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January -













Mother in Darkness             Print this poem only


It was a nightmare

slogging in swamp shadows

terrified of what would eat me

her face contorted in rage.


How did she get here

in my psyche

in her phobia?

An uncle who forced her onto his lap

the neighborhood creep who exposed himself

to this little girl on her walk home from school

what terror alone in that darkness?


Now posing that sweet child

in that wicked night

I wonder how I demonized her

to myself

and worse

to others.


Tears for her wet my cheeks

awash in my late tenderness.


How did I forget

the thousand rescues

two from life threatening illnesses,

block how lost, sad, and confused

she must have been

clutching me to her breast

praying with piercing fervor

both of us would survive?


The monk explained

to love others

we should start

with our mothers.


One more awakening

from the nightmares.

This is my start

for this dawning day.


Written 3/10/2010










My Visit to the Country            Print this poem only


I visited family friends
in the country
where I learned
to play kick the can
the thrill of gathering eggs
fear of the looming
moving mass of cows
the mud uneven with hoof cavities
full of rain and the mess of nature
unknown to this city boy
who lived on a street
of straight walls
and cut lawns.

What a strange marriage
memory and imagination.

Was there really a rope
over the sandy creek
a mile’s walk from their home
my first skinny dip?
Really a little blond girl with us
my first view of female nakedness?
I do know my fear was vanquished by joy
as we splashed about in those childhood shallows.

It was mysterious
this large farm family
their symbiotic bond
each child carrying out
assigned chores without question.

I was special
like a foreign visitor
with stories of yachts and airplanes
and other riches of my imagining
launched into their simple world.

Now I feel a tug of regret
and embarrassment
at my pride believing
in the superiority
of my sophistication.

Is it my memory
drenched with imagination
or did they really have the purity
good-heartedness and honesty
rare and alien
in the world
I would grow into?

Written 3-6-10








The Marathoner            Print this poem only


What is a marathoner?

The dictionary has it as

someone who participates

in long-distance races.


Is it the measured miles

and calibrated time

slope of the hills, bends in the route

that make a marathoner?


Or is it about heart?


Seemingly small choices

each minute of the race?


If that is the measure of a marathoner

I know such a participant.

He gathers his spirit

rises, enters, engages.


A faithful pioneer of practical wisdom

disciplined by stumbles, returns, recoveries,

day by day, week by week,

decades of new beginnings.


Not a solitary man doing as he pleases

he runs with us

glances back, spurs and nurtures

reaches us with a hand up.


Some notice his sardonic humor

or his impish grin

but within, a man of value,

a gentle disciple of listening.


A husband,

fathering many a man,

we have needed

the faithful service

splashed upon our path

by this




Author’s Note:  Dedicated to my dear friend Ed Stofko


Written 3-23-10

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