Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hint of autumn

There is a hint of autumn
In the air
In the yellowing plants
In the birds figuring
When it will be time
To fly,
A hint
But only a hint.
We know
What comes next
It is always the same.
I like
The sameness
I know
What to expect
When it comes.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sandcastle building

The competition is on.
Who will judge?
Who will win?
What makes a good enough
Does it require
A drawbridge?
A moat?
How much sand?
How much water?
Saltwater beach
or fresh?
Decorated with seashells
Or beach glass?
The competition is on
Who will win?
Does it matter?

Friday, September 6, 2019

Crab apple year

Crab apple year
But the fireflies
Went missing
While cicadas rasped
Crickets sang.
We wait for the animals
To eat the crab apples
They're here.
They're here
They're here
We tell them
Where are you?
Gone with the fireflies?
Where are you?
We wait.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

In my world

In my world
Which is
Your world
Don't forget
It is your world too.
In my world
People are people
Are people
Are people
Are people.
It is sometimes easy
To forget
We all hold hands.
In my world
It is your world.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Button box

My mother had a button box
I used to pour them
On the floor
Figure what I would do
With each one.
One button
Was the Aesop's fable button
Of the fox and the stork.
Each one
Inviting the other
To dinner.
The stork
Got the upper hand.
I wish I had
That button box
I would pour them
On the floor
Figure out
What stories
They could tell.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


If ever there came a time
To get
It was this morning
When the ladder appeared
Outside my bedroom window.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Weather headlines

Weather headlines
I continue to read them,
Listen to them,
So I know
What to expect.
They say
It will be cooler
This weekend
Though, of course,
We will see
What comes
We always see
What comes
Weather headlines
Don't always know
The outcome.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Entertaining angels

How do I entertain
What do they drink?
What do they eat?
Do they like
Juggling routines?
I am not so good
At juggling
Do they prefer
Other entertainment
Oh please
Tell me how to entertain
Help me be aware
When they cross
My path.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


The Pork Queen helped a sow
Deliver her piglet
In Iowa,
Tiara and all.
What will it mean
When we no longer
Have queens or tiaras
Or are they slated
To be with us
Queens down and dirty
Delivering piglets
A good beginning.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Same inside

The house acquires
A new skin
New eyes
To see.
The inside remains
The same.
The air rings
With Polish.
In other neighborhoods
Spanish echoes.
In ours
It's Polish
Same inside
Different language

Monday, August 19, 2019

Half vees

The geese practice
In half vees
Who will be
The leader?
How do they tell
When the time comes?
When the full vee
Time comes
Who will lead?
Who would rather
Trail behind
Let someone else
Take the full force
Of the wind
In the beak.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Earlier and earlier

The mail comes
Earlier and earlier
Every day
There is no predicting
When the mailbox
Then shuts
Brings with it
Its surprises
Of the day,
Earlier and earlier
Every day
Until earlier
Is no longer possible
It must go back
To the beginning

Monday, August 12, 2019

All the signs

When rain is coming
The backyard gets restless
Hop from one side
Of the yard
To the other
A squirrel stows
A piece of bread
In the handle
Of our trash bin
Just in case
Just in case,
Birds take
A final dust bath
Before the dust
The rain is coming
Surely it's coming.
All the signs
Are here.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


The Inuit
Know darkness.
They also know the importance
Of company
They have much
To teach us,
We who believe
We can do it all
By ourselves.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Butterfly time

It's butterfly time
Monarchs mass
Figure when they will go
To Mexico
Hang out
For that brief time
They have.
Butterflies don't live long.
They have so little time
To pass on
Their butterfly knowledge
Before others
Take over.
Then it's time again
To repeat
The cycle.
It's butterfly time
Monarchs mass.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

And then there was light

And then
There was Light
The Light could only
Be seen
From the darkness
All creation requires
Some separation
In order to see things
As they are.
In order to hear things
As they are.
The Foley artist
Who is God
Creates sound effects
Creates lightning flashes
To go
With all the aspects
So we hear
So we see
And say Oh
Now I get it
Now I get it
And then
There was Light.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


One book has morphed
Into two.
At least.
At least
Into two.
I thought I was working on
Books grow
Like Topsy.
I used to read
Two or three
At a time
Now I can barely
Write one
Much less read

