Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Impressions While Walking

Posted on: September 3, 2016

Be Good.
Do the right thing.
Require it of yourself. 
Require it of others. 
Do good things. 


Infinitely Intertwined

Maybe it’s not reincarnation
Or deja vu
Which sometimes
Suspends my disbelief
Rather, it’s a peek
Into my equivalent’s life
In another dimension
Like a chance vista
Through a shard
Of broken glass


My brain is curly
“Volatile” my friend called me
And so is my hair


The smell
Of coffee brewed
And toasty wheat bread
Make elation rise
Like the
Morning sun


Attempting to
Constrain disorientation
Diatribe and manifesto
Issue and ooze
From my battered brain
Like coagulants wanting a scab


My heart plummets
That crying, terrified child in the picture
This brings me to think
Of of my own children
And I made them cry sometimes
Out of exhaustion or frustration
I yelled
Good Lord
I’m sorry


Haiku for a broken hanger, discarded on the pavement, pictured on Litterati Facebook page for caption contest

It was a hanger
It broke and became litter
Then I picked it up


He’s trying to save his skin
A sack of pork rinds


Something that we do
Ascribe human thoughts to God
Makes calamity


Calling out to all
Children of the Universe
Strive for something Good


My poem today
Iambic pentameter
One line of insight

Having to pee is a pain in the ass.


A Prayer

How am I going to craft this day?
What are the things I will do and say?
I pray to the Heavens right from the start
Guide me with goodness and make of my life: Art


Streaming through my brain
Rush of haiku flows and floods
Reservoir of words


Scratching and need’ling
Irritation symphonies
I might go insane


A wish has power
Only if it is a seed
Of conscious action


Stumble on a Truth
There is no good luck or bad
Sometimes things just suck


Joy! That’s what I want.
Joy, even in the darkness,
A wee spark of hope.


Some seeds on a plate
All that is left of breakfast
Toss them to the birds


A black swan unveiled
What makes a song, a song
Create, recreate


Reminding myself
Keep moving, always trying
Until something clicks


What more do I need
I’ve got my ukulele
Juice songs like lemons


A fizzy fluid
Is my fav’rite kind of drink
Jolly zing let free


Prepopped peonies
Yellow iris, woodpecker
Seem on the way home


Rainbow straight ahead
Flying airplane traversed it
Washed clean with color


Swirling in my head
Many things I can’t get done
Makes me need a nap


Watching the ballet
Mist rolls in bringing fairies
Same as my back yard?


Give me some good news
Don’t give me any bad news
I want to shout, “YES!”


The notes of a song
Like spiders, spin magic webs
Conjure fresh thinking


What’s life without laffs?
Live, laugh, love, and be happy
So said Robin Red


Some days are filled
With detestable tasks
But mine’s not the only
Plaster that cracks

There is sunshine today
A most classic blessing
I’ll swallow the frogs
And get on with my nesting



It is perplexing.
Superstitions not working.
Not doing them right?


All I know right now
Is that there is no coffee
Until I make it

(Revised from original morning musing to a haiku, thanks to observation by friend Tracy)


A goddess
Galatea before metamorphosis
Diana before hunting
Eve before sunrise
Dove like
Out of the cage
Flying to the horizon


That is my religious creed
Please give it a try


Earth doesn’t exist
For the greedy purpose of
Our exploitation


Earth doesn’t exist
For the greedy purpose of
Our exploitation


Yes. I feel just fine
For drinking this glass of wine.
Hey, you. Back off. It’s mine.


Music has powers
Emotion to vibration


Memories, sweet Eloise
Where DID the time go?
We’ve made the most of it
I’m sure of that
We laugh and cry a bit
We chat and only sometimes spat
We face the mysteries
Let’s keep at it, please
You fascinate me so


Enfranchise yourself
The vote is the antidote
Your vote is your voice


Woods: lovely, dark, deep
I’m never out of the woods
Sunlight through the trees


A grove of maples
Like a fresh, cool ocean breeze
Restores believing


I love caper’s brine
Peonies and wrapping twine
Deep breaths and red wine


Don’t ever give up
We must not let this one fade
Make the change get made


Thank you fuzzy bees
Honey is a miracle
Sweet juice of the gods


Enough of Winter.
Really sick of being cold
I say, “Bring the Spring!”


Ugh. There it all is.
The work laid out before me.
Get thee BEHIND me.


Anguish exhausts me
If people did the right thing
We’d be better off


There are a lot of
Pointy edges in the world
I’ve gotten bruises


From their fenced in pen
The guinea pigs sing out, “weep!”
Come here!  Do your job!


Asking, “What’s it say?”
My daughter likes the sterling
She just knows what’s good


How will one emerge
From the trappings of this time
Butterfly or roach


Like loaves and fishes
The toothpaste never runs out
A miracle tube


My heart is laden
I sing because I have to
Relieve the pressure


It’s all Fantasy
Seeking to affix the truth
I don’t know what’s real


Where did the time go?
God, what did I do with it?
What will happen next?


I have a picture
Of my dad
On the wall

You can see
It is funny
And he’s exceptionally tall

He is young
He is running
Wears a green cap

With a pie
He is racing
In his right hand

That was
A moment
Long, long ago

He became
The man that I know

He’s still tall
And handsome
And handy as hell

But at first glance
You might not know
Of him to tell

That you’ll not
Meet a man
More loyal and true

Who has given his all
More than
Most people do

He’s not loud
Or selfish
You won’t hear him boast

So I’ll do it
For him
He deserves a toast

Here’s to Morgan
Big Mo
A man to admire

Whose strength
And deep soul
All should aspire

Happy Birthday
My daddy
I love you, so true

To me you’re
The greatest
Under sun, stars, and moon


The chairs were sitting
Having fine conversation
With no one in them


Compliments to my
Dream cinematographer
Last night’s show was great


I want life to be
Essenced and effervescent
Like that water there


T’was homemade car’mels
In the sack’s now sad carcass
Sitting there, empty


Solve the damn problem
I can’t believe it can’t be
What are we doing?



Hanukkah hugs
Are FOR those who love
And Christmas kisses are, too

Love is a thing
For each human being
Whether Muslim, or Christian, or Jew

In fact, what I think
No matter what the belief
Love is the one thing that’s TRUE


is the


Pent up passion


A primal scream at the sky
A wail of lamentation
A gnashing of teeth
Has this only just begun?
I’m fed up
I could throw up my hands
But that would be
Creating another
Behave instead
Like the sun will
Come out tomorrow
And BE the GOOD
As I’ve learned
Relying on others
Is a sweepstakes van
That ain’t comin’
If it is to be
It’s up to me
If God exists
Others will join
The chorus


You plant
Song seeds
When you
Sing songs
From which
GOOD grows


Magical Thinking
Calling it that doesn’t mean
It isn’t magic


I can do quite a lot of things
From this to that, a little, but…

While some are masters, giants, queens
I’m naught, a Jack from Lilliput

The ups and downs of jolly days
A carousel of lavish beasts

Finds I don’t mind my hackish ways
As I enjoy my homemade feasts


In your ways
Not to
The threshold
Common Decency


The riches by which my kinfolk live
Are greatly to be appreciated

I shall want to live in gratitude
With no treasure underestimated

And be sure the things I heartily value
Cannot with money be calculated



Whatever is scarred
Is a thing that is bless-ed
It was hurt and lived on
That time it was tested

A scar is a badge
Of insistent endurance
And its wearer’s
Story is one of persistence

Don’t reject or devalue
Or succumb to despair
But revere the survivor
That bears the repair


Resplendent gladness
Howling distress
All at once
Scramble my existence
It’s disorienting
Music, Children
Singing in conversation
Spawn mirth
Politics, apathy
Mean, ignorant, unjust
That pillage
Corrodes what is good
I can’t leave to others
To conjure what I want
I will
Be and do and endure
If I want it
I will make it myself
And shoulder
The bliss
And the burden
And smile the joy
And cry the sorrow
And put it out on the table
To share


Like the wise old owl said to do
I’m listening and watching
Gathering in what I hear and see
Trying to synthesize it
Into something useful
Maybe even transcendent
Whatever force it was
That put my parts together
Fitted me with longing
But without the tools
Something says
“That’s YOUR job”
Forge the gizmos


I can’t sing like that
Lis’ning makes me think I can
That’s the cruel trick


Be quick to kindness
You won’t be sorry you did
Love eases sorrow


Listening to Nina Simone
Her smoky warble
Filling the air
Here Comes the Sun
I was thinking about about her
Radiant Humanity
While reaching to open a door
Which swung to reveal
A big brown spider
In the bottom right corner of the door
It said, “Oh snit, time’s up”
I wondered
What should my humanity lead me to do?
I caught the spider in a cup
And put it the pachysandra outside by the front door
Nina’s spider
Out there in the world now
Little darlin’
It’s alright


Oh no! This. Just now.
I Purelled prematurely.
That cart is still there.


