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2020 Poems      January - April


Jade Sea          Print this poem only

I was caught up in the usual daily wrangle
for my attention among the images and stories
on my phone and the computer’s tangled
tries for some small measure of life’s glories.

Then I looked up from the bright screen
and saw the long elegant leaf lit by the sun.
The tributaries of its mysterious green
softened and focused me from many to one.

I lost my crazy mind in this living blade
and found this poem waiting there for me
in the simple power of its now where I stayed
for a tender eternal moment in its joyous jade sea.

Written 2-8-20


​​​​​​Let Love Settle In          Print this poem only


There it is - first light - the debut of dawn

another first - soft rays of a new day

fresh dew settling and cooling the lawn

the dew and irrepressible light make way

to this browning patch of earth

another prelude in my eyes

a gentle affirmation of life’s worth

in this glistening silver sunrise.


This freshness prods my lethargy

and is easy for me to take

but do I have the kind of energy

to allow a love without break

unconditional and pure

I wonder if I have it in me

to let such a love endure

to settle into me like dew - light and free.

Written 1-3-20


Wisdom of Fog            Print this poem only


In the first light of dawn

fog shrouds the trees

and gentilizes the landscape

softens hard edges

unifies everything.

What is the fog telling me?


Subtract the number of details

that consume attention and energy.

Unify the landscape of life

into something more simple.


Maybe I should listen to the wisdom of the fog.

Written 1-27-20


Freedom to Die            Print this poem only


When someone fears not my freedom

opens their grip and surrenders

any hold on me

the blessed result is a kind of peace -

maybe a pause before I approach the cliff

but in that small moment a glimmer of grace

enough to save me


a space to crawl a few layers deeper

to find what lies beneath,

a slender root, a fertile bit of soil


a mystery on the desert plain

that nurtures a tender shoot

to take me into a hazy future


Freedom to die

to the hell within me

to the surface me

that pretends control

to the hidden pain that gobbles my light


These little deaths free me

to embrace the little boy within

the creative self

the beautiful alive soul

the pure core

that sustains us all. 


When Some One, anyone, fears not my freedom

opens their grip and surrenders…


Written 1-14-20


Geese            Print this poem only


The geese are standing there

just being geese in the grass

poking through the leaves

going deeper for nourishment

may I follow their example


Written 1-2-20

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A Little Darkness            Print this poem only

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day

morning soaked in light of the sacred

sacred not scared

love not fear

listening and learning

raising my voice for good

connecting and respecting

feeling anchored

and full

of grace and peace.


But I can take only so much light

and then in the darkness

artists are projected

girls learning to be little women

me falling into my own little darkness

disconnected, drifting

ingesting junk

later escaping a world they call super

feeling excitements and delight

but sinking into a black hole

in my soul

yearning for joy

ending with anxious waking…


until now when these scribbles

scratch scrape and claw me

out of the pit

into a coral-streaked Dawn.


Written 2-3-20


On the Fringe           Print this poem only

Sometimes I am still in high school

feeling alone like a fool

on the margins an arm’s length away

a nobody with nothing to say

just out of pace

chosen last for one side in a game

but I graduated

moved into the world to find my place

but at times I get in a clinch

and still feel on the fringe.

Written 3-2-20


Dawning            Print this poem only

The first soft gray light of day

creeps in from the east

not even a glow

just barely enough

to see the clouds stretching over me

but I know a love

that is the dawn in my darkness.

Written 2-29-20

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Print this poem only


the shifting layers of gravel and soil,

the thin crust of busyness

and distractions

are the hours of merging and melting

from our friction and romance,

in other words

the love and trust

that is our bedrock.


Written 2-28-20


A Vision of Daisies            Print this poem only


I am in a field of daisies.

An array of white faces

enclose small suns that light the day

and send forth sweet scents of God’s graces.


This field echoes the glory of God.

I hear his Spirit whisper in the wind. 

This language rises from dark sod,

but speaks the vibrant voice of a friend.


How blessed I am on this patch of earth!

God tells me to preserve and protect
his creation as a gem of great worth

to clothe it in a silken gown of respect.


