a bear, a duck, a monkey and a dollar watch and piled them in the corner for the night.


Silver Swans

O you are satisfied and glad to taste
My lips like wild strawberries, and to rest
Your head upon the frail tides of my breast
Where beats my heart. But O the winter waste
When I with hold the loveliest from you.
Desire has bound you in a warm embrace. . .
A bond that keeps you from the holy place
I open breathless to a chosen few.
You own but fair externals. . . my white skin;
The way my hair grows like a golden tent
In which to snare your kiss, but I lament
That bread and body are enough to win
Your love. O claim the other half and find
The silver swans that float upon my mind!


With No Words to Say It

He could have made no greater plea.
And, now alone, she understood
The others who had come and gone, their having asked
So much the less of good.
His clean, unscabbard will caught in her mind,
The chastened point unloosening the knot
Of some protective inability to give
For what she would have had-and blindly never got.
And yet her once too fluent words now found no way
To tell him she determined to explore
His deeper world she saw was worth the having
And worth the struggle for.



I do not think of you so very much.
And that is odd-I was so sure I'd miss
Your tall, clean strength, and gay eyes, laughter filled,
Your arms, close holding, and your eager kiss.
I do not want you as I thought I would.
The curtain dropped so softly on the play
That I forget unless I tell myself
That we are through-and you have gone away.
But now and then in some familiar place,
Or when someone says small words strangely dear
Because of you, I sense a sudden hurt,
And for a minute want you- want you near.


Let Us Be Thieves Tonight

Let us be thieves tonight, just tonight,
While we are young, while we are young;
So short the night is still the stars
Grow cold and one by one are flung
Into the cauldron of the dawn;
So short a while till we are gone!
Let us be thieves tonight, and steal
One moment from eternity,
One moment only from the wealth
Of all the hours yet to be;
One pearl snatched from the swirling stream,
One moment. . . . . ours to dream!
To live a dream. . . tonight to know
In one sweet draught all ecstasy,
All life, all love, all grandeur, joy;
To walk with you, within a land,
Of aching beauty, hand in hand.
Not dare? Not dare? When millions are
Who strive all through life to keep
One last, sweet tryst with lifelong dreams
Before they go to dreamless sleep?
When all our days must after seem
But fragments of a shattered dream?


Presentation Dress

You should have seen the dress I wore,
It was darling, ducky, divine!
The skirt was accordion pleated,
The belt was of twisted twine.
The blouse was shell pink and lacy,
While at the V-neck was a bow;
And after rehearsing for hours
I was all ready to go.
The occasion was most momentous,
I was presented in court!
But the judge didn't see my ensemble,
"Speeding. Ten dollars. Report."


Friend of the Bride

"Friend of the bride
Or friend of the groom?"
I, who had once been his wife.
Who remembered the glint
In his eyes when he smiled;
Firm set of his chin,
Wide sweep of his brow.
The touch of his hand over mine
And the funny old ties that he wore.
"Friend of the bride
Or friend of the
"Friend of the bride," I replied,
And followed the usher down the aisle.


Walk In The Night

In this mysterious, spangled dusk,
Why am I walking alone?
Oh, lady with the bird's wing on your hat!
Please, won't you wait?
Then, will you? Man with the tobacco crop in your mouth!
Or you, child on the throbbing motorcycle?
Oh, please, won't you stop for a little while?
Won't somebody, anybody, somebody stop?
I want to talk to you. Don't be afraid. . .
Please; don't be afraid of me!
You, please. . . why are you hurrying so?
You are running... into the dark embrace of forgetfulness?
The black cage of the movies will hide you from yourself for a moment.
You are running. . . into the warm embrace of busy-ness?
The gaudy dinner will fill your soul for a moment.
Oh, do wait! Here... now. . . on this dim corner. . .
An apple will feed your family.
A crisp juicy apple will nourish a body!
An apple that never gave birth to the worm in your hearts;
The worm that grows on this hurrying, one beyond the other. . .
Grows more quickly than any worm in any apple!
They say we can cure cancer,
If we are careful, if we catch it early.
. . Catch it early?
But it is so late now!
Perhaps there is a chance?
Wait, please. . .
maybe you and I can cure this cancer together.
Perhaps it is still Just early enough
and the moon is still high enough
and our eyes not entirely shot with blood,
our lips. . . with mud.
You and I. You and I, friend.
We can root out this cancer,
this cancer of hate. . . this cancer of no love.
Let us catch it and cure it together.
You for me. And I for you.
please, please, won't you stop?
Won't you walk with me, talk with me . . .
Oh! You are afraid of me!
But I would not hurt you.
I am running, hiding, crying aloud in the dark. . .
I am like yourself!
And we are here for such a little, little while. . .