For Mr. Allen. 
Tuckahoe Elementary School Custodian who passed away in September 2017.

There was a man
Who worked at a school
He was a handsome and kind gentle giant

He kept the place nice
And fixed what was broken
And behaved like you’d hope a man might

Not long ago
He laid down his burden
And now his sweet soul takes flight

You were good to my son
You were good to my daughter
Thank you, good man, and sleep tight


2017 09 23 lavendar and rose
It’s just that I’m sitting here
Suspended on our bedroom’s balcony
Reposing among the tree branches
And there is woodsmoke in the air
Like someone made a campfire
Which automatically makes me wistful
And nostalgic
And I’m looking at this
Impossibly beautiful night shy
That no snapshot could adequately capture
While in possession
Of a device to at least try to remember
In a picture
The setting of the sun
In lavender and rose
While the crickets’ fugue
Saturates the soundscape
And that smoke transports me
To another time
When all I wanted to do was sing a song


What can I tell you
It’s not from me but through me
Magic to be done


I wake with high hopes
Creativity blooming
Then sink gripes, “Dishes.”


In my neighborhood
There’s a spindly little tree
More of a twig in someone’s yard
With a few leaves on it
That someone is tending
There is a bag around the prize
Protecting it
A single lemon
Produced by this sad
Little tree

Around here
Walnut trees
And Magnolias
Blue Spruces
And Oaks
Shade and reign
Over the houses
Walkways and forests

Are we the lemon tree
Or the walnuts?

Shouldn’t lemon trees
In producing their fruit?


I’m sitting in my favorite spot
Overlooking a hill that’s covered with grass
As the walnut tree to the right of this bench
Drops its heavy green husked orbs
When they become too heavy for their fittings to hold
They land with an alarming thud
Likely to the delight of the squirrels
Who know their winter bounty
Resides inside

This scene, in this exact spot
Was repeated last year
And the year before that
On back however long that walnut tree is old

It was in this spot, this time last year, that I worried and read about a thing that, inconceivably, actually came to pass. And it is just as wrenching an outcome as one might have thought it would be.

Yet here I sit with the squirrels and the tree and the hill and the bench.
Maybe things will be different this same time next year.


Magical mavens
Make miraculous marvels


Make little changes
Many taken together
Make a big difference


Be quick with a smile
Try it! You won’t be sorry
Smiles erase sorrow


A man plays trombone
A kiss to build a dream on
Put coins in his cap


Humans are monsters
Of destructive consumption


It’s selfish of me
But I feel this city’s mine
In a way, it is


Stop now and notice
Places I passed by for years
I should have wondered


I must be honest
I’ve been a bad example
Resolve to improve


Calling for the sun
The birds sing in the morning
I, too, am a bird of the Universe
Calling for the sun
It’s a Chelsea Morning here in TriBeCa
The traffic ringing up
To the hotel window
Cars hooting
Like birds
Calling for the sun
It’s un natural, man made
Born, though, of the most
Natural, primal of desires
Calling for the sun
Reaching out to the source
Of life
To participate, singing
I’m here
I’m a bird of the Universe
Calling for the sun


2017 08 yonder hill
Yonder on that hill
There once stood a library
Now, read en plein air


I’m finished with lunch
By 11:52
I think
What the hell
Am I going to do
For the rest of the day
With most of that pleasure
Already consumed
I’ve done nothing
To earn it so far
That yearning sets in
It’s time
Get to work
And feed that hunger
No meal will satisfy


The Creature’s Twilight Fugue

Cicadas in the trees
Ratchet and shimmer
In a semi-synchronized
Frenzy of sound

Coming in waves of exaltation
They praise the glory of summer

In the ebbs
The birds get in a note or two
Of a crisp counterpoint

Like a dervish with a prayer
A slow rolling buzz gathers
Into another cicadian whirl
Releasing bliss into the air

Until the light falls
And they put their instruments away
For the crickets’ turn
To rejoice in the miracle


The sycamore’s leaves
Are the first to brown and fall
CRUNCH! Autumn’s coming!


2017 08 20 Mo 4 Leaf Clover

I had tucked it inside an envelope
And and just now discovered it
My son Mo finds four leaf clovers
And often gives them to me
He will have been out
And when he arrives home he’ll say
And then he’ll take his phone from his pocket
And peal away a corner of its protective cover
To reveal the prize
He will hand it to me
As my heart swells about this lucky charm
The clover
And the boy


I tossed the towel
Into the hamper, but missed
Something else to do


I spied a toadstool
Centered in an emerald lawn
An elf’s gazebo


The sun’s yellow glow
Late summer, late afternoon
Sends me back home


National Mall
Washington, DC
7/21/2017, 5:52pm

Perched in the new grass
I spy and listen
As the carousel organ oom pa pas
Sidewalks of New York
For the lucky kid who got the iridescent dragon

Just next to me
A sparrow pecks a cheese cracker
Within sight of the Washington Monument
Which points to the sun
Which is preparing to set

But before it does
The sun takes its time
To bathe the Capital building
In white hot hope

An ice cream truck tinkles Silent Night
While a gaggle of girls walk on their hands
And a jazz vocalist’s amplified high note
Transcends the din
From the Sculpture garden
For the lovers who kiss
On the park bench under a shade tree
When I look over my shoulder
In response to a bicycle’s bell
Which passes me
Rolling over the pebbles
With a sound like a water sprinkler

If only there was one

It’s hot here where I’m sitting

Even as the sun is preparing to descend

For John McCain

The person called, “Man”
The Man in the Arena
Earns it with honor

Has integrity
Prevaricating sleazeballs
They don’t qualify

To be such a Man
The Man in the Arena
Sets the paradigm

An American
Who, through pain, with heart and grit
Gives the best he’s got


Romantically lounging under this tree
Knitting a rainbow scarf
I watch an industrious bumble bee
Sipping nectar to share with its hearth

It is nice sitting here
But it’s become clear
Bee’s friends think that I’m
A snack bar sublime
They have stung me and bitten
So I gather my knittin’
Like a boat for the quay
To the park bench I flee

And stitch sockinettes bother-free


It is very nice
On a park bench in the shade
Let the world go by


In the Crepe Myrtle
A party of Blue Jays
Festoon the old tree


A neighbor’s driveway
Has a Fertile Crescent crack
Pyramids upstream?


Are simultaneously true
Wisdom says
“Don’t look back”
But I was walking
And wondered about
Where I’d been
So I turned
And relished
The fresh view


There’s that woodpecker
Who thinks the tin pole is wood
Sometimes I am she


Comment for the post
“And angels walk among us”
Friends! Come out to play!


Lost in a tail spin
“Which way?” I ask the scarecrow
He shrugs, “I don’t know”


The car drove by with
Vile contrails of pollution
Gross. We’re all guilty


The dry thorn exclaimed
Life! Some suffering required
Wounds heal, but leave scars


Once: I folded them
Now: Shove dish cloths in the bin
Think: Liberation


Time has ravaged me
Not like a romance novel
But a bounty paid


Water said, “It’s hot”
Then bubbled up ready for


It was dark in space
Star awaited ignition
Then God struck the match


I almost went home
Dad said, “…giving up too soon”
It is good I stayed


The smell of wood smoke
Wakes a previous life
And mem’ry floods in


A mocking bird warbles ecstatically
Welcoming the wind that’s
Rushing like river rapids
As I sit perched on a hill
Where the library used to be
Overlooking a field where
A man with gray hair hits
Neon yellow softballs from a tee
While the next bench over
Is occupied by
A woman with red hair
Who reads a book while
Eating an apple as
Children on the playground
Over there
Dash about in colorful shirts
Like the stripes of a rainbow who
Decided to take a break
And ripple down a slide
Under the bright sunshine’s
Watchful eye


A dog barked at me
The house expelled another
To bark at me, too


A surprise of blue
Half shell in shards on the path
From ruin springs life


The black moth was dead
Its wings landed separately
On top of the trash


With her bright pink cleats
A focused run to the pitch
Young girl means business


I read a poem and feel poetry rises up
I watch a video of a triumphant Olympic track race and remember the sting of my own sweat
Watching Julia Child makes me think I can cook
Does anything come of it?
Satiating hunger?
What the hell am I doing?
Is that all there is?
Wondering crackles like bacon in a frying pan
As a woman whose freshly bathed scent
Follows behind her and her dog after they pass me
Sitting here on this bench contemplating my navel
I wonder some more
Isn’t it enough just to be a person
Out walking a dog?


Frozen acrobat
Cartwheel of a tree
Complete with navel

Is she enchanted?
Like a myth from times of old?
A hex of a god?