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Aaron and Hur

Aaron and Hur
Don't get enough press.
They allowed Moses
To hold up his arms
When he got tired.
When the Israelites
Were losing the battle
It was all connected.
Aaron and Hur
The Israelites
The Amalekites
The battle.
Aaron and Hur
Found the rock,
Sat Moses down,
Held up his arms
With the staff.
They don't get
Near enough credit
For their part
In the story.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Dust bath

The sparrows
Remind me
It's the time of year
for a dust bath.
They find joy
In dust.
Travel before roads
Were paved
Meant dust
People wore
Dust was part
Of the joy
Of travel
The movement from here
To there
Always dust.
The sparrows
Remind me.
There is joy
In dust.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Rock and a hard place

The channel finds me
Between clashing rocks
Scylla and Charybdis
I am not Odysseus
To get home
Find home
Is not what I left.
It never is.
I can pretend
But pretense is not
What I left behind
I can choose my rocks
To sail between
Choose Scylla
Choose Charybdis
Choose to sail home
Find what awaits me
It is never
What I left.

Monday, July 29, 2019

I counted

I counted all my life
Until I realized
Did not add up
Not because
They didn't matter
I didn't matter
I was simply
The wrong things.
The next things
Different steps
In different dances
Different notes
In different songs.
Different stones
In different places.
Still it seemed
I should count.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The shoulds

In every session
The shoulds surround us
Make a circle
Hold hands
Ring around the Rosie
We all fall down
Until we help each other
Get up
Send the shoulds
To live
Where they have always
Where they may return
But we will then
See them
From a distance.
In every session
The shoulds
Hold sway
Until we
Send them away.

Friday, July 26, 2019

There is no such thing as ordinary

Everyone is a miracle.
Is a miracle.
Sometimes we miss it
And miss it again
Miss it again
Until it hits us
Between our eyes.
Between our ears.
Oh no
We say
That can't possibly be
That ordinary person
That ordinary thing
We forget
There is no such thing
As ordinary.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Rocks figure big

Scripture says
Rocks figure big
Moses sat on one
Struck another with his staff
For water
To flow.
Jesus rolled one away
Showed up
As a Gardener
In cognito
Until he was recognized
By Mary.
Scripture says
Rocks figure big.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


I categorize my poems
An un-categorized species.
To submit them
I must name
The un-chaptered
Which ones go together
Which ones
Must hang out
By the side
Of the road
Wait to join the next

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Someone else to share the naming

One thing at a time.
Emily left a closet
Filled with poems.
Someone else
Gave them titles.
It appeals.
One thing
At a time.
Someone else to share
The naming.

Monday, July 15, 2019


As I collect
Old poems
I think of new
Wonder how they will
Measure up
Each other.
It seems the comparison
Never stops.
Mine against yours
Yours against mine
Ad infinitum.
If or when publication
Will it make things better
Or worse
Or simply

Friday, July 12, 2019

New windows

When the windows arrive
Will they let us see
Will gray-blue siding
Give that needed face lift
So perspective
From the outside
Offers the world
A different house
On the street
So the neighbors
Who walk their dogs
Every morning
Every evening
Will say
What a face lift can do?
Will the dogs howl
In appreciation?
Lift their legs
On our trees
So other dogs must stop
And smell.
Stop and look.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

No mellifluous song here

They complain
The birds
No mellifluous song
On this side
Of the creek.
They complain
In the heat
Wait for the cool
When their song
Will grow more sweet
The birds.
They complain.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Choice does not require force

I get stuck
In either/or
When both/and is really
The name of the game.
Choice does not require
As in trying
To put the square peg
Into the round hole
But instead
Letting it find
The hole
That fits.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Don't forget

Don't forget
To write the new thing
As you meander
Through the old.
Something new
May appear first
And foremost.
Someone else
May pick it up
Before you see it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Someone's accomplishment

This time it was only broken ribs (from this month's CPR) and gallstones.

I am
Someone's accomplishment
I am told I died
And came back.
Of course I do not remember
The death
The immediate arrival home.
The ER doctor told me
Last night
My chart
Is a story.
It is good
I returned
I could show how I look
By ice packs.
I forget
All have a part to play
In my return,
In anyone's return
The accomplishment
Is all of ours
Most of all

Sunday, June 23, 2019


My first, hopefully ONLY, experience with a respirator.  

I know
Sometimes it's necessary
But with a tube
We can not speak
When our hands are tied
We can not write
The words stay hidden.
Still there.
Others may speak in.
We may not speak
I may need
To speak for years
To recover
From the three day episode
With the tube
Just enough sedative
To hear.
Not speak.
Not write.

