Kaddish for Karen Leys (1952-2018)


Its so strange to think
That you’re not there
In that little house on Salem Avenue
Sitting on the couch
Quietly reading fantasy novels on your Kindle
While Dad watches NCIS,
As if you’d always been there
And always would,
While I sit here across the mountains
Hunched over a notebook
Writing til my hand cramps
Trying to make sense of it all.

Continue reading


Time is Relative


The clock ticks
From morning til night.
One moment dawn light
Warms young faces,
Training wheels, and zoo trains.
The next, cold winter shadows
Fall and grow
Under the west setting sun.

Calendar pages fall away,
Torn, faded;
Yellowed by time,
Littering the ground
Like sun dried maple leaves
In October.

One by one,
Two by two,
Faces fade into twilight skies.
Passing away down trails
We cannot follow,
Until the day we do.


The painting pictured above is The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí.

Patterns and Dust

Passing through eternity,
Through the cycles of infinity.
Things grow and flourish,
Decay and die,
Each end a beginning,
Each beginning and end,
Sometimes the same end,
The same beginning.

Circles and cycles of history,
Repeating, rhyming:
Patterns in the fog,
Order in the chaos,
A lotus flower in the swamp.



Paths cross in the woods
And merge into one.
World weary travelers
Share each other’s company,
Pool their resources,
And restore their strength.
The paths fork in two
Out on the plains.


“Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
– Marcus Aurelius, translated by George Long

Life is short;
The Universe is forever:
An ocean swallowing
The teardrops of human existence,
Born a thousand eons
Before our earliest ancestors
Had drug themselves from
The primordial ooze.
So long ago that
Only God was there
To witness the blessed event.
Though, perhaps, even He
Is too young to recall the day.

A dozen millennia after
Our great-great-grandchildren
Have become dust
Blown on the solar winds,
It will still be here,
Waiting patiently
For its appointment with Death
At the other end of Eternity.

19 July 1999

Living (Haiku)

Green leaf canopy
Wild nature living; thriving
Peaceful stillness flows


This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge – #Haiku #Tanka #Haibun: CALM & WILD. I substituted “stillness” for “calm.”

Content (Senryu)

Pleased to be alive
Gardening in the hot sun
Grieving not its end.


This senryu (aka a “human haiku”) is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 36 – HAPPY & SAD. I subsituted the synonyms “Pleased” and “Grieving” for “Happy” and “Sad”

Hunter and Prey (a Tanka)

Eyes glow in the dark
Dead twigs crack under footfall
The prey hears nothing
The circle of life must close
Sharp clean claws will finish it.


My response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 33 – CLEAN & SHARP

Life (a double tetractys)

in darkness,
grows in the light:
developing, evolving, flourishing.
aging, decaying; systems breaking down.
Life always ends
in darkness
and in


Poem #17 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo)

This is my second attempt at at tetractys and my first double-tetractys.

Where did it go?

Where did it all go,
Day by day in steady flow,
Swept away by the river’s currents
Lifeguard warnings are poor deterrents,
Yesterday a baby on my knee
Content, ignorant of your destiny.
If you’d known, could you’ve changed it?
If able, would you’ve exchanged it?

Did you know it would end this way,
Dread the coming of this wicked day,
When your mother Frigg’s tears wept,
As your body the undertaker prepped?