Maybe she’s happy
She wanted to stay like that
Forever in glee

2017 06 08 tree


Not so hard to do
Like a cartwheel for my brain
A wee thing to keep


Our back door shoe rack
A study in black and white
And fam’ly action

2017 06 08 bw


Divinely scented
Glorious magnolia
Lovely perfection

2017 06 07 magnolia


I wanted candy
But I didn’t have any
So, then, I made some


The tomato soup
And long drink of cold coffee
Really hit the spot


Candy on the bird’s nests
Compensate for suffering pain
Cool air in the open door
A taped leaf named Gerald
A sinus infection and a singing gig
Braces and New York City trips
Raffle ticket for Yeezys baby
Office gossip and ballet tix
Guitar chords and song sheets
Hieroglyphics and spell check
Polka dots and a box logo
Laundry and IEPs
Quiet Man and Danse Macabre
Perlman’s fiddle and Bela’s banjo
Fizzing water strawberry peach
Shadows waltz on window pleats
Capture today and mark the time
Steady and ready tomorrow’s rhyme


Down the rabbit hole
I love to go where it leads
But I’m always late


Watch for fireworks
Be careful with what you say
You might spark a blaze


The one thing standing
Twixt this house and a pig sty?
Me. There’s only me.


It’s gone in a flash.
That’s the problem with pleasure.
Have the treat. Then, what?


Magical Thinking
Can I accomplish something
With it? I hope so


An old grocery list
Makes me sentimental
All that is gone now


That lady made me
Narrow my eyes with disdain
Curl my lips and snarl


Fine: go to church: BUT
Make your LIFE a ministry
To always do GOOD


Projects sit around
“I’m not finished with that yet”
Will I get to it?


The business of life
As a beaver tends her dam
I, too, tend to mine


My son finds clovers
The ones with charms and four leaves
Shares magic with me


My words, things I say:
Frequently, I must eat them
What I thought: was wrong


Items collected on a plate in the kitchen
A button that fell from my sweater
A coin a lady gave my son
She said, do you want this?
It’s a one cent euro
Now a memento of a sweet gesture
A magnet from a now open closure
Stuck to the coin
And a guitar pick, too stiff
But decorated with a giraffe
Cut up slips of paper
Reminders, lists
Held fast with a small stone
That made its way into the house
I don’t know how
And the plate itself
Made by one of the children
Colored on paper
Sent away and sealed in plastic
Documenting the moment it was made
We are, each one of us
A collage of instants
Like the plate
And the things collected there


The wind is coming
It rustles the neighbor’s trees
Then blows into ours


Outside is 60 degrees
Music whirls
Carnival’s Aquarium, then
Molly on the Shore, then
A buoyant classical guitar
Rejoicing while
Grilling cheeses and washing lettuce
The door is open
Crispy air waltzes in
This moment
This world is
Just as it should be


It’s a little
Between myself and I
My adventure bag is packed
And at the ready
To go
I have what I need
To be gone
Ten minutes
Or for
It amounts to my “Best Alternative”
The one I was instructed in a book to create
It’s a gift I’ve given myself
To prevent
Having to take a bad deal
A seer once told me that I had a choice
Of which fairy tale to live out
The one I chose
Has to do with what’s
In my bag


I like having
In the refrigerator
Sandwiches ready


If you have a heart
To create, but feel unsure
Do it anyway


Slack suits’ sensation
Certainly speak for themselves
No need to explain


There’s a magic sauce
I don’t know how to make it
Just that it exists


I know I’m a hack
But poems come with walking
I just can’t help it


I wear mostly black most of the time
I’m not in mourning for my life
Though some things have made me sad
I like that black can be anything
Like in acting classes
Wearing black
I could be a monster or a saint
Or wear it to sing a song of any color
And the clothes won’t get in the way
And it matches everything
And it masks the dirt
I can blend in to the darkness
Or choose to stand out
Wearing black suits me
It gives me choices
And I get to set the terms


If you’re feeling cold
It is smart to wear a hat
Take the good advice


I love laundromats
Everyone’s clothes get dirty
We all wash our clothes


My house is a home
But it is not a showroom
It is a workshop


Some irritations
Are good signs, because they mean
We’re alive and well


I enjoy the show
And then the show is over
It’s so depressing


My kids play BINGO
At the Army/Navy Club
And eat spaghetti

(For Char, 4/18/2017)

My mother’s birthday
Is April the twenty-fourth
She was something else


In Maine, as a kid
I discovered, by the sea
Garnets in the rocks


What I said: not nice
She told me to rot in hell
I will do good in the world
And make it better


To write a haiku
Is a superb thing to do
Your point of view: new


When you ride the train
You learn many people have
Digestive trouble


I’m a misanthrope
Cacophony of ding dang
Behind me on train


Willowy and deep
Honeyed, spiced, and exotic
A goddess in Spring


Prologue: Watch Jeopardy, Google about a question, learn poet Ogden Nash descended from the man for whom Nashville was named.

Though it might seem silly
To like facts frilly
It’s not willy nilly
Just fun to know, really


I don’t mind routine
But I don’t want it to be
The same every time


Violets purple
Scattered in grass like stars: ping!
In the dark night sky


It is fun to see
Dogs with their heads out windows
Of cars passing by


Birdsong jubilee all around
Looking up, clouds parade
Dragging in wind and maybe sprinkles
Gaps between the clouds
Give view of sparkle blue
And higher up puffy accumulations
Radiate sunshine yellow
A bliss emerges
From what I thought
Was a shell of despair
Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!
It’s a new day
I’ve got coffee in my cup
Rhapsody in Blue and Rodeo
Are on my playlist
It is Spring
Good Things are afoot
I’m on a mission


Springtime makes me feel
Like I can really DO things
The music comes back


The crow doesn’t have an elegant call
It’s not very charming
And a little alarming
As if someone’s coming to steal your ball

But she’s clever as any that you’ll come across
She’s crafty and funny
She could take your money
While you look for that ball that you lost


Tiny on wire
Out rang her high searing tone
Twice, “hello, hello”


The singing of birds
It’s the best medicine
Listen and be well


I tried to record
A bird singing in a tree
But it flew away


Spicy hyacinth
Teases me into thinking
Maybe it’s springtime


Godspeed sweet, dark prince
To new, bright destinations
I will not forget you


I love to sing Edelweiss
And play my guitar
I think of my Gram
So like that white flower

A little bit stern
Not very frilly
Snowy, straight forward
So very pretty


The tree said, “Stop. Look!”
Acrobat, legs in the air
Springing from the earth

Limbs covered with moss
And edgy sea green lichen
It’s holding a pose

She wants to show off
Her fancy ruffled bloomers
The trick makes me laugh


I nestle in the nurturing nest
I built myself at home
Of song and joy and craft
And artful musical tome

But walking out into the world
I never do regret
To greet the marble slab of sky
And all the world’s troubles forget

I was treated to a winged trill
Not far in yonder tree
And a sweet scented flower gave me a thrill
Though her bloom I could not see

I can’t meet a day and say howdy-doo
When I’m hunkered in my den
So out I’ll go and climb the hill
And keep my mind open



What redeems a day?
What makes a day worth living?
Work? Love? Song? Art? Yes.


I am balancing
My wish for an Oreo
With fitting in pants


Cherry jam on plate
I wanted to lick it up
But Charlie came in


What I like so much
Better than what’s at the mall:
Our life here at home


May you be Smart and Good.
May you educate yourself and fight ignorance.
May you work hard and achieve your goals.
May you go out into the world, make art of your life and work, and do good things.


Crocuses and daffodils
Blossoms of the cherry tree
Are joys that ping unsettling
To see in February

(2/24/2016, first of 4 verses, but the rest is political, if I know you, though, I’ll show you.)

The evening sky cracks its shell
To let spill
The golden yoke of the sun
Through the empty crooked branches
Of the old persimmon tree

(1756, 2/23/2017, on 19th Road toward Nottingham, Arlington, VA)

A red picnic umbrella
A twin size mattress
The stick of a worn out spongy mop

I’m walking and it’s trash day.

Mourning dove sorrows are called out from a tree and sympathetically answered in another and then a third.

A woodpecker bangs her head like a machine gun.  There’s nature’s magic in action. I read once that their rolled up measuring tape tongues make a cushion for their brains.

People come in and out of their houses to put out the trash, pick up the paper, walk their dogs.

I’m glad that people read the paper.

The community of birds are rambunctious everywhere to get things done before the weather gets cold again. They can’t believe their luck for it to be so warm this early in the year.

A sun bleached formerly orange toy wheel barrel
A piece of broken lattice
Boxes for speakers, food, and vacuum cleaners

There’s the woodpecker again, knocking her brains out.

She took a rest, but like the others, she needs to make hay while the sun shines.

Her interjections this time are answered, in a miraculously identical precision of interval and rhythm, by a jackhammer far off in another direction.

I’m sitting on a curb in front of a family home. One just came out and went right back in again. What is that lady doing there?