Written 2-18-20

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warmth without words            Print this poem only

it is a cold day

the heater soaks the space

but how difficult it is

to feel the warmth without words


Written 2-28-20



Words Took Me          Print this poem only

The foam of ocean waves

the cries of a newborn babe

the profusion of pedals in a daisy-dotted field

clouds nudging each other

a kiss a sloppy seal

a song that thrills

all these words owned me

took me for a moment this morning.


Written 2-27-20

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Pruning              Print this poem only         

My neighbor pruned his pear tree 

he did it with such deliberate care

for the load of summer fruit broke limbs

he waters and nurtures that tree so special to him.


Pruning lets in the sunlight and air

vibrant limbs and blossoms appear.

What can I prune for good health,

for light, love, and soulful wealth?

Written 2-22-20

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Harp             Print this poem only


Like fingers running across a harp

from shoulder toward feet

I fall deeper into you.

My fingertips pause

here and there in their journey

to feel the sweet vibrations

of your body

and in these small silences

I enter your divinity.

Written 3-21-20


Suriv            Print this poem only


May I be infected

with a sureness

of your love


May it spread within me

like an IV flowing confidence

in my okayness


In the face of fear

and desperation may

I be a cove of calm presence


May you be well

whole and robust

in every cell


In this time of solitude

may I encounter

the awesome power of now


Written 3-20-20


Silt            Print this poem only


I feel you easing into me

occupying thin layer

upon thin layer of my soul

and I occasionally notice

a smidgen of joy rising

as if first light was dawning.


But this is not first light

for it has been accruing

like silt in the river delta

depositing fertile soil

for an emergent growth.


Written 3-18-20


Fear is dumb            Print this poem only


The birds are pecking away in the feeder

they know what they need and just act 

no dreamers or blind believers

they live in the now world in fact.


When I make a theory into a mount

or a bit of research a law

I tell my freedom it doesn’t count,

subtract my spirit and cancel my awe.


The germ of anxiety sown in the womb

the genetic material of doubt

from mama’s story and cloud of doom 

don’t rule my choice nor rout it out.


So when future events appear to me real

and I crash in a chasm all glum

let me grasp the steering wheel

and remember: fear is just dumb.


Written 3-16-20


Thanked            Print this poem only


I just had a moment

when I felt the great beyond

thanking me.

What a joy!

Written 3-14-20


Poetic Partner            Print this poem only


A poem is not finished

until it is read or heard by another.


So when you read or listen

you become a partner

in this humble endeavor.

We are





walking together


for one eternal moment


Author's Note: the poetic partner referred to in the title is my good friend John Call, pictured here.


Written 3-14-20


I am hungry            Print this poem only


My emptiness gnaws at me

erodes the dark coating on my soul

my hunger is a yawning bowl

of clear glass yearning to be filled

with your love

what nuggets of golden light

or even what suffering you might

will to me

to grow me

into what I need to be.


I trust you with my hunger

with the calluses

on my hands and feet

and the hardness of my heart

to touch, soften, repair,

and birth there

some fibers of new life.

Written 3-23-20


The Piano Listener            Print this poem only


Mom has been gone for years

but just now I was brought to tears

from a poem about my childhood piano playing

and how she patiently listened, probably pained

Mom told me she loved hearing me play soft or loud

and ‘twas the one thing I could do to make Dad proud.


Replaying years of hurt for mistakes they made

bound me in shadows and shade,

but now late in life I again recall

the character of their care for my soul

and cherish the humanity of these two

and their suffering that got me through.


Author’s Note: Written after re-reading a poem I wrote two years ago, “To tired to write?”

Written 3-26-20


Small Sufferings            Print this poem only


The life of parents is gauged  in teaspoons

of sweat, vinegar, blood and tears

in early mornings and tire of late afternoons

all collected in a cup of salvation for years.


Small sufferings and moments of pain

become sacrifice for a child’s little sins

so the youth won’t suffer the blame,

cost of loss, but the joy of life’s wins.


All these payments made without wrath

may never be repaid to them in their time

but lessons taught will etch a path

for a child to grow up into its prime.


Anyone who loves the unkind

or selfish or one who has spurned

virtue or left goodness behind

pays debts the errant don’t earn.