After Eden

What is the penance, Eve?
Can it be this?
Adam's strong arms that hold
My share of bliss?
A garden where serpents
Coil in despair,
Roses and hollyhocks
Blooming so fair?
A cottage where Love lights
Twin flames that blend
In one white holiness
Faith will attend?
This is the penance, Eve,
Fear is the key,
Lost in the tall silk grass
Under the tree,
Watching and waiting, I
Polish the lock,
Knowing that one may come
Who need not knock.


His Majesty

Two-foot-two (and a shaving or more),
Wild curls a comb has fought through,
He gives commands in the royal roar
All Monarchs use-or ought to.
His court is a garden where young winds play,
His throne has a sand shovel in it,
And here in his kingdom he rules all day
Over cricket, and lilac, and linnet.
His castle's a bungalow built for three,
His army's a pup and a kitten,
On which, if there's one hint of laxity,
Will fall his imperial mitten.
All day he governs the roses and phlox
But after the garden's gone shady
And the army is curled in its kitchen box
He descends to his lord and lady!


Prayer For Susie

Because she was of woman's kind
She paid the price.
So very sweet and gentle
No vice but mice.
Because each Tom thought Sue an angel
Was to her no fault
The wrong was done
When someone had the Pound Man
Make her into one!


Husbands (A Little Girl's Essay)

Husbands is the people that your mama marries, and she always wishes that she hadn't picked out the one she did, but I don't know why, because husbands all look alike to me.

My mama says that husbands is like the things that you buy on the bargain table; they look fine and grand so that you feel like you'll die if you don't get the one that you have set your eyes on, and you fight with another woman for it and are ready to pull her hair and scratch her face to get it, but after you get it and take it home with you, it looks like thirty cents, and you spend your life wondering what made you fool enough to want it.

Husbands is very kind and polite to strange women, and they laugh themselves most to death when the pretty slim young ladies tell jokes, but when their wives are forty years old, and has gotten fat, husbands is grouchy, and when their wives tells a funny story all they say is "Huh." I guess husbands is the smartest people in the world and knows the most because they sit up all the evening and read the paper, and never waste any time talking to their wives.

I guess husbands is a kind of fish, because I heard some ladies say that Miss Susie Jones was fishing for Mr. Brown, but they didn't think that she'd ever hook him, and when I asked my papa what that meant, he said that it meant that men were suckers, and that if they weren't none of them would ever get married.

There used to be a great many husbands, and you could go out and catch one just as easy as you could go out and kill a buffalo for breakfast, but every year they get fewer and fewer, and they don't roam the plain any more, and soon there won't be any more buffaloes and husbands left except those in captivity.

Most ladies is only got one husband, but the ladies that have traveled and has been as far west as Reno, or over to Paris, sometimes has a collection of husbands.

There are two kinds of husbands. A good husband is a man what gives you plenty of money to go shopping with, and goes downtown to work every morning at eight o'clock and doesn't come home until six, and a husband that is a mean old thing is the one that makes his wife buy things on a bill, so he can see how she spent the money, and who goes snooping around the kitchen seeing how thick the cook pares the potato peelings, and who stays at home all day.

A husband is a useful animal to have around the house, for it pays the bills. I am going to have a husband when I am grown up.


The Parting

I've spent so many hours with you
And planned so many things to do;
While bending over you it seems,
You're part and parcel of my dreams.
I've stood by you down through the years
Sometimes with smiles, sometimes with tears;
And countless are the little prayers
I've breathed upon you unawares.
But you have changed!-And oh, how much!
You shiver at my slightest touch,
And walk away from me indeed
When pressing is my want or need.
Old Ironing Board, your day is done:
I'll have to buy another one!