She is recording a ditty about some trash she saw, and the neighborhood’s busy birds.


Early on a cold February morning
I’ve already forgotten the feeling of Christmas music
Which is one of my favorite things
Cold wind is blowing outside
I’m boiling water for tea
And drinking coffee


Rosie reverie
Celestial choirs sing
Kay Thompson’s Think Pink


It’s that little knot
It ties off the sock’s top seam
Vexing my pinky


We folk are screwing things up for ourselves
like the wolves took back their Chernobyl
The world will go on without us
And the sun will, indeed, come out tomorrow


The birds are singing an overture
For the rising of the sun
The sweeping, friendly walnut tree
Opens its arms and welcomes me
A storm gathers in the western sky
Creeping like an amoeba to consume the beautiful colors in the east
As its chill sneaks up my legs
I’m tempted to move on
But take a deep breath
And stay a little longer


We folk are screwing things up for ourselves
Like the wolves took back their Chernobyl
The world will go on without us
And the sun will come out tomorrow


If we don’t have
Healthy air, food, and water
What do we have?


Please protect our Earth
Once we’ve poisoned everything
What will we have left?


Wrinkles can be useful
Like those appearing on my face
I hope they mean I’ve gained some wisdom
Craving more than filling space

Wrinkles can be useful
Like those that wont for ironing out
Like for a slip of paper’s handle
Or thought figured, conquered doubt



I think of my repertoire
As a candy shop of song
And when I sing within it
I’m just where I belong

Some songs are spicy
Some songs are sassy
Some surprisingly salutary
Some sweet as Sat’day

I can’t get enough
They are so full of joys
And they make of us friends
All girls and boys


To Emily from Emily 1

In our human quest for Truth
Man and woman invented Faith
Then a Microscope someone made
Awash in Truth we can now bathe


I really hate housework
But it has to be done
It makes me shout words
Like, “Son of a Gun!”

The laundry piles up
The dishes do, too
Who else but me
Will cook up the stew?

I really hate housework
But it has to be done
I wish I could outside
Take a walk in the sun

The kitchen floor is sticky
The toilet needs a barber
And I need to go shopping
To replenish the larder

I really hate housework
But it has to be done
And when it’s all finished
I’m too tired to have fun

I can’t face the shower
Or the stain on the rug
Or the sheets on the bed
Or the mold in the mug

I really hate housework
But it has to be done
I really don’t want to
So I sing this sad song



Mr. Lincoln
Good man
I look on you
The majesty of your face
Its hard worn beauty
Deeply etched
By ungodly sadness
Flush with an ancient wisdom
Your eyes scintillating
With a story to tell
Your Mary
Begged you not to go
She tried to find you after you were gone
I’m trying to find you
Please come
I’m begging you
Bring us a host
To exault our humanity
Good man
Mister Lincoln
I look to you
And pray you will come


Where is the wagon hitch?
Where is the star?
Where did the higher angels go?
I want to sing in their choir
A hosanna from their hymnal
The long cold lonely winter has just begun
I want to believe in the coming of the sun


Mary said
Every poem should have birds
I’m thinking of this
When I glimpse
Staring at me from across the room
An owl jar
Lift its head
Inside is another bird
No one knows its there but me
Lift my head
And a song comes out
Voice to the breeze
That carries it to dreamland
Winging my heart
Jubilant and sad
Like the hooting of that owl


After traipsing the same path
Yearning for a spark
I chose to cross the field at a different angle
Then climbed a hill
And found a new vista
Enveloped now in a wash of lavender
Hearing new birds


A word to the wise
When reaching to pick litter
Mind bushes with thorns


A storytelling of crows
Lives among
A cluster of houses
Of which mine is one

I enjoy observation
And oft hear them talk
As they sit on the roofs
And just seem to squawk

But I know they say things
And exchange information
Since they take turns
Like in conversation

One will say something
The other will answer
Then together they’ll fly
For whatever they’re after

I admire their form
So sleek and so black
Beauty and brains
There’s nothing they lack

It likely most people
Don’t care to notice
This common bird
That’s always among us

But I see about them
A mysterious glamour
As they engage between houses
In Intelligent chatter


I have learned that dogs
Don’t like you wearing all black
Hooded in the dark


Christmas lights linger
On some houses, past Noel
I love to see them


My dad said to me
Rise up! Be a suffragette
For what you believe

That is good advice
Now is a time when we must
STAND for what is right

I march with purpose
Look in the eyes of children
The answer is there


Lumbering in the freezing cold
Suffering to myself
About stinging fingertips
When I see
There is moss in a chink
Of an old stone wall
A tiny patch of brilliant green
Luxuriant like velour
Amid the craggy drab

In the moment before
Everything felt hard and raw
But like what Dorothy saw
Peeking out of her fallen house
This technicolor fuzziness
Reminds me that
Miracles happen
And the exuberance for life
Will always find a way


Haiku are jewels
Wee, focused contemplations
Where small things are big


A house is a shell
Empty ’til what you put in
Will make it a home

Or is a home more
Than just a shell for your stuff
It’s where you belong



Cooking in the kitchen
With three burners blazing
I’m just making pasta
But pretend I’m amazing

Like a chef whose cuisine
Is delectable, sublime
I’m whipping up dishes
You’ll think are divine

Try my rice, for example
It’s brown and nutritious
My chicken legs, roasted
Are juicy, delicious

I can slice up an apple
Just like Julia Child
And serve it with P.B.
It’ll drive you just wild

Green beans from a can?
Organic! A treat!
Avec tomato pesto?
Just take a seat

Taste my grilled cheese
My noodles with meat sauce
Or my pie of spiced pumpkin
Would tantalize Cake Boss

Though I like to fancy
About what comes from my stove
It’s all really quite simple
Concocted with love


It is morning in winter
A teal blue sky
Luminous as the sun prepares its rise
I am standing in a park
Inhabiting the brittle silence of the cold air
The bare trees silhouetted against
The blue glow
Like upturned brooms of witches and warlocks
You can see Nature’s design and chaos
Simultaneously thriving
In the branches of
Each leafless tree
Nature’s recipe
Subjected to the forces of wind and rain
Producing the wonders of life I’m looking at now
They are impossibly beautiful
Their arms outstretched to the heavens
Begging for rain
Worshiping the sun
Beckoning visitors
In need of shelter or home
This might be the image
My mind’s eye sees the moment I die
These trees etched against the sky
Mean everything all at once


Horizon this morn
Cracked its shell like an oyster
Showing off its pearl


A bird singing out
Now that is the kind of tweet
I can believe in


As holiday lights disappear
One at a time from the houses
I miss them
Striding the dark
A light glimmering, twinkling out
Is heart leapingly beautiful
The life in each of us is energy captured from the sun
We have this in common with the glow
Whether bulb or candle
Both animated by a spark given from our resident star
Maybe lights enthrall
Because something deep inside
And knows
How it all began


Look out the window
Birds gathering in the trees
Rest before flying


How to define “it”
If something True is captured
You can call it art


My heart leapt with joy
He said, “My friend loves you, too”
But he meant the band


Pumpkin pie baking
It is a wonderful smell
May I have a slice?


The kitchen trash can
A bane of my existence
Needs to be emptied


Comprehend what is
Beyond plausibility?
Dread the road ahead


Hate dust, Love champagne
The bubbles are the best part
Dust makes them happen


In the kitchen now
Sugar cookies are baking
A scent of heaven


I like a door knob
That is free of grit or crust
When my hand grasps it


I don’t like to hear
Words – when my head is working
Or thinking with words


An unlidded cup
Even though my kids are grown
Still makes me nervous


The best aprons are
My husband’s old shirts for work
With the arms cut off


Hearing the beat of my own heart
Unsettles me
I have many quirks
This is only one of them
That it makes me thankful for my tinnitus
Is another
I got the tinnitus in college
From standing too near a speaker one night
Since then, a spray of sound is a constant companion
I tried to outrun it at first
But you can’t run from your head
So I accepted it
Not long after my mom left
I thought about her heart
That it beat one moment
And in another moment it no longer did
Accepting that has been more difficult
The tinnitus drowns out the sound of mine
Which makes it easier not to dwell
On the beating
Or not


Dust to dust
We are made of this stuff
That is why we are the stuff that dreams are made on
We are the dreamers
And we are the dreams
Of the stars


I don’t know the rules
But something untapped compels
I’ll write what I know

But what do I know?
I’ll find out the answer when
I start writing it


I wondered about
How it is I got so fat
Guess what? It’s the wine

Yes, it is the wine
And it is also the cheese
The wine AND the cheese

This is how it is
They make me happy and fat
Wine, cheese, and choc’late

Wine, cheese, and choc’late
Are why I’m happy and fat
At least now I know


Regarding housework
This is the situation:



How’d I get so fat?
Do I really eat that much?
Now, I am hungry.


