In search of story


July 25.22: Coping, but barely

A garden in a kettle,

what enticement to know more;

no ordinary flowerpot

hints so of family lore.

Kettles are like aprons,

remnants, scraps and shreds

of kitchens gone to dust

except inside our heads.

Replaced by kitchen jewelry

gleaming, digitized,

its plump and stolid air

is yet unbowdlerized.

Something in its roundness

brings noodle dough to mind,

vegetable soup with barley,

doughnuts cinnamon-brined,

children up on tip-toe

to watch and sniff, content,

the world in proper order

as it was surely meant.

Today its storied depths

give rise to happy greenery,

rooted, like our memories,

in distant kitchen scenery.



More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to gardener and family preservationist D.J. Berg.



July 14.22: Coping, but barely

Does a garden laugh?

Yes. That’s what I think.

What could else explain

this impertinence of pink?

No sooner had I written of

snapdragons’ ruffled white

than this haughty pale bubblegum

erupted into sight.

Did I plant this nonconformist,

this blushing heliophile?

No. It planted its own self,

chuckling all the while.

Its merriment unbridled

in my gardener’s flabbergast,

it reveled in its message:

it’s the garden that laughs last.




July 8.22: Coping, but barely

A tenth of a billionth of a second.

My brain spins without traction

to comprehend the transience

of such unknowable fraction.

How can such a measure

of time, that slippery eel,

have meaning to poor mortal

like me, the math schlemiel?

Or maybe it’s not numbers

that anaesthetize my mind,

but rather awe and wonder

at our need to seek and find.

Perspectives thus established,

we see our own existence

in terms of what we don’t know

and potential obsolescence.

Are we really that important,

such tiny human spatter,

in view of proton particles

and abysses of dark matter?

I tend to think we are

though I’ve no idea why;

we blow each other up,

and pollute the sea and sky.

Microscope and telescope,

bacterium to star,

but all we have are stories

to explain the way we are.



I’ve been seeing articles, dear reader, about the Large Hadron Collider and the pursuit of dark matter. It’s all dark matter to me, but I do try for some meager understanding. I cannot wrap my mind around such a thing as a tenth of a billionth of a second, but I can marvel at it. As I marvel, it becomes personal. My place in this universe? I’m working on that.

My thanks to Juliana Kim for her NPR article that reminded me of perspective.



July 4.22: Coping, but barely

Under raptor storms,

growling clouds of dark unknown,

sunless doubts and dangers

in history’s tempest blown,

they pledged their sacred honor.

Could they have even thought

how much of “sacred honor”

would be bartered, sold, and bought?

Yes, I think they did,

but still they took a stand,

and signed their deep conviction

in sprawling, sundry hand.

Seeing the unseen,

hearing the unheard,

they built a sure storm shelter

with the steel of written word.


Here we celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day,

perhaps a bit subdued this year.

“Self-evident truths,” it turns out,

are not so self-evident.

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

for this gorgeous capture

over Buckroe Beach, Virginia.


July 2.22: Coping, but barely

A puddle in a path

divides the population

in two distinctive camps

of opposite persuasion.

One must forge ahead

to know where this path goes;

the other shrinks from earth

that gushes ‘twixt the toes.

That second would be me,

uncurious when it comes

to mud or bugs or slithering;

my adventurousness succumbs.

I prefer the no-itch life,

sufficient just a look;

I’ll follow muddy paths

in air-conditioned book.


I may not be the outdoorsy type,

but I know beauty when I see it.

A salute to those who care for our green spaces.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve,

Fishers, IN.


July 1.22: Coping, but barely

In crowded company

of musicians through the ages,

I’ve fumbled in attempts

to play while turning pages.

More than once I’ve chased

sonatas to the floor,

twisting off the bench

to nab the fleeing score.

Flagrantly contrary,

it always had the knack

to land so I’d dislodge

my sacroiliac.

To keep the left hand going

and play at obtuse angle

crossed Mozart with aerobics,

performance art fandangle.

Now comes a pageless music,

no flip and fumble here —

what a total wimp-out,

musicianship veneer.

What kind of ease is this?

It seems somehow a cheat

to keep your fingers focused,

turning pages with your feet.



More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.