Sonnet Found In A Deserted Mad House

Oh that my soul a marrow-bone might seize!
For the old egg of my desire is broken,
Spilled is the pearly white and spilled the yolk, and
As the mild melancholy contents grease
My path the shorn lamb baas like bumblebees.
Time's trashy purse is as a taken token
Or like a thrilling recitation, spoken
By mournful mouths filled full of mirth and cheese.
And yet, why should I clasp the earthful urn?
Or find the frittered fig that felt the fast?
Or choose to chase the cheese around the churn ?
Or swallow any pill from out the past?
Ah, no Love, not while your hot kisses burn
Like a potato riding on the blast.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Judged by the Company One Keeps

One night in late October,
When I was far from sober,
Returning with my' load with manly pride,
My feet began to stutter,
So I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came near and lay down by my side;
A lady passing by was heard to say:
"You can tell a man who boozes,
By the company he chooses,"
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.



Wind-tossed hair with hidden fires,
Sparkling eyes like blue sapphires,
And rosebud mouth that now conspires
To shape his soul to her desires!

Her sunny smile encharms his glance,
Her eyes with daring mischief dance,
He stands bewitched, and in a trance,
A victim sad, of circumstance.

Before this fairy, magic-clad,
He bows with thoughts confused and sad.
He's just a simple country lad
Before a perfect tooth-paste ad!


Character Witness

Though man seems sunken deep in sin
And heaven far above us,
There must be good in humans yet,
Since dogs still love us!


Old Age

Methuselah, Methuselah,
the Mind is more than glands!
The day he reached Six Hundred years,
He walked upon his hands!

"YOU hush that talk of Age," he sez,
"While I'm a-strollin' by,
The first Five Hundred years is hard:
But after that - It's PIE !"



Frogs hop,
Birds fly;
Clocks stop,
Men die.
Water's wet,
Fire's hot;
Hens set,
Things rot.
People drink
One hopes
Some think
Others- dopes!


On The Fly

Ten little flies
All in a line;
One got a swat
And then there were nine.

Nine little flies
Grimly sedate,
Licking their chops
Swat! There were. . .

Eight little flies
Raising some more
Swat! Swat! Swat! Swat!
Then there were. . .

Four little flies
Colored green-blue;
Swat! (Ain't it easy!)
Then there were. . .

Two little flies
Dodged the civilian
And early next day
There were a million.


Scandal in Camelot

She loved the king-but the knight was there
And the dragging days were hard to bear!
Arthur was good; but he planned and wrought
For Camelot, giving little thought
To Guinevere alone each night
The consequences served him right!


Unseen Performance

Take grotesque shapes
Along fences
In narrow country lanes,
Where winds are not afraid of
Being seen.


First Meeting

You are so near this moment I could touch
My hand to yours, and yet so far away,
No continent could matter half as much
As these small words we parry with today.
Lightly, as custom wills, our lips are moving
With vacant queries and inane replies,
While deep within us, dark and unapproving,
Our hearts look on this vacuous enterprise.
We bid our host goodbye, and move to go,
Maintaining to the end, amid the chatter,
Our talk of this and that and so and so,
And other things that cannot ever matter,
Knowing with what swift ease, if we should meet,
Our lips could pierce this armor of deceit.



Wear red tonight!
Leave white to paler beauties.
Years ago
A bold and venturous youth was chained
To a cold crag for such small enterprise
As stealing fire from heaven
Such fire as glows upon a hearth
Or flickers in a street lamp
Petty theft!
You stole the spark that fires the souls of men.
Wear red tonight,


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Every time I hear the silver voices of the violins
I am lost in awe and wonder.
The dried guts of a cat plus a few wires
Stretched over the belly of a pierced wooden box
Caressed by waxed hairs from a horse's tail
From these things are made such heavenly sounds.
And yet fools say there are no miracles!