I said prayers
So often
Out of desperation
They became mantras
Hoping thought would
Bend God’s will to intervene

Standing at the sink
My mind wandered
Bemoaning those mantras
Maybe God was irritated by
My squawking

Maybe I’m the narcissist
Thinking my thoughts have value

But what is gained by not trying?
Not trying is active failure

Maybe this outcome is God’s answer
Maybe, in Her infinite wisdom
She created this as a necessary step

Like a set of plastic bricks
But with no picture on the box
We complete requirements
This one, unpleasant
But essential to all its posterity

I don’t know

Destiny doesn’t dole out answers
Neither does it allow retrofitting
Take what you have and build on it
If it is to be, it’s up to me
Answer your own damn prayers
Just do it
Make it so
If you don’t
Someone else will


Hey! Back off my car

Ding, dong, tailgating nim rod
Lives are on the line


Right now in DC
Sunset and pedestrians
Walk the gravel paths

(445pm, 12/26/2016)

This is how life goes
Finish cleaning the bathroom
Then find one more hair


Christmastime is fun
Open up all the presents
Then clean up the mess


Collected in woolly, cloud like masses
Flocculence, a word I just learned
Is a word I’d like not to forget


Doing some laundry
Find guitar pick in lint screen
I need to practice


Dear Lord please tell me
Why you made potato chips
So dang delicious


Happy Holidays
Like all things
Uttered in kindness
And generosity of spirit
Works for me

Merry Christmas
Said in a way
Meant to stake a claim
On something
And to imply
“What I have is better than
What you have”
Does not work for me

It is Good that
Your thing is good for you

But what is good for
Your sister citizen
Is just as good
For your sister

And is just as Good as

Seeking Goodness
Is my religion



I am walking in the 25 degrees
Early morning
My breath in a cloud before me
I pass a nice oak tree
With a bench underneath
In what would be shade
If the sun were out
And if the tree had leaves
A few months ago
I was saturated with some kind of angst
And left the house
Knitting bag in hand
To walk and clear my head
And maybe meditate a while
Over a few rows of methodical stitching
I made my way to that bench
In the summertime, the tree
Was outfitted with an American flag
I sat, breathed deeply, and reveled in my solitude
A car came along and parked at a house nearby
A woman got out
I detected that she took an interest in my presence
She came over to me
I wrestled away the little nut
Of disappointment at the invasion
She greeted politely and noticed the scarf I was making and said something nice
Then she told me it was her son who planted that tree when he was a boy
She put that bench there and the flag when he died as a soldier in the Middle East
Even as vacant and cold as it looks when I pass it just now
That spot scintillates with the soul it has been given
And gives a glimmer that I know its story


Drip at end of nose
It itches and drives me nuts
Outside in the cold



Renaldo’s a face
That I see every day
He is not a good looking fellow

His nose, you could say
Is a monstrous beak
And would make a young child bellow

He’s a patch in the street
Workers just filled a hole
But the job remarkably led

From what was supposed
To fix up a problem, made
Serendipitous artwork instead

At first, I admit
His nose was alarming
It was quite a sight to behold

But now that I know him
His honker’s as charming
As his magnificent mind full of gold

And this is the lesson
To look past the wrapping
And remember that Cyrano guy

You will discover
Fabulous worlds under cover
Just open your mind, and try


A favorite phrase
There’s food for you on the stove
I made it myself


Sometimes I sleep, but
Dreams make a reality
That’s hard to un-do


For the love of God
What can I do about this
This big mess we’re in


Poem, like pasta
Throw it, cooked, against the wall
And see if it sticks


I could take that car
I’m not going to do that
Just sayin’ I could


Rehash memories
While plodding in winter wind
Make it a poem


Stand in Starbucks line
Think of seven syllables
Before it’s my turn


Will there be a time
When there’s not something dreadful
Lurking on date book


Wish I had a stick
For that itch inside my coat
That I cannot reach


Crossing light count down
Thought: RUN for it: 3, 2, 1
Tripped by man on bike


Right now, sun blazes
On the horizon, like fire
Warming from the hearth



I’ll try out writing
A haiku for happiness
To make someone smile


Moonglow like liquid
Shone through my window blind
Green like in quack’s glass


Looking at the leavings
It was supposed to have been
A snack for the frog
A beautiful roly-poly hornworm
Iridescent green
White stripes
And white circled tiny black dots
That looked like eyes
Its horn was a fuchsia and crimson thorn
Sticking out at the rear
But it was too plump
The frog didn’t eat it
So it sat there
And in its boredom
Having escaped its doom
Made a cocoon
My son was watching when the miraculous result of metamorphosis occurred
And it emerged from the casing and puffed out its wings
We were jubilant
But then we thought
Now, what
The creature is a moth that flies like a hummingbird
And plays the creepy gag on the poster of Silence of the Lambs
My son named it Atlas
Having no flower garden, this being late autumn
And, as this thing is hated by farmers
We made it a home out of a mesh laundry hamper
And prepared a recipe of nectar we found online
That was two weeks ago
I sit here now
As it lies dead on its back
Never having tasted a flower
Never having hovered, or put itself in reverse, like a hummingbird
It defied its fate and became something new
But died nonetheless in a cage
We kept it and watched
Gave it a place and some food
But why did we care for this bug?
Like, I guess, the Little Prince and the fox,
We got to know it and thus became responsible
I can’t claim to have done right by it
I really did try
Which is why I will bury it now
And wish it farewell
For its next life with flowers galore




My grandmother died on a cold winter day
I am left here with feelings that I want to say
But without an adequate method

There was something about her that defies a description
She transcended her station with robust discipline
An incandescent beauty that shone

She loved her family with a loyalty strong
And would laugh ’till she cried when a joke came along
Integrity, one of her assets

She didn’t reach out to express her emotion
For her such a thing would cause too much commotion
But still, her still waters were deep

Her middle name May, her first name was Ethel
And I’m here to tell you she was sure something special
Even if my poor words can’t say why



Pants pickle peppy poodle
Squish squirt soda noodle

Ding dang dong dimple
Tinker stinker twinkle tinkle

Pop bob glimmer glow
Catch a tiger by its toe

Words that stick and giggle and linger
Germinate joy within this singer



I was sitting once
Enchanted and alone
Waiting on an unfamiliar
Screen porch
Looking out on grassy dunes
Sand and ocean
Everything sun bleached and wind blown
When suddenly, noiselessly
A little red fox
Succinct, compact
Emerged from the dune’s thicket
Looking for something
It might have been wearing glasses
With a pencil behind its ear
Like a librarian tracking a mislaid book
I saw it here somewhere
Oh, yes, there it is
Except, being a fox, found a dead mouse instead
Then it vanished as quickly and as quietly as it came
Back into the bramble
Like that librarian
Into a forest of shelving and tome


I see spirits
Magical things
Essences Floating
Emanating, glowing

Everything has one

Intentionally or not
That which is made
By nature or by beast
Gets infused
Simply or faceted
With a spirit
By its maker



Making choices on purpose is what makes art.
I heard myself say that to a group of about 45 kids today.
I think it is true, however.
Even if I did say it by accident.


Sometimes I’m the fox
Who goes out on a chilly night
I pray to the moon
Just like he does
I need to go out alone just like he does
To be useful
To find out what I’m meant for
To do my job
To hunt
And to go back home with spoils
To assess
To be assessed
To love and be loved
And recharge
So I can go out again


The plump grey pig
Gives a snort and a squeak
In the spot she resides
Right there in the street

You’d think maybe sometimes
She’d want to get up
From that spot in the cracks
Where she finds herself stuck

So I ask her, Miss Pig
Could I help dig you out
And she says no thank you
And smiles with her snout

This is my own little place
I like where I am
I perform here each day
I’m such a big ham

My public they know
They can find me right here
For the show I put on
Every day of the year



I think to myself
What a great time of year
As I go out to sing
Purveying holiday cheer



There are some things in life
I like more than others
I prefer red, for example,
To most of the colors

And though it sounds silly
In this world full of troubles
I really like food jars
And sundry steel tumblers

You can put your snacks in them
To take off the pressure
Some now and some later
Whatever your pleasure

The things in your cabinets
That help you each day
Take a moment to thank them
Then go on your way


The bustled lady
Who lies in the pavement
Is a motley assemblage
Of tar and cement

Just like with the master
Who painted with dots
Stand back, she’s a lady
By Seurat, on Grande Jatte

And the show where the pictures
Come alive with the music
They sing of their days
Both banal and amusing

I imagine this figure
Sometimes in repose
Secretly rises
When the white, full moon glows

She visits and dances
She enjoys and complains
‘Till a glimmer of sunlight
Has her lie down again

Most people don’t see her
And ride over in cars
The lady in bustle
Who’s alive with the stars


Note on 3/25/2017: The Bustled Lady became special to me, so I will include a post link dedicated just for her HERE. On 3/24/2017, I came upon the sad reality that she was no more.

