Sunday, March 11, 2018

Poetry Is (poem)

Poetry is
reality, distilled.
It’s not the transcendent,
try capture, and fail,
or all wonder,
well-imitated, but pale.
No.

Poetry is
reality, distilled.
It starts with the corn or the rye,
the simple things at hand,
already born, ready for the fire.
Yes.

Poetry is
reality, distilled.
It’s the bottle with a rag,
in your hand,
ready to throw –
light it.
It’s the alcohol –
ignite it.

March 2018   North Andover, Mass

Waiting In The Colonial Churchyard (poem)

Waiting In The Colonial Churchyard

Waiting in the churchyard
For something to save me
Waiting in the churchyard
Stillness comes to me

Here is the quiet steady God of Franklin and Jefferson
Persistent as the field grass
Good unbidden, though not undeserved
Mine to have, yours as well
God in the world
To be gathered like wild wheat
Nature’s honey or free grown grapes
Like the colonist’s self-reliance
I am better saved if I save myself
But isn’t that gift of salvation
Still freely provided, wildly sown for me?
To be saved from myself, by myself
God still rightly gets the kudos
God in the world
God of the world
God for the world
God in us
God of us
God for us
Stillness in the churchyard is what I see
Quiet goodness is what I feel
I am glad

June 2014 North Andover, Mass.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Bell Rings Thus (poem)

A Bell Rings Thus

    One bell rings from First Church.
    The Revere bell rings out,
    calling across common, town and wood.
    One bell rings from First Church tower,
    calling out, one bell, distant and plaintive,
    rising and falling on the wind,
    plain to me.
    Counting time, counting forward, counting back,
    one bell rings from First Church,
    carrying time, carrying me, bearing me back.

Oh beautiful sound,
turning me from my desk,
turning me from my task,
rolling into my room above the ancient town,
calling across open air, into this open dormer,
you open a direct line from the cathedral tower.

From the cathedral tower, the bells are
calling falling ringing singing.
Calling above the old town, the bells are
bringing the morning, bringing their matins.
Ringing above gray streets, gray walls, gray folk,
reaching all, reaching me, the bells are
turning gray to gold.

Ringing ringing,
ye harmonies hidden in the air,
you are a standing ovation of angels
singing on assignment, a posting from heaven to us,
announcing your mysterious angelus.
Bestowing, naming or knowing?
Perhaps all, none or thus.


Ringing in tune, each bell is
turning spinning clapping laughing,
joining in harmony, together creating
this standing ovation of joy.
Assembling in the air above the town,
pouring into my ears, your sound is
standing angelic in the air.

My music teacher, you remind me
of heaven’s harmonies in our world.
You are here all along,
but I forget, so I was sent
this ringing reminder.

Oh beautiful sound,
poured into the bells by the master bell maker then,
you are pouring your sound into my ears today.
Your first pouring is still ringing ringing.

The bell keeps ringing long after it was struck.
Now I am struck by your sound,
calling to me above the town,
ringing on your direct line.
In tune with yourself,
you are in tune with the world.
You do not need to be struck to ring.
You ring,
bringing gold to the gray town,
turning me from my task.
Ringing ringing,
oh beautiful sound,
a bell rings thus.


October 2015 North Andover, Mass.