They Planted Apple Trees

1872 Arbor day program, the first

They planted apple trees, and every spring
Their memory hangs sweet upon the air.
Their children's children dead; so who would fling
Memorial blooms, or breathe a silent prayer?
They planted apple trees. The granite maze
Above their graves is green with ancient moss;
But still the orchard chants its vernal praise
And pays autumnal tribute to their loss.
The rotted trunks may split in twain with age,
Sumach encircled as with Indian foe;
The Century turn from them its withered page
But still the trees they planted live and grow.
What is the Statesman's waning fame to these?
Through countless wars, bloom on the apple trees.



Sleep little one,
Thy bed is so narrow,
Be not disturbed. . .
I am only a sparrow
You saved when the snow
Was deep on the ground;
And now. . . you are sleeping
Beneath a white mound.
Rest little one
Thy bed is so narrow
You cannot hear me,
A poor draggled sparrow,
But you I remember,
Thou giver of bread,
You stood in the doorway
And saw I was fed.


The Spinster

They laid the child in her unwilling arms-
The child of him she loved, and might have wed
Had not this sister snared him with her charms.
To hide her smouldering eyes she bent her head
They should not know how ill her pride had fared,
Upon what hidden anguish it had fed,
How she had cried in secret to be spared
This final cup of gall, this bitter bread!
Then tendril fingers with a frail caress
Opened the flood-gates of her heart, the flume
Of her affection flowed with tenderness;
Her sallow face relaxed in sudden bloom.
The grievances of years were reconciled
Within an instant, when -the baby smiled.


His First Evening Clothes

I smile through sudden tears to watch him strut
Before me showing off his first dress suit
Almost a stranger, this young man, who but
A few years back, my baby, wore such cute
Pink gingham rompers; next, a sturdy lad,
Blue flannel knickers and bright-clocked half-hose;
Then was a lanky, colt-legged, big boy clad
In slacks and sweater.

Premonition grows,
As I retie his tie and smooth his coat,
The while he stands here, handsome, sapling-straight
And bubbling over with talk of his "date,"
That he is stepping out-it grips the throat
Not so much to a dinner dance, as to
Some far horizon with a luring view.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lines Written at a Piano Recital

 Too bad the elephant cannot know
That from his dead tusks
White notes go pulsing up to heaven -
He always thought himself a clumsy,
Soulless sort of beast. . . .


Hunting Season

Now the reign of terror
Has returned another year
For all the little wild things,
The fox, the cub, the deer,
As they venture through the woodlands
Just to nibble bud and twig,
And learn through shattered bodies
That the world was never big
Enough to stand between them
And the death-buds of the gun,
Nor warm enough to cuddle them
Where bloodless pathways run.


Maker Of Songs

He made the little songs that people love,
Heart-clutching little songs of homely things
That bring a tender laughter to the eyes,
A sadness, that is like the brush of wings:
He sang of quaint wee maids in pinafores,
Of red geraniums on a window sill
Of curtains edged in golden-ruffled scrim,
And lullabies, when tiny feet are still.
He sang of soft warm arms that hold one close,
And trim white cottages-with garden plots
Of mellow loam, and rows of jade-green peas;
Of woodsy byways. . . and forget-me-nots.
He never sang the busy world he knew
The restless turmoil of the mill, and mart
A world that had denied these humbler joys. . .
He sang the hunger that was in his heart!


Recipe For Marriage

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, little bride,
If you would keep him by your side.
Time is short and the days are fleet,
Only remember this, my sweet,
Love will linger till life is dead
For beans and bacon and meat and bread.

No matter how young in spirit you stay,
Love grows fickle when hair grows grey;
But it's only a fool who will deny
The deathless glamour of apple pie.
So pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, little wife,
If you would hold him all your life.



Here is my garden, a queer little place;
Stalks stab the heavens and perch there, bold;
Stems of hard steel and leaves of rough brick
Flourish here gravely, unyielding and cold.
Neat little, grim little, rows of stiff hedges,
With rectangular holes that are window panes;
My trees are the lamp posts, monotonous, gaunt,
Which flower at night in glittering lanes.
The soil is rich in cement, brick and tar,
Tunnelled by endless worms of piped gas;
In this flowering Eden shall I lie crisp,
Between Tel & Tel cables and one blade of dead grass


Death Wears A Coat Of Many Colors

To Teddy;
Death was a scolding elder
Who spanked his tiny, jam-stained fingers,
Snatched away his toys,
Pulled down the shades
And sentenced him to bed
Before his day began.