The life of a mom
Is an infinite stream
Of things you’d rather not do

The school work, phone calls, and
Guinea pig cages
And vomiting always twixt midnight and two

It is painful and vexing
Exhausting and torture
The artist in me nearly dies

But I love them, they’re great
They’re funny and mine
And I see the world new
Through their eyes



A house is just a fancy nest
That is really that
A place to cook your food
A place to hang your hat

But what we do inside the walls
Creates reality
Let’s make it good, for a better world
Outside, for you and me



Marching with worries in the rain
Even as my brain plays
Forever Young on a continuous loop

The benedictions are a useful and good

And Christmas is coming
Here and there houses sprout twinkly decorations

Inside the coffee shop, Vince Guaraldi’s piano jubilantly whirls

Discombobulated by the dueling of rumination and reveling
I sit to catch up on the news
A friend’s eulogy for her father
Cleans up the mess in my head
“I hope you will know him through me,” she writes, “I will strive to be a shining – albeit imperfect – example of the love that he embodied.”

As time is like ether
I’m out again in the rain
Caffeinated and with marching orders
Strive and shine
Pay love forward
So generously given me
To others

2016 November 25
A ticket into Heaven
Is there such a thing?
Is Heaven a state of being?
A place?
A fantasy?
Is it a destination or a balm
Soothing the rotten road rash of reality?
Haunted by anguish
For the way things ought to be
In contrast to
The way things are
A child opined
That’s not fair
The teacher responded
Life isn’t fair
A truer thing was never said
And, Heaven help us, a source of much despair

A jubilee of leaves
In a pile on the street
Set to spinning by the wind
Flipped my frown into a grin


11/28/2016, 830am
Sitting and knitting
Hiding in plain sight
A young man walked by
He said
I like your hat
Unmasking what I thought was camouflage
I also thought he was making fun
I responded with thanks that was unintentionally ingracious and probably suspicious
He was dashing
And went quickly away
Seated next to me, a handsome man, maybe 40, turned in my direction
It’s nice to get a compliment like that
He said with a slight rebuke in his tone
Still startled at the exposure and confused by the messages
I said thank you and that at first I thought the other had meant to mock me
He said he heard only praise and that he liked the hat, too, his daughter has one like it
Then Tom Waites came on the playlist to sing a sad song
And I wiped away some tears with a paper napkin

November 18, 2016, 642am
God is Good
God is
Whatever is

Seeking enlightenment, salvation, and love
We all worship the same thing
Religions are diversely elaborate arrangements of the same song
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
If it is good
It is God

Yet, yearning for belonging and validation
Dazzled by chest thumping, florid verbosity, and false promises
We are easily duped
Goodness is not always pleasant
As truth is not always convenient
And what we think is superior is not always so

Transcend hollow holiness
And do God’s work instead
Seek, do, make, be

Well Sweetie
You’re right about one thing
If you’re not part if the solution
You’re part of the problem
But a few steps must be taken to get started
First clearly define it
Then identify its proponents
Misogyny, suppression and disenfranchisement of women, is a problem
Fascist buddies and bedfellows are the proponents
The call to action with unity of women to stand up for their human rights is a solution
Current venting of grievances serves to expose the beast and motivate a way forward
Next, once more, into the fray
It’s the tide of progress, however arduous
Take heart
Glaciers have flattened even the tallest of mountains


An impression while daydreaming
11/17/2016, 3pm

I have surged into
Even more than before

Solitude and
Magical Thinking
I adore

I walk around and
Notice things
It makes my
Fairy God Muse

Or cry a little
To myself
Then put my sadness
On the shelf

I look within
And never worry
If I’ll have to say
I’m sorry

A comfort to say
I’ll never be
Bored or ignored
With only me


November 16, 2016, around 8am
Jazz and the smells of coffee, clove and cinnamon float around me
Sitting and knitting
I am a fly on the wall
Looking busy
Do they know I’m listening?
Maybe they don’t care
Maybe they want a passive audience
A beefy woman in a hoodie across the way
Talking politics with her friend
She uses hard Rs like mine
Her boisterous guffaws are punctuated by a wet cough which turns her face red and which she does not cover
To the left of me, intellectuals discussing Jewish issues
They are trying to make sense of things
One kindly looking American woman
A man, Sendak’s doppelgänger, is smart and reassuring with a learn’d English accent
The third, a slight woman, with a soft French cadence
If you close your eyes she might be Leslie Caron
Diagonal from them, a woman in all black
Young and professionally dressed
Twists a lock of blond hair and looks concerned
She gathers her things and departs
My urge to go gathers, too
There’s a day ahead in which possibilities exist for marvelous things
This is just a moment in time
But I want to make it count
And there is magic to do

11/15/2016, walking at sunrise
I am a child of God
A girl, a woman
I am a Christian
I am also a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist
I seek Enlightenment and worship the sun
I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
I also believe in Mother Nature, Mohammed, Buddha, and Zoroaster
God is a Girl
We have sprung from Her Universe
She spun the top
And left the rest to us
Nurture or squander
Create or destroy
Seek the Truth or rot
She wove clues in DNA
Math and method
Elements and gases
Color and vibration
With the urge to create and explore
And pitfalls to make it interesting
Actively seek or by serendipity
Believe what you want to get through the day
But at the end of it
Facts are facts
They’ll be your Salvation
Or kick you in the ass

11/13/2016 (On Amtrak NYC to DC)
God knits threads of herself into every one
Just in case one lands in the right place
Seeds of love, equality, beauty, creativity, prosperity, generosity
Cast them to the wind
Johnny Appleseed, Miss Rumphius
Ladybird’s wildflowers
Seeds rise to the sun in defiance of repression
Push me down, go ahead
This only bolsters germination and my roots dig deep
The proverb that says
They tried to bury us
But they didn’t know we were seeds
I’m a seed
And I plant them, too
Every song is a seed
Planted in the lush wilderness of young minds
They take hold
Rooted and galvanized in fiery synapse
Bear fruits of love, equality, beauty, creativity, prosperity, generosity
Make it sow

A eulogy for a cut down tree
Ambling on a balmy morning
The pungent smell of it met my nose at least a block away
I wondered what it was
And now I see the pile of disks that was once a monumental tree
Each circular cross section looks more than 3 feet across
The calculation of a 115 inch circumference seems about right
But how do you calculate a tree?
How many years had that tree stood where it was?
Nurtured by the earth
Abused by the weather
Beloved habitat of countless creatures
How many eggs hatched from nests woven in its branches?
How many children played in its shade?
Why isn’t someone standing there with a bugle playing Taps?
An unceremonious end to a life well lived
But I can express my esteem
I stand here with thanks for your noble existence and pray that your spirit is happy and free

11/1, 2016
Now that my morning stroll is dark and cold
The crickets don’t fiddle and the birds don’t sing
It is quiet, but for the plodding metronome of my own steps
Until I see the silhouette of a horse’s head
I stop to look at her
Artfully formed by cracks in blacktop
She is bridled and has a flowing mane
I reach for my device to lasso her likeness
A car comes around the corner
I’m standing in the middle of the street, like a cat burglar, wearing all black, and have to move
Going back to the spot I thought she was
She has vanished
Not to be found
Galloped away like a wish in the breeze

Monday, October 31, 2016
I have a coat
It is funnily shaped which makes it inconvenient
But it is attractive as an object
Square, lined wool blanket
With a wildlife scene as a frieze on bottom
Buttons, like cuff links, were meant to hold it together on the sides
They broke
I decided to knit long thin ribbons to serve as ties, yarn for which I coincidentally had the perfect weight and color (that of baked pumpkin pie)
Having determined the needles, width and length
I set to work
First one done, 7 stitches across and a yard long
(Not the knitting, necessarily, but the function)
Begin the second
Eloise comes along
What’s this?
She wants to know, eyeing the finished one
She takes it up
She whips it though the air in all different directions like a cat with a feather on a string
She rolls it up:
It’s a cinnamon roll
It’s a mountain
It’s a cupcake
She makes it a tiny jump rope
Then a comical too small scarf
She asks “May I have it?”
How could I say no?
A talisman in an instant, that thing belonged to her the second she saw it
She slept with it last night
Now to finish the second and begin the third

A pumpkin pie made by Eloise, September 2016

10/28/2016: All from under the same tree. A real artist:


October 28, 2016 at 643am
What on earth am I doing?
Sitting on this curb
In the dark
Tapping on this device
I’m no Shakespeare
But I am what I am
As my dad says
It is what it is
And why should it not be?
The world is distilled through me
As through everyone
Like the little bird who warbles at the sun
Like the stone rolling downhill
Like water finds its way into a crack
Then keeps on cutting a canyon

This Morning, 643am, October 27, 2016
The moon is like a drowsy eye
With drooping lid revealing only a thin shallow bowl of glowing white
Or maybe it is a wry smile
It knows nature and time overcome our vandalism
Breeze drifts softly through brown dry leaves still clinging to a gigantic oak
Then moves to rustle the still green leaves of its maple neighbor
Trees know things too
I trot across a striped crosswalk that one year ago I saw a fox trot across
A dog howls and the air picks up again
The highway rumbles in the distance
Sun winks over the horizon and a bird lifts up its voice in greeting
I’m enjoying all this
Thinking about things
Wandering and wondering
On the lookout for enlightenments and answers
They’re all blowin’ in the wind

Like a cobbler’s elf
I rise early and get to work
A partial plan laid out in my head
Prepare lunches and sundry items for later
My primary objective is to get the hell out
I crave the morning air and solo conversations in my head and with the world around me
Also to escape shipwrecking on the rocky shoals of my children’s mischief making
Thanks to the heavens, my husband is there, unresponsive to their Siren songs

I like the idea of giving up perfection in exchange for something that might be superior.