Author’s Note:  Dedicated to Kevin Williford in honor of his forthcoming work: Serving in the Lord’s Blackberry Patch.

Written 3-31-20


Flute Player            Print this poem only


He is walking slowly where step by step

measure by measure in the lush meadow

he plays a dulcet meandering air

inviting me to join him there

unbound by dark and foreboding forces

of the viral pervasive present.


I join him and we fly to the open plain

recently refreshed by rain

Oklahoma and its green fields

where the spirits of Native peoples reside

and in soft spring breezes glide

and remember their ancestors’ names

and the simple childhood games

they played kicking up dust of earth

in earshot of their mothers who gave birth

to those precious souls and bodies brown

made of love and Red River and ground.


The flute’s tune again catches me

in its lively streaming strain

and pulls me up to airy heights

to join the dance of darkness and light

in spirit realms where beauty

and reality tango together in peace.


Author’s Note:  I bow to spiritual writer and mystic Richard Rohr and Kiowa, Pulitzer Prize winning author, painter and poet N. Scott Momaday who grew up in Oklahoma and once said “Realism is not what it’s cracked up to be.”


Written 4-6-20

Weeding and Writing            Print this poem only


There is a war I fight each day

between doing the garden weeding

and conjuring thoughts and writing to convey,

between praying-thinking and speaking-leaping.


Meditation is my resting

in peace and tranquility.

Chores are my wrestling

with just being and doing things of utility.


I hear I should not be a human doing

but instead be a human being

but how do I balance my wooing

with silence and dreaming?


Being a lover means moving and touching

deciding to extend myself for another

but it also means hushing

listening and abiding in wonder.


Written 4-8-20


Ave Maria            Print this poem only


Tonight I heard a girl singing

softly the Ave Maria of her choice

a faint memory moved into my mind

playing and singing in a tenor voice

it was the sound of a dreamy child

soaring to heavenly heights

inspired to bliss sweet and mild

with but a fledgling faith

a heart unsealed and open wide

breathing a small hope to create

to make something full of light

pleasing to the heavens

perhaps a strain to take flight.


And in the next room mom shed tears

of pride in her musical son

of such promise in tender years

in wonder of what her womb had spun.


Author’s Note: Hearing the Ave Maria – a piece of sacred music beloved by many even today - brought back a stream of memories and feelings and threw me back to my youth and the first stirrings of a creative spirit within. I played the piano and before my voice changed I sang the Charles Gounod version with the Latin text.  That spirit still occasionally flies into my soul and squeezes out small soundings of imagination in the form of poetry. 

Written 4-20-20


Half a Cycle            Print this poem only


I find myself caught in recycling

not cans and paper and glass

but thoughts and actions

habits can help

but being stuck in the habitual

sloshes me into a swamp

dank and stagnant.


What if I broke the cycle in half

opened myself to hidden reaches

of my mental soulful caverns?

Maybe this interruption

would reawaken my muse

from her drowsiness

sparkling and sprinkling me

with poetic stirrings.


It’s worth trying.

Written 4-22-20


Green Glory            Print this poem only


Outside life is in its green glory

springs and explodes with gusto.

Trees and plants shout with joy

irrepressible energy pulls me forward

leaps ahead from my dust and darkness

and takes me into sky from my fright

transforms my darkness into light

I thank you life for appearing in my night. 

It is in this mixture of shadows and sun

that you appear most awesome overflowing

running over the fearful edge of my soul.

Written 4-24-20

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Slave?            Print this poem only


I had forgotten him

until he appeared in a dream -

he so qualified

me so average -

and I awakened barely recalling him

but the shame attacked me with a fury

and has not loosened its grip

even in the late afternoon.

And I thought I became a different person

after twenty years,

even in the last five years.

Am I still shackled to that old self

with scars like ex-slaves carried

from the chains and whips?

It seems people fade but feelings rarely do.



Author’s Note:  I bow to Samuya with gratitude for the poem below:

“You can forget the person

but can you forget the feeling?”



--Maybe the writing of this poem will loosen the grip of that feeling. 


Written 4-24-20

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