Death came to Joe as Peace
Before the battle,
A stilling of the call to arms;
Yet as a fatal stab
Deep in the back
As he set forth to climb the distant hill.
Death was an odious escort

To Alice:
She kept him waiting in the parlour
 As long as possible.
That night she drank and laughed and danced too much
And, as she feared,
He kissed her' when he brought her home.

To Ma;
Death was a welcome bed-fellow,
A long-awaited mate,
Who eased into her bed
At the close of a weary day,
Rubbed her aching back
And led her into sleep.



I reckon I seen more light than any man alive!
Mornings, brown clouds fallin' away from the plough,
I seen it hit the rim of the world!
Evenings, purple light on the milk in the pail,
I used it to put the cows away.
Some men, they shot the most deer or had the most girls,
All pink and sweet under gingham dresses.
Some was voted president, or made the most money,
But, countin' up the whole eighty years
I reckon I seen more light than any man alive.


Requiem For Privacy

Sing a dirge and toll the bell.
Old Privacy is dead and gone to hell.
He so long a faithful guard
Of the bath and obstetrical ward.
Now we can barge right in;
We shall not intrude.
Why indecent to see a person nude?
Now public embracing at home or fraternity parlors;
Never change position, be oblivious to callers.

Now little Sally Prim and Junior may know
Just where, when and why they started to grow.
Let them know how the tiny seed was planted.
Theirs to know; let every wish be granted.
When Sally and Junior are a bit older grown
And want to see Pop and Mom's anatomy
Let them be shown.

I do admit that some still have a fit
And believe that love-making in theater, movie or show
Has something to do with the status quo.
But I say,
Sing a song and toll the bell.
Old Privacy is dead and gone to hell.


Apology to a Caterpillar, Accidentally Beheaded

I did not mean to take your little life- ,
It was an accident-and I am sorry;
I would not take the life of anything,
Who am, myself, eternally Death's quarry.

I cannot know how many eons went
Into your small perfection-colors blent
With fearlessness, and fashioned to a whole
As strangely complex as the mortal soul;

With more of beauty than most men are given
In one coruscant eye like jade from heaven;
As much of mystery in your strange cycle
As he in his.

 Now there will be one less
Bright flying flower when arch-angel Michael
Goes down before the flaming word of Spring;
One less miraculous and lovely thing. . .

And so I pause, to offer an I may;
A hasty burial beside the way,
Forming this feeble epitaph, O worm,
Inch of striated velvet-and affirm
Regret at this disaster of the trail,
Although it be, alas! To no avail.


It All Would Be Forgotten Then

These I would have for company
The while I sit and rock,
A window facing down the street,
The ticking of the clock.

The humming of the kettle,
The purring of the cat,
And every afternoon I'd take
A cozy little nap.

Oh I would be so very old
And satisfied and wise,
Forgetful of a merry lad
With cruel grey eyes.

I'd knit a little, think a little
 And listen not at all
To hear a cruel gay voice.
Or the knocker fall.

Nor caring not a whit about
The time he went away,
And all because of three words
We couldn't either say.

It all would be forgotten then,
As ancient roses glow,
Of some half sad old fashioned tune,
Sung years and years ago:



Today there have been lovely things
I never saw before;
Sunlight through a jar of marmalade;
A blue gate;
A rainbow in soapsuds on dishwater;
Candlelight on butter;
The crinkled smile of a little girl
Who had new shoes with tassels;
A chickadee on a thornapple;
Empurpled mud under a willow,
Where white geese slept;
White ruffled curtains sifting moonlight
On the scrubbed kitchen floor;
The under side of a white oak leaf;
Ruts in the road at sunset;
An egg yolk in a blue bowl.
My lover kissed my eyes last night.