10/24/2016, 7:10am
This pavement hole looked like a butterfly wing, so I made it into one.

October 24, 2016
A friendly faced crescent moon greets me as I leave the house
Good morning moon
I look up at the few visible stars
Wishing we had a rooftop patio to lay on and admire the heavens
I can’t identify any of the constellations except one that looks like an upside down sauce pan like the one Johnny Appleseed is shown to wear on his head
Looking up makes me dizzy so I make my way to a park bench lit by the moon glow
I read somewhere that all the time before streetlights, you could stand at the South tip of Manhattan and view the Milky Way Galaxy
Of course it is still there
I wonder what other wonders are hidden from us now

Late afternoon: Cedar, Magnolia, Tulip Poplar, Sycamore, Maple, Black Tupelo, Pine
Assemble on driveway
Snap the photo
The very next instant, a swell of breeze carries it all away

An escapade of autumn leaves, 10/21/2016

Maybe not a bright golden haze, but, oh, what a beautiful morning.

An unusually warm morning
A week past the ides of October
I walk with the crickets
In the dark, under looming clouds
And with a shimmer of sweat
There is nonetheless a chill in the breeze
Which, when it glides over my damp skin,
Feels weirdly like the prickles of fear
Someone opens their front door
This gives me a start
The ghostly presence is collecting the paper
Not seeking a victim
The black painted door shuts hauntingly
I keep moving forward
A little more quickly than before

Love under the Redbud Tree

2016-10-17-morning-moon   2016-10-17-sunrise
Morning walk under a huge lingering moon
A late start and the sun is up, too
I’m not a good cartographer, but maps are assembling themselves as I explore new routes that cross each other and begin to make sense
Walking, thinking, praying, noticing
Causes me also to explore and map my own brain
Can you bend circumstance with prayer?
I think it is more likely it is our own behavior that prayer sculpts than that of God
What does God need of our pleadings and praise?
Ego stroking?
I don’t think so
We folks sure do need to pray ourselves into some better behavior, though
I’ll keep it up and do the best I can

October 13, 2016
Fog outside, misty like a morning in Maine
Making mysterious familiar streets
Murky darkness the whole way due to the maturing year’s delayed sunrise
I got lost for a while
And I walked in silence
The birds don’t sing until the sun cracks the horizon
I feel like those birds
Filling up, filling up, filling up with song
Until the magic moment
Permission? Opportunity? Pure presumption?
That I can let flow the sound of my soul

I found a warm spot w coffee to sit and knit
Outside is too cold for my hands to work the needles
On the way here, I saw a kelly green Karmann Ghia and I wanted to ask for a ride
Ahead, a cat rum-tum-tuggered toward me
Focused, prowling for who knows what
One bird said, “Jubilee, jubilee, jubilee, jooooooo”
Another bird said, “I repeat, I repeat, I repeat”
Note to self: need light binoculars to tuck into pack
Pack is getting heavy
Before too long I will need a cart

I forgot my coffee
Sitting there now, on the counter, feeling bad it was left behind
Singing a sad song
Knowing coffee is in my bag elevates the pleasure of my walk, sloshing with every pace inside its steel jar, ready to make me happy whenever a bench appears and invites me to sit
My mom’s kitchen always smelled of coffee
She would drink it even before bed then fall right to sleep while watching I Love Lucy
Maybe she never really slept
She did not like silence or darkness and always wanted the lights and the sound of the TV on
If you thought she was asleep and turned the TV off, she would awake and say, “I was watching that.”
When she died, her funeral reception was in the same room where people would gather after Sunday service and it was always scented with the smell of coffee
The scent lingered still, in the air, when we said goodbye

702am, October 5, 2016
There’s a hole at the bottom of a tree
A hollowed out knob
Who did the work?
Nature, a sprite, an elf?
The space inside invited me in
I wanted to accept
So looked around for a “Drink Me” bottle, but found nothing
That must be a fantasy just for books
A familiar screech jarred me out of Lalaland
Beautiful Blue Jay
But that call is for the birds
The reverie is gone and so begins the day

The sky is a silvery foil wrapper
Crisp air enters my lungs like mint candy
The fresh morning offers optimism I want to feel, but don’t
That bird’s melodious morning song is sweet
Two others, far off, answered from different places
Nice for them not to worry about document leaks and elections
Though, I don’t think they’d vote for dirty air
Despite ruminations, it’s been an excellent outing
Seeing a Great Dane requires a smile
And I crossed paths with a black squirrel and a Blue Jay

Light Pole
Standing tall
Once proud and glorious
Stripped of everything that made it a tree
A warning to its flourishing brothers and sisters
Like a skeleton hanging as a specimen in a museum
Life is short

(September 2016)

It is 630am
I’m walking, more like loping
Heavy pack contains almonds, coffee, knitting, plastic poncho, fingerless gloves, phone charger, magazine, and wallet
I could stay out forever
A woman passes me, briskly
Is that a gloating swagger?
I consider catching up
But I’m already hot from the steep hill
If this were 20 years ago in Central Park, she would not have stood a chance
Good luck to you!
She turns a corner
Two blocks later a man is walking on the other side of the street
Where is that loud whistle I used to have?
Is that a van up ahead?
Could he incapacitate me with a dart and then speed off in the van?
Will I never see my children again?
Just keep walking
There’s my favorite bench
The almonds and coffee will fix everything

29 September 2016, 7am
Grateful for the park shelter
Like I AM A BUNNY’s little lapin
Huddled under a red and white polka dot mushroom
Rain falls heavily outside the perimeter of this refuge
Happy to have coffee and newspaper
A photograph shows dancers
Frozen and fantastically formed
Synchronized in a bold gesture
I’ll boldly march up the hill
Drenched but delighted
For the singing ahead

9/27/2016, 657pm
Striding long
Praying in rhyme and rhythm in my head
I’m stopped in my tracks
A bunny nibbling grass at the prickly fringe of a holly
I stand a while to watch
Wanting to sit, I back away slowly to perch on a cement curb
Bunny snacks
Sunlight is waning
The village bell tower chimes seven
From behind, each ear
When not twitching this way and that
Deciphering possible threats
What’s this? What’s that?
Is an upended teardrop that, put together, makes a heart
Fur lushly glows burnt red at ears’ fulcrum as the whitewashed house visible beyond radiates mercurichrome pink from setting sun
A helmeted child speeds by on 4 wheeled scooter
My pal has beat a hasty retreat

Emerging from our cocoon
The air is crisp like a sheet snapping
A mocking bird is chiding its fellows as a flock of I don’t know whats bicker unseen in a bush
A solo robin sings its I See the Sun song in a tree over there
Walking past dried brown hydrangea blossoms, I’m feeling emotional so much it is hard fight off tears
I’m afraid not to pray, fearful of the way things can go
I find a perfect bright yellow Ticonderoga pencil in the playground wood chips and feel much better about things


Really 9/21/2016, I was wrong yesterday
Up with the sun, glints of rosy orange and lavender
Made my escape
A house black as coal inside a nest of trees
A cat backlit in yellow sits silhouetted in its window
She lithely undulates her tail to say she sees me but I am dismissed as a nonentity
A bird whistles like the rockets red glare
A dad opens car door for his toddler who coos when she sees him
I like to walk new routes, but make my way to this favorite spot
Someone left their garbage behind
I don’t like that at all
I’ll put it where they should have and then head home

Rain last night dampened asphalt cracks making them black against the otherwise now dry dark gray pavement
Figures reveal themselves
A Native American woman, tall and thin w smooth hair like a Modigliani portrait
She is wrapped in a patchwork blanket
A boxy Teddy, seated, holding a ball
A stick figure antelope like a cave painting
A broken heart
A large breasted woman carrying a bulbous bundle on her back
The United States of Craqueleur
An angry dog swimming w his mouth open and wearing flippers
A rickety bench
A Polar Bear, but his head is too small
An amoeba with flagellum
An enormous, thick knuckled, severed finger pointing in the opposite direction