Friday, May 17, 2019


I will not apologize
For the spelling of my name
Even though
Auto-correct thinks
It must be wrong.
It is right.
There is an A
In the middle.
I do not appreciate
It being automatically shortened
To Cathy
Unless you first knew me
By the nickname.
Then it is OK.
Then my aunt with the same name
Was alive.
Now I have earned the right
To be Catharine
With an A
In the middle.
Someone must carry the name

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How do we live

In memory of Jean Vanier, may he Rest in Peace, 

How do we live?
In sprinkles
Or holding each others feet
In warm water
To wash them tenderly
One at a time
So each knows herself

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Elevator speech

If Jesus
Had an elevator speech
What would it be?
He knew he didn't have a lot of time
To grab people's attention.
It's like this
He said
It's like this
Some people left with Him
On the twelfth floor
To hear more.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Inspired by the book Maid, written by Stephanie Land.

A book
Comes to me.
I have stories.
Some I can tell
Some only
In false nose
And glasses
Not even then..
They hide in the caverns
Of my heart.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Breakfast with the birds

The world is filled with breakfast companions

They eat
So little
By body weight
So much
They make charming
Breakfast companions
I would gladly
Feed them

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The small of it

Loss has a ripple effect.

We lose an hour
But that
Is a pittance
In the Likert Scale
Of loss.
It often comes
Lasts for days
Upon days
Or years.
Loss comes draped in black.
It can also come
With shiny shoes
So we think
We're dressing up
For Cinderella's ball.
We lose an hour
But that
Is the small of it.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Some days are meant to sing

For the cardinals

Some days are meant
To sing
Not so much.
In spring the birds
Know the song
They forgot
All winter.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Each word

Lent is to remember

Each word
Is part of the whole.
In our beginning
Here we are.
We think
We are the only word
There is,
No matter how plural
Our only
We were all spun off
From that one
Common source.
We forget.
Is to remember.
Is to celebrate
The wholeness.

Monday, March 4, 2019


Appetizers come first, unless they don't

Give us order
Of any kind
We will march to it.
For example
Dessert always
Comes last
Come first.
Unless of course
It's time
To change
It up.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Magic mushrooms

Which side of the mushroom does today call for?

We live
On magic mushrooms
Some make us bigger
Some smaller
Some help us live
Where we are.
Different days
For different thoughts
Stay here
Exactly here.

Saturday, March 2, 2019


Sincerity is not something to be taken for granted.

Sincere drivers
They mean
What they say:
Are you ok?
Oh look
I get to pick you up,
Take you home.
Sincere drivers
They mean
What they say.
I can tell.
My BS meter
Is always set
On high.
And evening
They are a gift.
Sincere drivers.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dr. Seuss in translation

New ways to process the world order.

Huevos verdes con jamon
Don Ramon.
Translation requires
New thinking
New ways to process
The world order
Maybe especially
In children's rhyme.
Maybe especially
In Dr. Seuss.
Huevos verdes
Con jamon
Don Ramon.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Like a whirlpool

For my friends, all of them.

Like a whirlpool
The Church as a whole
With new understandings
Caught up
With old understandings
Two women
Walk down the aisle
In wedding dresses
Two men
Stand before
The minister
Make their promises
To one another.
I wish it weren't
So hard.
Like a whirlpool
The church
Once again.
Two women.
Two men.
The Church

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Reasons to return

Reasons to return

To school:
Your brain
Will not atrophy;
To reading:
New ideas
Will dance
In your head;
To napping:
Rest cures
A lot
Of ills
You have never named
As long as
You don't sleep
Your life
To spending time
With animals,
Any animals,
They are so much
More simple
Than we are,
Ranks high
In the order
Of things.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The rest is yet to come

Sometimes we get trapped into thinking what will come next.

And now
This morning
Is all
There ever is
Our childhood is
What it was.
Our future
To be seen,
Our loved ones
Thank God.
Here we are
What remains
To be lived
A yellow brick road
Long, winding
Before us
Tin men
Along the way
For now
Here we are,
This morning
Let's not
Get ahead
Of ourselves.
The rest is yet
To come.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The white room

Every other Friday Danuta helps me with the white room. The other Fridays, she cleans the house.

I hired someone
To help me tackle
The space
We lovingly call
The white room
White carpet
White walls
The door has been shut
For years
Except when we
Store a box there
Today we did
Two more boxes
Two more boxes
To go
And then come
The books
Not an easy feat
For a book person.