On The Eve Of A Second Marriage

Will it be possible for me to kneel
Beside this other man and take our vow?
What quickening of memory will I feel?
What thoughts have I left, dormant up to now?
There are a thousand little things I fear;
The scent of roses, sunlight through a pane,
The look of him who holds me far more dear
Than you would hold me, were you here again.
"Till death. . . I take thee. . . cherish… love. . . to keep,"
Oh God, if just the words were not the same!
I am afraid that I will stand, and weep
And finding you not there, cry out your name.


A Fame That Never Ends

He was a friend
Whose heart was good;
Who walked with men
And understood;

His was a voice
That spoke to cheer,
And fell like music
On the ear.

His was a smile
Men loved to see;
His was a hand
That asked no fee
For friendliness
Or kindness done.

And now that he
has journeyed on
his is a fame
That never ends;
but leaves behind
Uncounted friends.

(In Memory of William H. Woodin} (Sec of Treasury that took the US off the gold standard, was a coin collector)


Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with,
Blessed are they who sing in the morning,
Whose faces have smiles for this early adorning;
Who come down to breakfast accompanied by cheer,
Who won't dwell on trouble, nor entertain fear,
Whose eyes shine forth bravely, whose lips curve to say.
Life, I salute you, good morrow, new day.

Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with,
Blessed are they who treat one another,
Though merely; a sister, a father, a brother
With the very same courtesy they would extend
To a casual acquaintance, or dearly loved friend;
Who choose for the telling encouraging things,
And choke back the bitter, the sharp word that stings.

Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with,
Blessed are they who give of their best,
Who bring to the home bright laughter, gay jest,
Who make themselves charming for no other reason,
Than charm is a blossom for home every season;
Who bestow love on others throughout the long day.
Pleasant to live with, and blessed are they.

The Blessed Name of Mother

The noblest thoughts my soul can claim,
The holiest words my tongue can frame,
Unworthy are to praise the name,
More sacred than all other.

An infant when her love first came;
A man, I find it just the same;
Reverently I breathe her name
The blessed name of "Mother."

Valentines Day

Though you already know it,
 I'll tell you one more time
That you are still the only one
Who is my Valentine.
And, saying it this minute
Convinces me anew
 I was a lucky person
The day that I met you.

Best Wishes

May the sun be warm and kind to you;
The darkest night some star shine through;
The dullest morn a radiance bloom,
And when dusk comes-God's hand to you!

Growing Smiles

A smile is quite a funny thing,
It wrinkles up your face,
And when it's gone, you never :find
Its secret hiding place.....
But far more wonderful it is
To see what smiles can do;
You smile at one, he smiles at you,
And so one smile makes two.
He smiles at someone since you smiled,
And then that one smiles back;
And that one smiles, until in truth
You fail in keeping track.
Now since a smile can do great good
By cheering hearts of care,
Let's smile and smile, and not forget
That smiles go everywhere

The Dollar and the Cent

A big silver dollar and a little brown cent
Rolling along together they went,
Rolling along the smooth sidewalk,
When the dollar remarked-for the dollar can talk,
You poor little cent, you cheap little mite,
I'm bigger and more than twice as bright;
I'm worth more than you a hundredfold,
And written on me in letters bold,
Is the motto drawn from the pious creed,
I know, said the cent, I'm a cheap little mite,
And I know I'm not big, nor good, nor' bright.
And yet, said the cent, with a meek little sigh,
You don't go to Church as often as I.

It's All in the State of Mind

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think that you dare not, you don't,
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
It's almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world you'll find
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.

Full many a race is lost
Ere even a step is run,
And many a coward falls
Ere even his work's begun.
Think big, and your deeds will grow;
Think small, and you'll fall behind;
Think that you can, and you will
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are out-classed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise;
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

A Wish

May you live a thousand years
And I a thousand less one day
So that I may never know you passed away.

A Journey

Life is like a journey
Taken on a train
With a pair of travelers
At each window pane.
I may sit beside you
All the journey through,
Or I may sit elsewhere
Never knowing you.
But if fate should mark me
To sit by your side,
Let's be pleasant travelers;
It's so short a ride.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Day is Done

The day is done and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight. . . .

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day,
 Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.