Early Morning, 9/19/2026
The morning moon shone like Halloween over our yard, floating in indigo, framed by dark trees, cobwebbed with clouds
The old woman tossed up in the basket will be along shortly to sweep them away
Crickets are chirping like stars twinkle
Their noise is bright and refreshing
At first I thought no birds were singing but then I really listen and their morning songs ring out all over
They are making plans, striking deals, keeping appointments
I passed a house that Mole and Rat might live in and I wished I was a mouse out caroling to offer them a song
The scurry of squirrels that lives in this big walnut tree are manufacturing their winter stash
Follow the procedure: procure a a sealed bivalve, dash up tree to high branch, drop shell to crack it open, scramble back down to collect loot, secret the bounty for when the world is frozen over
These critters will be just fine

Out in Arlington, VA at 6:30am, 9/16/2016
Good morning sunflower
Black Eyed Susans but only the black eyes remain
Traveling on foot by roads not before taken and looking for a bench to sit on
Widows glowing from activity within while twilight gathers the sun
If I remembered my glasses, I’d be a better spy
Someone is weeding a garden while sprinkler splitter splats
Smell of water and freshly turned earth
I hear a child call out from behind me
It was really a crow talking
Yesterday I saw a murder of crows, probably 50, maybe 75, mobbing a crabapple tree, stealing its fruit, some flew off w red balls snatched in black beaks while others mustered below whipping up a chaos like the New York Stock Exchange during a sell off
I tried to take a picture from a distance, but someone came along just at that moment and the rabble scattered, enclosing the sky overhead with a flurry of black feathered wings
Enough with yesterday
Experience tells me the Village Sweet has a crispy edged scone and now I’m going to get it

A patched hole (a foot tall, or so) in the sidewalk revealed a silhouette, complete with grassy hair.

9:12:2016, 7:20am
I got here walking up a street I usually drive, familiar, but weirdly foreign like deja-vu
Arrived at a favorite perch amid Walnuts, evergreens (what kind, tall thin stem, shaggy bark), Maples
Fiefdom of squirrels: scurrying and chasing sounds like pachinko machine up and down the tree bark
Throwing walnuts and chit-chatting
Two hawks come along to menace them
A nearby Oak is bombing the street with acorns
Those nuts are cute w little hats
I want to collect them, but for what?
I like collecting these moments, but same question, for what?
It’s because I want to
So be it, they don’t take up any space

Impressions of Walk Up Washington B to Get a Sandwich, 9/11/2016
Frustration in the house for a lost paper
Tired brains and bodies from afternoon double header
Eloise home from Shenandoah retreat
Outside, calming fresh air
Afternoon sepia sun makes neighborhood feel old timey
Goldfinch sways on flag of banana leaf then flies off
Withering but still jewel bright stand of zinnias
Acid blue high heels in which I’m glad I’m not walking wobble on the bricks
Kids on bikes
People applaud TV at outdoor restaurant, someone did something good
Striding home, I pass man watering his yard with the zinnias and banana
I decline the urge to mention the goldfinch
Onward home where hungry boy awaits

Out for a Walk, Morning, Impressions 9/8/2016
Tiny squirrels playing under a Walnut Tree
Cracking open the shells, tossing what they don’t want
Tails ripple as they hop along
It’s a squirrel Thanksgiving
Unnervingly hot, sticky morning in September
Cicadas buzz to say, What’s the deal?
Chirping crickets everywhere meld pulsing ring in harmony
The Metro’s bumping over tracks echoes in the distance
Human activity all around is not so unlike the squirrels
Despite the heat, Dog Days of Summer are over and the Rat Race begins again.

Impressions of Morning Stroll in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, 9/2/2016
Walking from our hotel room to find a shady bench suitable for knitting, drinking coffee, and stewing in the 18th c
Flag of 13 stripes and Union Jack flaps in the picking up breeze
The same breeze is a little too cool
It also sways the leaves of the trees, re-dappling the impressionist sunlight that sneaks through like spots on a fawn
My iPhone makes so many wrong word changes while I tap that I am compelled, out loud, to tell it to F-off
Colonial fragrance wafts from the cleverly set dressed souvenir shops and takes me away like Calgon
I said so yesterday and Eloise reminded me, “It’s the soap.”
Looking at the stands of Catalpa trees, lined up like soldiers on the Green, paying respect to the historic mansion beyond. These trees bear witness to such incongruous delights as historical interpreters telling the stories of those original figures that some of the trees may have laid eyes on (saplings of burgeoning democracy) to the specter of children running pell-mell while cyber-hunting Pokemon characters that multiply in a virtual nest among the ancient trunks
Two Tiger Swallowtails pas de deux over a clump of wildflowers
Last night at dinner a man in 18th c work clothes played us an old version of The Fox on a small guitar a friend made him, replica of one of the few guitars Stradivarius was known to have made
The very old and the modern co-mingling in mutually agreeable, if sometimes mind bending, ways
I’m a little sorry to return to full modernity, but do look forward to home

Evening stroll, 8/20/2016
A golden evening, sepia sun
Thinking of Eva Cassidy singing
Stopped at Westover Italian Store for sun dried tomatoes, but found a jar of cuttlefish ink (it has no calories, in case you were wondering)
Mom on basketball court teaching her daughter to ride a bike yells, OH MY GOD YOU’RE DOING IT
Cicada symposium, a throbbing bass with winding overtones of melody from a different species
Listen carefully to hear the cricket coloratura
Doves ha hoo hoo hoo
Dragonfly aerial ballet over sun soaked green grass field
A dry leaf was caught by a mild gust and it set to a roll, chasing me on sidewalk
Applause from court, that little girl has it now
I ate an ice cream cone, I shouldn’t have, but it was delicious
I love the Big Ben tones from post office clock tower, bells announce it is 7 o’clock
A sweet retreat, now home.

Baby bunny darts across
Squirrel cut out in white painted shutter on brick house
Speaking of heaven, lushly vined arch to path festooned on underside w twinkle lights
Plodding runner, I’m not judging as I stand pathetically tapping, one fingered
A bluejay, dramatically lit by rising sun, startled me, its galling shriek does not match the noble straight laced precisely cut elegant suit of feathers it wears
It hopped over to the apple tree
A bloomless field of lilies of the valley (I want some!)
Japanese Maple, Red Bud, Crepe Myrtle
So many trees, though, whose names I wish I knew
A tree hung heavy w a community of bird houses, is there a mayor?
The businesses in Westover are opening up
My letter is mailed
Coffee calls


Impressions on another morning walk, 8/9/2016
Evergreen hedge, rose and oak
The spot where a voluptuous red Camellia use to be
Birds tweeting to each other from one side of street to other and sounds echo off houses
Plane roars overhead
Clouds like lavender puffs, warmed inside w pink lava
A man standing motionless in front of house, staring straight ahead, I’ll try not to stare to give him privacy
A tree heavy w ripe apples, made lighter when that little squirrel snatches one then runs up another tree to make sure no one else takes it
The squirrel does not like me watching and says w unbroken gaze that I should move along
As I do, it barks at me
A resplendent fig plant spills into sidewalk bearing unripe fruit
That squirrel can look forward to figs
Heart shaped crack in blacktop
Black dog wags tail lovingly at owner who is photographing something on a leaf
It is garbage collection day and here and there, there is wafting
The tallest most perfectly shaped Holly tree I’ve ever seen admonishes me for having walked by it so often and never before offering an appreciation
It’s been there all along
A weeping willow, lichen on bark
I’m taking the easy street and skipping the hill
Hungry now, I’m ready for toast

Impressions of a morning walk, 7/31/2016
Typed w one finger by middle aged woman on iPhone notes
Sometimes a walk in neighborhood everything rings out like poetry
The ripples of pink orange white and blue in sky as sun rises
Passing through a floating spiderweb as invisible gossamer dangles tickles and slightly creeps me out (where is that spider?)
The musky smell of some trees
The fairytale foliage surrounding some houses that says they have a story to tell and also fairies and gnomes
The hole in the sidewalk cement that looks like head of George Washington
The vines of honeysuckle whose fragrance makes me stop
The songs of crickets and morning doves
Squawk of crows
It is starting to sprinkle rain
Heading home



I go out walking.  Something happens out in the world or something wonderful reveals itself and words float in to capture the moment or harness a grain of Truth. Thanks to support of friend Charlene James Duguid (a poet, a playwright, a thinker, a do-er).


Autumn Portrait Gallery, 11/7/2016, ELEG Impression While Walking

Emily’s collection of photographs of images formed by pavement cracks


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Emily’s collection of photographs of images formed by pavement cracks




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