Thursday, February 21, 2019


So often we think of ourselves as gracious or momentarily grumpy. 

Versus ungracious
or simply
Momentarily grumpy.
We all
Have things to learn
Often one state
Comes more easily.
It's the time
We are found
As we walk in
Or out
The door.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

My idol

I grew up with Mr. Rogers and his closet full of sweaters.

I take my sweater
Out of the closet
Pull on my boots
Go prepared to meet
The world,
Go prepared
To invite the world
It's a wonderful day
In the neighborhood
A beautiful day
In the neighborhood
Will you be
My neighbor?
Won't you be
My neighbor?
Will you?
Won't you?
Today my sweater
Is gray
It may be

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Heart stone

Therapy, a beginning, though we began long ago

I must remember
The red iron ore heart stone
On the glass table.

The fountain flowing
In the background of the space
Sun through the windows

I locate myself
Green plaid chair, red soft pillows
At my back, my lap.

He locates himself
Pillow at his back, black chair,
Waits for me to talk.

New trope

For the friend who gave me this gift today.

When we come out
Into our own,
Life is fuller
For us
And for those around.
It is tempting
To believe
The trope
We have finally
Figured it out
There is no real figuring
Until we come out
Into our own.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Haiku walk

Taking small bites.

Find a location
Which commands
Your attention.
It may be large.
It may be small.
Write one haiku
After another,
Maybe twenty,
Maybe thirty.
Most places hold
Than one.
Come home.
Read them.
One may capture
Your experience
More than another.
Save them all.
Read them again
Save another.

Take another walk

Next week.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Parking space

For Gretchen

When you offer
The parking space
You have just left
We are grateful.
So grateful.
It's the small things
That swell
Larger things.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Snow tracks

I love the fox tracks in a line. How do they do that?

I add my walker wheels
To them.
We join
In the snow,
Left behind.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Winter brown

We never know

Winter brown still cold
Snow gone but may come again
Maybe ice or not.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Think smaller

I knotted a net which was way too big.

The net I knotted
Would catch
Too many fish,
The wrong kind
Of fish.
I start over again
With a smaller net
Smaller knots.
Think smaller,
More specific.
This is what I have
A consultant for.
Throw the net
Off the other side
Of the boat.
She says.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A goodly heritage

As I think about my great grandfather, Thomas Sadler Roberts, part of my "goodly heritage," I remember others in my line who are part of the heritage I own. 

A goodly heritage
Is not enough
We add to it.
Unless we add
Our crumb
Fed to the birds
Around us
In the feeder.
A goodly heritage
Is not always
Though we might
Name them so.
That is up to them.
A goodly heritage
Is meant to pass
As it might.
Words are mine.
A goodly heritage.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

No mud, no lotus

Thank you, Donovan Ackley, III, for this Buddhist quotation. Entirely new to me. A gift.

I discover new things
Every day
Or they
Discover me.
No mud
No lotus
How right
Is this.
First come
The boots coated
In mud
Tramped through
The house
Then the lotus blooms
When I open
My eyes
No mud
No lotus.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Just as the weather has its way, so does water.

Watching the snow
Begin its melt
This will not be
The last time.
These things
Come and go
Go and come.
In so many forms
We can only watch.
We are not
In charge.
Has its ways.

Friday, February 1, 2019


Our fears will catch us if we let them. Pfft

What if
I market myself
And no one
What if
The world says
If that is
In the world's
Which world
Is my market
What if I need
To sell
Something else
To a completely
Different world?
There's no telling
All the markets
Out there.
My brain may not
Be thinking
Big enough
Or perhaps
Small enough.
Pfft I say

Thursday, January 31, 2019

IBM Selectric

Another day I thought I would write something completely different.

We are continually
Up one side
Down another.
I sit and write
On the computer,
Remember I took
Ordination exams
On the IBM Selectric
A top of the line
Top of the line
Changes daily.
Most people these days
Do not even understand
The expression
Top of the line
IBM Selectric
Even less.
They are in handbooks
Of archaic machines
Archaic expressions.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

One at a time

Grateful for a faucet that can drip. Warming buses. One person warmed, at a time. It matters to this one.

The faucet drips.
We will make it through
This cold snap.
Warming buses
Drive the streets
Of Chicago.
They find the people
Left behind
Left behind.
Left behind.
It matters
To this one
It matters
To at least
This one.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Mouse breath

Red tennis shoes.

I think of
Kliban's cats
In red tennis shoes
Love to eat them mousies
They are cute
Those mice
Even when they have
No footwear
They are proud
Those cats
When they have
Something to show
For their efforts.