On that name no eulogy is expected. It cannot be.
To add brightness to the sun,- or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible.
 Let no one attempt it.
In solemn awe we pronounce the name, and in its naked, deathless splendor, leave it to shine on. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Growing Old

At six I well remember when
I fancied all folks old at ten.
But when I turned my first decade,
Fifteen appeared more truly staid.
But when the fifteenth round I'd run,
I thought none old 'til twenty-one.
Then, oddly, when I'd reached that age,
 I held that thirty made folks sage.
But when my thirtieth year was told I said,
Yet two score came and found me thrifty,
And so I drew the line at fifty.
But when I reached that age, I swore,
None could be old until three score.
And here I am at seventy now,
As young as when at seven, I trow!
'Tis true my hair is somewhat gray,
And that I use a cane today;
'Tis true these rogues about my knee,
Say "Grandpa," when they speak to me;
But, bless your soul, I'm young as when
I thought all people old at ten!
Perhaps a little wiser grown
Perhaps some old illusions flown;
But wondering still, while years have tolled,
When it is that a man grows old.


House Blessing

BLESS the four corners of this house,
And be the lintel blest;
And bless the hearth and bless the board
And bless each place of rest;
And bless the door that opens wide
To stranger as to kin;
And bless each crystal window-pane,
That lets the starlight in;
And bless the rooftree overhead
And every sturdy wall.
The peace of man, the peace of God,
The peace of Love for all!


Ballad Of Amateur Hour

What shall we do with the bold milkman
Who loud in the little hours
Whistles away like a hearty Pan
Till slumber deserts our bowers?
He shall whistle an air for Major Bowes,
The best that his tongue can twist to;
And a thousand milkmen will vote him first
As night after night will his lips be pursed
In the very tune that we called accursed,
For a suffering world to list to.

What shall we do with the grocer's boy
Whose resonant warblings fret us,
As he chants to the cheeses for simple joy
Or lyrically wraps the lettuce?
Why, he shall warble for Major Bowes,
Later, my friends, or sooner.
And never, ah never again will he
Sing to the squash and the broccoli,
But now in radio ranks shall be
Numbered another crooner.

What shall we do with the neighbors brood
Who, shrill and fierce as hornets,
Shatter the spell of our solitude
With fiddles and fifes and cornets?

Why, they shall serenade Major Bowes
With cornet and fife and fiddle.
Such sound and fury they'll all display
That the tones which frightened the Muse away
We shall hear by night, we shall hear by day,
Whenever a dial we twiddle.

What shall we do with the family bore
Whose persiflage never ceases?
And what with the audible miss next door
Who's clever at speaking pieces?

Why, they shall babble for Major Bowes
Their artful impersonations.
And an affable agent will bid them sign
A contract, square on the dotted line,
For alternate evenings at half-past nine
On, very distinguished stations.

What shall we do with Major Bowes,
Lord of the aerial garden,
Who turns our amateurs into pros
With never a Beg Your Pardon?

When the world is so full of a number of sounds;
When the air repents its store
Of tenors and torchers and boop-a-doopers,
Of Kiddie Koncerts and Drama Groupers,
Of yodellers yodelling cowboy ballads,
Of commentators on books and salads,
Of those who imitate birds and breezes,
Of bearded jests and of ancient wheezes,
What shall we do with the man who'd seek
Sunday by Sunday and week by week
To swell the flood with more?

What shall we do with Major Bowes?
Nobody knows, nobody knows.


Major Bowes Amateur Hour, American radio's best-known talent show, was one of the most popular programs broadcast in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. It was created and hosted by Edward Bowes (1874–1946). In the 1920s Bowes was the imposing manager of New York's equally imposing Capitol Theatre and would insist on being addressed as "Major Bowes." He acted the part to the hilt, complete with military bearing and imperious manner. He once admonished an underling, "How will people think you're important if you don't act important?"

Each week, Bowes would chat with the contestants and listen to their performances. He usually seemed vaguely impatient with the proceedings, and his constant refrain of "All right, all right" was lampooned by radio and films of the day. Bowes was known for his quick dispatch of untalented performers by sounding either a loud bell (similar to that used to denote the end of a boxing round) or a gong (thus inspiring a later series, The Gong Show). Bowes's theatrical and managerial savvy extended the hit radio show into a profitable stage franchise. Bowes sent the more talented contestants on "Major Bowes" vaudeville tours, often with several units roaming the country simultaneously.

Wiser Today

(From Thoughts On Various Subjects)
 A man should never be ashamed say he has been in the wrong, which but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.



The clock of life is wound but once,
 And no man has the power
 To tell just when the hands will stop
 At late or early hour.
 Now is the only time you own:
 Live, love, work with a will.
Place no faith in tomorrow, for
 The clock may then be still.


A Prayer

It is my joy in life to find
At every turning of the road,
The strong arm of a comrade kind
To help me onward with my load.
And since I have no gold to give,
And love alone must make amends,
My only prayer is, while I live,
God make me worthy of my friends!


Good Night

Sleep sweetly in this quiet room,
 0 thou, whoe'er thou art,
And let no mournful yesterday
 Disturb thy quiet heart.
 Nor till tomorrow mar thy rest
 With dreams of coming ill,
Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,
 His love surrounds thee still.
 Forget thyself and all the world,
 Put out each feverish light,
The stars are watching overhead,
 Sleep sweetly then, good-night.


The Winds of Fate

One ship drives east and another drives west
 With the selfsame winds that blow.
 'Tis the set of the sails
 And not the gales
 Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
 As we voyage along through life,
 'Tis the set of a soul
 That decides its goal,
 And not the calm or the strife.


Life's Scars

They say the world is round, and yet
I often think it square,
So many little hurts we get
From corners here and there.
But one great truth in life I've found,
While journeying to the West,

The only folks who really wound
Are those we love the best.
The man you thoroughly despise
Can rouse your wrath, 'tis true;
Annoyance in your heart will rise
At things mere strangers do;

But those are only passing ills,
This rule all lives will prove:
The rankling wound which aches and thrills
Is dealt by hands we love.
The choicest garb, the sweetest grace,
Are oft to strangers shown;

The careless mien, the frowning face,
Are given to our own.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.

Love does not grow on every tree,
Nor true hearts yearly bloom.
Alas, for those who only see
This cut across a tomb!
But, soon or late, the fact grows plain
To all through sorrow's test;
The only folks who give us pain
Are those we love the best.


Hail To The Major

ALL hail to Major Edward Bowes,
Supreme of impresarios,
Who, magically, without theatrics,
Has set a grove around St. Patrick's,
Mightiest feat of legerdemain
Since Birnam moved to Dunsinane.
The ancient stones, austere and papal
He warms with greenery of maple,
Building isles of cloistered shade
For office boy, for man and maid.
But is the major's appetite
For nature satisfied? Not quite.
He looks at John D. junior's realm
Where elm sedately pods to elm,
Then plants his own, to parallel 'm.
And so, municipal thanks we give.
(We hope they'll live, we hope they'll live. )


Upon Leaving The "Golden West"

Gray sage along the "Little Missouri"
Painted buttes and sapphire sky
The wild wind moans a requiem
And the river sings Goodbye.
The ranch house stands lone by the river
And the snow caps gleam in the sun
And the long, long trail far distant winds
Where the fleet footed mustangs run.
There is no round-up by the river now
No cattle tramp the sage
The rope and the bridle are rotting
And the saddle is green with age.
The strange formations-green and yellow
Gray ghosts-under the moon
At night they join the other shades
With dawn fading all too soon.
Oh! the long, long trail is calling
From the sage 'neath the autumn haze
But I left my shadow to ride the trail
On which I no longer gaze.



The laurel crown
 Above my head
Has fallen down,
 Its leaves are dead!
 And no one ever
 Comes this way,
Even to sweep
 The leaves away.

Why I love

I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.
 I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.
I love you for ignoring the possibilities of the fool in me and for laying firm hold of the possibilities of the good in me.
 I love you for closing your eyes to the discords in me, and for adding to the music in me by worshipful listening.
I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple, and of the words of my every day, not a reproach, but a song.
 I love you because you have done more than any creed to make me happy. You have done it without a word, without a touch, without a sign. You have done it by just being yourself. Perhaps, after all, that is what love means.

 -Love Letters