Monday, January 28, 2019


Can we keep them, Mom, can we keep them??

Our home
Is a haven
For mice
Until spring comes.
Spring will not arrive
For a couple months yet.
Our home
Is a haven.
The turtle tank,
Empty of turtle,
Still sits
In the playroom.
It awaits
New purpose.
It will be
A mouse house.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

No quitters

We can wait forever

She stalks the mouse
Now under the dresser.
She knows it will emerge
Until then
She waits.
No quitter
I wait
No quitter

Saturday, January 26, 2019


With thanks to Dylan Thomas.

Do not go lightly
Into the night
When you are meant
To throw it down
On the mat
Wrestle it
Like Jacob wrestled
That angel
At the Jabbok.
Got his blessing.
Praise God
For blessings
They come
Whatever mark
They leave
We may go.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

I will be able to leave

Because I can not shovel snow does not mean I am home bound. 

I will be able
To leave.
I hired some people
Who sought
To be hired
To clear the snow.
I will be able
To move
Out the front door,
Be driven
To work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ode to blue chair

Here's to you, Callie Swanlund...for asking the question.

Where would I create
Without you?
Popcorn kernels
Coffee stains
The week's favorite puppet
The occasional cat
And all.
My soft blue blanket
When a chill
Overtakes me
Or when comfort
Is needed.
Oh Blue Chair
I have pictures
Of your childhood
On the wall.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Two penguins + baby makes three

And who cares? Couples have raised children all over the world.

They made the headlines
Named gay
Because they are males
Raising a baby
How can we tell
Homosexual orientation
In penguins?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

It will never be soon enough

It's dark.

It's midwinter
I already wait
For the daylight
To be saved
It will come back
It will never be
Soon enough.
I wait
It seems I always
Like the child
In that proverbial
Back seat.
Are we there yet?
How about now?
What about now?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Emergency kits

It's more than 911

It's more than 911
It also ABC
The Heimlich Maneuver
When steak gets stuck
It's also
So many ways
To save
Our neighbor
So many ways
Call 911

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Sherman Hershfield stroke poetry...from Atlantic Monthly.

He spoke
In rhyming couplets
The brain
Does amazing things
Offers ways
To relate
To others
In rap
Or couplets
Even drive
And arrive
While the brain
Out loud
In rap.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


All of us need company

We sit with those
Who live
And die
And in-between.
We stand with those
Who likewise
Figure which one
They will claim.
All of us
Are somewhere
All of us
Need company.


And this one may never be posted...anywhere.

What I see as gift
Another may see
As a scum-sucking creature
Who lives
Off the beauty
In the world.
So much beauty
To be shared
In so many
Different ways.
No need
For name-calling

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Consider the lilies

Jesus said Consider the lilies, they neither toil nor spin..."

Consider the lilies
Some grow
In gardens
Yet unseen.
Consider the lilies
Some have roots
That grow
Down deep.
Consider the lilies
That's all
Consider them.
They have
So much to offer
In our haste
To consider
Larger things
We miss them
Consider them
Consider them
They often grow
By the side
Of the road.
May call them

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Even the full moon is not full

Our imaginations can limit us.

Even the full moon
Is not full.
There is always
A dark side,
A half we never see.
The Chinese have sent
A vessel
To explore
The oceans
On the dark side
Of the moon.
Is there a Sea of Tranquility
What will they find?
We imagine
The dark side
Will look exactly
Like the side we see
On a full moon

Saturday, January 5, 2019

National Bird Day

I'm not sure I want to know

In honor
Of National Bird Day
We see what
We can see.
A this
And a that
Soaring turkey vultures
A flash of red
Cranes overhead
We thought
They had
Moved on.
Where did you hide?
You should be
In New Mexico
In Texas
Perhaps even Mexico
By now
Oh no
Has yet
To arrive.
Where is it

Thursday, January 3, 2019


A new land.

I may never speak
But some do.
I am hired
To do
Other things.
Now I wait
To be approved
By ten links
And then there's Google.
Another thing
I have entered
A different land
I may meet
Strange beasts
And have
Come with me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

In the name

Yesterday was not just New Year's Day but also Holy Name Day. Today we remember The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents.

In the Name
Of all that's Holy
Of everything
Can we please
Circle everyone
With halos
Of light
With rings
Of safety.
In That Name
Can we please
Hold off
The slaughter
Of the innocents
Which is everyone.